On The Records: Sunmantra

Saat memutuskan mengajak visual artist Psychobiji untuk tampil di malam final NYLON Face Off, kami langsung membayangkan aksi musik apa yang tepat bila disandingkan dengan visual liquid nan trippy yang akan diracik olehnya. Pilihan kami pun jatuh pada Sunmantra, duo indie electronic Jakarta yang terdiri dari Jonathan “Jojo” Pardede dan Bernadus Fritz Adinugroho, and we proudly says we make a right choice. Musik techno andalan Sunmantra seperti “Silver Ray”, “Elusive Synergy”, dan “When You Bite My Lips” seolah bersinergi sempurna dengan visual yang disajikan sebagai backdrop. It feels like a match made in audio visual heaven dan membuat NYLON Face Off tahun ini begitu memorable.

Tercetus dari tahun 2012, Sunmantra sejatinya bermula dari proyek long distance saat Jojo dan Fritz masih berkuliah di negara yang berbeda. Sesi tukar-menukar file Digital Audio Workstation menjadi jalan bagi mereka untuk membuat lagu-lagu techno yang diramu dengan genre lain seperti krautrock, shoegaze, atau elemen apapun yang mereka anggap menyenangkan dan bisa membantu lagu yang sedang digarap agar terdengar lebih hidup. Sampai sekarang pun, walau telah stay di kota yang sama, metode ini masih mereka jalankan. “Kita jarang banget ngerjain lagu bareng, biasanya kita satu studio kalau udah mau mixing. Semua draft musik dibuat di studio masing-masing. Jadi bisa aja kita bikin lagu sendiri-sendiri terus baru dipilih yang mana yang cocok buat Sunmantra, sisanya kita pakai buat proyek pribadi,” ungkap mereka.

 Nama Sunmantra sendiri bisa dibilang muncul secara magis di mimpi Jojo. “Jadi di dalam mimpi itu gue lagi di atas panggung di sebuah festival dan ngeliat drum head-nya bertuliskan ‘Sunmantra’, nah setelah bangun gue langsung chat Fritz dan bilang, ‘Kayanya kita harus punya band namanya ‘Sunmantra’,” kenang Jojo. Magis dan menghipnotis, diperkuat oleh ciri khas mereka memakai facepaint saat manggung, penampilan live Sunmantra adalah salah satu aksi lokal yang wajib dinantikan dan disaksikan dengan mata kepala sendiri. “Waktu live, mindset kita adalah ‘menghibur penonton’ jadi kita taruh posisi kita dalam point of view-nya penonton, jadi gimana caranya kita bikin live set kita seseru mungkin. Bisa aja kita pakai yang sama dengan recording, bisa juga berbeda, kita lihat bigger picture dari set-nya sendiri.”

            Dengan respons positif yang terus diraih lewat beberapa single dan live act yang seru, wajar jika banyak orang penasaran mengapa Sunmantra belum merilis album apapun. Sambil tertawa, mereka menjelaskan jika sebetulnya dari dua tahun lalu mereka sudah ingin sekali merilis album di bawah nama Sunmantra yang sayangnya akhirnya terus tertunda karena kesibukan keduanya di proyek masing-masing. “Tahun ini kita bakal rilis sesuatu sih, semoga bisa dirilis sebelum puasa,” janji mereka dengan singkat. Sempat mengerjakan beberapa remix untuk musisi lain, saya pun menanyakan kolaborasi impian mereka. “Mungkin Sasha Grey ya? Suaranya bagus banget. Kita rasa untuk Sunmantra yang musiknya cenderung gelap bisa cocok sih,” tutup mereka.

            Sembari menunggu materi berikutnya, Jojo dan Fritz pun mengungkapkan beberapa album yang paling berpengaruh dalam karier musik mereka. Foto oleh: Bhrahu Pradipto.

Jojo:

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Bad Music for Bad People

The Cramps

Kalau nggak ada album ini mungkin gue nggak nge-band sih, dari SMP gue udah tergila-gila sama Lux Interior dan Poison Ivy, panggung mereka selalu powerful dan energetic.

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Their Satanic Majesties’ Second Request

The Brian Jonestown Massacre
Album ini membuat gue akhirnya milih kerja di musik setelah lulus SMA.

sound of silver

Sound of Silver

LCD Soundsystem
Album yang selalu membuat gue terkesima dalam pemilihan sound-nya. Nggak nyangka dance music bisa dibikin sekece ini.

Fritz:

rotten apples

Rotten Apples

The Smashing Pumpkins

Dulu kira-kira tahun 2004-an gue beli kaset ini zaman masih nyari-nyari sound gitar. abis dengerin album ini gue langsung ngulik efek dan mulai nemuin sound yang gue suka.

 nin-with-teeth-cover

With Teeth

Nine Inch Nails

CD ini masih ada di mobil gue sampai sekarang, lumayan bisa dibilang kalau nggak dengerin ini gue kayaknya nggak bakal mikir buat dengerin techno, EBM, dan kawan-kawannya.

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Nite Versions

Soulwax

Gue doyan banget album mereka ini, salah satu yang bikin gue penasaran buat ngulik synthesizer dan mulai nyoba bikin lagu yang isinya nggak full gitar-gitaran aja.

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Winning Pitch, An Interview With SALES

Hampir mirip seperti prinsip ekonomi, duo indie pop SALES memproduksi musik yang terdengar seminimal mungkin untuk menghasilkan musik berkualitas maksimal.

Sejak pertama kali merilis single perdana bertajuk “renee” di akhir 2013 lalu, SALES yang merupakan kolaborasi dari dua sahabat lama Lauren Morgan (vokal/gitar) dan Jordan Shih (gitar/programming) telah mendapat apresiasi positif dan termasuk salah satu band yang paling banyak dibahas di blog walaupun belum merilis album apapun. Relaxed and intimate, duo asal Orlando, Florida ini meramu musik lo-fi pop minimalis berbasis gitar dengan unsur folk di mana vokal Lauren yang whispery mengalun ringan di antara aransemen memikat racikan Jordan. April lalu, mereka pun merilis sendiri self-titled LP perdana mereka secara DIY dengan 15 lagu di dalamnya, termasuk single seperti “ivy” serta “jamz” yang sangat adiktif dan terasa “penuh” di balik segala kesederhanaan musik yang mereka usung. Setelah menghasilkan sebuah timeless bedroom pop album terbaik yang kami dengar tahun ini dan menyelesaikan tur Amerika mereka, keduanya kembali ke Orlando untuk istirahat sejenak dan menjawab beberapa pertanyaan dari kami.

