Sponge Cola (sometimes spelled Spongecola) is a Filipino rock band formed in 2002, and produced many hit songs including "Jeepney", "Bitiw", "Tambay", "Kay Tagal Kitang Hinintay", and "XGF".
Original drummer Chris Cantada left the group due to health issues.Wendell Garcia of bands Arch1pelago and Pupil, and Ted Mark "Tmac" Cruz who plays drums for bands Happy Meals and The Out of Body Special filled in as sessionists after Cantada's departure. In late 2009, Cruz was confirmed to be a permanent member of the band. Cantada eventually went on to have his solo project in late 2011 with the debut album titled Heartbeat, co-produced by Yael Yuzon.
The band formed between 1998 to 2002, Ysmael "Yael" Yuzon and Reynaldo "Gosh" Dilay (both from Ateneo de Manila High School) met through the school's theatre guild, Teatro Baguntao. Yuzon decided to form a band with Dilay and two other members of Teatro Baguntao. They named the group Sponge after R.S. Surtees' Mr. Sponge Sporting Tour, and the band won in several high school competitions boosting their popularity on campuses and in other schools.
After a couple of lineup changes, drummer Christopher "Chris" Cantada and Rampqueen guitarist Erwin "Armo" Armovit joined the band permanently. Later on, they heard of a Detroit grunge band already using the name Sponge. "But we wanted to keep the word Sponge in our band name because people have already associated us with that name...so we decided to add 'Cola', since it's an easy enough word to remember," Yuzon said. Sponge Cola was officially formed in summer of 2003.
After touring the healthy local gig circuit during their senior year in high school, they released a 5-track, all original, self-titled EP in 2003. It is from here that critics and music aficionados immediately took note of the songs "Lunes (trans: Monday)" and "Jeepney", slowly creating buzz in the underground music scene. In the same year, the band performed a cover of Madonna's seminal classic "Crazy for You", a bootlegged copy of which was shared and downloaded immensely via peer-to-peer networks. This, along with the EP, helped the band break into mainstream consciousness and popularity, gaining extensive airplay from several local pop and rock radio stations.
In 2004, Sponge Cola signed a record distribution deal with Sony BMG Philippines and released their first full-length debut album entitled Palabas (trans: The Show), an allusion to their roots in theatre. "KLSP", the album's lead single, further spread the band's name all over the OPM market, gaining heavy airplay in local radio stations and music channels. Other hits included the Shakespeare-inspired "Gemini", "Una (trans: The First)", and a remastered "Jeepney", all hitting number 1 in various music charts in the Philippines. This, along with a slew of other releases from other OPM bands, spearheaded the resurgence of Pinoy rock, and revitalized OPM as a whole. After a subsequent repackaged release the following year, Palabas was certified Gold in 2005.
Their second full-length CD Transit was released in 2006 under Universal Records. The album was certified gold in less than four months after release, mainly due to the success of lead single Bitiw (trans: Let Go), which enjoyed massive radio and television airplay. The song also became the theme song of the ABS-CBN television series Pedro Penduko. The album's second and third singles "Tuliro (trans: Dumbfounded)" and "Pasubali (trans: Conditions)", were hits in their own right, and have proven to be two of the band's most requested during their live sets.
Sponge Cola also contributed on three tribute albums. They recorded covers of the Eraserheads hit, Pare Ko on Ultraelectromagneticjam, and APO Hiking Society's classics Nakapagtataka and "Saan Na Nga Ba'ng Barkada" on the tribute albums Kami nAPO muna and Kami nAPO Muna ULIT.
The band won four awards in the 2007 MYX Music Awards, besting other OPM acts in both Favorite Artist and Favorite Group categories, while Bitiw was voted as both Favorite Song and Favorite Rock Video. In the same year, ABS-CBN once again tapped Sponge Cola for the theme song of Pedro Penduko at ang mga Engkantao, Tuloy Pa Rin. The band was also featured in the MYX show "Myxellaneous", following their fast evolution from young upstarts to one of the more stellar acts in the Philippine Rock scene.
The single "Pasubali" was released along with a deluxe edition of "Transit" in 2008, and was used as the theme song to ABS-CBN's airing of the Koreanovela Lovers. This set includes a bonus AVCD featuring Tuloy Pa Rin, Nakapagtataka, Tuliro (Semi-Emo Version), Pasubali (Acoustic Version), Intercept, and Pasubali (Radio Edit). It also includes the music videos of Bitiw, Nakapagtataka, Tuliro, Tuloy Pa Rin, Movie, and Pasubali, and hit platinum a week after release.
Self-titled release (2008-2010):
The band released their third album in September 2008. The self-titled record was an instant success both critically and commercially, led by the official theme song for Season 71 of the UAAP - "Puso (trans: Heart)". The song would continue to be the league's anthem for the next 4 years. Other singles include the massive hit "Di Na Mababawi (trans: You Can't Take it Back)", "Wala Kang Katulad (trans: You Are like No Other)", "Makapiling Ka (trans: To Be With You) ", and "Ayt!", a collaboration with Gary Valenciano. The band also rerecorded Gino Padilla's classic "Closer You and I" for Closeup Toothpaste.
During recording, Chris Cantada left the band citing that the heavy touring was contributing to his health problems. A handful of drummers joined the band on tours, most notably Pupil's Wendell Garcia. By 2009, Ted "TMAC" Cruz signed on as the band's official drummer.
MP3 and MP4 albums:
Sponge Cola became the first Philippine band to release its new album in MP3 and MP4. All songs, including those in the past albums are included in the music players launched on 4 January 2009 with 'Di Na Mababawi on ASAP.
Tambay EP, Araw Oras Tagpuan, District EP 2010-2012:
In late 2011, the band released their much awaited and highly anticipated 4th full-length studio album under Universal Records. Entitled Araw Oras Tagpuan (trans: Day Time Setting), it contains 12 tracks including songs from the band's Tambay (trans: Hanging Out) EP, released earlier in 2010 via a Coca-Cola promo. The outstanding sales of Tambay and Araw Oras Tagpuan gave Sponge Cola a diamond record award as it sold over 200,000 units that summer. It featured the lead single Tambay, Araw Oras Tagpuan, Regal, Kay Tagal Kitang Hinintay, and Stargazer. Former drummer Chris Cantada appeared as a cameo guest for the music video of Tambay. Fran of RX 93.1, Kim Marvilla of defunct radio station NU 107, film director Wincy Ong, and singer Zia Quizon also appear in said video, which is, according to the band, a homage to the film franchise, Back to the Future.
In September of the following year, the band's 6-track District EP was released, with lead single "XGF" featuring Parokya ni Edgar vocalist Chito Miranda and rapper Los Magno. Shortly after its release, "XGF" became the top download of MyMusicStore.com for 7 weeks. Fresh and innovative, District also ruled the sales charts of local record store Odyssey upon release. Other singles "Mahaba pa ang Gabi (trans: The Night is Young) and "Pick Your Poison" enjoyed success as well, the latter being used for GMA Films' Metro Manila Film Festival entry "Sosy Problems".
Ultrablessed and Maximum Capacity release and more plans on 2014:
Sponge Cola released their 5th new album called "Ultrablessed" on January 31, 2014. The same day they release their first DVD concert called "Maximum Capacity" which was recorded last July 19, 2013.
Yael Yuzon - lead vocals, guitars,
Gosh Dilay - bass guitar, backing vocals,
Armo Armovit - lead guitar,
Tmac Cruz - drums & percussion, vocals,
Chris Cantada - drums & percussion, backing vocals, keyboard synthesizer, occasional guitars
Text from this biography licensed under creative commons license