Narda was a successful Pinoy rock band, widely seen as one of the visible acts of today's Philippine indie rock scene. A combination of lead singer Katwo Librando's mesmerizing display of feisty femininity and replete with fierce get-up-and-dance punk energy laced with sugar-sweet hooks and squelchy electro-sounds has led to the band having a cult following all over the contemporary indie hipster scene.
Tungaw disbanded in 1998, Ryan formed Lilian along with college friends from his Tanghalang Ateneo days, (including Pupil's Yan Yuzon, Xander Angeles on guitar, Patrick Tuason on keyboards and Mimi Chu on vocals) in early 2000. Due to ensuing line-up changes, their demo was left unfinished. Through Conrad Javier of Boy Elroy, Ryan was introduced to Katwo Librando (who sang with Bent on Crickets) and asked her to do vocals for Lilian. Katwo jumped at the opportunity and Lilian version 2 launched with guitars by wincy ong.
After playing a gig at an Ayala Mountaineers party (playing original songs Crime-fighting mama, Tanga, and Suwerte), a misunderstanding with Yan ensued and Lilian was no more. By this time, Ryan concurred with Jing Gaddi's suggestion that JV Javier play guitar for them because JV's melodic bluesy style would fit into the band's mold. This left Ryan, Katwo, JV and Wincy in limbo -- they had a number of potential pop hits but with no band.
In a chat on fateful afternoon, Ryan invited co-faculty member Ed Ibarra during a break from their graduate studies. With three guitarists, Wincy then took over bass duties and the group jammed on July 31, 2002. Thus Narda was at that time: Ryan on drums, JV and Ed on guitars, Wincy on bass, and Katwo on vocals.
Narda formed with three main objectives – namely, to write and play their original songs, to have fun, and to help out people. Due to Ryan and Ed’s connection with the Ateneo de Manila High School, a portion of Narda’s EP sales would go to the Tulong Dunong Scholarship Fund, which aims to assist worthy public school students to study at the Ateneo and other private schools.
Narda honed their craft and started writing more songs. By October 2002, Narda had recorded their first EP "a postcard from" containing four songs (crime-fighting mama, hypochondriac, meron ba & kusina). Then on December 13, 2002 -- to dispel all bad luck on a Friday the 13th -- the band released its second EP aptly titled "Suwerte" also containing four songs (tanga, in the afternoon, leave, suwerte). By this time, Narda had definitely defined its sound as a band, the buzz was definitely out and the band was gaining a steady fanbase.
Over Christmas vacation of 2002, Narda recorded their stripped-down acoustic EP called "burador", experimenting with sparse arrangements, mean backwards guitars and string arrangements. "burador" was released early 2003 containing four songs (another day, pasensya na, santong paspasan, ang gabi)
By 2003, Narda was gigging heavily and their songs "Crime-fighting mama" and "Suwerte" were earning steady airplay over NU 107. Narda started recording their fourth EP "salaguinto't salagubang" in the summer of 2003. "Salaguinto..", which carried five songs (vanillin,daylight savings time, saan na?, liwanag, jaywalker), was launched at the now defunct Millenia on September 2003. By this time, original guitarist Ibarra had left the band due to work concerns. And former Lilian guitarist Nico Africa had rejoined his former bandmates in Narda. Even if Ibarra had played most of his guitar parts in the "Salaguinto.." EP, it was Africa who played during the EP launch.
Releasing four EPs in a span of a year would earn the band several guestings on NU 107's In the Raw Show with Francis Brew. The single "Jaywalker" also started gaining airplay on NU 107. Narda would then go on to win the NU 107 Rock Awards' In the Raw Award for 2003.
As of that time, Narda was Ryan on drums, JV & Nico on guitars, Wincy on bass, and Katwo on vocals. Narda then had intense songwriting sessions late 2003 to early 2004 for their first full-length album. Recording the album "Formika" took exactly one year (from February 2004 to February 2005), and was released (under Ponkan Music) on March 5, 2005 at Gasoline Alley. Containing 12 tracks (pantalon, 1800-hey, kometa astrolabe, nico, biyernes, glum, detox, hudas not pay, tayo na, disquiet, lipad (theme from darna), salamin sibuyas/tetrapak), Formika wound up on critics' best-of-2005 lists.
Like the komiks superheroine alter-ego the band was named after, Narda has always had immense power encased in its all-too-human skin. After several gigs pushing their album formika, gigging took its toll on guitarists JV and Nico. The two decided to leave amicably the band due to work concerns right about the time Narda was to celebrate its 3rd birthday.
Over the course of Narda's existence, the band took pride in doing things in an uncompromising yet appealing way. In this tradition, Narda then recruited Jep Cruz for keyboard duties with Wincy sliding to guitar duties again. The third incarnation had a new sound, going back to their late 70s to 80s new wave roots and forged a new sound that is both intriguing and compelling.
In late 2005, Wincy left Narda to pursue his craft and was replaced by Tani Santos. Through gigging and songwriting, Narda's sound metamorphosed into a more lo-fi, garage-oriented and straight-to-your-face ear candy wrapped with all-Filipino lyrics. In 2006, Yaps Estagle joined Narda for additional synth duties.
Jettisoning their sweet retro-pop sound from their previous material, Narda released 'Discotillion' on September 22, 2006. They went full throttle in a new direction, resulting with immediate, punk-influenced and pop-savvy in-your-face songs, armed with buzzy synths, primal guitars, furious drums and Katwo’s distinctive, seductive, and electrifying singing. Katwo had always been an excellent frontwoman and her voice has always had charm but there is something more urgent and compelling about the way she performed songs from Discotillion. The conviction comes across, especially on numbers like "Buti Nga" and the incredibly LSS-inducing "Ang Mitsa".