Jadi, bagaimana kalian pertama kali bertemu dan memutuskan untuk bikin musik bareng? Kami bertemu saat SMA dan musik menjadi mutual interest kami walaupun kami datang dari latar musik yang berbeda. Jordan memproduksi musik elektronik dari kamar tidurnya dan bermain tenor saxophone di marching band, sementara Lauren tumbuh besar belajar piano dan gitar. Kami telah berkolaborasi sekitar sepuluh tahun.

Apa cerita di balik nama band kalian? Orangtua Lauren bekerja sebagai sales people yang bekerja demi komisi. Mereka menjual macam-macam benda dari mulai permen, pasta gigi, obat-obatan, wine, teh, hingga herbal vape pens dan industrial oil/lubricant untuk menyebut segelintirnya.

Apa saja yang menjadi influens musikal untuk SALES? I think we are more so inspired by other artists, rather than influenced. Kami mencoba mendorong musik kami sejauh yang kami bisa. Kami selalu bingung menjawab pertanyaan ini karena kami mendengarkan banyak sekali musik dan tampil bersama banyak inspiring musicians both big and small. Menyebutkan hanya beberapa nama terasa tidak adil bagi kami.

Saya sangat menikmati LP kalian. Apa yang menjadi tema besar yang ingin kalian angkat di album ini? Thanks, we are glad you like it. Tidak ada tema khusus untuk album ini, tapi sejak pertama kali kami membuat musik, kami membagikannya ke teman-teman kami yang datang dan pergi seiring waktu. Kami hanya membuat musik yang ingin kami dengar, it is music to share with your friends. We recorded it all in an untreated bedroom studio. 

sales-lp

Kalau soal songwriting sendiri? Songwriting is collaborative, kami saling melengkapi secara kreatif dengan kompak. Jordan sangat teliti soal arrangement, aspek teknis dari rekaman, dan menemukan that million dollar baby moment dari 30 minutes long take. Lauren adalah penulis lirik dan gitaris yang cenderung improvisational. Pada akhirnya, jika kami tidak sepakat pada satu hal, kami akan mundur sejenak dan baru akan kembali menghadapinya dengan pikiran yang lebih jernih dan tenang. We usually can always reach understanding since we both just want what is best for the song.

Bagaimana kalian mendeskripsikan genre kalian? Apakah kalian terganggu jika orang menyebut musik kalian sebagai “twee”? We are okay with whatever label gets stuck on the project–labels happen and “twee” fills up our hearts. Musik kami sangat dipengaruhi oleh pilihan kami untuk tetap independen. We think our sound stands on its own, and isn’t what you’d expect.  

Untuk Lauren, adakah vokalis perempuan yang kamu kagumi? Tentu saja ada banyak sekali vokalis perempuan yang saya kagumi dan tidak bisa saya sebut satu per satu. Tapi ketika masih sekolah saya pernah mendapat tugas untuk presentasi soal Billie Holiday, she was an early inspiration for me.

Apa yang membuat kalian memilih Alana Questell untuk membuat artwork album ini? Alana telah membuat artwork dari mulai single pertama sampai LP kami. Artwork kolase yang ia buat sangat interpretif dan berdiri sendiri, terpisah dari musiknya sendiri. Like the songs, the artwork may mean something different to everyone– there is room for your story.

Boleh cerita soal skena musik di kota asal kalian, Orlando? We love it walaupun kami melihat banyak teman-teman musisi datang dan pergi. It is rough to have a scene when everyone is there temporarily. Tapi, selalu ada sesuatu yang terjadi, banyak orang dan venue yang menggelar show, festival, dan acara komunitas. We don’t really go out much though. Kami lebih sering menghabiskan waktu membuat musik, makan di restoran, masak di rumah, atau main tenis.

Bagaimana rasanya tampil live di panggung bagi kalian? Every night is unique with a different city and the same songs. Kami mencoba membuka diri kami ke crowd dan menampilkan show yang bagus. Jordan tidak terlalu excited soal tur (low key stage-fright), tapi dia belajar menghadapinya dan melakukannya dengan baik.

Apa yang menjadi career highlight sejauh ini? Our sold-out L.A. show at the Troubadour was one of the best shows we have ever played. We got late night dinner after the show in Thai town. We will never forget those feels. 

Apa yang kalian kerjakan di luar musik? Musik adalah full time job kami. Kami memilih untuk tetap independen dan melakukan semuanya sendiri dari menjawab undangan manggung, mengurus berkas pajak, merencanakan tur Eropa, dan tur Amerika kami berikutnya di bulan Oktober. We love making music, jadi kami akan terus melakukannya. Selain itu, Lauren hobi berkebun di rumah barunya dan main gitar sedangkan Jordan suka memasak dan mencoba menjadi the Prince of Tennis.

Karena ini Summer Issue kami, apa hal favorit dan rencana kalian untuk musim panas? Kami baru saja membatalkan sisa jadwal tur untuk musim panas agar kami bisa istirahat dan punya waktu untuk menyiapkan materi selanjutnya dan mengurus segi bisnis. SALES sedang tumbuh dan kami ingin meyakinkan diri jika kami juga bisa berkembang lebih jauh. Rencana kami untuk musim panas tahun ini adalah mempertajam LP kami, menambahkan elemen baru yang bisa kami pakai di live show, dan mencari Patbingsu di Orlando.

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Follow SALES: https://sales.bandcamp.com/

Foto oleh: Carlos Quinteros Jr.

 

After School Rock, An Interview with No Vacation

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Hailed from San Francisco, indie-pop duo No Vacation began as dorm room project between Basil Saleh and Sabrina Mai as a way for the former to fight his personal depression. With influences from different musical backgrounds, they’re making their debut “mixtape” called Amo XO which basically a collection of summer-ish buoyant and hazy pop songs perfectly crafted for lazy summer days. Here’s my interview with Basil about the band.

Amo X

Hi Basil! How are you? Where are you right now and what are you doing before answering this email?

Hi, so nice to hear from you! Right now I am at the cafe right now with my favorite iced coffee. I just finished my last final exams of the semester earlier today. I haven’t got much sleep this week because I’ve been busy studying, so I’m a bit tired, haha. I think Sabrina is helping her girlfriend move out of her suite right now.

So, how was it started? What prompted you to make a band? 

I had found Sabrina’s SoundCloud and fell in love with her singing. Also, we both had history class together, and had mutual friends, so we were already familiar with each other. I remember I used to be really attracted to one of her friends. One day I went to her friend’s bedroom expecting to get some alone time, and to my dismay, Sabrina was already inside playing guitar along to some music on the floor. Now that I knew she had a guitar, I later invited her to jam with me in the laundromat (even though back then, I was pretty bad at guitar), and that’s kinda how the band got started. The two of us writing songs and playing covers down in the dusty laundromat when we had free time after class. The only song we still have from that time is “August”. Some of the other old songs we wrote were pretty good now that I think about it, I might bring them back in some form or another someday for a future No Vacation record.

