Filipino alternative band SOS navigates through new directions with their recently released single titled “Roses,” breaking the chains of music “gatekeeping.”
“Roses” is their second single, following “Seryoso”, both from their upcoming EP titled “It Was a Moment.” This will be their first release under the local record label Careless and with Ram Alonzo, the band’s new keyboardist.
Vocalist Roberto Seña shared with SoundStrip during an interview that he wrote the song in 2021 when he had Covid-19 and was inspired by his “love life.”
“It’s about being accepted by your loved one for all your mistakes,” he beamed.
In a move to explore a different approach to songwriting and music production, “Roses” is melodious and romantic, more lyrically optimistic than their earlier songs, and incorporates synths and guitar work inspired by the 1980s.
Seña explained that “Roses” is a tad bit intimate than most of their songs and has a “feeling of lushness” to it that he always aims for when producing songs lately.
Veering a little from the “angst and jadedness” the band is known for, Seña opened up that it’s rare for them to write a love song like they did in “Roses.”
“My friends they think I’m up to no good
It sucks to be so misunderstood
But when I’m with you, I feel like I’m overdosing
And when I show you the truth, you choose to see them as roses”
With this new offering from this quintet band and more to expect from their music, SOS demands not to be gatekept anymore.
Same but different
The four boys: Seña , vocals and guitar; Andrew Panopio, guitar; Anjo Silvoza, bass; and, King Puentespina on drums, met in an all-boys school where Seña quipped, “kung hindi ka nagba-basketball o hindi ka sumasayaw o hindi ka nag-aaral, malaking chance nagbabanda ka.”
During their time, that was the thing, Silvoza added. “Everybody wanted to be in a band.”
And so they formed one out of their friendship and eventually “liked” it, shared Seña. Fifteen years later, they’re still here and with a new addition: Ram Alonzo (keys and synths), who they met back in college and been SOS’s session player, and considered as their “unofficial member.”
“I’ve been playing with SOS since 2014, and joining the band felt right,” Alonzo said.
In July 2022, the quintet band changed their name from She’s Only Sixteen, inspired by the Red Hot Chili Peppers’s song, “She’s Only Eighteen,” to just SOS (pronounced as “sauce”).
Also, signing with the record label Careless last November 2022, Sena spoke candidly about the reason behind it: “We wanted them out of the other people we talked to, at this point in our career and lives, I wanted to try a label na kami lang yung banda.”
“We just want to really keep the engine going and try to find new opportunities to put ourselves out there more and get more opportunities outside our reach, and I think careless has that,” mused Silvoza.
Despite these changes, SOS assured they’re still the same favorite boys with a familiar sound and new music coming along the way.
“Expect bangers,” Seña said.
With the first part of their EP to be released on September 29, 2023, Panopio said they intensively worked on these tracks this year but collectively over the years.
“It’s definitely newer than ‘Whatever that Was’ in sound, but I think it’s still close to home,” he reflected.
Admitting that as they get older, the themes of their music go along with their different experiences as “titos (uncles),” and listeners can empathize and just feel the way their songs hit them.
“We’re taking the good things we’ve learned from our listeners and fans and building off of that,” Silvoza said.
Heading to new directions, SOS said they want to reach the small markets in other countries and it’s always been their goal and where their efforts as a band go to—to play music internationally.
“We really want to play outside the country more…a good chunk of people around Asia like the music that we make, and we’re not a big local pop band,” Seña declared.
He shared that the crowd in Taiwan sang along to their song “Magic,” which surprised him because they are all Taiwanese, and described it as a “reversed feeling,” referring if he was a K-pop idol and Filipinos are singing his songs.
For Silvoza, the ASEAN music fest in Singapore was memorable because even if they were the last performers and it rained, it was still filled with a lot of people.
For now, Panopio revealed: “We also have shows that we’re filling up throughout the year that’s yet to be announced,” and SOS is planning to go around the Philippines.
Next month, SOS will be releasing a new song, which Puentespina said is one of his personal favorites. “It’s the most honest song we’ve made, in real-time namin ginawa yung song and ginawa namin siya in less than a day,” he said.
Yes, no more gatekeeping
As titos, SOS just recently joined the hype on TikTok. They would share their music on the platform with captions containing the hashtag #dontgatekeeppls.
Seña said that people were commenting: “Hala, hindi na namin sila pwede i-gatekeep (Oh no, we can’t gatekeep them),” “Gatekeep lang nang gatekeep (keep on gatekeeping),” and “Sorry but I’ll still gatekeep you,” to which SOS religiously replies to: “’Wag kasi magugutom kami (Don’t, we’ll starve)” and “stream SOS, don’t gatekeep us.”
Silvosa pleaded, “please wag nating ginagawa yung mga ganong bagay (please don’t do those kinds of things),” while Seña said he has two cats to sustain.
This quirky banter of music fans to their favorite artists shows that those they support are talented and play good and unique-sounding music as people do with SOS. But as the titos said, don’t gatekeep them and let people discover and enjoy music.