Pinoy band WYWY is making a name for themselves in Gulf region

Rick Olivares

Posted at Feb 25 2020 05:02 PM

Dubai-based Filipino band WYWY

MANILA -- Meet one of the best Filipino bands you might not have heard of -- WYWY.

Their name is pronounced “Why Why” after the Beatles song, “Within You Without You” from the masterful "Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band" album (the first track from Side 2 as written by George Harrison), and are based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

The band’s sound, however, is far from that Mersey beat sound that the Fab Four from Liverpool, England popularized. WYWY’s influences are Slowdive, Cocteau Twins, Lush, Radiohead, Portishead, and the like. Thus quite obviously, the band – McKie Alvarez on synthesizers, guitars, and beat, and X Alvarez on vocals, synthesizers, and xylophone – plays a blend of dream pop and shoegaze. 

“Our music has been described as dreamy, dark, and ethereal with the songs all about our personal experiences,” said McKie, who works as an administrator in a construction company over a long-distance interview. X, meanwhile, is a supervisor with a petroleum company.

WYWY have been a hit not only among the Filipino community but also among the locals and expatriate crowd. They have performed in Lebanon and have been invited to perform in Bahrain. They self-released their first extended play single, “Within You, Without You” on compact disc and vinyl (it has since sold out). UAE-based label Analog Amigo Records made it available on cassette – and locally through United Cassettes Philippines – and it too has sold out. 

For their efforts and impact, the Dubai-based magazine, Illustrado, has named WYWY as among the 300 most influential Filipinos in the gulf. 

Furthermore, they were named Artist of the Year by Bahrain-based promoter/record label, Museland. Noted Museland: “Witnessing WYWY performing live is a wholly ethereal experience. The duo have been playing solidly over the year at everything from small, intimate gigs to large scale stages. Their unique brand of visceral music and dramatic presence puts them on a league of their own when it comes to live performance. Combining haunting vocals, deep synths and dream-like guitars, WYWY’s music seems designed to be experienced in a live setting. In 2019, they played a number of memorable gigs including Sikka Art Fest, Analog Room, The Flip Side, and more recently Jaddaf Aloud. They also made their Bahrain debut with two brilliant shows.”

Now, that really says something.

WYWY hasn’t looked back since they began gigging in 2015. They opened for another band and were surprised by the reception they got. 

Flush with the reception they have received, WYWY is slated to release their follow-up album sometime this 2020.

“UAE, especially Dubai, is more open than other Arab countries as most of the people here are expats,” added McKie. “The locals love art (and music).”

And so will others here in the Philippines and around the world --soon.