This is MOØNSIDUS
by Babylove (@nandilim)
There’s a mix of excitement and anxiety coursing through my veins, but I force myself to calm down. It’s an incredibly humid day in Tokyo as I navigate through its busy streets, approaching my destination. Even in the Summer, the city is quite remarkable — just like the band I’m interviewing for.
As I enter MOONSIDUS Records, I follow the instructions that the band managers had left with me, making my way through the floors and halls. Finally, as I approach the meeting room where I’m set to meet the band, music greets my ears as I push the door open.
“Spaghetti pababa, pababa na pababa…”
I’m met with the view of Perseus, Kaiser and Imogen in the midst of doing body rolls in time to the music. I wonder if I’m in the wrong place for the interview, but Yani walks over to me with an exasperated expression.
“Welcome to Moonsidus, Tok.”
MOONSIDUS is an 11-piece band originating from the base Autocorrect HQ. Established sometime in January 2021, the band is the first official band of the HQRP community. The band debuted with the song Yellow by Coldplay and has released a total of 21 covers so far. MOONSIDUS is the combination of two words — Moon, as in the heavenly body, and Sidus, which is Latin for star. Band manager Yani notes that the word does not actually exist in any dictionary, as it was a suggestion made by one of the founding members.
“We actually don’t have a definite logo, but one thing in common with all of it is that each rendition represents a phase of the moon.” Imogen, co-manager and editor of the band shares as she talks about the band’s logo and branding. “Just like the moon, we go through different phases and show different sides of ourselves as an artist and performer in every performance that we have.”
The beginning of MOONSIDUS
“It started with my tweet, “What if we made an HQRP AU band?”” Ivan, the band’s drummer, shares when asked about how the band came to be. There’s a wistful expression on his face as he recounts the band’s origin story. “Then, Chi (Yani) and Migo replied, sama daw sila. Pero hindi siya natuloy agad kasi we became inactive.”
“Tapos since lahat sila member ng ACHQ, a base that i started last january, inaya ko sila mag-cover for the base’s monthsary.” Lucas, one of the band’s producers added. “Doon na nagsimula ‘yung recruitment ng AC babies.”
Perseus, Ocho, and Kaiser share that Lucas was primarily the person who had recruited them.
“Dahil sa MOONSIDUS, bumalik passion ko sa pagkanta,” Kaiser says, a smile on his face as he looks over to his band member. “kaya thankful ako na hinoldap ako ni Lucas fave.”
The band officially made their debut on February 14, 2021 with the song Yellow by Coldplay.
What does it mean to be the first band of HQRP?
“It means we set the standard.”
Migo, band leader and producer, talks about the pressure and expectations that come along with being labeled as the first band in the community.
“People are gonna have expectations we don’t know if we can reach, we have self-expectations we don’t know we can achieve, and it’s hard when that happens, there’s self-doubt and ayon, pressure.” Migo seems to mull over his words momentarily, before he adds, “pero alam mo, lahat ‘yan wala lang basta kami, masaya kami sa musikang ginagawa namin. lahat ‘yan nawawala basta nakikita namin mga band members naming nakangiti after a performance.”
“As one of the producers, feel na feel talaga yung pressure lalo na pag may event,” Lucas laughs, sheepish as he rubs his nape while answering. “still, sobrang nakakaproud talaga yung mga final output and it’s all thanks to our talented members. We learn so much from each other na sabay-sabay kaming nag-iimprove kaya grabe talaga yung mga pinagsamahan namin as a band.”
Blue crammers and the production process
“The most critical part of the production process, at least, for me, is choosing a song.” Imogen shares that aside from the theme event, member availability usually affects their song choice. If a certain instrumentalist is not available to cover, they’d usually go with another song until they’re able to finalize the choice.
“After choosing a song, we’ll decide which version yung susundan namin.” Lucas continues, “from there, mauunang magpasa yung mga drummers para yun ang susundan ng ibang instrumentalists yan instructions samin ni band leader Migo.”
“Ah, nabansagan silang blue crammers kasi the day before the event pa lang matatapos yung pag-produce ng song.” Yani sighs, shaking her head fondly. “Pero it’s understandable kasi nga we have our own lives outside HQRP, and hindi rin talaga madali mag-produce ng song since from scratch lahat.”
Music and MOONSIDUS
“As a band, I think ano, music is how we can show who we are as a band, and how we can show kung ano talaga kami, and what we want to express.” Eight, bassist of the band, answers thoughtfully when asked what music means to the band. “Tapos since banda rin kami, music is like our bridge kaya kami nagkakilala, allowing me to meet some of the best people in my life.”
“Hm,” Kaze, acoustic guitarist, takes a moment to collect his thoughts upon hearing the question. “(Music) is the band’s home, or our connection. Through this, we simply found motivation to be better alongside one another. Music is just, I don’t know, it’s challenging, exciting, the soul of our bonding in this group.”
When asked about what drives the band to continue performing, acoustic guitarist Perseus begins with his answer. “On performing, naiisip ko lagi to give my best, nasusurpresa ko rin sarili ko na kaya ko palang gawin yun, tsaka iniisip ko rin na pineperform ko ‘yung mga favorite songs ko so yeah, pangarap ko na talaga mag gitara noon pang bata pa ako.” Percy laughs, recounting his childhood memories.
