Eric, the Trumpet Guy for Kuerdas

Setting up a fixed time for this interview with Eric was a bit of a challenge because our schedules won’t meet. Despite that, I truly appreciate the man’s effort; he came well prepared and was all too excited for me to fire away all the questions his way. During the initial stages of the interview, he stuggled as to what language he is going to use; I encouraged him to use the vernacular if that would make him comfortable. He is multilingual thus he used all so he can express himself so much better.

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Eric Emit a.k.a. “Dodong” is 30 years of age, he graduated Bachelor of Science on April 2010. He described himself as a happy person who loves joking around, he is kind, fun- loving, and God-fearing. At times, he isn’t in the mood for jokes when he’s quite busy and has some deadlines to beat.

Eric, Kuerdas’ Trumpet Guy
Eric, Kuerdas’ Trumpet Guy

He used to be a member of Laskuridas from Polomolok, South Cotabato. The band was founded on February 3, 2008- they were a group of classmates and friends in High School but was disbanded when some members focused on their own fulltime careers. Eric was a drummer for Marching Band when he was in 1st year High School and was later promoted as a Trumpet Player until College. In College, he played for the Seniors Band at Holy Trinity College to avail of the 100% scholarship.

Eric is a Photographer and a Computer Artist; he used to be the former owner of Quadrado Photography and Digital Works, he also does insurance on the side as a Financial Adviser for Manulife Philippines, and he plays for Kuerdas too.

He is the Trumpet Player for Kuerdas since January 2013. He does it fulltime and it is his main source of income. He shared to me:

“Nagcommit ako sa Kuerdas kasi sure ang income, happy ako kasi makashare ako ng talent ko when playing the trumpet at the same time maka-income. Sa Kuerdas, okay ang TF namin, tapos happy ako kasi kahit medyo naiiba ang basic rate namin kumpara sa ibang bands, marami pa ring kumukuha sa amin; even kami na mga members, marami ang nag-iinquire sa amin about sa TF ng Kuerdas, iniexplain lang namin ang basic rate tapos about sa “hangyo”, si Angkol Onyok na ang bahalang magnegotiate.”

He also mentioned that he can attest to the fact that many people love Kuerdas. He has known a lot of people since his membership to Kuerdas; he also emphasized that he used to get off the stage with his head down after each performances. But realized that as a performer, there’s still a need to smile even when he is off- stage. He also added that Kuerdas has already gained a fanbase even before he became a member. The fans must have liked Kuerdas because of the way they play their versions, they also cover old and classic songs, and they make their own Kuerdas stylee. Aside from their cover songs, the recording of Kuerdas original songs is also on going and is considered a priority at the moment.

When asked of his style on stage, he has this to say:

“Everytime nasa stage kami, pag fully conditioned at in the mood, sumasayaw talaga kami lalo na pag fast beat; gusto ko kasi maging dancer 😂 Actually, Kinder 1 ako, pinasayaw kami pero folk dance. Sumasayaw din tatlong kapatid ko; ang pagsayaw ko hanggang Kinder 1 lang. Feeling ko ang galing ko kasi masaya si Mama habang nanonood 😊 Love ko ang dancing pero ngayon sa Kuerdas, puede both playing and dancing to the tune of reggae beat.

Pag nasa stage, every songs lumalabas lang ang natural moves lalo na pag ganado, feel na feel ang kanta. Nakakahawa din kasi ang vocalist naming si Mark pag sumayaw, mas ginaganahan ako lalo sabay sigaw ni Angkol Onyok pag climax na. Total satisfaction, san ka pa? Sabi naman ni Mark, pag di rin kami sumayaw, naaapektuhan ang mood niya; every member is considered as a strength ng frontman base lang sa experience ko.”

There are ocassions when he is up to his feet but some members are sick and yet they still have to show their top level performance as that’s what is expected of them.

Eric believes that Kuerdas will have a better future if they can focus on their own compositions — IIsang Bangka, Sakit Akong Buot, Alaala, etc. According to him, if there are more original compositions, there is a higher probability that Kuerdas will be known even more.

He was quoted as saying:
“After maisulat ni Onyok ang song, sabay-sabay namo gina- areglo, sharing of ideas kung unsa ang mas nindot para gwapo ang tunog. Si Carlos nagasulat pud siya; isa sa kanta niya ang “Sinta” gina- play namo. Daghang songs na e- cover dapat namo; “bugsay” jud aron magmove. Naa time wala ko naka- sipra sa songs; lisud kaayo kay ako ang maka-delay. Need jud ang effort bisan asa ka e- butang kay mabyaan ta.”

When he was asked if he feels bad when he’s not able to do his share, he explained:
“Super, lain kaayo ang paminaw. Sa Kuerdas, kami dalawa ang blowings, ako sa trumpet ug si Rollan a.k.a Kalbo 2 sa trombone— magpinsan mi. Si Rollan nagabuhat sa nota namo sa cover songs pati sa dagan sa compositions, siya tanan. Naay time makashare ko ideas gamay lang kumpara sa iya. Pero karon gabuhat nako sarili nakong nota kay always ko nya gina- motivate na maningkamot. Salamat Kalbs, lab u Tol 😀 Maisingit ko lang— always sa gig namo, gina- ask me kung kambal ba daw ming duha. Ana ko dili; mas gwapo ko 😀 pareho daw me ug nawong unsa me ering?” 😂

He shared that Kuerdas helped him in so many ways. He is now more confident on stage. He was also able to sing for an audience even if he’s not a singer. 😀 He finds it an advantage because a lot of people recognizes him.

