Ely Buendia was a couple of units shy of a degree in filmmaking when he formed what was going to be the most popular rock band in the annals of Filipino music: the Eraserheads. The group cut seven best-selling albums, called it a day, and splintered into new bands, with Buendia spearheading no less than 3 bands, Pupil, The Oktaves, and Apartel. When the ‘Heads reunited for two shows in 2008 and 2009, previous attendance records (counting those of international acts) were shattered. Barely in his forties, Buendia’s material has inspired copycat acts, tribute albums, books and films bearing his song titles, and so on. However, to describe him as a mere Filipino pop-culture icon would be to limit him terribly. While much of his stature has been cemented by his association with the Eraserheads, whose creative shadow continues to loom over the current crop of local musicians, his true calling perhaps is a storyteller in any medium. His best-known works as a songwriter are complex, sprawling narratives that are tragically over by the end of a cigarette break (“Ang Huling El Bimbo”); his most tasteful musical arrangements involve established verse-chorus-verse cycles that are violently jolted by a heartbreaking turn of phrase or chord change (“Spoliarium”); and his literary output curiously straddles cyberpunk and Lewis Carroll (Fruitcake). The short of it is that Buendia—musician, lyricist, author, and filmmaker—has a way with stories. Not mere words, musical hues, or clever phraseology, but glorious, imaginative stories.
UP DHARMA DOWN (UDD):
UDD, formerly known as Up Dharma Down, is a Filipino band formed in Manila in 2004. They have released three albums Fragmented, Bipolar and Capacities released under independent record label Terno Recordings.
In 2005, the band won the coveted In the Raw Award at the NU 107 Rock Awards as well as Best New Artist and Best Female Award for vocalist and keyboardist, Armi Millare, in 2006. In 2008, they were awarded Favorite Indie Artist at the Myx Music Awards.
Mark Cole’s BBC show tagged them as the Asian band to most likely cross over to North American shores, and has been featured in numerous regional shows together with bands such as Arcade Fire (Canada) and Bloc Party (UK). They have also been recognized by Paul Buchanan of The Blue Nile, Curt Smith of Tears for Fears and Tim Bowness of No-Man.
On January 1, 2017, the band officially renamed to its initials UDD.