BENCH MEETS Ninyo Frias

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Shirt & jacket by BENCH
Photography by Cenon Norial III
Styling by Carla Villanueva

Words by Margarita Buenaventura

Wednesday used to be just another day of the week–the middle child between Monday hell and weekend freedom. But in the past two years, Manila’s night owls have something to look forward to mid-week: a hot hip-hop mess in the form of Black Market’s Bad Decisions Wednesday.

Where regular clubs try to best each other with strict dress codes and overpriced booze, Bad Decisions goes in the opposite direction. Host Ninyo Frias, one of the brains behind the operation, is happy to report that they’ve chucked all the glitz and glamour that Manila’s other clubs are so fond of. Nursing a Bad Decisions hangover on a Thursday afternoon, BENCH sits down with the host-cum-guerilla retailer to talk about twerking videos, Japanese strippers, and why artistas will never get the VIP treatment as far as he and his crew are concerned.

Hey, Ninyo! Any reason why your name is spelled without the Ñ?

(Laughs) Wala naman. Nung bata kasi ako I didn’t know how to type the Ñ sa keyboard so ganito nalang yung spelling.

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I’ve always wondered, how’d you come up with Bad Decisions Wednesdays?

We started 2013, and at that point we were so sick of the club scene. So we thought, “Why don’t we make a shitty party and just watch people eat it up?” It worked! We show videos of people twerking, ratchet dancing. Like last night, sobrang kadiri na. (Laughs) Sa anniv namin, may two Japanese strippers with a pole pa. I have a day job, so I took this so I could have a breather. As one of the hosts, what I do is that I book the DJ. Kasi you have to maintain the vibe. Ano yung advantage namin sa ibang establishment? The music and the vibe. If the music’s not good, the vibe’s gonna be shit.

How different is it now compared to when it started?

Same pa rin eh. Pero now mas marami nang tao. I remember before, kami-kami lang nandiyan kaya lagi kaming lasing. (Laughs) Now, ang dami nang tao. Like sometimes yung line abot hanggang kalye.

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Sweatshirt & joggers by BENCH

Are you the only place in town with a hip-hop night?

No, marami nang sumabay na clubs, who tried to make a hip-hop night on Wednesdays but failed. I really think it’s the vibe. We really get a variation of people who come here. Usually medyo yung pretentious yung crowd in other places, parang, “O, bili ako nang bote para lang makita lang na marami akong pera.” Walang VIP dito. Even people who are medyo sikat, we don’t let them stay behind the DJ. Don’t stay there. They think when they come into a club, they have to have special treatment, and we’re really trying to break that kind of thinking.

You’re also busy with a couple of other things. What do you do on other days of the week?

I have a job, like a stupid job. (Laughs) I also have a brand, siguro ilang months palang kami. It’s called Bastard. Medyo punk-ish streetwear. ‘Pag nakita mo yung shirts ko, p*ta, lahat itim. Hindi naman rebel, pero outcast. All my life, yung feeling ko is I never fit in. Ito yung point na parang fuck it, I don’t really care. As of now, we have shirts, hoodies. Eventually gusto ko na parang Supreme, with the skate culture. We’re stocked in Cubao X. We have four designs, capsule collection siya. I just have a bunch of shirts in my trunk, you know, guerrilla style.

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