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Hey Moonshine Shares Music Inspirations, Story Behind Their Latest Single

The eight-member band spills it all in this exclusive interview!

Hey Moonshine may be one of the “youngest” bands in the Metro, but their experienced
members who came from other bands make up for the veteran savvy and groove.

Signed under Viva Records, the band just recently launched its latest single, “Love, Peace,
Justice and Life.” They also released their music video collaboration with Sheryn Regis for “Ilang Beses,” which already has 6,000 views on YouTube. 

But what sets them apart from other Filipino bands? In this email interview with My Pope Philippines, Gian Sison (vocalist), Carlo Ybanez (bassist), Bryan Gatmaitan (guitarist), Aris Sison (guitarist), Ton Gregorio (guitarist), Athena Sayaman (back-up vocalist and guitarist), Shaun Hilario (drums), and Angela Rivera (back-up vocalist) share their musical inspirations, how they stay creative as a band, and their advice for young and aspiring artists.

Last November 2020, Hey Moonshine played with Sheryn Regis in the Wish Bus that was driving around Quezon Avenue. (Photo from Hey Moonshine Facebook)

You all came from different backgrounds, how did you come to be as a band?

Hey Moonshine started off as a five piece band back in 2016. Bryan Gatmaitan (Guitarist) and Gian Sison (vocalist) got acquainted through a common friend in one of the music venues in Parañaque City. (Read: Pinaasa Ka Ba? Moonstar88 Has This Advice for You!)

Continually working as a five-piece and heavily influenced by southern soulful singing, Carlo and Gian expounded on that sound and decided to include two female back-up vocalists to the line-up. Angela Rivera (back-up) is the original mainstay, and later on, Athena Sayaman (back-up/guitar) joined the band.

While in the US, Bryan would continuously compose the music. Whenever he is back in Manila, he would reunite with Hey Moonshine to record the songs and perform gigs. Though it seems like a complicated set-up, each one is like family and it works perfectly for the band.

Photo from Hey Moonshine Facebook

What are the music inspirations of Hey Moonshine?

Hey Moonshine is inspired by all genres of music. While our members are diverse with individual preferences in music, southern rock became our common ground. We are inspired by artists that sing about positivity as well. 

In addition to writing about personal experiences, we believe that an artist can change the world with just a simple song. We make an effort to write content that has relevance. “Mercy” is a song about overcoming depression, “We’ll Break This War” is a wake-up call to fight for peace and to be united, “Astig ka Dude” is about fun things like friendship.

What is “Love, Peace, Justice, and Life” all about?

“Love, Peace, Justice, and Life (LPJL)” is a six-minute reminder for everyone to understand that no matter how fast the world changes, we should not forget that we are all human beings and are all equal in the eyes of God. (WATCH: Ely Buendia Spills the Truth Behind ‘Spoliarium’)

The lyrics are very simple and are about giving love to the world and to our fellow human beings. The arrangement, on the other hand, is a delightful concoction of genres beginning with a very bluesy theme, a touch of funky guitar riffs, a soulful guitar solo and a bass line that develops into a gospel choir anthem. There is a lot of ear candy with spurts of R&B influenced backing vocals throughout the track as well.

Photos from Spotify and Hey Moonshine Facebook

How do you balance your time as band performers with your other professions?

It’s a bit of a challenge for us since there are eight of us in the band with personal schedules that are very different from each other. We are blessed to have members who are equally passionate about our music so we usually adjust to each other’s schedules and find common time where everyone is available or make ourselves available. (Read: Gracenote Celebrates 13th Year, Shares Post Pandemic Plans)

The good thing about having eight multi-talented musicians is that we can cover for each other just in case someone is unavailable. We also have equally talented friends who help us out when the situation calls for it. At the end of the day, we do everything in our power to make things happen.

How do you manage creative differences within Hey Moonshine?

For Hey Moonshine, it all trickles down to respecting each other’s opinions and taking that feedback into consideration. There are times when discussions turn into a debate. The key is communication and it is important that opinions are in the realm of being subjective and to take it subjectively as well if it doesn’t go your way. It is equally helpful too to assign a band leader to act as a producer that decides what makes the final cut.

Photo from Hey Moonshine Facebook

What’s your advice to young musicians?

Have a goal and envision yourself in that role. Keep practicing; always try to get better at your craft. Stay humble and be open to criticism. Learn as many songs as you can and just keep pushing forward until you get closer to your goal. On top of it all, love what you are doing and enjoy so you will always be happy with a positive outlook.

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