What’s the story behind the name?

Well, I’m not exactly the most diligent student in the world, and after my first semester of university, my grades were bad enough to get me put on academic probation. I knew that I would have a very busy time ahead of me because I not only had to get my grades up, and become very studious, but also put in a lot of time with the new band. So after we recorded the mixtape and were trying to come up with a name for ourselves, No Vacation seemed pretty spot-on, as a little reference to how busy I was going to be. (Oh, and my grades are fine now by the way!)

You define your sound as Post-Tropical Sadcore, care to elaborate more? And what were the biggest influences for your music?

That description really just started as a joke, I found a bunch of fake genres names on an emo music blog and thought it would be funny to have that as our genre. Somewhat coincidentally, this joke descriptor ended up being really truthful, as a lot of our songs have a sweet sunny melody (hence the post-tropical), along with sad lyrics (the sadcore).

As for music influences, we are all really into bands like The Smiths, Toro y Moi, and Two Door Cinema Club and also local Bay Area indie bands like Surf Club, Leer, and The Bilinda Butchers. Personally speaking I’ve taken a lot of influence from shoegaze bands like My Bloody Valentine, and also electronic music producers like Nujabes.

Is there any particular influences from San Francisco itself that reflected on your music?

Yeah, the scenery and atmosphere here is a huge influence for us, the city is very chilled out and fun, so it inspires us to write our very melodic indie-pop. I think we would sound completely different if we lived elsewhere.

Tell me the story of Amo XO, how’s the creative process and who usually wrote up the lyrics?

Sometime after playing our first show together as just the two of us, I told Sabrina i didn’t want to be in a band together anymore, because I wanted to make really loud and heavier sounding music (having been in mostly punk bands before).  Around this time, I was dealing with a lot of depression. One of my best friends had just moved from SF back to Austin, and I started feeling isolated and alone all the time. I remember spending a lot of Christmas break either locked inside my room, or wandering around taking long walks at night. I was consumed with a lot of negative feelings. I guess calling Sabrina and asking her if she wanted to record some songs with me was my way of reaching out and trying to get help. She was super happy to pick up where we had left off, and we went to her friend’s home studio with a lot of new ideas.

We had each written most of the songs on Amo XO apart from each other by ourselves. So we recorded our individual songs by ourselves, and then once those versions were recorded, I came in and played the other instruments (adding in lead guitar, bass, and synth, and the beats) and did the backing vocals, so most of the songs (with the exception of the two acoustic tracks) ended up sounding completely new and being very collaborative when we were done. I came up with the concept of using samples and outside sounds in the mixtape, so that the mixtape would have more of a story: thematically following the arc of a day, with the intro, interlude, and outro tracks representing early morning, noon, and night.

Near the end of the session, we were still one song short, so I went home and wrote the riff for “Beach Bummer”. Since we usually write our own lyrics and just bounce them off each other, the next day we came up with our individual lyrics together and finished recording.

I still remember us getting the finished mixtape on CD after our final day in the studio and feeling the happiest I’ve ever felt just driving around playing the songs over and over on the car speakers and eating falafels.

Do you remember your first gig? How was it?

Our first gig was really special, we have our keyboardist Nat to thank for that. She got us the gig, through this SF based collective called The Secret Show Society that plans and throws annual hidden shows in different remote locations and only promotes the shows by word of mouth. So it was cool playing our first gig as No Vacation to a big crowd at such a cool event, and we were able to play a really good first show and kind of stun the crowd. The people who had listened to Amo XO already were super shocked with how loud and energetic we were live, and the people who hadn’t heard it yet thought we were some kind of shoegazing punk band.

What’s the most memorable gig so far?

We just played the legendary SF venue Bottom of the Hill, and it was an incredible experience. I was ridiculously nervous because it was the biggest show we’ve played so far and we had just played two awful shows in the weeks before where my guitar broke. This time we were playing in front of a packed venue, with some big music business people in the crowd. But we played our best gig yet and gave all the fans a great show, so that was super relieving!

Also, that night, my all time favourite band, The Bilinda Butchers came out to see us and I got to chat with them after the show, it was so cool meeting my heroes and finding out that they are just like me!

What’s the next plan?

We have grown so fast for being such a young and new band, it’s been such a humbling experience for me. We just want to keep spreading our music and growing our audience, as well as becoming a better band and better musicians. Thanks to Converse, we got to record some new songs in their professional studio with Rubber Tracks SF. We think people will love the new EP we have coming out. No Vacation is no longer just two people, we are a full band with five members now, and the new songs reflect this.  Our new stuff has a lot more energy now but still retains the trademark style that fans of our songs are used to.

I think the next step is for us to find a record label that can help us expand even further. We want to play big festivals like Coachella someday, just like all the bands we love. We also want to tour in Europe and Asia as well because we have a lot of fans outside of the U.S. that we would love to play for.

Last, where’s your dream vacation would be?

I went to a lot of cool places as a kid when my dad took me on his travels. But right now i’m discovering so much just in San Francisco and having so much fun just living my life. But to answer the question, I listen to a lot of Japanese music, so I guess my dream vacation would be to go on tour there with my band and play some gigs there and explore Tokyo. I’d also like to visit both Austin and Boston in the U.S. sometime soon to visit my friends there and see some of the great local bands in those cities.

NoVacation

https://novacationgrrl.bandcamp.com/

On The Records: Paperwhite

PaperwhiteLike it or not, Brooklyn is still the Mecca of eclectic musicians in States. Following the foot step of interesting upcoming musicians from Brooklyn is Paperwhite, a dream pop duo that consisted of siblings Katie and Ben Marshall. Mixing a lush production of synth-based melodies and beautiful vocal, the duo are succeeded to bring shimmering sounds of modern pop with slight hint of nostalgic retro and a warm feeling of Summer days.

Hi Katie & Ben, how are you? Where are you right now and what were you guys doing before answering this email?
Katie: Hey! We are currently at Ben’s apartment in Brooklyn. We just had a great rehearsal down the street where we were preparing some of our new music for our live set! It’s finally feeling like summer over here, so we took the long way home, got some ice cream and enjoyed the sun!

As siblings, do you always know you’re gonna make music together? And what really prompt you to finally do it?
Ben: We have always known that we would work on music together because we have been collaborating for years but the exciting part is that we had no idea that we would find a style of music in which we could both take a lead. While writing some of the first Paperwhite’s songs, it finally felt like we had a path for our collaborations to take off. Once we felt that synchronization, we knew we had to stick with it!

