To date, Jay Durias is the only remaining constant figure of South Border, a band that became famous in the mid-1990s. And yet despite the changes that happened from within, Durias and the band have stayed relevant.
Why? For the South Border frontman, it goes back to their music.
“We didn’t come here to make porma,” said Durias. “One good example is Earth, Wind, and Fire. Toto had numerous singers but none of that matters. It’s the music naman. We are here for the music and as long as people are here to listen us, we will keep going.”
South Border has produced many hits – from Kahit Kailan, Ikaw Nga, to Rainbow – with different vocalist in Brix Ferraris, Luke Mejares, Duncan Ramos, and Vince Alaras. When asked about the vocalists leaving the band, Durias said the band didn’t restrict their members into staying, which is perhaps the reason why he has formed a good relationship with his past bandmates.
“With South Border, through the albums that we released, I’ve been closely working with the singers. Like for the first album, it was Brix. Mostly ako ang nagsulat. Sa second album, halos ako pa rin kasi umalis na si Brix noon. Si Luke na ang pumalit sa kanya. Nung fourth album, it’s a different story. it was Vince and Duncan. These guys are songwriters too,” said Durias.
“I would say that I’m not really holding them down in the neck,” added Durias when asked about their former vocalists. “They can leave anytime. They can come back anytime. There are moments that we get to reunite with past vocalist. We are purely music.”
Even with the changing voices, South Border has stayed in the minds of Filipino music fans so much that when Durias remains known as the member of the group even with solo projects.
“I tried that (solo) but they always call me ‘Uy, si South Border.’ So walang use,” said Durias with a smile. That’s why I retained being South Border. I came out with solo projects but it was like a side project within the existence of South Border… When I came back to the States with my fellow bandmates, I still pursue my music here and tried to establish Jay Durias. But, ‘yun na nga, ‘Uy, si South Border.’ South Border na lang.”
Recently, Durias had also collaborated with other artists including Pinoy group SB19 and he expressed his elation towards working with young people who has the same passion for music as he has.
“Lately, I’ve been producing this new boy group called SB19. I did their ‘What’ and ‘MAPA,’ co-produced that and arranged. I’m so glad that I’m still in the game,” said Durias. “Very short relationship lang but it was good.”
“Sometimes kasi when you are in this age, I’ve seen a lot of generations na. With South Border, I was just 15. It’s a good feeling. A familiar feeling na nakasama ko sila. I can see the drive, the hunger, the drive itself and the passion that is burning inside the kids. I can relate to that because we’ve experienced that,” said Durias.