Cheats were born out of an idea in Jim Bacarro’s head, in the wake of his former band's silent passing, to make upbeat, celebratory music in the vein of his heroes LCD Soundsystem and Arcade Fire. Longtime bassist and musical cohort Manny Tanglao was the first to enter the fold, and the pair began fiddling around with a drum machine and came up with some tunes. Their fledgling sound changed considerably when both Saab Magalona and Candy Gamos wanted in on the fun, adding lovely girl harmonies and Spice Girls-meets-riot grrl feistiness. Soon, other musician-friends got involved, and by May 2013, Cheats were ready to play their first show.
As more shows were played and more songs were written, a more-or-less permanent lineup of the band coalesced, with Jim on vocals, keys, and guitar, Saab and Candy on vocals, Manny on bass, Jason Caballa and Kyle Quismundo on guitars, and Enzo Hermosa on drums. The name “Cheats” was chosen out of their collective love for video games, in which they indulge as much as their free time (from school or their respective day jobs) permits. Still, they eventually amassed enough tunes for a full-length record, which they began tracking with the guidance of Ely Buendia (Eraserheads, Pupil, The Oktaves) as producer. But it was in the live realm that Cheats started to build a positive reputation, as the band’s sets have been characteristically lively and engaging from the onset, and memorable numbers like “Eye,” “Headfoam,” and customary set-closer “Accidents” have become familiar to their growing fanbase even before recorded versions were released.
In July 2015, Cheats’ self-titled debut album was released. The band launched the record to an enthusiastic crowd at SaGuijo Café, a crowd so large that it broke previous alcohol sales records at the famed live music venue. The album continues to sell at a steady rate, thanks to the strength of singles like “Again, Professor Manny” and “Summer.” Since then, they’ve performed a number of major music festivals in the country and abroad, including Wanderland, Paradise International Music Festival, and Singapore’s Laneway Festival in 2016, becoming the first and (so far) only Filipino act to perform at the latter. In early 2017, the band returned to the studio, this time with producer Raymund Marasigan (Eraserheads, Sandwich, Pedicab), to track their second album, entitled Before The Babies. It is scheduled for release before the year ends, and advance singles like “Crumble” and “Talk” have already become fan favorites on Spotify and during the band’s live sets. A consistent crowd-drawer, Cheats continue to leave longtime fans impressed and elated with every show they play, and succeed in making new converts to their indie rock cause.