Where were you guys grew up? What were you listening to back then and how do you think its influence your music in Paperwhite?
Katie: We grew up in Pennsylvania, outside of Philadelphia. There is a three and a half year age difference between us (Ben is older), so at times we were listening to different types of music but we both have drawn a lot of inspiration from bands through different decades. Some include bands like Tears for Fears and Wilson Philips to Motown artists and even more modern bands like The Postal Service.

I know that previously Ben is also with Savoir Adore, how about you Katie? What were you doing before Paperwhite?
Katie: Before Paperwhite, I was a student at Berklee College of Music, which is also Ben’s alma mater. At the time, I was focusing on songwriting and performance. Once I graduated in 2013, it allowed Ben and I to focus on Paperwhite. The ideas and music have been blossoming ever since!

What’s the story behind the name?
Ben: Well, this is kind of a two part story. During Katie’s senior year at Berklee, she wrote a song called “Paperwhites.” She was working at a flower shop and was inspired by the paperwhite flower. So when we were coming up with a name for the band, it was already kind of in the back of our heads. One day we posted a clip of the song on Instagram and hashtagged it #paperwhite and a friend of Katie’s commented that he liked our new band name. So even though it was just an accident, we decided it was a sign and went for it!

How was the creative process for two of you?
Katie: Ben typically takes on the role as the producer/arranger and I typically focus on more songwriter duties like melody, chords, and lyrics. It has worked out well because our weaknesses are each other’s strengths. Our goal is to make well-structured songs that create a certain mood whether it’s to dance or to feel a particular emotion.

What is the story for your latest single “Magic” and how do you feel about the response so far?
Ben: The idea for “Magic” came to us on Jan 1, 2014. Looking back now, it feels like such an indicator for the year. We started off strong which is inspiring to us. We are very grateful and thrilled with the response from “Magic”. It has shown us that we are heading in the right direction!

How was your first live show? Do you have any challenge to bring you music in live perform?
The live show is always evolving. So yes, the first show was an experiment, but it was a successful one. There are definitely some tricky things to figure out in terms of getting the recordings into a live set, but it just gets better and better each time we play out.

Could you spill some info about upcoming release? Is it gonna be EP, single, or maybe an LP?
For now we are sticking with singles… but there just may be an EP sooner than later.

How do you think about Brooklyn’s music scene nowadays?
We are very excited to be a part of the Brooklyn music scene. Our peers and mentors are all in the same area and are doing amazing things and releasing awesome music. The sense of community and comradely here is wonderful. We feel that Brooklyn has a lot more talent coming its way!

What’s next for Paperwhite?
The next goal is to bring our listeners more music and hopefully with that start playing outside of NYC. We would love to tour sometime in the near future!

Mixtape: Sex Sux

sexsux

Terdiri dari sepasang suami-istri bernama Deni (vokal/gitar/harmonika) dan Melly (vokal/gitar/ukulele/keyboard) serta iPod untuk bunyi loop drum, aksi duo dari Bogor ini meramu musik indie pop berfidelitas rendah yang mengingatkanmu akan band-band seminal seperti The Vaselines, The Pastels, Beat Happening, dan Vivian Girls. “Awalnya gue nggak pernah mau seband sama pacar/suami, karena gue males kalau kehidupan personal kecampur aduk sama ngeband. Terus Deni ajak latihan, gue ikut, bawain lagu yang Deni tulis (“Catch Up”, “Frown”) dan lagu itu emang cocok banget buat Sex Sux. Hati gue mulai terpanggil, tapi gue bener-bener nggak mau kalo kita lagi ada masalah, band ikut terpengaruh (waktu itu kita masih pake drummer manusia), sehingga akhirnya kita putuskan, udah lah kita berdua bener-bener berdua aja. Kita tendang si drummer baru proyek ini bisa berjalan. Jadi kalo kita berantem, terus berpengaruh ke band, yang kena rasanya juga kita berdua doang. Hehe. akhirnya baru gue sepakat untuk ngejalanin Sex Sux. Pas awal-awal ngejalanin Sex Sux, gue lagi seneng-senengnya dengerin Vivian Girls. Mungkin secara musik nggak terlalu mempengaruhi sih. Tapi justru gue seneng ngeliat attitude mereka dalam band. Gue pengen ngejalanin band yang fun, bisa ngelakuin apa yang kita mau, pokoknya semua kita bikin fun aja,” ungkap Melly tuntas tentang cerita terbentuknya band yang namanya diambil dari salah satu judul lagu The Vaselines di album Dum Dum ini. Untungnya, unsur fun yang mereka idamkan itu berhasil ditampilkan dalam album debut mereka, Sing Along With Bananas, yang dirilis HeyHo! Records bulan April lalu. Berisi 10 lagu dengan tema-tema menarik seperti zombie, kucing peliharaan, sampai ubur-ubur, album ini dipenuhi singalong chorus dan reverb noise yang catchy. Pertanyaan terakhir, kenapa suka sekali kucing? “Kenapa orang nggak suka kucing?” Melly balik bertanya, “Bagaimana mungkin ada yang bisa menahan diri melihat muka yang lucu itu?” sambung Deni. Well said.

“Marathon”

Tennis

Sebenarnya lagu ini soal terjebak di badai pas mereka berlayar. Lagunya terlalu riang untuk dianggap lagu soal pertaruhan nyawa di tengah badai.  Namun, tetap saja lagunya secara keseluruhan asik buat diputar di luar rumah kalau cuacanya sedang bersahabat dan bikin kita ingin mencoba berlayar.

“Christmas Island”

Lake

Deni itu fans berat Adventure Time.  Berkat Adventure Time dia tahu lagu ini, dan menjadi salah satu lagu favorit.  Dia bahkan pernah seharian cuma muter lagu ini.  Lagunya sendiri mengajak kita bertualang dengan lirik seperti “Come along with me/ To a place beside the sea/ We can wander through the forest/ And do so as we please.”

“Meet Me In The City”

The Babies

Kita berdua pernah jalan-jalan keliling kota mutar album pertama The Babies yang ada lagu ini, on repeat di stereo mobil.  Boleh dibilang lagu ini jadi anthem jalan-jalan kita.

 

“Grass Skirt”

All Girl Summer Fun Band

Lagunya bikin ingin pakai grass skirt, ngambil ukulele, sambil nyanyi-nyanyi di pantai.

“Indian Summer”

Beat Happening

Calvin Johnson itu jenius.

“Fantastic Cat”

Takako Minekawa

Lagu ini mungkin tersegmen untuk pencinta kucing.  Kalau mendengar lagu ini kita inginnya selama liburan cuma di rumah dan main bersama kucing kesayangan. Ngeliat mereka cuma tiduran seharian itu sangat menyenangkan loh.

