It’s a common childhood memory—siblings dressed up in matching outfits and asked to perform at family gatherings and parties. The Wonggoys take that a step further, trading in the Backstreet Boy dance routines for the guitar-driven original music they collectively describe as chill.
“Our father’s side of the family was really into listening and collecting music, while our mother’s side was into making it,” says William Wong, the 21-year-old middle brother who plays lead guitar and does vocals. Together with his brothers—28-year-old lead vocalist Gabe and 19-year-old Kyle, who does vocals and rhythm guitar— they moved from singing together in chorus to recording an actual album after being prompted by their friend Jude Bacalso. The band booked their first gig at Alejandro’s in 2008.
Under the label 22 Tango Records, the Wonggoys released their first album I’m Not Sure What To Say But I’ll Say It Anyway after just four months. “We had a habit of starting one song and leaving it unfinished until we needed to record it already. So we finished most of our songs on the way to the recording studio, and some even while we were already recording them,” Will recalls with a laugh.
The process might be a good indication of the guys’ easygoing and friendly attitude, which makes hanging out with them a flurry of playful teasing and banter. Seriously speaking, though, the Wonggoys take inspiration from the likes of Dave Matthews, Jason Mraz, Jack Johnson and John Mayer. “If I could perform with any artist in the world, it would be Brandon Boyd and Dave Matthews,” says Gabe, adding to the other guys’ list that includes Fall Out Boy and Bob Marley.
That, of course, isn’t to say they haven’t already performed with big names. At the Jonas Brothers’ Cebu concert last year, the band was asked to take part as the opening act. “I think they just wanted us because we’re brothers in a band too,” Kyle jokes.
“Opening for the Jonas Brothers was fun because of the I crowd,” says William. “We weren’t really fans of the band, but they’re cool guys. And the fact that we opened for an international band was a great experience already.”
The Wonggoys are currently working on their second album while Kyle and Will are home from studying abroad. “Our next album will show how we’ve matured as musicians, and have better songwriting,” says Will. “We’ve definitely broken through our comfort zone and explored other sounds and genres.”
For the time being, though, the boys consider the song Chase The Girl or Rule The World a personal favorite. “It’s about setting priorities, and how hard it is to make the decisions we all have to make.” So which would they do, if given the choice? “Gabe wants to chase the girl and then try to rule the world with her, and Kyle wants to chase the girl because she’s his world,” Will says, before slyly sharing his own choice. “I want to rule the world because once I do that, the girls will be chasing me instead.
photography Joseph Ong grooming Pearl Sarcauga (Dollface Cosmetics) localeIrie Gastropubliko