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Agos (Photos by John Muñoz)

If you find yourself in the midst of a challenge, would you still push through? If you’re in a situation where you want to start anew, would you stick around or go with the flow of your experiences and surroundings?

It’s a scenario that mirrors the convergence of diverse origins, life experiences, and musical influences from five talented musicians who have united to create a tidal wave of success in their music career, introducing Agos.

Agos, a Filipino rock band hailing from Metro Manila is composed of Jason Grospe on lead vocals and guitars, Rhoy Moring also on guitars, Star Sabroso on bass, Rob Valdez on keys/synth and backup vocals, and Kean Anonuevo on drums.

Their musical journey kick-started amid a downpour in Makati, vividly recounted by Jason, a founding member of the band. Having braved floodwaters in Washington to reach a gig venue, Jason, drenched but determined, found himself at a crossroads in his music career.

During that period, he remained affiliated with the show band, yet as he recognized the drawbacks of being in such a group, he aspired to begin a fresh endeavor. 

With that, after contending with a waterflood, he coined the name Agos (flow/current) from this adversity. Subsequently, he established his band, using Agos as a potent symbol to navigate challenges and move forward resiliently. 

For Jason, this period marked an unexpected opportunity for a fresh start, a chance to redefine his musical journey after the premature disbandment of his previous music band.

However, “During the years since the band was formed, we have been through line-up changes due to the availability of some of the former members,” Jason told Soundstrip.

Despite encountering obstacles, the band is currently in a phase of regrouping after a hiatus last year due to the pandemic. Notably, Agos was among the featured Original Pilipino Music (OPM) bands at the Last Rakrakan Festival, a prominent music and arts event headlined by OPM icons Ely Buendia and Rico Blanco. 

Confidently sharing their journey with Soundstrip, the band emphasized that their resurgence comes with a revitalized lineup and the promise of new and compelling music. 

© agosAgos (Photo from the band’s social media pages)

Positivity and hope 

WHEN Soundstrip asked in regards to the band’s main highlight on their music releases, the band said that it is all about positivity, coping with life’s struggles, and offering reminders of hope.

Adding a unique chapter to their musical journey, Agos recently performed at a BJMP (Bureau of Jail Management and Penology) facility in one of the municipalities in Rizal Province. This experience marked a significant departure from their usual venues that provided them with a fresh perspective on their impact beyond the stage.

“The experience was an eye-opener; it’s where you truly feel your humanity and freedom, not just as a musician,” Rob said.

He acknowledged that performing in such a setting allowed them to connect with the human experience on a deeper level that extended beyond the realm of music.

The band explained that their performance in a correctional facility showcases their dedication to using their music as a source of inspiration and hope in unconventional environments. 

Evolution of Musical Style

Agos shared the evolution of their music over time. Originally the band started as a metal band, however, Agos took a bold step into poppier melodies.

“We’ve been venturing for heavy music for a very long time. When we came up with the songs that are more poppy, we took the risk,” Jason said.

He acknowledged the potential criticism from fans of their earlier metal work. But he expressed the sentiment of taking risks and embracing change in their musical journey.

Fortunately, the gamble paid off, as the band noticed a positive response from the audience. 

Star, another member of Agos, highlighted the improved reception from fans and the crowd. This shift towards a Pop Rock style seems to have contributed to the band’s musical evolution, creating a more diverse and dynamic sound.

Jason also hinted at the influence of their exposure to different music scenes. As they ventured into the pop-rock genre, they tapped into the pop side of their musical spectrum, discovering shared tastes with listeners who appreciate artists like Taylor Swift.

Navigating creative currents

MEANWHILE, the dynamics of creative collaboration within the band have taken a unique turn, with members navigating and embracing their diverse influences from the ’90s and ’20s. 

This journey through creative differences has become the source of “magic” that resonates in their music, perfectly mirroring the essence of their band name, Agos.

“We try to make some music that’s relevant right now. Then we try to incorporate the sound that we had, which is more guitars, heavy guitars, and venturing on the pop side,” Jason said. 

The band has woven together elements from different eras that create a unique sonic identity that bridges the gap between nostalgia and contemporary relevance. 

For Agos, the creative disparities are not hurdles but rather the building blocks of a sound that transcends time and embodies the spirit of their name – a continuous flow that weaves the past into the present.

Balancing Act

Throughout their music journey, Agos shared the challenges of pursuing a musical career as a full-time endeavor, particularly in the Philippines. They emphasized that it’s not an ideal path unless a band or musicians have already established themselves in the industry.

Despite their dedication to their musical journey, performing at various gigs and events, the members juggle corporate jobs in their day-to-day lives. Among them are a lifeline agent, a virtual assistant, a working student, and a public servant.

However, Agos openly admits the difficulties of striking a balance between their music career and personal lives. 

Rob pointed out the inevitable challenges, stating, “Mahirap, kasi depende lang sa availability. Kapag hindi puwede ang isa, talagang cancelled.” [It’s challenging because it depends on availability. If one member isn’t available, it’s truly canceled]

Meanwhile, Jason underscored the band’s commitment to prioritizing family over their musical pursuits. “We put family first over the band. Kasi symepre kung hindi okay yung family mo at home, yung pagdating sa studio or sa gig, hindi rin maganda yung magiging outcome,” he shared. [Because, of course, if your family life at home isn’t okay, the outcome won’t be good when you come to the studio or a gig]

But despite the delicate balance between their passion for music and the demands of their professions, Agos is set to launch their second album, showcasing tunes crafted amid the pandemic. The upcoming musical releases are geared towards offering a source of solace and fostering resilience. 

This comes after the release of Live and Loud 2021/2022 in 2022, with previous singles including Dilim (2021), Live the Life (2021), Beautiful Translation (2020), and Live the Life (2019), among others.

Image credits: John Muñoz

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