“I’m Drunk, How About You?”

Melting Bitches

Liburan itu waktunya membuang semua pikiran.  Lagu dari labelmates kita yang satu ini bisa menjadi buaian paling pol untuk membuang pikiran.  Literally.

“Tree Hugger”

Antsy Pants

Kita anggap ini adalah lagu terbaik untuk bermain gitar kopong depan api unggun.  Kecuali tentu bila teman kemping kita lebih memilih untuk nyanyi bareng lagu “More Than Words.”

“All The Time”

Vivian Girls

Pergi liburan itu perlu semangat ekstra.  Kita ngerasa lagu ini adalah the perfect pick-me-up buat memulai liburan.

“Party In The U.S.A.”

Miley Cyrus

Kita bukan jenis-jenis yang suka partying atau apalah, tapi setiap lagu ini keluar kita selalu ingin PARTYAnd the Miley’s song is on, nodding our heads like ‘yeah’.

 sexsuxtee

http://sex-sux.tumblr.com/

On The Records: Outerhope

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Philippines surely not very far from Indonesia, but unfortunately, I’m totally not aware of their music scene, let alone the indie scene of it. Last Philippines music caught on my radar after the anthemic “Manila Girl” is probably Christian Bautista who gain some amount of fanbase in Indonesia. That’s it. But once again, thanks God for the internet, I educate myself by try to find some indie bands from Philippines and bumped into Ouerhope, a sibling duo from Quezon City who make a very nice indiepop tunes filled with childhood melancholia. It was love at the first heard, then I download their new EP for free on their bandcamp and send an email a.k.a love letter to know them better.

Hello Mike & Micaela, where are you right now and what’s the scenery outside your windows?

Micaela: We are at my studio in the Cubao district of Quezon City. We both live and work here; Mike’s place is across the driveway. Outside the window there is a large warehouse rooftop, and sky, telephone wires and treetops above; to the left a street sloping downhill and a house with vines, and some dilapidated buildings. Beyond we can see a few tall buildings towering from the old shopping district of Cubao, and a fraction of the train line above EDSA, Metro Manila’s main thoroughfare.

 When the first time you decide to make music together?

One day in 2004, we tried to compose songs together. That afternoon we wrote two, which made it to our first LP Strangely Paired: “Sky High Blue” and “Morning After.”

What instrument do you play? And how did you learn?

Micaela:  I had a toy keyboard when I was little and made melodies with it. I learned about keys and time signatures by paying attention in grade school music class. I got my first keyboard on my 11th birthday. It was a Yamaha Portasound. I can’t quite explain why, but instead of classical piano lessons my parents made me take organ lessons.  It was the late eighties after all!

Mike: I took up classical guitar lessons briefly when I was in the 3rd grade but got quite impatient with the songs on the syllabus.  I think Tom Dooley really challenged my sanity.  I was made to wear rubber bands to separate my fingers every night for months – that actually might have done me some good in hindsight but at the time, it was too bizarre for me to keep up.  Eventually, I made the escape into just teaching myself and learning from all the other kids who more likely than not, gave the exact same ridiculous excuse to get away from music that they couldn’t relate to.

 I read on your web that you’re inspired by children’s and 60s folk record, could you mention the particular ones?

We had the 1970 Sesame Street Book and Record, which had some great songs. We particularly liked a track called “Nearly Missed”, sung by Susan. We also had a Puff the Magic Dragon record, and a lovely version of Hush Little Baby, which stood out among other nursery rhyme records my mother played before we went to sleep.

Our mom was a big fan of 60s pop, and taught us Everly Brothers harmonies. She loved Claudine Longet and other little-voiced girl singers from that era. As we grew up we were also drawn to Simon and Garfunkel and Joni Mitchell.

 What are your biggest musical influences?

 Micaela: Aside from the childhood stuff I listened a lot to The Sundays in my teen years, then went on to Cocteau Twins, Belle and Sebastian, The Pearlfishers.  We were big on 80s teen movies, which often had great soundtracks.

 Mike: We went through a lot of different phases, hopping from genre to genre like most people growing up.  It’s almost impossible really to figure out which artist or song influenced us the most.  It’s likely that some bits and pieces made their way to the present but we try not to let that matter so much.  It makes it easier to consider that we can actually create something new by pretending to be oblivious.

 How would you describe your music?

There’s always that hint of nostalgia that ends up in the song whether it’s planned from the beginning or not. We suppose that having boy-girl harmonies and two distinct instruments, though circumstantial, reinforce that mood substantially.

 Who’s in charge for the lyric? And what things influence the lyric of your music?

We both write the lyrics, sometimes together and sometimes individually. Whether the subjects are imagined or experienced, the songs are always rather personal.

 What’s the story behind the band’s name?

The name came from the title of Nicola Barker’s book Five Miles from Outer Hope. Outer Hope is actually a real place, and we don’t know what it’s really like there but we liked the visual the words evoked.  Hopefully, we get to visit at some point in our lives.

 I enjoy your No End in Sight so much; I play it on repeat for hours, what’s the main theme for this record? Why do you choose to release it as an EP instead of full album?

Thank you so much, that means a lot to us. We knew that we were undergoing some changes musically and wanted to explore other sounds, new things we can do instrumentally and with our vocals. We revisited our childhood music just like in our first 2 records, but moved up a decade, and came up with something that wouldn’t be out of place in those teen movies we grew up with and loved.

Soon we received invites to the NYC and San Francisco Popfests, much to our excitement. And we didn’t have much time, so we decided to complete a 4-track EP instead of a full-length album in time for the shows.

How was your experience in SF and NYC Popfest?

We had an incredible time there! We met lots of great people. It was very surreal to perform at the popfests, we were so nervous but people were listening intently and even showed their appreciation by approaching us after our sets.  It was very humbling to have shared the stage with bands we genuinely admired but it also kind of boosted our confidence in performing and in writing songs the way we do.

Could you tell me a bit about indie scene in Philippines?

 It’s quite diverse given that not that many artists end up on big labels.  A number of independent labels have popped up over the years and that has really helped draw up a platform for more and more music to be created and distributed.

 What it feels like to be in band with your sibling? Do you guys have any other siblings?

We have an older sister, Mira, who is a full-time mom living in Ohio. Our younger brother Bobby lives in Berlin, where he’s writing his first book. He also instigated the creation of our label, Number Line Records, which we run with him regardless of the distance that separates us.

Being in a band with your sibling conveniently allows you to be very genuine when it comes to writing songs.  There’s no way you can be pretentious when the other person has seen you make all those decisions growing up.  We keep each other in check and that’s quite comforting.