“This is the only time I’ve let my inner musical demon out,” Migo smirks, followed by a lighthearted shrug. “There’s no better satisfaction than to be able to make music the way I want to, with the people I love, for the people I love. That’s what keeps me going.”
“Deadlines po.” Yani jokes, the answer eliciting laughs from her band members.
“Yung mga nag susupport sa banda namin. Mga pasimpleng compliments o words of affirmation nila, is enough to motivate me to keep performing.” There’s a warm grin on Kaiser’s face as he talks about the band’s supportive MOONSIDERS. “Of course, isa din ung band members sa mga nag momotivate sa’kin.”
“Personally, it would be the band itself.” Elian shares, before adding with a small laugh, “I recently joined the band last April dahil hinoldap lang rin ako ng jowa ko.”
Elian continues, “It’s been a while since I’ve laid my hands on both the piano and the violin as a consequence of lack of confidence and commentary by previous colleagues. So I was already at a point where I had almost completely given up on my hobbies in music.” There’s an almost sad look on his face, but it eventually lightens up as he begins talking about his band members and partner. “However, because of the never-ending support of Lucas and the members, they made me want to start playing and creating music (especially with them) again.”
Milestones with the band
The members each recount their favorite milestone or memory with the band.
“Sa totoo lang,” Migo begins, a small smile tugging on his lips before he continues, looking over to his bandmates. “Every second I spend with the band is a favourite memory, lalo na ‘yung mga midnight katarantaduhan. But I guess if we’re talking about favourite milestones, that goes to the first time we performed Yellow.”
“Every event na sasalihan, dc sessions, rave nights, chismisan.” Yani answers, a bright smile adorning her face as she speaks, “Lahat basta kasama sila, masaya. And ‘yun din, yung time na nasubaybayan ko silang i-perform yung Yellow. Valentine’s Day no’n, yung debut ng banda namin and instead na malungkot ako kasi wala akong ka-date, sobrang saya ko nung araw na ’yon kasi sabi ko sana hindi ’to temporary lahat kasi balak talaga no’n for monthsary lang ng ACHQ yung performance eh.” She recounts, going back to the day when MOONSIDUS officially debuted. “Hindi ko inakala na aabot kami dito na magkakasama and we’re now growing together.”
“Ang pinaka-favourite memory ko aside from the accomplishment of having The Itchyworms retweet our cover is whenever one of the band members and their mun go to a beach, they carve “MOONSIDUS” on the sand.” Kaze grins fondly, “I like that ’cause, well, pinagmamalaki ang banda. Mas lalo na yung pagsasamahan naming lahat.”
“Yung pinerform namin ‘yung Beer.” Kaiser answers, the pride and joy evident in his features. “Dumami talaga supporters namin no’n. Tas tulad ng sinabi ni Kaze, ‘yung nanotice ng itchyworms cover namin. Grabe ako natuwa no’n like halos maiyak pa si mun,” he pauses, before continuing. “Late night jammings with MOONSIDUS. Fave ko talaga.”
Imogen finally speaks after some of the members share their memories, a wistful expression on her face. “My favorite memory would be our 5th monthsary. Something happened before our special day kaya sobrang down namin nung time na ‘yun then all of a sudden biglang nag-message si Chichi na monthsary nung time na ‘yun.” Imogen is a bit emotional at this point as she continues speaking, “I’d like to thank the other members that time na tinry pagaanin ‘yung atmosphere. Flooded din yung gdm ng soft messages, compliments, and just expressing their love and admiration for each other. To think that they’re complimenting each other not because gusto lang pagaanin ‘yung loob ng isa’t isa, but because we really admire each other’s talents.”
She looks over to her bandmates just as she smiles gratefully. “I love you all.”
The future of MOONSIDUS
When asked about any dream collaborations they had, the band had one resolute answer.
“Dream collaborations alam na natin lahat ‘yan.” Migo chuckles to himself before smirking. “Hukbold. Hukbosidus, when?”
“Future plans? Yun nga, makapag-hold kami mismo ng event where we could perform different songs and we also want to try different genres. This is what I like abt MOONSIDUS, they don’t just stick with one genre but they try and explore.” Yani nods, before continuing. “Pero we don’t talk that much regarding our future plans pa kasi ang daming gigs na dumadating and doon muna kami nagfo-focus. Sana if we ever talk about our future plans, masama rin talaga doon yung maging irl band nga. Biggest dream ko ’yon, kasi mostly yung muns ng ibang members hindi part ng irl band.”
What kind of band do you want to be?
“Personally lang ah,” Eight begins, “I want this band to be not just a cover band, pero a band that would be able to write and express what they want with their own music.”
“We want to be the band that inspires other people to embrace and showcase their talents to the people of hqrp or even outside of hqrp, if that makes any sense.” Percy muses, his bandmates humming in agreement.
