KJWAN burst onto the Philippine music scene in 2003, when the local rock music scene had forgotten who it was originally and people were almost afraid to listen to anything new. Still, they came down hard, raw, in your face, with the release of their self titled debut album (in 2004) and coined the now-familiar catchphrase, Bastusan na! Their hit song, Daliri, became an anthem to a new generation of rock listeners and being true to your self became the order of the day. Even the very word, Kjwan, seemed to flamboyantly step in your way and hounded you so that you would never forget the name, the band and the sound
This first album earned them the nominations for Best New Artist, Best Video and Best Album Packaging (along with Balbuena being nominated as Best Drummer) in local rock station NU107s Rock Awards. Favorite New Artist and Best Video at the MTV Pilipinas Video Music Awards 2005 and a month long feature on MTV Philippines as the Rising Star Artist of the Month (Jan 2005), specifically, for their breakthrough single Daliri. The song, which received such a good amount of airplay on the radio and local music channels, appealed mainly to rock listeners who were fans of A Perfect Circle, Audioslave, Rage Against the Machine, and the earlier grunge bands that defined early 90s rock.
The Manila-based quintet is made up of distinct personalities, with individual musical tastes that dont always overlap, and strong ideals that are often diametrically opposed. The chemistry might have combusted a lesser band before it even started, but the equally passionate friendships and shared hardships that make up Kjwan have held it together.
Long-time friends and former high school band-mates Marc Abaya (vocals) and Kelley Mangahas (bass) got together with fellow Ateneans Jorel Corpus (guitar) and J-hoon Balbuena (drums) to form the bands initial lineup. They were joined in 2004 by Boogie Romero (guitar), another high school friend and former band-mate of Marc and Kelley, soon after the release of their self-titled debut album.
Three years later, at the height of the new music renaissance, Kjwan braved a second album, 2StepMarv, which promised to be so many things more than their first self-titled album.
If the first album had been a simple matter of coming out, the two-year journey of making 2StepMarv was a more complicated matter of growing upmusically. They were able to craft better songs, hone their individual skills, introduce new musical elements to their primarily rock sound, and in general, just put more thought, heart and soul into the new music. They became comfortable in their new skin.
With their momentous effort for this sophomore album came great blessings too! The band won as Favorite Indie Artist in the local music channel MYXs music awards night along with their video Pintura winning Favorite Guest Appearance with the help of a seasoned actress Chin-Chin Gutierrez, A month long feature on MTV Pilipinas as Lokal Artist of the Month in December 2006, another month long feature as Yahoo Southeast Asias band of the month and another month long feature as Celebrity VJs in MYX for the whole month of April 2006. They also got nominated in 6 categories in the 2007 NU Rock Awards for Artist of the Year, Best Live Act, Album of the Year, Producer of the Year (with Angee Rozul), Vocalist of the Year (Marc Abaya) and Guitarist of the Year (Boogie Romero).
This was also the period where they got to spread their music and play shows outside the country. They headlined HK-Live, in Central, HK last October 2007, HK-Live is a monthly showcase of the Hottest Acts around asia in HKs Fringe Club. They also got to participate in the Annual Baybeats Music Festival in Singapore.
Their biggest blessing however was winning the grand prize in the Asian and Phlippine leg of the IKON ASEAN competition held in Putrajaya, Malaysia which really made an impact to the regional asian music community since they bested 30 bands from all over southeast asia. The band had such an amazing time promoting their album and meeting new people!
MARC DID THE CALLING! and everyone knew each other anyway so they really hang out a lot even before they became a band! its just magic that they all clicked musically! tight chemistry!
we do play live! we play in a lot of places! of course we like playing live! and there are a lot of special moments!
Incubus, Jamiroquai, NERD, Jill Scott, John Legend, John Mayer, MJ Cole, BT, Two Ton Shoe, Pantera, A Perfect Circle, Bill Withers, Sade, Rage Against The Machine, Erykah Badu, Mos Def, Blackstar, 311, Hed Pe, U2, 4Hero, AFI, Alice In Chains, Pearl Jam, Alicia Keys, Audioslave, Bjork, Brand New Heavies, Breakestra, Cake, Cat Stevens, Chicane, Coldplay, Common, Corinne Bailey Rae, D'Angelo, Deftones, Faith No More, Foo Fighters, Funkadelic, George Benson, Gruvis Malt, Guns and Roses, Handsome Boy Modeling School, Herbie Hancock, Incognito, India Arie, Isley Brothers, Jay-Z, Jazzelicious, Jazzanova, Jeff Buckley, John Scofield, Joss Stone, Les Nubians, Linkin Park, Mae, Maroon 5, Marvin Gaye, Matisyahu, Metallica, The Meters, Metric, Minus The Bear, Monday Michiru, Muse, Nelly Furtado, No Doubt, Parliament, Pocket Dwellers, The Postal Service, Radiohead, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Roy Hargrove / RH Factor, The Roots, Sergio Mendes, Sly and the Family Stone, Soulive, Smashing Pumpkins, Stevie Wonder, Stone Temple Pilots, Sugar Ray, Tahiti 80, Team Sleep, Tenacious D, Third Eye Blind, Thrice, Tool, Toto, Tower of Power, Underworld, The Philadelphia Experiment, Velvet Revolver, White Zombie, Zuco 103
just your old skool guitars and gadgets!