 Next project? 

One of the songs on the No End in Sight EP will be rereleased on vinyl early this year along with tracks from the other artists on our label in this Number Line Records Anthology LP.  We’re also gearing up to write new material for a third full-length record before the year ends.

http://outerhope.bandcamp.com/

Influences: Deap Vally

The narrative fact of Lindsey Troy (vox & guitar) met Julie Edwards (drum) at a needlework class is pretty much could misleading you to false pretense. It’s might sounds like a perfect background story of some indie pop girl duo, but interestingly, they bonded over their mutual affection to blues, banging rock and roll, and pretty much anything from The Doors. Now, after two singles “Gonna Make My Own Money” and “End of The World”, which described by critic as “a scuzzy White Stripes meets Led Zeppelin”, the Los Angelese duo set their eyes for their upcoming debut album, while sharing stages with Thurston Moore,  Dinosaur Jr., The Vaccines, and Muse, among others.

What’s your first impression to each other?

Julie: I thought Lindsey seemed pretty high maintenance.

Lindsey: I thought Julie seemed annoyed. Turned out she was! I walked into a knitting shop that Julie was working at and was asking her loads of questions about the different balls of yarn. I guess I was a high-maintenance customer, but hey, I spent money! I also thought she had great hair. I went into the shop a few days later for a crochet class. There were only 3 of us there. Julie and I stayed at the shop late that night, chatting for hours about our musical histories while we crocheted. We really clicked — she was one of raddest people I’d met in years. After that I kept popping into her work all the time to visit her and the rest is history.

What made you want to start a band together?

Lindsey: Since I was a little girl I’ve wanted to play rock n roll. It’s always been my biggest hunger, what I dreamt about. It must be in my DNA. Life didn’t make sense before Deap Vally. Now it makes sense.

What did you listen to as a teenager and how did that affect you now?

Julie: Nine Inch Nails, The Doors, Soundgarden.  I like heavy music with a good beat, and that is the music I make.

Lindsey: The Beatles, The Doors, Hole, Nirvana, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The White Stripes. I’ve always loved rock’n’roll — the grittiness of it, the attitude, the inherent sexiness of it.

Do you still knitting right now? What’s your favorite pattern or things to knit?

Julie: scarves and handwarmers

noro

Lindsey: I’ve been knitting a lot of infinity-scarves recently. There’s a yarn I’m currently obsessed made by a Japanese company called Noro. It’s multi-colored hand-painted wool. It’s the most beautiful yarn I’ve ever seen. I bought every ball they had at the store, then made loads of Christmas presents with it! I think I’m ready to move into sweater territory though. I have a half-finished sweater that I started ages ago. It’s been neglected in my closet for a year and a half. I’ve decided I’m going to unravel the whole thing and start over. It’s been so long that I’m bored with the original design. Check back in a couple months and I’ll send you a picture…

What was the first concert you ever went to?

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Julie: Paula Abdul!

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Lindsey: Legend has it I rocked pretty hard in mother’s womb at a Bob Dylan concert she went to while pregnant with me. The first concert I ever went to without my parents was The Red Hot Chili Peppers. I was madly in love with both Flea and Anthony Kiedis. That was also my first time crowd surfing, and I lost my shoe in the process. I was 12.

Can you name any particularly influential albums for you?

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Julie: Led Zeppelin’s Physical, Nine Inch Nails’s The Downward Spiral.

hole

Lindsey: Hole’s Live Through This, Led Zeppelin’s Led Zeppelin I, The Beatles’ Abbey Road, The Doors’ Self-Titled, Elliott Smith’s Either/Or, Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ Fever to Tell.

Did you have any musical background?

Lindsey: I started playing piano when I was four. All throughout my childhood I was in a family band. It was real folky stuff, very family-friendly. We did mostly covers. The first time I plugged my electric guitar into an amp my life changed…for the better.

What was the first instrument you picked up? Did you teach yourself?

Lindsey: Piano. I started taking lessons when I was 4. My teacher was amazing. Super 80’s. She had died black hair with bangs and long red finger-nails. A total gem. I wonder what she’s doing these days…I think I should get back in touch with her…

Who are your style icons?

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Julie: Tina Turner, Madonna, Keith Richards.

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Lindsey: Thelma & Louise, Kelly Bundy, The Ramones, Madonna.

Do you have any favorite music video or movie or documentary?

somekindofmonster

Julie: Some Kind of Monster!!!

Madonna

Lindsey: Madonna’s “Truth or Dare”

What’s on your iPod right now?

Julie: Chelsea Wolfe, Goat, Here We Go Magic.

Lindsey: The Black Angels, Queens of the Stone Age, Fiona Apple.

What records always cheers you up?

the-meters

Julie: Anything by The Meters (the original Meters from back in the day).

stooges
Lindsey: Anything by The Stooges

Who’s in charge for the lyric and what’s the main inspiration?

Lindsey: We write everything together. Our inspiration comes from our lives and how we view the world–what we’ve experienced, what we see our friends experience, the things that go through our brains.

What does it feel like to be onstage?

Lindsey: The best thing ever.

What advice do you have for people wanting to start bands?

Lindsey: Just do it. Sit down and learn how to play an instrument. Don’t be afraid to make noise. Put the time in. Lose yourself in it. You won’t regret it.

Next project?

Deap Vally. 2013. World Domination.

http://deapvally.com/

On The Records: Pairs

Pairs1

“Just hate the idea of anyone googling my real name and getting any interviews I’ve done. Especially as I’m looking for a job at the moment,” said Xiao Zhong, vocalist/drummer and one half of Pairs, Shanghai based noise-rock duo, about his refusal to use his real name for any press interview from now on. Talk about anonymity, the fact that he’s actually Australian is feels as obscure as his female guitarist that goes with only a single alphabet (“F”) for her name. Formed around two years ago, this duo are known for their louder than bomb music, raw castatrophe and nonchalant attitude. After three albums (Pairs, Summer Sweat, Grandparent), last year they releasing their latest album called If This Cockroach Doesn’t Die, I Will, which recorded in some bomb shelter, and playing for gigs around Asia, including Indonesia few weeks ago. Unfortunately, I didn’t saw their gigs due some holiday sickness, so I catching up with them via email. Here it is!

Hello, how are you? Would you mind to introduce yourself?
Hey hey. I’m doing pretty well actually. Today wasn’t as cold as yesterday and my body is getting used to Winter again. I’m Xiao Zhong and I play drums in Pairs. F is the guitar player but last I heard, she was in a brewery somewhere in America.

So F isn’t on Shanghai right now? Is it her decision to goes with
such anonymous name?