“Just like what Yani mentioned earlier,” Kaiser gestures to their manager, before continuing, “we love to explore different genres. Ayaw namin mag settle sa “banda” lang like “rock” genre lang kumbaga. Yung banda na hindi makakalimutan ng hqrp. Yung banda na kaya i-pull off kahit ano man genre yan. That’s what kind of band we want to be.”
How do you want to grow as a band?
“I like to say that habang andito pa kami, we grow to be better.” Kaze shares, “kumbaga trial and error nung una, and that’s completely okay, it’s part of being together in the early days. Katulad ng sinabi ni Chi, to anyone who’s willing or still interested in being together, pangarap namin na maging irl band, kung saan magkasama sama na kami, and for sure mas maganda ang maibibigay naming performances sa audience namin.”
What legacy do you want to leave behind as MOONSIDUS?
There’s a thoughtful silence for a few moments before Migo finally speaks up.
“Eventually,” he begins, “we’re all gonna close and leave hqrp permanently.” The thought is sad, but it’s the truth. There’s a pause, and then, “But before we go, syempre gusto namin i-iwan ‘yung pangalan namin na nakatatak sa mga puso ng bawat isa na nasaksihan ang mga performances namin and growth as a band.”
Who is MOONSIDUS?
“Baka si lord,” Migo laughs, earning himself a smack from Yani. “Minsan banda ng HQRP, madalas samahan ng mga kampon ng katarantaduhan.”
“Ang banda na sama-sama sa aningan pero solid ang samahan.” Percy laughs, shrugging to himself.
“Ang MOONSIDUS ay isang ginataang turumpo.” Imogen says this with the most deadpan expression possible.
“MOONSIDUS is a band that consists of unique and talented members who share pieces of themselves whenever they perform, and it is also a band you can call a family.” Yani answers, an exasperated yet fond smile on her face.
“MOONSIDUS is us; Migo, Ivan, Lucas, Chi, Kaze, Kaiser, Zane, Eight, Silas, Elian, Imogen, Percy.. then Sheigh, Kael and Irina. Without us, kaming lahat, MOONSIDUS is nothing.” Eight says, throwing his arms around his bandmates with a wide grin.
“15 or nothing.” Imogen agrees.
Last message from the band?
Eight: Support sa kambak po.
Kaze: Pogi ko. SHOUT OUT KAY USER TSKEISHMA ANG CUTE MO LODS.
Eight: Paalala po, MOONSIDUS is Moonsaidus.
Yani: To those who are reading this article I hope you find your own set of amazing people that I have now who keep you going and make your days bearable. People who you can call your home, your sanctuary. Aside from that, I also hope you don’t stop pursuing your passion, do what you love that makes you happy or fulfilled. And I also hope you continue to support our band.
Kaiser: Continue pursuing your passions. Sa pagtugtog o pagkanta man yan, ituloy mo yan kasi in the near future, malay mo? May mga tao ka mapapasaya, at mai-inspire dahil sa pagkanta o pagtugtog mo.
Imogen: MESSAGE KO SA INYO MUKHA KAYONG MGA TURON.
Nearly six months in and this band has continued to come back stronger with each release. True to their name, they’ve continued to reinvent themselves each time just as the moon changes in phases. The band has made it certain that every song they perform will be embedded in your memory and your heart, even long after the last note has ended.
MOONSIDUS is a family. They continue to love and support each other in everything they do, relationships transcending just that of bandmates — they are each other’s support system. To the members, MOONSIDUS is home. Their love for music and for each other is what has kept them together through ups and downs.
One thing is certain.
The future is bright for the band of the moon and stars. Their journey is yet to end.
MOONSIDUS is strength, love, music, and family.
This is MOONSIDUS.
Hitoka “Yani” Yachi (@nagpanic) — Manager and Vocalist
Alisa “Imogen” Haiba (@makasinin6) — Manager and Editor
Shinsuke “Kaiser” Kita (@nagbokalista) — Vocalist
Kenma “Zane” Kozume (@nagpatuwad) — Vocalist
Osamu “Miguel” Miya (@rakistafiles) — Lead Guitarist, Bassist, Band Leader and Producer
Osamu “Lucas” Miya (@chillbillsamu) — Keyboardist, Drummer and Producer
Rintarou “Elian” Suna (@rinaraos) — Keyboardist and Violinist
Keiji “Ivan” Akaashi (@DoctorKeiji) — Drummer and Keyboardist
Tetsuro “Silas” Kuroo (@kuroofilms) — Guitarist
Semi “Eight” Eita (@semieighta) — Bassist
Iwaizumi “Perseus” Hajime (@perseusarchives) — Guitarist
Tobio “Kaze” Kageyama (@musikageyama) — Acoustic Guitarist
Osamu “Sheigh” Miya (@PAGSILAKB0_) — Guitarist
Kiyoomi “Kael” Sakusa (@sirkiyoo) — Acoustic Guitarist
Special thanks to the MOONSIDUS members for the exclusive interview.
Special thanks to Imogen and Yani for helping me throughout the pre-interview correspondence and for being all around amazing. I love you both. I love you all.
Migo, I love you. This one’s for you.
Tsukishima “Knox” Kei is the Editor-in-Chief of LAGABLAB, the official publication of ALAB. He can be contacted on his Twitter page, @nandilim.