On December 26, 1993, DIY advocate Renmin Nadela launched the Pinoy band Agaw Agimat with the aim of influencing the taste of music listeners towards progressive sounds. The idea for the band sprang from Renmin’s own conviction that his Do-It-Yourself spirit points to the future of the music.
In a phone interview, Renmin told SoundStrip, “Since back in the 90’s, I have been self-trained to do everything DIY. Through the years, I have somewhat realized that it is much easier and more efficient to do the projects that I love doing by myself in the beginning then slowly get support from friends who happen to believe in these projects.”
That DIY attitude was rewarded immediately. The band’s first album titled R-15 got a Gold Record award six months after its release in 1995 under Alpha records. Two years later, their second album Patak also for Alpha Records featured the hit single “Kiss-A-Me.”
Renmin’s DIY spirit soared with Agaw Agimat’s next releases. Their third album titled Using The Things That You Don’t Own came out in 2000 under Renmin’s indie label Banana Heart and its lead single was launched on ABS-CBN’s A.S.A.P. Four years later, fourth album, Mantra, was released under Renmin’s new label Guerrilla Music and its lead single “Mr. Swatman” gained good traction on rock station NU107.
In 2016, after a nine-year hiatus, band founder Renmin Nadela decided to re-load Agaw Agimat with new members. Year 2018 marked the band’s 25th Anniversary. Agaw Agimat re-recorded their 1995 hit single “Sabi Nila” with a 70-piece orchestra, and Kamikazee’s Jomal Linao as guest guitarist. On February 15, 2020, a Valentine’s weekend, the band released a new single and music video titled “Maghihintay” megged by multi-awarded and internationally acclaimed director Kadiboy Belarmino.
On November 26, 2022, Agaw Agimat now comprised of Wendy, Renmin, Rene, and Adeng, launched a brand-new single, “Iingatan. Kita,” composed by Renmin for Wendy as a heartfelt promise to love and cherish.
Band vocalist Wendy Villanueva, who replaced original lead singer QT Paduano (now based in the US) is a female skateboarding pioneer who formed her first punk band “Dogtown” in 1987. Rene Serna is a session guitarist for the likes of Arnel Pineda, Rada of Kulay, and Orient Pearl, and a sound engineer at Spryta Recording Studio whose resume includes Ben & Ben’s recent releases. Adeng Maron is the bassist of Laguna metal band Orb of Blood and owner/dreadlock specialist at Dready Culture.
Wendy is a remarkable presence onstage and she has an equally amazing back history with one of the loudest, proudest music ever unleashed. She relates, “I was in Grade 5 between 1985-86 when I got curious about my Mohawked schoolmates. They invited me to visit their Tribe HQ in Pasay. They then lent me their TRC tapes and that was the first time I got to listen to local punk bands. Unfortunately, when the “Satanism in rock” issue exploded, my mom got scared and sent me to my aunt’s house where I stayed for months until the following school year.
“When I returned in school year 1986-87, I was addicted to skateboarding. (I do not skate anymore but I can still ride although no more tricks.) My first band “Dogtown” was formed around the same year. I can say both punk rock and skateboarding saved me and made me who I am today.”
Then there’s the main man himself Renmin Nadela who’s variously described as an artist, drummer, songwriter, writer, record producer, events organizer, actor, director, activist, entrepreneur, and self-proclaimed carpenter. On top of all these things, he’s so wrapped up in the music scene that he’s thrown a new hat into the ring. Recently, Renmin organized Musikero (Musika – Sining at Kultura para saReporma), an NGO project for musicians by musicians.
He explains, “I dreamt of the project years ago, but it was only early this year that I took the first step into making it a reality upon seeing the urgency and positive impact it could bring to our music community. It is still in the works but me and my partners are slowly getting there. I’m thankful to Magsasaka Partylist for believing in my vision and helping me push my personal and professional cause.”
Musikero’s key initiatives include providing medical assistance, legal support, music education, and a campaign for fair pay, among others. It will be working on new projects to establish its presence and serve fellow musicians in 2023.
Watch out for “Bandang X Meets Tony Hardcore” coming to rock you in early next year.