Ely Buendia: The Pinoy Rock Icon as Vinyl Hobbyist

ely buendia pic

Photo courtesy of Heima

Here is the short interview granted by Pinoy Rock Icon Ely Buendia, frontman of the Eraserheads, the Mongols, Pupil, and the Oktaves. Excerpts from this interview were featured in the “Back in Black” article which appeared in the Sunday Inquirer Magazine last December 2013. This first appeared in Wired State where I posted it in the heels of the publication of the said article. It’s straightforward and to the point but it does give us a clear idea that this is one Pinoy Rock icon who takes the vinyl format seriously. The select annotation in parentheses are new.

How and why did you get into vinyl records?
I was finally able to find a turntable that I really liked. For a time, I was mostly buying vinyl for childhood nostalgia. It was only recently that I found for myself that the sound quality really was a far cry from all the other formats.

(The “plaka” is, of course, referenced in “Ang Huling El Bimbo,” possibly the greatest Eheads song of all time. The song has been covered by Lea Salonga, Rico J. Puno, The Company and Sungha Jung, among others. Recently, the “plaka” was referenced by Ehead member and Sandwich  frontman Raimund Marasigan in “Betamax.”)


“Kamukha mo si Paraluman…”

What do vinyl records give you that CDs or MP3s cannot?
Vinyl still retains that mystique of the record buying lifestyle. It makes me appreciate the music more.

(Appreciating the music more is, of course, what is often cited by vinyl hobbyists as the most rewarding aspect of collecting vinyl records. Intrinsic to this appreciation is the album art, the liner notes, the lyric sheets, the gatefold cover and the warmer and rounder sound of analog stereo recording compared to CDs and MP3s.)

How many vinyl records do you have so far?
Less than a thousand as far as I can tell.

What are your top 3 all-time favorite vinyl records? Are these the 3 featured in “Sugod”?
It varies. Right now, in terms of sound it’s still The Beatles box set, the Clash’s “London Calling” and Miles Davis’ “Kind of Blue.”

(Buendia’s interest in vinyl is well-documented in “Sugod,” a TV program anchored by Solenn Heussaff, where he shared a number of his prized vinyl collection housed in his very own “Camp Big Falcon.” It is noteworthy that at that time, the three vinyl albums that he chose to share with Sugod televiewers were the Beatles studio album box set, the Elvis Presley studio album box set and the Guns N’ Roses box set.)

ely buendia sugod vinyl

The “Sugod” episode that featured Ely Buendia was posted on Eraserheads on Vinyl FB site.

 What are the top 3 must-have vinyl records in your tracking/wish list?
Michael Jackson’s “Off the Wall,” The Beach Boys’ “Sunflower,” and The Cure’s “Head on the Door.”

Which music genre are you most interested in?

(Interestingly, in his latest outing with the supergroup Oktaves, two out of the twelve tracks that make up their impressive self-titled recording debut, namely, “Olivia” and “Langit Express,” are country-flavored songs. See The Oktaves [MCA Music])


The debut album of The Oktaves (MCA Music)

Who are your top 3 fave OPM acts?
Juan Dela Cruz Band, Rico J Puno, APO

Who are your top 3 fave foreign acts?
The Cure, The Smiths, The Beatles

Describe your analog set-up.
a. turntable brand – Rega RP1
b. amp brand – Yamaha
c. speakers brand – Bose

(It is noteworthy that in “Sugod,” the turntable that is featured is the TEAC retro portable. He has apparently upgraded since then.)

What advice can you give those who are getting into this hobby?
Don’t scrimp on the hardware.

(The analog hardware normally consists of the turntable, the speakers and the amplifier. A decent brand-new hardware set-up normally requires a cash outlay of Php 50,000 to Php 60,000.)

Do you think the vinyl resurgence around the globe is a fad? Or is this format here to stay? What are its implications to OPM and musicians?
I think people are starting to realize the value of music again. I hope OPM goes back to vinyl, too.

(To date, of course, we do know that Polyeast Records has been leading the vinyl releases of OPM icons like Joey Albert, The Dawn, FrancisM, True Faith, among others. There are unconfirmed reports that the Apo, Jose Mari Chan and Noel Cabangon are being lined up next. All these augur well with the current demand in the local vinyl market. Case in point, the current going rate for 45 rpm Eheads vinyls is Php 500 and up regardless of the condition. There is also an FB site called Eheads on Vinyl. It was put up by Eheads fans led by LA-based Le-Van De Guzman. As of today, it has 464 likes and counting. But the most well-documented OPM vinyl clamor todate is the 21st century release of the Juan Dela Cruz Band albums. Used mint copies of this band’s past albums from the 70s currently go for Php 10,000 and up per copy.)

My thanks to Le-Van for facilitating this interview.



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