Not right now. We landed and she spent two days in Shanghai and then flew out to America for a bit or work and a bit of pleasure. The story bedhing her name, as I’m led to believe is that she had an English teacher at her primary school and he asked people their English names and she just said F. Whether that’s because it was the only letter she knew at that point or she wanted to remain anonymous when she was 8 years old, I’m not sure. But she stuck with it.

Where are you right now and how’s your day going?
I’m at home now, sitting on the couch watching the special features on the Dogs In Space DVD. My day was ok. Had a bit of a shit meeting at work that went for too long and was full of too much bullshit, but that’s done now so I’m pretty good.

How did you guys meet each other? What sparked you to form a band together?
We met at the X Games watching these Japanese brothers rollerblade up and down a half pipe. I was looking at the skaters and F came and said hello because she liked my shirt. I was looking to start a band and she said she was interested. Pretty boring story actually. Sorry.

Prior to Pairs, did you already play with some bands before?
I played in a few bands in Bendigo and Melbourne. Some were ok. Some were shit. Some were ok and played shit and some were shit but played ok.

Tell us a bit about the music scene in Shanghai, what they sounds like and is it any difference with other cities?
It’s weird. On tour everyone asked us this question and when I asked people they always said their scene was shit. Everyone said it was always the same faces at the same venues watching the same bands play the same songs. But I saw people who bought records, made zines, got involved, wrote reviews and were friendly as fuck. So I guess people always think the grass is greener and forget to distance themselves from the scene every now and again.
But on Shanghai, I’ll say that for it’s size – it really should be bigger, better and more active.

Do you have some other Shanghai band/musician recommendation for
us to checking out?
Stalin Gardens, Hua Jiao, Battle Cattle, Guo Shen, Fei Ma, Top Floor Circus, Airwalker.

How was the songwriting going? Is it usually the lyric or the noise popped up first?
It’s generally a basic guitar chord and the lyrics come much, much later. Although, with the newer songs I’m finding lyrics are coming much earlier and I’ll jot them down and them try and force them to whatever is being played on guitar. Kind of what people do when they get frustrated with a jigsaw. Just start smashing pieces together.

What things usually inspire you to wrote some lyric?
Usually they are written about some of the leaders at my work. I got a promotion over a year ago and it allowed me to see the inner workings of lying fuckrags, so a lot of the songs are things I would love to say in a meeting or pointing out how horrible these people are but I can’t say too obviously at work due to needing cash and a VISA. Shit has taken it’s toll though and I am looking for new work now.

Is there any band out there that really influences your sounds in particular?
Not particularly. There are a few bands whose attitudes and actions have influenced us. Tom from The Nation Blue is a big one. Ash from The Secret Knives, Shaun from the Tenzenmen label, Adam from Reykjavictim, Benjii, Martin and the Muzai team and Scowlin Wolf from Threat.Meet.Protocol. Hobbs from East Brunswick All Girls Choir is always good for dredging out the idiotic tales that become ideas for songs.

How would you describe your own sound?
Used to be faster.

Do you still remember your first ever gig? How was it? And where’s the your most intense gig so far?
First gig I think was in Brendan Ryan’s backyard near a monster truck dog who had legs way too long for it’s body. We played three or four songs and we did our first song twice because Steve Mac made up a funny dance to it. Then we watched a hoody burn.
Most intense gig physically was one in Cirebon. I’m a weak prick and think I was a tiny bit sick before the show, but the lack of energy and heat really got to me and I had to run off after four or five songs to vomit my guts up. That was embarrassing.
I used to have a really bad hernia and doing shows, yelling with a hernia was pretty intense as I’d have to stand up and push it back in during songs.

So how was your gig in Jakarta?
Jakarta was awesome! We had a great time and it’s a total shame that we didn’t stay longer. We met some really friendly people and the we.hum collective did an awesome job organising everything and making cool as fuck shirt. We met some real hot girls and handsome men and got to play laser tag. Good vibes.

Wait, I don’t even know you guys also playing in Cirebon, how long
exactly your tour in Indonesian goes? What’s the story behind it?
We were in Indonesia for 9 days. Started in Surabaya, then to Batu, then Solo, then Cirebon and finished in Jakarta. Was a good time and we would have died if it wasn’t for Anca and Asep who travelled everywhere without and organised our accommodation and made sure we were at the venues at the right times.

Did you try some Indonesian food? Where else did you go during that time?
Yeah, we ate very local. A lot of tempei and ice tea. I loved the breakfasts there! Some awesome sweet stuff which I love as I have a huge sweet tooth.
We went to a water park to go down some slides and then went in a haunted house. We also saw the mud slide area in Surabaya. A lot of the time was spent driving and crashing at punk squats and friends’ houses.

Beside Indonesia, where else you have played outside China?

We did New Zealand in early 2013 thanks to the Muzai Records gang and we’ve done Hong Kong a few times and just before Indonesia we played in Singapore and Malaysia . We’re looking at Vietnam sometime in the next few months. Just tee-ing it up now.

Do you have some kind of preshow ritual?
Not at all. I’ve just started drinking water before shows. That’s about it. I don’t get bands who do group hugs or headbuts or key a beer before playing. Just fucking play.

What are you guys doing beside music?
We both have fulltime jobs and loved ones and email accounts and clothes to wash and sleep to do. All in all, Pairs is just a small part of our time. We go out in bursts and then have a break for a few weeks.

How long have you live in Shanghai? What prompted you to move to China?
I have lived here since 2009. Fucking hated it when I first got to Shanghai as I lived in Tianjin in 2008 and loved it and Shanghai is a different kind of China so it took some time to get used to and for awhile, it was rough. Grown to dig the place now.
Everyone in my university course wanted to go to London and I think the UK and Europe is kind of Asia for old people and a pretty boring choice. You can have the same time there whether you’re 23 or 63 but Asia take a bit of a young man’s mentality or sense of adventure so I applied for jobs in China and Japan and China got back to me first so I jumped on the plane with fuck all research and landed in Tianjin.

You’re known as Xiao Zhong but that’s not your real name, who came up with your Chinese name?
I came up with it, which is why it’s a stupid fucking name and not a name at all. But I used it with Pairs incase any future employees Google my name and read the moronic fucking shit that I say in interviews such as these and chose not to give me a job.

Do you still want to release your records on cassette?
Yeah, absolutely! Early last year, Bomb Shop in the UK released Summer Sweat on cassette. They released it in hand wrapped Chinese newpaper and it had a hot pink case. Looked awesome. We’ll release on any format but probably not CD for a long while. Touring with records was pretty hard. We paid a small fortune in excess baggage to get our records in to Indonesia.

