Thirds talk about their roots, touring Japan, and next EP

Thirds talk about their roots, touring Japan, and next EP

When Nyctinasty dissolved, Thirds made its rise with a math-rock sound and a tinge of pop that will get you singing through a rainy day.

Now as a trio—composed of Noodle Perez (vocals/guitar), Levi Reyes (bass), and Nikki Cuna (drums)—the 'Curly' act have taken over Japan on their recent tour, where they won the hearts of many and summoned moshpits in the most unexpected situations. 

Bandwagon sat down with Thirds to talk about their beginnings, their experience running around Japan, and their plans for another EP.


Why did you guys decide to get back together as Thirds and not Nyctinasty?

Levi: Nyctinasty is an old band. Even if we tried to change our music, parang naisip namin kung Nyctinasty pa rin kami, iisipin ng tao na same old music. And since nawalan kami ng isang member—which is Pat [Garcia]—might as well gumawa ng band na bago and come up with a new concept. Pero may pagka-Nyctinasty na feel.

Nikki: Parang mas nag-experiment kami with Thirds.

Noodle: Ni-try namin yung hindi pa namin na-try before with Nycti, which is single guitar. Ang kapal ng tunog natin before with distortion. Something new talaga.

Now you kind of have more of a math-rock kind of vibe.

Levi: Marami na kasi kaming pinapakinggan eh. Pwede rin nagkaroon kami ng math rock phase, pero ngayon mas lumalabas yung nasa pop.

Noodle: Personally, I try not to make another generic math rock band. Kasi nung Nycti, andun kami sa post-rock. Unti-unti, we got interested in Toe. Ngayon puro twinkle, yan ang uso ngayon eh. Yung groove nandoon pa rin, pero try natin gawa ng mas pop. Nandoon pa rin yung oomphf.

Nikki: Siguro mas easy listening yung Thirds.

Noodle: Kung gagawa ng bagong genre—math-pop (laughs)!

What did you guys do between your Nyctinasty days to Thirds?

Levi: Gumawa ng bagong kanta and ang daming planning kaming ginawa. Nagusap kaming tatlo na hindi pwede kami na mag pa-easy-easy lang. Kailangan namin mag-push. May timetable talaga kami, so bago kaming lumabas ulit, we made sure na may material na.

When was that?

Levi: Actually before na mag-announce yung Nyctinasty ng breakup. Planado na yun. 

Noodle: Pero wala kaming plans na mag-announce. Walang farewell show, pero may secret show na biglaan. 

Levi: While ni-record namin yung last song ng Nycti, ni-record na rin namin yung bagong Thirds, so talagang planned siya.

What else do you guys do besides Thirds?

Noodles: Graphics forever.

Levi: Ako, sound engineer. Kaya nagawa namin yung album. Kami-kami lang yun.

Nikki: Same, design din. Doon rin sa field.

How do you guys work on Thirds by yourselves without outside help?

Levi: Ang saya talaga! Nag-tatalo kami sa mga ideas, pero maganda naman yun. Mas naging creative kami. Walang nangpipigil eh. Walang mga "pwede na yan." May freedom talaga.

Nikki: Wala rin time constraint. At hindi ka conscious na may ibang tao.

Noodle: Ang na-appreciate ko sa lahat, na si Levi nag-track sa akin sa vocals. Sa lahat na nag-track sa akin, kay Levi ako pinaka-comfy. Wala nang mas comfy sa bandmate ko na mag-ttrack sa akin.

Levi: Pati kabisado ko na rin siya, kasi matagal na kami magkakilala. Pero of course, minsan nag-tatalo kami (laughs).

How did you all meet in the first place?

Levi: Tagal na! College! Nag-aaral pa kami. Iba-iba yung mga bands namin noon. Pero siya (points to Noodle), Nyctinasty na, so mga bands namin nagkakasabay 'tas naging fan ako ng Nyctinasty. 

Nikki: Ako rin. Nakita ko sa TV eh. Ano yun, yung maliit na chat? 'Tas tumutugtog ng Coheed and Cambria. Sabi ko, "babae yun, ah."

Noodle: unTV (laughs)!

Levi: Old school (laughs)! Ayun, so nakakasabay ko sila. Nanuod ako ng gig at naging magkakaibigan kami. Naturally.

Noodle: High school pa ako noon, sila college.

Nikki: Pero naging bandmate kita (gestures to Noodle) noon.

Noodle: Oo! Naging bandmate ko siya. Tapos noong narinig ko siya magdrums, sabi ko, "ay, i-papirate ko 'to." Ito na ang pangarap kong drummer!

Nikki: Hidden Nikki pa ako noon!

Levi: Magaling mag-pirate 'to.

Nikki: Ikaw rin, na-pirate ka.

Levi: Nung una, ayaw ko pa eh.

