When you’re here, you’re family

Ethnica talks up Winnipeg’s welcoming metal scene

Zyron Paul Felix

Members of Ethnica started playing as a cover band called Side F/X. But recently, they’ve morphed into a metal group, and just released a self-titled EP last month.

“We started off covering everything from the Carpenters, to Guns N’ Roses, to Bruno Mars,” says Chris Pangan, the band’s guitarist. “Basically whatever the crowd wanted to hear is what we ended up playing,” 

The quartet of 20-somethings - comprised of Pangan, vocalist Vivienne Cuzon, bassist Kevin Ilano and drummer Joseph David - officially started playing together as Ethnica just over a year ago.

“We were just starting to miss the metal scene,” Pangan says. “Everyone in the band except for Vivienne is into metal and used to play that music before.”

“When the guys started encouraging me to form a metal band with them I was pretty iffy about it,” Cuzon adds. “But then I started listening to some of the songs and realized I was really into it after all.”

The EP was recorded this summer with local producer David Manalo at his Yatz home studio.

“He’s a good friend and this is actually his first metal project,” Pangan says. “He usually produces hip-hop. Due to budget we decided to take a chance on him and I think it worked out OK.”

“This was our first time recording and we really learned how the whole process works,” Cuzon adds.

The band members hint their writing has been influenced by progressive metal and metalcore, in addition to such mainstream rock influences as Paramore, Evanescence and Three Days Grace.

“When my family thinks of metal they think of satanic metal, but that’s not all there is and that’s not what we play,” Pangan says. “There’s not even any screaming in our band.” 

Ethnica officially launched the EP last month with a show at The Zoo alongside Sky Monitor, Found Among Monsters, Bears With Technology and Advise
the Oracle.

“In the end we just put together the EP because we wanted to get our music out there,” Cuzon says. Pangan adds that “the EP release show was pretty big. We weren’t expecting that many people to come. Originally we were a bit afraid of people not accepting us because of our skin colour - we’re all Filipino - but it’s really cool how the metal scene is so accepting.”

“The metal scene here really is like a family,” Cuzon says. “Once you’re in everyone’s got your back.”

Published in Volume 69, Number 8 of The Uniter (October 22, 2014)

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