We catch up with the six-piece indie folk band ahead of their reunion concert
Everyone has their preferred method of remembering parts of their lives. For others, it’s the cities they lived in or the period in which a hobby had fully taken over. My favorite way is through music: what album defined the first few months of the pandemic? Undeniably, Carly Rae Jepsen’s Dedicated Side B. If I could build a playlist that provides a soundtrack to the unsteady shift from my teens to twenties, the indie-folk band The Ransom Collective would have a couple of entries (read: Fools and Run). Maybe it was the time in which they released it or the free-spirited energy that comes with their sound, but The Ransom Collective’s music is best enjoyed (at least, next to IRL gigs) with a layer of fond memories.
Listening to The Ransom Collective wakes up something in you. A need to run through a field, the urge to call a friend and say you’re on your way to pick them up no matter what time it is. Made up of Kian Ransom (vocals and guitars), Jermaine Choa Peck (percussions), Leah Halili (bass), Redd Claudio (drums), Muriel (violin) and Lily Gonzales (keys), the band’s claim to fame is in their distinct folk-pop sound. Reminiscent of Millennial indie faves Mumford and Sons, Of Monsters and Men and a touch of The Lumineers, they evoke a sense of triumph and adventure whenever you hit “play” on their songs.
This comfort cemented them as one of the steadily rising acts in the OPM indie scene, starting from small audiences after winning Wanderband 2014 to drawing larger crowds as their following grew. But, much like the other years that came before, 2020 stood as another one to conquer. But no one and no one plan was spared when the pandemic happened. As a result, many bands, along with The Ransom Collective, had to sit back and make do with virtual gigs, writing sessions over Zoom and having to put some plans on hold.
Throughout the past few years, members of The Ransom Collective found themselves on diverging paths. “We grew in different directions throughout the pandemic: focusing on new careers, exploring new passions and strengthening relationships with different people—some of us even moving abroad,” shares Redd Claudio in an interview. But this also ushered in a positive transformation in The Ransom Collective. “Now that we’ve figured out [our lives] after such a long time of being unable to play, going back to music feels more relaxing and less like a job.” If anything, the band feels a lot freer to experiment, express themselves and have fun doing so—reasons that brought them together in the first place.
At the end of 2022, the band released 3 AM. The song serves as The Random Collective’s return to the scene more than three years after I Don’t Care. Written and partially recorded in February 2020, the band had to shelf the project when uncertainty was the norm. “It felt great to—finally—revisit the song and wrap everything up,” recalls Kian Ransom. “It gave us a renewed sense of teamwork and hope for what the future holds for The Ransom Collective.” They recruited the help of Mikey Amistoso and Marco De Leon, whose creative inputs transformed the song into what the band originally wanted—but even better.
Of course, their homecoming doesn’t end with just a single. The band will commemorate their grand homecoming through the Hello Again: The Ransom Collective Reunion Show on February 4 at 123 Mandala Block, Mandaluyong. According to Jermaine Choa Peck, “There's no better way to reunite with the band, our friends, family and fans than by celebrating together with live music.” So they seized the opportunity to mount their own show once again, offering their audience a space to reunite, sing, dance and thrive just like before.
As they gear up for the big day, the band feels excited and nervous to be onstage again for the grand reunion. “We're doing a lot of preparations for the show! Aside from rehearsing the music, we're also doing a lot of the behind-the-scenes work because we just want to put up a great show for all the fans, family and friends,” shares Jermaine. “ I'm sure all the hard work will pay off once we see everyone enjoying!”
And if there’s one word to describe the upcoming show, “nostalgic” would be their pick. “It feels like getting into the groove of something familiar. There’s a tinge of unfamiliarity since it’s been so long, but I think once we’re in the moment, at the concert, it’ll all keep coming back,” shares Muriel Gonzales. When asked to share a spoiler alert, Muriel also teases new music that will join fan-favorite works. “Let’s just say they were ‘baby' songs during the pandemic, and finally, they can come out!” she enthuses. “I would say for those who’ve listened to 3 AM, they’re in the same thread or flow. But I can’t say too much—you’ll just have to come and watch!”
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The Ransom Collective has high hopes for the future, despite the uncertainty of what will happen after the show. “Time tested us as a band, as musicians. But coming together after a few years of not working together, performing, kinda felt like a sign,” starts Muriel. “Whatever happens, music still brings us together—it’s brought us back here. “If music has held us through up until this moment, then it’ll likely keep us going.”
If there’s one thing we can learn from The Ransom Collective, it's this: keep your eyes on the purpose. The key to marching forward amid uncertainty is to tightly hold onto that because it will lead you to where you’re supposed to be—no matter how long it takes.
Art Macky Arquilla