Noodle: Eh, kasi guitarist siya eh. She plays guitar, 'di siya nag-bass. Sabi ko, "mag-bass ka. Bagay naman eh."

Levi: Tapos excuse ko, "Hindi, aral muna ako. Kailangan ko muna mag-graduate muna." 'Tas pagka-graduate ko, the next day, tumawag siya sa landline. "Ano? Nyctinasty ka na?" Sabi ko, "sige na nga!"

Now, what would you say are themes you write into your songs?

Noodle: Yung year na sinusulat ko siya, tinatapos ko yung Black Mirror. Sobrang laki ng influence ng Black Mirror sa buong panunulat. And also, may mga secret ako bands na pinapakinggan ko—hindi ko sinasabi sa kanila—sobra akong na-inspire sa movement ng pop sa ibang bansa na nag-totour. Noong nakita ko 'yun--okay, sasabihin ko naThe 1975, yung mga ganoon, ano ba yung thing ng mga yan? Nababaduyan ako jan pero nag-wowork siya. Sorry, nababaduyan ako eh.

Nikki: Catchy kasi siya.

Noodle: Siguro yun yung kulang sa songwriting namin before. Dati puro technical shit, pero ngayon hindi na.

What was your Japan tour experience like?

Levi: This was our second out of the country tour. The first was in Singapore last year. Ito, iba siya! Mahirap na masaya eh! Hindi namin nakalain na ganoon siya. Napagod ako kakaisip ko lang!

Nikki: Lagi kasi silang busy and in a rush.

Levi: Yan ang naging challenge namin. Akala namin chill lang, pero hindi. Lagi na lang tumatakbo. Feeling ko naka-lose ako ng ilang pounds doon. So ang nangyari, merong times na hindi kami naligo. Tapos kailangan namin gumising nang maaga kasi kailangan pa mag-travel, mag-train. Tapos wala kaming chance na maligo.

Noodle: Halos every day kami lumipat ng hotel. Dito kasi pag nag-totour, may van. Hindi nangyari doon. Dala namin yung gear, gamit, at merch. 

Levi: Tapos takbo kami lagi! Kasi yung promoter namin, mabilis maglakad. So madali siyang mawala. Kahit yung Stars Hollow eh, takbo kami! 

Nikki: Nawala ako eh (laughs).

Levi: Muntik umiyak!

Nikki: Uy, hindi ah. Naghanap ako ng Wi-Fi (laughs).

Levi: Tapos nagkaroon ng accident. Dapat from Tokyo, mag-vavan kami to Osaka, pero on the way pa lang yung van, nagka-accident siya. So nag-bullet train kaming lahat. Hindi kami prepared! Pag after the gig, nalilimutan na namin yung pagod. 

Noodle: Halo siya eh. Sa biyahe, hindi naman sa bad drip, pero ang painful niya eh. Pagdating sa gig mismo, mawawala lahat yan kasi nakakagulat yung mga reactions ng crowd. 

Levi: Tapos nag-cocrowd surf sila pero mabagal yung kanta. Wild sila!

Noodle: Akala ko mahinhin sila. Hindi pala.

Levi: Nagulat kami kasi nakikikanta sila eh. Hindi ko alam kung naintindihan nila yung lyrics, pero nakikita mo kumakanta sila. Doon kami na-shock.

Noodle: Alam nga nila yung Nyctinasty na songs.

Was your Japan tour the biggest thing that's happened in your career so far?

Levi: Yes! Kasi Nyctinasty pa lang kami, Japan talaga eh! Tapos noong nangyari na, hindi kami makapinawala. 

Nikki: Tapos yung maganda pa doon, na-curious sila sa scene dito sa Pilipinas. Sabi namin maraming magaling!

What are your plans for 2020?

Levi: Magkakaroon ng another EP. We're going to start next week. And then another tour.

Noodle: Ayoko na magdala ng gitara. Meron kaming kasabay na band, hindi nagdala ng gitara. Nanghiram na lang!

Nikki: Sana hindi ko na rin dinala yung cymbals ko (laughs).

Noodle: Siya yung pinakakawawa!

Nikki: Laging huli eh (laughs). Tapos ang ingay kasi may gulong. Nakakahiya!

Noodle: Pero ngayon, alam na namin anong dadalhin namin.

Do you have any advice for independents who'd want to go to Japan or Singapore one day?

Levi: Aim high. Katulad namin, hindi kami nag-limit ng Pilipinas lang. Sky's the limit talaga. Kung may plans ka, gawin mo lahat. Lahat talaga, kahit maubusan ka ng pera, ng time.

Nikki: Gawa lang ng music. Enjoy lang kayo.

Levi: Siyempre, kailangan maging mabait ka talaga eh. Kahit magaling yung banda pero pangit yung attitude, walang mangyayari. Kindness, pagiging humble ang key.