Filipino-American Band Wander Are Injecting New Life Into Post-Rock

The San Francisco post-rock act drop their new record via Headless Queen Records on March 1.

Filipino-American Band Wander Are Injecting New Life Into Post-Rock
Cat Jones
Cat Jones

There’s something about sunny, slow-building, uplifting post-rock that makes your heart soar. March, the new track from Wander, San Francisco’s post-rock act (for which we're premiering the video below) is a shining example of this, proving that there are still acts out there making one of heavy music’s most beloved genres their own. The group, which consists of brothers Ryan David and Christian Francisco, who play drums and guitar, respectively, as well as Joseph Aguda on bass, and Bernard Barcela, are all second-generation Filipino-Americans, who have been playing music together for most of their lives.

“We want to shake things up in post-rock,” explains Christian, via email. “We’re taking an old genre and breathing new life into it.”

Watch the beautiful new video for March, and get to know the band below.

How did you come up with the concept for this music video? What's the significance of the ocean and the little girl with the dog?

Ryan: The song is about overcoming an obstacle in life. A friend of ours recently lost her brother to health problems, so we took inspiration from this and made the music video about a terminally ill girl fever dream. She is dreaming of a peaceful and beautiful place where she can escape the hard truth of her inevitable death. In the end of the music video she makes makes peace with dying. The dog is her pet and furry best friend. A side note: the girl in the video is also the niece of our friend who lost her brother recently.

Christian: Her pet dog becomes a spirit guide that leads her to the afterlife. Our director Tom totally understood our vibe from the get go and suggested making a video about a dream. We elaborate on that concept when I met Nessa (the actress) at her cousins wake. She was so natural in front of the camera and easy to work with despite the long day. Despite the heavy subject matter it was really fun to shoot and we owe a lot to our small crew.

Where was the video filmed? How did you settle on that?

Joseph: The dream shots were filmed in Big Sur, which is the stretch of coast in central California. It was a good place to allow us to get beautiful, grand shots.

Ryan: We needed a lot of different environments for the dream sequences. It’s scenery is very familiar to what we grew up with: redwood forests, beaches, grassy hills, rivers and sunshine.

Christian: That last scene on the beach almost never happened. The path to the original location was closed due to a storm the night before. But our way home we found the perfect beach and even caught the sunset. It was meant to be.

You specifically call yourself a “Pinoy post-rock band.” How important is your shared heritage to the music you create together?

Christian: All of us are second-generation Asian-Americans. I think it’s been a blessing that we have our people represented in pop culture; from 88 Rising in Hip-hop to Jay Som & Mitski in Indie rock. This moment can pave the way and raise visibility for artists that look like us in a fringe genre like post-rock. Our music is intentionally universal but I’m definitely proud Wander is taking part in helping create a more diverse music community.

There's been a lot of talk about San Francisco losing its rock 'n' roll scene to the tech industry. What is the local rock scene like for you?

Ryan: I was exposed to many different scenes in our area I can tell you there isn’t a particularly more common or favored sound here. I’m not sure if you can really take away rock ’n’ roll music from any place, it’ll always have a place among the masses.

Joseph: I know overall a lot of local artistic culture has been pushed out due to immense rise of living costs. But in my personal experience, underground culture will always exist where any type of rebellious perspective exists. I think that spirit has the potential to exist anywhere. In Oakland, there are always house shows going on, and you see a pretty wide variety of things from black metal, to weird avant garde electronic music, to post-punk and goth.

Christian: Scott Hansen from Tycho was someone who was able to work in tech to survive and support his art before his band took off. We know so many former artist / musicians who gave up their passion to be able to survive here. Not all people from tech are from privilege, a lot are P.O.C. whose family grew up struggling and were raised to not take risk with their careers.

I feel like we’ve created our own niche in the Bay Area. We want to showcase our scene on our upcoming tour by bringing along this mind blowing Bay Area two piece math rock band Floral.

We’re out here creating something exciting that everyone can be a part of.

Preorder March right here.


WORDS: Cat Jones

PHOTO: Christina Dao

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