Aegis members from left to right: Rey Abenoja, Stella Pabico, Mercy Sunot, Kris Sunot, Juliet Sunot, Rowena Adriano and Vilma Goloviogo. Image Credit: Supplied

After the success of the One Music X Dubai last year, the Filipino-produced music festival is back and now headed to the UAE capital on November 9 at the Mubadala Arena.

Considered one of the biggest gatherings of original Pilipino music (OPM) artists in the region, One Music X Abu Dhabi will be headlined by top musicians from different genres and generations.

Among those who will perform on Friday night are famed pop rock band Aegis, who are also celebrating 20 years in the industry. The band originated from the group AG’s Soundtrippers, which performed in clubs and lounges all over Japan in 1995.

The members later formed Aegis in 1998, composed of six women and one man: Sisters Juliet, Mercy and Kris Sunot on vocals, Stella Pabico on keyboards, Rowena Adriano on bass guitar, Vilma Goloviogo on drums and Rey Abenoja on guitars. The name Aegis means ‘shield’ or ‘protection’.

Being in the industry for two decades, Aegis is behind hit singles such as Halik, Mahal na Mahal Kita and Luha, which are popular tunes in karaoke sessions and are still heard on radio stations.

The band recently released their 13th album titled Aegis 20 & Beyond to commemorate 20 years in the industry.

In an email interview with Gulf News tabloid! vocalist Juliet shares the challenges of being in the music industry.

You’ve had a good run since you started in the 1990s in Quezon City. What is one lesson you’d like to share with other aspiring musicians?

Just enjoy what you are doing and never give up. Always believe in yourself and never forget where you came from. Be humble. Cliched as it may be, it is what kept us going.

Being in the industry for two decades, Aegis is behind hit singles such as Halik, Mahal na Mahal Kita and Luha, which are popular tunes in karaoke sessions and are still heard on radio stations. Image Credit: Supplied

You’re an almost all-girl band. What is biggest challenge for you?

We didn’t feel any challenge at all. We are trained really well by our manager, Mr Solito Galindo. Maybe the only challenge we got was when we were not yet Aegis, we would carry all our stuff by ourselves. That’s basically it, but in terms of performing, we didn’t really feel that.

How do you keep your sound/music relevant years later, especially with digital media being more pervasive, especially in the millennial generation?

We owe so much of our music to our late composer, Celso Abenoja. The songs he made were so powerful that it connects to any generation. We try to keep up with the younger generation, that is one reason why we added Kris in our roster to allow us to perform new music like rap and R’n’B.

Among your albums, which one is your favourite and why?

Definitely Halik because all of this started with that album. Even after 20 years, people are never tired of listening to that album. Most of our hits actually came from that album.

Your ‘progressive rock’ genre is a kind of novelty these days, where the new generation of Filipinos gravitate towards non-OPM, especially K-Pop.

Aside from performing our own songs, we actually do cover songs during our live performances. We do foreign acts as well and one of those are some K-Pop hit songs.

You’re known for your brand of super-birit [high-pitched, powerful] songs. Are you still comfortable in that genre, or have you tried venturing into others?

Most of our ‘hit songs’ are birit but during our live performances we do a variety of covers. So it’s not just limited to ‘birit’. Our audience just prefers the ‘birit’ ones since they can relate to the emotions brought about by the song.

Back when we started in this industry, piracy was rampant. It really took a toll on the music industry. It was a struggle for us but we try to make up for it by selling CDs during our concerts and sign them during meet and greets.

- Aegis

How do you feel about the widespread availability of your music on sites like YouTube, which means you’re probably not getting any royalties from them?

Back when we started in this industry, piracy was rampant. It really took a toll on the music industry. It was a struggle for us but we try to make up for it by selling CDs during our concerts and sign them during meet and greets. Today, though we don’t get compensated from sites like YouTube, we’re totally fine with it since at least sites like that would allow new artists to be discovered easily.

Share with us what collaborations you have done with other bands.

In terms of recording, we haven’t really done any collaborations. It’s different though during live performances as we have collaborated with many artists already.

One of the most memorable collaborations was during our Symphonic Aegis, Aegis in Symphony concert in 2016 where we performed with the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra and fused classic with OPM rock. It was truly an amazing show.

Other performers at One Music X Abu Dhabi

KZ Tandingan

The soul singer waves when she joined China’s Singer 2018, a TV series where popular singers compete against each other to get votes from the public. Tandingan went up against with British singer and her idol Jessie J in the competition.

Teen singing sensation Inigo Pascual

The singer-actor became popular for his hit single Dahil Sa ‘Yo, which became the first Filipino single to make it on Billboard Philippines’ Top 20 chart.

Inigo Pascual Image Credit: Supplied

Singer-songwriter Moira Dela Torre

Her distinct voice quality paved the way for her to transition from being a YouTube sensation to the next big thing in the Filipino music industry. A product of the Philippine franchise of The Voice, she was behind the hits such as Malaya, Titibo-Tibo and Tagpuan.

Moira dela Torre Image Credit: Supplied

Singer-actress Maris Racal

She launched her first album Stellar this year. Racal first captured the hearts of the many during her Pinoy Big Brother stint in 2014 where she won second place.

Maris Racal Image Credit: Supplied

Maja Salvador

The Philippine dance princess will be a special guest during the concert. Apart from being an actress, Salvador also entered the music arena in 2013 and released the album Dahan Dahan.

Maja Salvador Image Credit: Supplied

Tickets

Tickets to One Music X Abu Dhabi at Mubadala Arena start from Dh135 and are available online.