Bajula brings 90s R&B flavor to catchy single ‘Catching You’

Rick Olivares

Posted at Nov 06 2021 02:28 AM

Bajula, R&B
Awkward dancing aside, Alvin ‘Vertigo’ Guanlao and Jolo ‘Frazier’ Juatco — who make up R&B duo Bajula — are the real deal. Handout

There’s something refreshing about two bespectacled dudes in pastel-colored suits dancing awkwardly to a song about a relationship gone awry. Yet, it seems perfect.

If anything, new electronic soul/rhythm and blues duo Bajula are testament to that quote by actor Mel Brooks where he succinctly put this journey: “Hope for the best. Expect the worst. Life is a play. We’re unrehearsed.”

Bajula’s debut single, “Catching You”, makes you ask yourself, “Where have I heard this before?”

True enough, Bajula — vocalist, guitarist, producer, and lyricist Vertigo (aka Alvin Guanlao) and vocalist, keyboardist, producer, and lyricist Frazier (aka Jolo Juatco) — were influenced by American R&B outfits New Edition, Boyz II Men, and Babyface to name but a few. However, there’s the minimalist feel of the Chainsmokers.

“Catching You” has been released across all streaming platforms, as well as on YouTube, where there are 2 versions — the lyric video and the “dancing video.”

The song, ironically, was the last one written for the duo’s debut mini-album, “Sensual Dance Club”, that can also be found on streaming sites. 

“When we started the concept for our release this past July or August we had these song challenges,” relates Frazier. “As we went along, we found ourselves writing better songs. Producing better songs. Gumaganda ’yung production ng bawat song. Naging biased to the new songs. So that’s the story for ‘Catching You’.”

“I wrote that song about an experience I saw from some friends,” divulges Frazier.

“We usually do that kind of style of writing by putting ourselves in a third-person perspective,” chimes in Vertigo. “People think we’re writing about personal experiences, but it’s not. Both Frazier and I are in steady relationships with our own partners.”

It isn’t only listeners who are fooled by that. Even the duo’s own partners wonder if they are being alluded to. 

“Akala nila out of our own experiences so malaking explanation ’to,” laughs Vertigo.

The songwriting evolved from what the duo viewed all the way to dream sequences.

Music from the 1990s wasn’t the only thing that Vertigo and Frazier mined. They turned to an anime favorite, Zenki, to come up with what they believe is a catchy name — Bajula.

“We’re both 90s kids,” points out Vertigo. “In fact, our previous band played alternative rock, and alternative music became popular from the 1990s.”

“When we formed Bajula, we wanted to sound different,” adds Frazier.

“It also meant singing in a falsetto,” laughs Vertigo.

“And trying to dance in our video to the song,” segues Frazier.

While Bajula has a sense of humor when it comes to how they go about their promotions, when it’s time to perform, they’re all business.

“We take it seriously. And we think that ‘Catching You’ and ‘Sensual Dance Club’ is music to make you feel good and reflect in this time of pandemic,” sums up Frazier.

It sure helps that appeals to the sultry sway of the hips. Awkward dance moves or not.