“Gusto nako i-share tong gipakanta ko sa Boracay unya naka- tip ko 2700 sa Arabo 😀 Feeling proud bisan dili singer 😜 Naay time nga magkanta- kanta ko off- stage; favorite ko man gud ang songs sa Journey. Kabalo na sila sa akoang ginakanta- kanta, unya naay nag-request Faithfully by Journey. First time ko magkanta— nag- refuse ko; dili jud ko 😀 pero ang microphone gihatag sa akoa unya kulba kaayo ko, feeling nako akong espiritu nawala sa akong lawas. Pagkanta nako, piyong ko 😀 namalakpak man ang mga tao 😂 ambot lang kung na- enjoy sila sa akong tingog o hubog lang jud sila. Trip- trip lang ang pakanta nila sa akoa like sa Boracay pagkanta nako nagtindog ang Arabo unya gi butang niya ang ang cash sa akong ulo, sa akong sanina 😊 Nakakanta pud ko sa Boracay japon— same song, after kanta sa likod sa stage, may nagduol sa akoa, unya ana siya “wag ka mahihiyang kumanta,” tapos may tip.

Nakatry pud ko sa gig namo, out-of-town booking, gipakanta ko; pag intro nagpalakpakan ang mga tao tapos 2nd verse, na sya-ok ko 😬 tapos nidagan ko sa backstage 🙈 isa sa pinakalala. Dili ko gwapo tingog, funny lang mao na ganahan guro ang tao. “

When asked how strong is Kuerdas now, he told me with conviction that it is very strong now more than ever:

“Para sa akoa lang, akoa lang ning opinion— very strong karon ang Kuerdas kay full- packaged na. Sa among male vocals na si Mark, werpa na kaayo (power)— charisma, stage performance, and intensity level, the power to interact and connect with the audience, sanay na siya mo-kuha sa crowd plus ang twins pa, sila Lyka and Nika. More on classic and modern songs silang duha. Musically inclined jud silang duha. If si Lyka mo- kanta, kamao si Nika magback-up nga dili masapawan si Lyka. Full blast na. Naga-improve ang playing skills sa tanan.”

It is obvious to the public that the Kuerdas Twin Vocals are a welcome addition to the group. After all the advantages has been laid down on the table, Eric confessed that there is a big adjustment when it comes to their Talent Fees. The Band Major would usually explain to regular clients the impact of this change which is not a major issue for those that believes in the abilities of Kuerdas.

As a musician, he feels satisfied with his playing skills and believes that he can offer better results when he knows his part very well when performing on stage; he can jive and groove to the music with full confidence.

For a musician to thrive for almost 15 years, I asked him if he considers Kuerdas as “LAOS” and has nothing more to offer; he confidently retorted that Kuerdas encountered so many highs and lows over the years but is still alive and standing strong; he unashamedly told me that Kuerdas will continue to thrive for as long as people still want them to play on stage. They will continue to spread peace, good vibes, and love through roots reggae music.

If I may just quote:
“Ang Kuerdas, nakatatak na sa tao. Dili basta- basta makaabot 14 years ang isa ka banda. Daghan pa mapakita ang Kuerdas— karon naga-focus mi sa original songs.”

Eric further shared that each member know each other very well. They have stayed for 4 months in one house together at Boracay Island; there are misunderstandings which is pretty normal but things are resolved straight away. All these experiences made him love each one of them just like his own brothers and sisters.

He also expressed his utmost respect for the Kuerdas Band Major:
“Dako akong respeto sa among leader; dili nimo ma- judge ang tao kung kinsa siya, kung naa siya sa stage or even off- stage. Pila nako ka years sa Kuerdas— nakita nako iyang effort, ug unsa siya ka tinuod nga tao, naa siyay love for music, love sa asawa 😀 ug one thing more, gina- value niya ang each members, pinaka- maayo man ka o dili, para sa iyaha, part ka sa banda, importante kaayo ka. Mao na ang mga reasons nga lab lab nako ang Kuerdas Family kay among leader, mao ng ginapakita niya sa amoa. Padayon ug bugsay mga igsuon!”

He was happy to tell me that his partner supports his passion and all his endeavours.

I asked him for his last words for those who believes in him and Kuerdas and even to those doubters, he was quoted as saying:

“Salamat kaayo sa imoha, oo ikaw! Salamat sa tanan, sa nagsalig ug nagsuporta sa Kuerdas— kaila namo kung kinsa mo 😊

Sa mga igsuon namong mga Musikero, sa mga tinuod namo nga migo nga naa pirmi sa gigs, daghan kaayong salamat.

Sa mga wala naka-appreciate sa amoa, dili pud namo ma- please ang tanan 😀 normal lang jud na, salamat gihapon!

Jah Bless sa tanan, padayon ug bugsay!” #kuerdastylee