Music

Rivermaya Talks Friendship and Longevity as a Band of 29 Years

Get to know more about how the iconic OPM band remained friends and bandmates for so long.
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In the latest Esquire Sessions Live episode hosted by Associate Editor PJ Caña, we talked to one of the most resounding rock bands in the Philippines: Rivermaya. Whether it’s “Kisapmata,” “214,” or “Hinahanap-Hanap Kita,” any OPM fan is sure to have at least one Rivermaya track in their playlist. Twenty-nine years in the making, the iconic Filipino band has had its fair share of big changes to get to its current lineup consisting of the trio of original members Nathan Azarcon and Mark Escueta, and the newest addition Mike Elgar. 

Esquire was given the privilege to chat with these three men about the lineup changes the band underwent, how they’ve stayed together all these years, and how they’ve been making music amid such tumultuous times.

Unbeknownst to many, Mike actually started out as a fan of Rivermaya before joining the band in 2001. “No’ng bata pa ‘ko, nakikinig na ako sa Rivermaya. It just so happened na dumating ‘yong time na they needed a new guitar player. Siguro I was at the right place at the right time kasi hindi ko naman stinrive na sumali,” he said. 

Today, he is dubbed as the band’s longest-serving guitarist. Fate really does have a way of making things fall into place. 

Twenty-one years later, the band is still going strong. Their secret? Good old friendship. Going on bike trails together and having family get-togethers are just some of the activities the members would do to bond with each other. But if you thought the pandemic would break this, you’re wrong. In fact, it even served as the glue for the band’s longevity. 

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“One good thing about the pandemic is that lalong nagconnect ‘yong mga tao. At some point, ‘yun lang ‘yong puwede nating gawin, mag-chat, mag-Zoom, mag-communicate. ‘Yon ata nagsave sa karamihan, ang support ng bawat isa. Kami ganon din, unti-unti nagkaroon ng new plans to write a new album or write new songs,” shared drummer Mark Escueta. 

True enough, the band was able to come up with their latest single “Casino” after a five-year-long music drought. It tells the story of two strangers who instantly fall in love once they cross paths—much like a gamble. The funky track is available on Spotify, Apple Music, and YouTube. 

Listen to the rest of Rivermaya’s fun podcast on Esquire Sessions Live to know more about the band’s origins and latest gimmicks. Esquire Sessions Live is on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts.

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