Vocalist Riko explains more:
Riko: When we started writing our own material,our beats were very simple and catch, kind of like disco and ska. We were trying to be like the Mighty Mighty Bostones and The Specials at some point. Yes, we had a dancer and a sax player, hahaha... but it felt so awkward playing those types of music because we are not really "happy" kids. It did not reflect what we were going through in our lives. Our parents were going through a financial crisis because we just migrated to the U.S. We lived in a small apartment where you could barely see the floor because it was so crowded. The culture shock took a heavy toll on us. Everything seemed so hopeless starting all over again.
Then we would ask our parents why we moved to the U.S in the first place. We already knew why -- because in the Philippines, the poor gets poorer and the rich gets richer. The only way to have a comfortable life in the Philippines is to get out of there or fight to the finish with the toiling masses against a corrupt government until you can turn the whole system upside down so everyone will have the right to live decently and meet all the basic necessities. Or you can be just in the middle and watch.
My father was very active helping the poor people in our community. Our parents are very religious and always taught us the teachings of Jesus Christ. Arman and I studied in a private catholic school. So we were taught to care for one another and help people in need. Our house became the headquarters of a farmers organization that helped landless farmers in the country. During the time of the late President Corazon Aquino (the first woman President of the Philippines) in the late 80's was the height of killings and disappearances in the country. Our house was raided by battalions of military, arrested all the organizers who were there, and destroyed our house. Some of the folks who were arrested have never been found. That horrific event etched a deep mark on us that the government doesn't really care for its people. You wouldn't be surprised why, in the song "LIC Total War Salvage Style" in the Smash the Octopus album, we are so pissed off. There's definitely some low blows describing Pres. Cory Aquino in that particular song. But words can't really describe and give justice to what happened to our family and friends.