Banna Harbera is one of my favorite bands at the moment, and you’ll understand that so well especially if you’ve seen them perform live. They sound the same, even better, in person—and don’t even get me started with Yzay’s singing.
This amazing band—composed of Yzabel Torres (vocals), Jake Masigan (lead guitar), Justin Mendoza (bass), Patrick Felipe (drums), and Katrice Reyes (keys)—is known for their hit songs like Sorrys And Goodbyes and Persistence. Banna Harbera will hook you up with their soulful music, and trust me, I’m not the only one who feels that way.
Every indie band has its own sound, and Banna Harbera is surely one to stand out as their funky tracks will make you want to sing at the top of your lungs (and sometimes even fool you into thinking they’re happy songs).
[Banna Harbera] “It took us a few turns in exploring back then but soul & funk is just such a pleasurable sound to get into. We think it is music that’s constantly underappreciated, both in the local and international music industry. At this time, we’re very excited to get back to experimenting and playing with a new dynamic.“
Read on to know more about them!
How did you guys meet as a band?
Banna Harbera: We all met in college at DLS-CSB. The band was formed in 2013, but we had a different vocalist then. Yzay came in 2014 and she put things into perspective in terms of the sound we should pursue as a band. Justin Mendoza came in to play bass around November 2017. And just recently we were joined by our keyboardist Katrice Reyes.
What does your band name mean?
Banna Harbera: It was one of those names that came up in our brainstorm. It’s a spoonerism of the animation studio “Hanna Barbera,” and it’s entertaining every time someone figures it out and tells us so we stuck with it. Maybe you can see it as kind of an homage to that era as well.
What are your inspirations when writing your songs? Could you briefly describe your music-making process?
Banna Harbera: Jake writes most of the songs, but when inspiration hits we all come up with something together. Yzay and former keyboardist Theo for example, co-wrote Something New.
[Jake] “Writing the songs for the EP meant nights in front of the piano with only you and whatever your heart and mind pours out at the time. There were a lot of changes and additions during recording. Mostly things that we felt were fitting. We kind of just had fun with the process and let the moment take over.“
What’s the story behind your hit song “Sorrys & Goodbyes”?
Banna Harbera: Sorrys & Goodbyes is something of a letter filled with all the things you wanted to tell someone you love, but never gave. It’s about finding strength to tell that person what your time with them meant to you, and that even when you know you don’t need to apologize, you still do.
Who are your greatest musical influences?
Banna Harbera: We all have different musical influences since we all come from different musical backgrounds. In a way, that’s where our sound comes from. For example, Jake’s influences are John Frucciante, Stevie Wonder, John Mayer, and a lot of Foo Fighters and The Beatles. Patrick looks up to Mike Portnoy, Tony Royster Jr., Aaron Spears, and Michael Gemina. Our vocalist Yzay is influenced by Linkin’ Park, Sara Bareilles, Hayley Williams, and Mae. Katrice likes Robert Glasper, Jaco Pastorius, Dave Brubeck, Bela Bartok, and her bandmates. (Awww) Justin is influenced by the music of J Dilla, A Tribe Called Quest, Justin Timberlake, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Razorback.
[Banna Harbera] “As a band, we love and are influenced by soul music like Allen Stone, Emily King, and Conscious & the Goodness.”
What advice do you have for people who want to enter the indie music scene?
[Patrick] “Do it for the music.”
[Jake] “For those who want to get into forming a band or start as a solo artist, we say just do it. More importantly, just have fun with it. That’s what it’s all about, after all.”
If you can have your fans remember one thing about your band, what would it be?
Banna Harbera: That for us, it has and always will be about music and how much we do it for them as much as we do it for ourselves. We’d also like our friends and listeners to remember us by our love for cats, dogs, and Japan.
Aside from being in a band, these guys have day jobs in different fields—makes you wonder how they juggle it all. But no matter what, they’re very passionate about their music, and they make sure to spend time with each other by sharing stories and going on a food trip.
Banna Harbera is also planning to release an album soon, so watch out for more hits to come! For now, you can check their songs on Spotify:
For the band’s final thoughts:
[Yzay] “Love all cats & dogs regardless of their breed.”
[Banna Harbera] “Throw your trash properly, thank you.”