The new sound of Kjwan


The new sound of Kjwan

Counting till the last few seconds of their love

By Angelique P. Manalad, Contributor

They gave the country the fame it deserved after they won at the Asean Ikon regional competition in Putrajaya, Malaysia. With numerous awards and nominations both from our country and across Asia, now Kjwan is back once again to give their fans a dose of their medicine of music with their new album “13 Seconds to Love.”

Kjwan is composed of Marc Abaya in vocals, Kelley Mangahas in bass, J-hoon Balbuena manning the drums, Jorel Corpus and Boogie Romero strumming the guitars. The band promises a new sound with their third album. “This one is very back to basics, not as intricate as the second one and not as raw as the first, what’s important to us right now is its quality. We’re more mindful of the listeners, that they’d be able to connect to it and that it has a message,” Abaya explains.

They declare that it’s their job as musicians to connect with their audience, sharing the talents that were given to them. “This is a personal album, every one contribute to writing each song,” Mangahas shares.

The fans, old and new ones, will hear a different flavor of Kjwan. Expect to hear other members singing and Marc playing the guitar once again.


The band has successfully penetrated the Asian music scene, playing in festivals like Baybeats in Singapore, Hush in Macau and Hong Kong’s hippest monthly rock event; HK Live and garnering several commercial endorsements. The Times asked if they’re satisfied with it. They all said, “We’re happy, but unsatisfied.” Romero and Mangahas explain, “We’re still hungry because we see this only as a beginning. There are still a lot to accomplish not just for our band but for the whole music scene. Winning in Ikon was a great experience and gave opportunities for us and other Filipino artists to have a bigger stage in Asia.”

“We still want to reach more people, by making good songs and inspire them to get into music if that’s what they really want to do. We’re guys who are doing something we love. I want to give that message that they shouldn’t settle for something they’re not happy with,” Corpus voiced out.

The best thing

They have established a strong bond with one another in the five years they have spent together as a group. They’ve all been friends from high school and college. “The best thing in being with these guys is the camaraderie, we were able to put up with each other’s kaartehan [idiosyncrasies] and kadramahan [moods], and that feeling when we’re playing somewhere then I look at them and they all have this look in their faces as the one I have. We are all enjoying what we are doing,” Abaya shares.

“Probably, that’s our edge—our personalities, our relationship with each other, who we are and how we make our songs,” Corpus notes.

Looking to the future

After their triumph with Ikon, they have a new goal in mind. “Hopefully, the Southeast Asian music scene will be able to merge with one another, so that every artist can reach more people,” Romero foresees.

They see a bright future for the local music scene as well. “As long as there are bands coming out, breaking through, new music and varieties are introduced it’s good. Kids are getting to music much earlier today and I hope parents will support their children like what my parents did,” Corpus says.

“We’re motivated after winning in Malaysia and hopefully we inspire more people,” Balbuena added.

The fans

Kjwan has captivated their fans and kept them in anticipation with every new step they take. They constantly keep in touch with their supporters through the Internet. “Without them, we’ll just be playing for ourselves. They are one of our inspirations and one of the reasons for continuing what we are doing.”

Though busy with the new album coming out, some of the band members are engaged in other endeavors as well. Abaya is currently starring in a drama television series and Corpus recently pass for the Berkeley School of Music, US. The band is planning a bar tour with guest bands at 13 venues around the metro culminating in an album launch to welcome 13 Seconds to Love.


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