She came to worship. She went home with an offspring.
In 2014, Isabelle Romualdez traveled to Singapore to watch Laneway headliner Chvrches, a band her heart belonged to. But her heart was stolen by another: Daughter. It was the fascination and undying love for Elena Tonra and her indie band Daughter that planted the seeds in Romualdez’s head to really pursue music. It was seeing Daughter on stage that night that made her decide to make music. Shortly thereafter, the band that we all know and love, Fools & Foes, was born.
It’s been said that The Velvet Underground was responsible for thousands of people to start bands, some of which are now as influential. The same can be said for Nirvana in the 90’s. Daughter was that band for Isabelle Romualdez. She came home from Laneway with the single minded goal of starting a band that’s influenced by, aside from Lucy Rose and other indie-folkers, the band she fell in love at first sight with.
I just have to put it out there that conversations with Isabelle Romualdez about our mutual love for Daughter are usually on all caps and are littered with exclamation points. (She asked me to write about her enthusiasm.)
Anyway, what’s now known as Fools & Foes was created last year as a trio composed of Isabelle Romualdez on bass and vocals, Miguel Querubin on guitars, and Gabba Santiago on drums. The band felt that there was something missing, that one key element that would complete the sound. Enter Ralph Gonzalez.
More than a year later, December 4, 2015, Fools & Foes released their first EP: Underneath The Roots. Singles were released/available for streaming during the band’s inception until the launch. Blindfolded (the song that turned me to them,) Undesired, and Withering (one of my tracks of the year.)
Withering was one of the songs this year…hell, one of the things this year, that helped me survive. I was writing about my Saguijo anxiety attack and I was listening to a raw version of Withering on repeat. I messaged Isa that it was saving my life right then and there. Told her that I was grateful for her words and her melancholy voice. In a later conversation about that, she told me how happy she was because I was the first one to fulfill her dream of affecting someone’s life for the better because of her lyrics.
The EP launch was overwhelming for the fans and the band. Isa once fretted about no one coming to the launch. That launch night, it was packed. (Told you, Isa!) To say that it was a success is an understatement.
Like in the Indie Manila gig, I barely took photos. Couldn’t, really. As I said, it was packed. The lights were horrible, too. Decided to keep the 24mm on my camera and use that all night. And you know what, I didn’t mind. I was alright with just having fun and enjoying the music and the energy of the crowd. I actually only needed to shoot a band photo on stage for Bandwagon Ph. I wasn’t really particularly fond of the shot, but I had to make do with the situation I was in.
I came home happy that night. I went home with great memories (including being one of the merch guys for a while,) a great EP, conversations with great friends. Also made new friends and met online ones, so that’s good.
It wasn’t just a success for the band. It was also a success for the fans of Fools & Foes. A shared victory. Mostly for the band, but yeah..