Filipino rockers Eraserheads arrive in Dubai on April 3, 2013. From left: Marcus Adoro, Raimund Marasigan, Ely Buendia, Buddy Zabalas. Image Credit: Hadrian Hernandez/Gulf News

Dubai: Don’t tone down the Eraserheads’ influence both at home and overseas just yet. Many of those who adored their songs growing up in the 1990s have now joined the Filipino diaspora. So it’s just logical that Manila’s fab four continue their musical journey overseas.

The group said they feel “honoured” to play for their non-resident fans, kicking off their 2013 tour in Dubai on April 4 (at du World Music Festival) before going to the US for more gigs.

It hasn’t been exactly a smooth ride for Pinoy rock’s most prominent foursome. But the wounds of their break-up in March 2002 have healed. Ely Buendia, Marcus Adoro, Raimund Marasigan and Buddy Zabalas are still keen to entertain and fans have never been happier.

The Dubai gig is the most-awaited Pinoy rock performance in the region, and a reunion of sorts (they performed in Dubai in the 1990s). The E-heads have come a long way since their smash-hit debut album Ultraelectromagneticpop! 20 years ago.

Here they tell us about their music, the tour and what’s kept them together all this while: 

You’ve come a long way from your university years. What has changed since then?

Raimund: We’re a little older, with kids, and a little more patient.

Buddy: I have learnt to listen better since those college days.

Marcus: Hairstyle and our fashion sense, we look better now.

Ely: We got better. 

What did you learn from going separate ways after years of making music together?

Raimund: I learnt that music is what I want to do forever. And I’m blessed to have the best job in the world.

Buddy: My love for making music doesn’t have an off switch, just a standby mode.

Marcus: I lived the song “My Way” and “Like a Rolling Stone” and understood them better.

Ely: Time heals all wounds. 

What sets Eraserheads apart from other groups you’ve formed or been with?

Raimund: Honestly, I don’t really know.

Buddy: The ’Heads came into its own at a time when Pinoy bands were hardly the norm. So I think we were at the right time and the right place. We were lucky that way. And having good songs that record companies could find audiences for also helped a lot.

Marcus: The circus that the Eraserheads is … and the fact that each member is unceasingly pursuing his own musical passions.

Ely: Our hair. 

What led you to this Dubai concert?

Raimund: I’m not really sure how the bookings work. The managers are in charge of the details. I just get the phone call that says we’re playing a show. That goes for all my bands. Just call me when it’s time to play.

Buddy: The last time we were in Dubai was in the late 90’s. We were very much honoured to share the stage with Francis Magalona at that time. I guess it was only a matter of time before we found ourselves performing again for Pinoys in Dubai. The Eraserheads just took longer than usual to come back.

Marcus: It would be an honour and fun to play for Filipinos worldwide at least once.

Ely: Our fans. 

How are you guys preparing for this tour?

Raimund: We’re having at least one reherasal in Quezon City. I’ve got an audio copy of the last rehearsal for the US tour and I’ll probably work with that in my private time.

Buddy: We’re reviewing our set list and can hopefully do rehearsals a week or two before the show.

Marcus: I personally prepare for it physically, mentally, and of course there’s the technical side, which is re-learning the songs and getting into performance mode. Rehearsals are always a low-key hush-hush thing.

Ely: Exercise. 

Can you share with us some of the songs on your set list for the upcoming Dubai concert?

Raimund: Expect to hear the singles and a few surprise album cuts.

Buddy: We will be performing all of your favorite E-heads songs.

Marcus: The hits, some misses and more.

Ely: All the hits that are there. 

The years you played together -- and apart -- must have forced you to mature.

Raimund: I hope so, hahaha.

Buddy: Grown up, you mean? Yes. I hope so. Either that or I’ve learnt how to act in public. Maturity is good for any group that wants to carry on.

Marcus: Yes. Absolutely.

Ely: It’s good for everything. 

Please share a little bit about your family life.

Buddy: I have a family now. Families are great!

Marcus: Taylor Swift is cooler than me in my household. I am just “Papa” on a normal day, then “Papi” when my little one needs something. 

How do you describe Pinoy music today? Why isn’t it breaking into the world stage, the way Psy (of Korea) did?

Raimund: Pinoy music is doing great right now. We are well represented in the world stage. I think it’s just a question of budget. The music is there and it’s world class. Promoting, or lack of it, is another story.

Buddy: Pinoy music is alive and kicking everywhere. But support is hard to come by. South Korea have had decades of cultural and financial groundwork put into their society by their leadership. They’re totally reaping what they’ve sowed.

Marcus: Psy’s Gangnam Style phenomenon wasn’t purely by chance. It was a combination of the artist’s drive, technical world pop music know-how. But it was humour that tied up everything.

Ely: Pinoy music is for Pinoys.