Ben&Ben releases introspective single four years in the making

NINE-PIECE folk pop band Ben&Ben has released their new single, “COMETS,” an ode to the ephemeral nature of people and relationships that took four years to make. In embracing change, they also look to the evolving landscape of original Pilipino music (OPM).

Since the nine members got together as Ben&Ben in 2017, the group has amassed a total of 5.4 million listeners on Spotify.

The band is composed of twin brothers Paolo Benjamin Guico (lead vocals, acoustic guitar) and Miguel Benjamin Guico (lead vocals, acoustic guitar), Poch Barretto (lead guitar, backing vocals), Jam Villanueva (drums), Agnes Reoma (bass), Andrew de Pano (percussion, backing vocals), Toni Muñoz (percussion, lead vocals), Keifer Cabugao (violin, vocals), and Patricia Lasaten (keyboard).

Their recent achievements include becoming the Philippines’ number one streamed OPM artist on Spotify in 2023, performing onstage with Ed Sheeran in March this year, and contributing their songs to a musical theater adaptation of the 2007 blockbuster film One More Chance in April.

Following the release of the singles “Could Be Something,” “Courage,” and “Autumn” in 2023, Ben&Ben returns with another single.

Released under Sony Music, the new song is a pop-rock tune that finds meaning in impermanence, penned by the Guico brothers. The track looks back at memories with mixed feelings of loss, pensiveness, hope, and acceptance.

“[The song lets you] reflect on your past,” said Miguel Guico at a press launch on May 8 at Robinsons Galleria, Ortigas.

FOUR YEARS OF WORKOn why the song took four years before being released, he said: “Ito ang tamang time para sa amin, hindi lang ako na kinasal, kundi kaming lahat na ang dami na naming pinagdaanan kaya mas mature na kami (This is the right time for us, not just for me being recently married, but for all of us since we’ve been through a lot and are more mature now).”

The band hopes that the song helps fans think about the “comets” in their lives — the people who come and go and the lessons they leave behind.

It was also a technical struggle to complete the track over those four years, said Paolo Guico.

“We wrote the song back in 2020. We tried performing it on Facebook live and, ever since, inaabangan na siya ng mga Liwanag, pero di namin na-feel na iyun pa iyung tamang tama na ilabas siya (our fans have been anticipating it, but we didn’t feel it was complete yet),” he said.

While they’ve been playing a version of the song in live shows for two years now, it was still not the final one. Indonesian producer Petra Sihombing, whom they met this year, was the last piece of the puzzle that they needed to complete the song.

“He really helped complete the music, what we now know as ‘COMETS,’” said Mr. Guico. “It was a four-year process. It’s like the comets aligned,” he joked.

STUFF TO LOOK FORWARD TOFor Ben&Ben, this year is an exciting one for OPM in general, with many new releases to check out and look forward to.

“Last year was a season of OPM going back to full force through festivals and gigs, so this year everyone’s making music,” said bassist Agnes Reoma. She pointed to P-pop girl group BINI’s album Talaarawan, released in March, which Ben&Ben’s members have on repeat.

The Guico twins added that they’re inspired by contemporaries like funk pop band Lola Amour, which just released their first full-length eponymous album, and indie folk band Munimuni, which just released an album titled ALEGORYA.

“Grabe iyung diversity sa OPM ngayon (The diversity in OPM now is insane). P-pop, bands, upbeat dance music, mellow music, you name it, we have it,” they said.

“For listeners, there’s a lot of choices. As an artist too, when you’re surrounded by so many different kinds of music and musicians, you’re bound to inspire each other.” — Brontë H. Lacsamana