Represent! Taken by Cars, the first Filipino band at SXSW 2012

Poster for Taken by Cars at SXSW 2012"I believe we are the first Pilipino band to be in SXSW.  It was absolutely surreal to see the listing and find our name there, along with Quezon City, Philippines beside it." - Vocalist Sarah Marco, Taken by Cars (via

Whenever I reconnect with friends from the Philippines, I always ask what band/sound they’re currently into. Over the past few years, the band Taken by Cars has popped up here and there in our conversations. They've gotten so much buzz, that they even made it to TIME Asia’s Five New Bands to Watch in the beginning of 2011.

So it’s really no surprise to learn that Taken by Cars is Texas-bound for this year's South by Southwest (SXSW) Festival in Austin. With their own brand of dancey-electro-shoegaze-rock-&-new-wave (I know, we shouldn’t bother coming up with genres these days. Labels are for jars, right?), they have gained so many adorning fans in the Philippines, and are well on their way to catapult into the hearts of rest of the world.


Check out this music video for "This Is Our City" from Taken by Cars (directed by Quark Henares), which was filmed in Intramuros, Manila.

Saying that SXSW is kind of a big deal is a bit of an understatement. Just to put things in perspective, SXSW was where John Mayer, The White Stripes, and Franz Ferdinand all got a major oomph in their music careers that led to mainstream success (according to this article on Myx Philippines).

Add to that the fact that they are the first Filipino band to set foot on SXSW, Taken by Cars is definitely taking the burden of representing indie OPM (Original Pilipino Music) to the world on their shoulders.

Taken by Cars at their Abduction US Tour kickoff showTaken by Cars is (L-R): Isa Garcia-Sicam, Bryan Kong, Sarah Marco, Siopao Chua, and Bryce Zialcita. Photo by Dean Homer

But let's snap back to reality. Like any other independent project, Taken by Cars counts on every ounce of help to fuel their US visit, as they do not have a major record label to shoulder the expenses of this kind of tour. In early March, the band had a kickoff party in support of their upcoming US tour. Although the band is now currently on their way to Austin after making waves in LA and San Francisco, they are still taking pledges for their fundraising campaign over at Artiste Connect (it's like Kickstarter, but it's Philippine-based).

If you have the means to, please support this band by backing their fundraiser!

The list of Filipinos becoming household names is growing exponentially by the second (think: Manny Pacquiao, Bruno Mars, Charice, and Youtube sensations like Prison Dancer, Mikey Bustos, and Maria Aragon). And yet, here comes another one that might soon be added to that list, making history while proudly waving the Filipino flag.

Still need that extra nudge to help these folks out? You can listen to Taken by Cars' sophomore album Dualist (Party Bear Records, 2011) in its entirety on Soundcloud.

Dualist, the sophomore release from Taken by Cars