Sometimes the bonds of friendship can be deeper than the ties that bind us to family. With family often the connection has nothing to do with passions and interests that you fight tooth and nail for. You do all that fighting for what you believe in and love alongside friends who share similar ideas and interests – and when you go through all these trials and tribulations with a group of once strangers, you make it out alive closer and more well connected.
My buddies in the Philippines hardcore scene (throughout the country) always remind me of that bond. I’ve known a lot of these fellow warriors for 10+ years and have watched them stay committed to their communities regardless of inner turmoil or whatever internet crap can plague pretty large underground communities. Regardless, the scene there has always supported and given back to my band countless times over and over.
One of the joys of starting this website last year was to be able to give back to our friends in the Philippines.
So here you go…yesterday suddenly my contacts in the Philippines started forwarding a brand new bandcamp page for United Blood Records out of the Philippines. Home of pretty fucking stellar Filipino hardcore releases by Mihara, Divided We Fall, Groundzero to name a few, and when I realized (I don’t know why I forgot) that my man Jay and another incredible human being Dencio were behind this label, I quickly hit them up with some questions. Jay was on his way buying groceries for his family on a motorcycle and somehow was able to send in answers! Hahahahaha…
Without further ado…it is my honor to help in a small little way to relaunch Jay and Dencio’s record label United One Blood Records!
Give me some info on United One Blood Records please.
Jay: Man I don’t know where to start haha…really I don’t remember how it all began. As far as I can remember it all started like around 2008…I think…me and my buddy Dencio were talking about helping bands out by putting out their records on CD format – CD-R to be exact! hahaha…
When we started the idea, we kinda got a little lazy and didn’t actually get anything done! Hahahah…it all just became this mythical idea because instead of putting out records we started hosting local shows and shows for some touring bands (asawhole, Second Combat, King Ly Chee, Thought etc..).
Dencio: As far as I can remember, it all started when Jay and I were putting up some small shows in a garage and small bars here in Laguna. Then when my band Groundzero released our record in 2009, we started producing a small number of CD’s. Even up to this day we still only produce small batches for distribution.
Oh! So you guys never ended up releasing anything?
Jay: We did eventually! hahahaha…it was at the first BANE show in May 19, 2010. Our first official United One Blood Records release was Groundzero – Streets and Struggles UOBR-01
United One Blood Records is giving away the following record on their bandcamp page for FREE! Get on it:
A year after that we released Mihara‘s Service In Separation, followed by The Boxers – Round One EP, and then Divided We Fall – Start For Something New which you can listen to below.
Then in 2015 we helped out in releasing His Divine Grace‘s first demo and a cassette tape co-release with Get Up and Go Records (USA). We also put out Mihara’s latest record – Seekers of The Truth.
Those are some great releases!
Jay: Yeah so what really happened is…it was all our own bands whose records came out on United One Blood Records. Haha…and it was all DIY from the very beginning.
What has been your proudest release and why?
Dencio: For me, when we released my former band Groundzero’s record. We had been working on it since 1998. We had some line up changes then our vocalist Rhoda died. But through it all the hardcore attitude was still there. We recruited close friends in the hardcore scene to be part of Groundzero which allowed us to put forward our strongest lineup in 2007. We then released our album in 2009.
Dencio killing it with Groundzero
Jay: My favorite release would be Divided We Fall – Start For Something New. This record is full of good memories! Playing in a band with your idols is such a great experience. We did it fast, we did it raw and we did it without any expectations on how it would sound. That’s why we are more than happy with the result. I was a big fan of this band when they were just starting (Ramil, Dencio, Ryan, Alain, Jojo) because their songs helped me out in my spiritual practice. That’s why I’m very thankful that they made me become part of this record.
Divided We Fall
I’m a sucker for good artwork and a few of your releases have really diverse styles – what’s your favorite cover art and why?
Jay: My favorite cover art is the split cassette tape. It was designed especially for that release by a great Indonesian artist Mohammad Dody Sadat. The details in his drawings are incredibly impressive.
Dencio: My favorite is the design for Mihara’s latest album cover done by our friend Reidon from Payback PH. I do a lot of the designs for our covers and merch but Reidon is SICK! hahahahaha…
Yeah both those covers are sick! Which are the ones you did Dencio?
Dencio: I did the Groundzero cover and Divided We Fall (That particular cover was innspired by the American band Wrong Idea which features one of my favorite hardcore cover layouts). The Mihara, Groundzero and Divided We Fall records were actually all designed under my clothing label Fakecrown Hardwear.
