Pupil is a Filipino rock band composed of Eleandre Basino Buendia a.k.a Ely Buendia on vocals/guitars (from the Eraserheads), Yan Yrastorza Yuzon on lead guitar, Wendell Garcia (of Barbie's Cradle) on drums and Dok Sergio (from the bands Teeth and Daydream Cycle) on bass.
Although the band itself is relatively new, all of its members have some experience in the Philippine music scene. Pupil is managed by Day Cabuhat (who also used to handle the Eraserheads) and Ely Buendia's wife, Diane Ventura, who was also manager for The Mongols.
Pupil is composed mainly of the members of the band, The Mongols. In May 2005 The Mongols' guitarist, Jerome Velasco, a.k.a J. Astro, left to pursue studies abroad. The remaining members added Dok Sergio from the bands The Teeth and Daydream Cycle to their lineup. The band noticed that they were producing a different sound without Velasco on the lead guitar and decided to form a "new" band.
Frontman Ely Buendia chanced upon the name Pupil while browsing a medical book. The band wanted a classic name for a rock band. Before using Pupil, they tried several other names, such as The Gets, Traitors, Tyrel Corp and Narcom. They chose the name Pupil because Buendia liked the fact that it was the part of the eye where light enters. Guitarist Yan Yuzon likes its double meaning, as well as the “eternal learning” connotations of the name.
Beautiful Machines, Pupil's debut album was released on November 10, 2005 under Sony BMG, the same music company that publishes the Eraserheads' music. The band itself describes their music as "dark, loud, and romantic." Yan Yuzon describes their genre as "Everyrock" meaning an amorphous mass of rock and roll, classic and stadium rock, punk, New Wave, glam rock, goth rock, heavy metal, grunge, and everything in between. It is very guitar-driven, stripped down, and the album has a very distinct sound, considering that it is the band's debut album. The album was recorded digitally at Wombworks in Marikina. “We didn’t use amps at all,” Buendia says.
The band admits that there is a distinct challenge for them, coming out of their past bands (Eraserheads and The Teeth). The challenge is particularly pronounced on frontman, Ely Buendia, since older fans tend to compare him and his new band with the huge popularity of The Eraserheads before. In an interview by Y. Losorata he says, "I just want my fans and hopefully, my fans to be, to appreciate my music. I’m lucky to still have my career in music as a job and as part of Pupil wala akong (I don't have) delusions to become as big as my previous band was." In fact, the band itself describes their music as actually "one foot in the past, one foot in the present and both eyes dead set at the future."
Local radio stations' reception of Pupil's music, though, is relatively limited (with the exception of NU 107) due to the band's genre and musical style. While the band's carrier single, "Nasaan Ka?" was played often and achieved quite a popularity among listeners, other singles released from their album encountered more hurdles. Frontman Ely Buendia says, "Some pop radio stations are still making up their minds on "Dianetic" which I personally don’t understand since it’s really just one of those straightforward love songs medyo on the noisy side nga lang (just a little bit on the noisy side). "Then again, minsan talaga hindi mo maintindihan ang ibang radio stations (sometimes you cannot understand some radio stations). It’s not as if they don’t play songs by foreign artists like Nirvana with music heavier on distorted electric guitar than ours. Pero okay lang (But that's okay), that’s the reality of things." He speculates that colonial mentality has something to do about the double standard these radio stations go by. Consequently, they were forced to release an acoustic version of their second single, "Dianetic". The acoustic version of "Nasaan Ka?" was then used for Sony BMG's sampler.
However, the band considerably had early success. They were featured as the Rising Star for the month of May, 2006 in MTV Philippines. In the 19th Awit Awards held in Casino Filipino, they won the Award for Best Performance By A New Group Recording Artist/s Category. They received another award for their first single, "Nasaan Ka?" at the MTV Pilipinas VMA 2006, bagging the Best Rock Video Award. Then, Wrigley's Juicy Fruit chose them as their promotional models for their product along with Barbie Almalbis, another local artist. In Novermber 26, 2006 Pupil won the SOP Music Awards 2006 Breakthrough Recording Artist Of The Year Award.
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