Website coming soon! Stay tuned!
In terms of releasing records DIY in the Philippines is it easy to do? What is the process? Could you take us through how this happens in the Philippines?
Jay: Yes it is easy to do. Everything you need is around you. Or well maybe for my part because I work in the printing industry that’s why I have access to most of the stuff I need to produce CD’s. From desktop to large format printing and even offset.
Have you found the Filipino hardcore scene generally supportive of physical releases are they going the ways of the rest of the world and preferring downloading stuff instead?
Jay: Yes the local scene still supports physical copies up to this date, that’s why a lot of record labels here are still active in releasing physical copies of CD’s, tapes and vinyl. Personally I prefer a physical copy, because you don’t have the urge or excitement you get from a digital recording that you get from an analog recording. I still prefer listening to a record while reading all the lyrics and thanks lists in the inlays. I don’t know if that’s just me or it’s a common thing for us.
Jay emo-ing it up with The Boxers
If you could kinda summarize the current Filipino hardcore scene – having myself seen it go through ups and downs over the years, it seems right now the entire scene is on a very positive upward trajectory. What do you think is going on right now that makes it seem like Philippines hardcore is back on the rise?
Jay: I’m not really the right guy to be talking about this because I’m just a newbie, but I am very happy with what’s going on here in the Philippines. Touring bands from all over the world are coming out here and playing shows, local bands are more actively recording and releasing physical copies which is a very good thing in this digital age. Pilipinas punk hardcore scene has never laid low – it is always on the rise and Filipinos are born to be posi-minded. We got the PMA! Haha…
Dencio: Yes! Nowadays lots of hardcore shows are happening every weekend and even during the week, and some of our oldschool brothers are playing shows again. I think it all helps with contributing back to the scene. Our brothers are more involved in doing zines again, underground networking, etc. Being a part of local shows also helps us stay connected to new comers in our scene.
So just to give people outside the Philippines an idea – what is the print run of a general release for you guys? And where do they get sold?
Jay: Up to this point I’m still losing money from all the physical copies that we’ve released and I don’t give a fuck hahaha I want to share it with everybody and that is what I’m going to do. In terms of distribution we’re going to send a few copies to our buddies in CDO care of Pam of RCHC/Dienasty and we have a few records available in Bacolod as well. You can also talk to us at shows if you want to save yourself a copy of our release(s)!
In terms of numbers – here’s a breakdown:
|Catalog Number | Release Date||Band||Title||Print Run|
|UOBR-01 | 2010||Ground Zero||Streets and Struggles||30|
|UOBR-02 | 2011||Mihara||Service In Separation||60|
|UOBR-03 | 2012
||The Boxers||Round One EP||200|
|UOBR-04 | 2013
||Divided We Fall||Start For Something New||100|
|UOBR-05 | 2015
||His Divine Grace||Demo||50|
|UOBR-06 | 2016
||Divided We Fall | His Divine Grace||Split co-release with
Get Up & Go Records (US)
|UOBR-07 | 2016
||Mihara||Seekers of the Truth||100|
What do you hope to accomplish with Unite One Blood Records?
Dencio: To continue helping new bands, organize local shows, help touring bands, and help continue to promote DIY ethics and PMA.
Cool man! Any last words?
Jay: Always support your own. We’ve got a huge scene here in PH and it is something that we should be proud of so forget about all the negativity and politics, let’s all share ideas in a nicer way and I think everything else will follow. I’m a father of 2 beautiful kids but I can’t stop supporting our scene, this is what I love and this is what I will do. We in United One Blood Records are not getting any return in what we do, but leaving something in this scene that you can call your own is very different. We don’t care if we lose money or if no one wants to buy our shit as long as we have some sort of proof of our existence that we can always show our grandchildren when we get old, I think that makes it all worth it.
Also, when I get old I want to be like Riz. Haha…
Dencio: Thank you so much Riz and Unite Asia for this interview. We really appreciate it! More power to Unite Asia and King Ly Chee! Keep safe brother!
To pick up United One Blood Records releases and to support the Filipino hardcore scene please contact them at the following info:
United One Blood Records direct contact:
Jay Yator | +63 906 314 3625
Laguna/Manila – Jay Yator | +63 906 314 3625
CDO – Pam | https://www.facebook.com/pamrenabor?fref=ts
Bacolod – Jedd | https://www.facebook.com/jeddlefthander?fref=ts