What’s your plan next?
Work tomorrow. Going to a show this weekend. Chinese New Year will slow the mainland down and I’m going to my wife’s parents house in Tianjin to celebrate then I’m going back to Australia for a week to say hello to my friends and family then we have a show with Thee Oh Sees in Shanghai. We’ll have a new record out in March but it will be a very different record than people will expect or want. That’s about it really.

http://pairs.bandcamp.com/

 

On The Records: Lucite Tokki

Hello there, do you mind introducing yourself?

Hi, We are a singer-songwriter pop duo based in Seoul, Korea. We consist of a vocal, Cho Ye Jin and a guitarist, Kim Sun Young.

 How do you guys met each other? Who’s the first one came up with an idea to form a band together?

Ye Jin: We met each other in college. We both majored in applied music and during our first year we had to pair up with a partner for our exam. It was then when we decided to work together for the first time. Sun Young made a song and played the guitar while I wrote lyrics and sang the song she made. This triggered us to have formed what we are now, naturally.

Where the Lucite Tokki name is came from?

At first, we were just “Tokki” (which means rabbit in Korean) because of our characters. Ye Jin used to draw a rabbit which you can see on our website (www.lucite-tokki.com) as her mascot since high school. And we decided to use the rabbits as our characters and call ourselves “Tokki”. But while presenting our band names to our friends, they said it was too simple. So we put the word “Lucite” in front of  “Tokki”. We just like the nuance of the word; it doesn’t have a special meaning.

 What are the musical influences for Lucite Tokki? What music you guys listen to right now?

These days we love to listen to classical music and jazz of 30s, 40s. Especially Jerome Kern whom I think is the best composer out there. But basically we were influenced by pop, rock and electronic songs. We love many UK bands like Mansun or Franz Ferdinand and electronic musicians like Depeche Mode, Junior Boys, Daft Punk and many more.

Which one is easier? Singing/writing in English or Korean? Are you hoping to make more full English songs in the future?

 We were born and raised in Seoul. Thus, it is a lot easier to write in Korean but we would like to write and sing in English because English is a global language. We are hoping to spread our music all over the world and in order to do that, we have to study English harder haha

Korean Wave already became a global phenomenon, but to be honest we eager to know the other choice of Korean bands, so please tell us a bit about the indie scene in Seoul from your personal opinion. Do you think the indie bands will get some recognition from wider audience too?

Of course! They will and they have to get some more recognition from world wide music fans.

I know Korean Wave at this moment is just confined for idol groups but there are many amazing and well-prepared musicians in the Korean indie scene. I think many indie bands in Korea (including us) are well qualified and are waiting for a chance to expose their music. So we have to come up with fresh and new ideas to meet abroad listeners like you!

You’ve been making music together for quite a long time, was it hard to maintain the good relationship between you two? Do you ever fight or argue, and if yes, what you’re usually doing to settle the problems?

We always argue with each other and I think arguing is the key to maintain our relationship. It might sound like an irony but it really helps to keep us open with each other.

Where’s the best spot to catch a great music while we’re on Seoul? 

Nowadays, many places are emerging as a hot spot for art and music in Seoul. But I think there is no place like Hong-Dae for live music. You can visit here and listen to live music with a wide variety of genres.

What’s your favorite idol/group from the mainstream K-Pop and why?

I’m not sure you would be familiar with ‘Shin-Hwa‘. They are one of the first generations of K-Pop idol. They remind us of our teenager days.

What are you guys doing beside music?

Nothing! We are full time musicians. But we draw cartoons and make short video clips for our music. And sometimes we offer singing/guitar lessons.

What’s next project/hope for Lucite Tokki?

We just released our third full album in July so we are going to have many gigs for a while. And we have a plan for the next season of ‘Suitcase Theather’ which is our live performance on Youtube for international supporters.

 http://www.lucite-tokki.org/

The Best Summer Ever, An Interview With Summer Camp

Bagaimana cara mengobati patah hati setelah ditinggal summer fling kamu? Coba dengarkan lagu-lagu Summer Camp. 

Rachel Berry di episode pertama Glee pernah berkata: “Being anonymous is worse than being poor.” Tapi bagi Jeremy Warmsley dan Elizabeth Sankey, dua musisi London yang membentuk Summer Camp, anonymity justru merupakan kemewahan tersendiri yang terpaksa mereka lepas saat lagu-lagu mereka terus mencuri perhatian para music blogger dunia. Proyek musik ini bermula dari bedroom project Jeremy, seorang multi-instrumentalist yang sebelumnya bergerak di genre folktronica, yang mengajak Liz temannya untuk mengisi vokal di lagu berjudul “Ghost Train”, sebuah lagu pop bernuansa 60’s girl group dengan viral video yang memakai footage dari film 80-an. Single itu juga yang menjadikan nama Summer Camp tercantum di setiap situs musik berpengaruh sekaligus membuat orang-orang penasaran tentang identitas mereka (awalnya mereka bahkan tidak punya foto publisitas dan malah mengirim foto polaroid dua orang yang sedang berciuman di pesta untuk artikel tentang mereka).

It’s easy to understand kenapa mereka bisa mendapat perhatian yang bahkan melebihi dari yang diharapkan. Di tengah menjamurnya boy-girl duo dengan musik nostalgic seperti Cults, Kisses, Big Deal, Minks, dan masih banyak lagi, Summer Camp mengambil influence dari film-film remaja Amerika tahun 80-an dan menggabungkan lo-fi, chillwave, sunshine pop dan synth pop yang terdengar manis dan ringan namun menyembunyikan lirik-lirik patah hati dan obsesi gelap di saat yang sama (“I’d make you love me so much that you’d ask permission to breathe” ancam Liz di lagu “I Want You”).

Sekarang, setelah beberapa single dan video menyusul, merilis satu EP berjudul Youth, dan tawaran manggung terus berdatangan, mau tak mau mereka mulai membuka diri terhadap media dan ternyata anggapan sinis yang mengatakan mereka hanyalah dua orang hipster yang sok misterius terbukti salah. They’re really nice folks yang bahkan masih mau menyempatkan membalas sendiri setiap email penggemar yang masuk di sela-sela tur Eropa untuk mempromosikan album debut mereka, Welcome to Condale, yang dirilis Moshi Moshi Records di hari Halloween kemarin. Via email, saya berbincang tentang album debut, rumor, dan film-film John Hughes favorit mereka.

Bagaimana ceritanya sampai kalian bisa bertemu kemudian membuat musik bersama?

Jeremy: Kami telah saling mengenal sejak lama. Suatu hari kami memutuskan untuk bersama-sama merekam satu lagu hanya dengan niat just for fun lalu mengunggahnya ke internet dengan nama samaran. Lagu itu kemudian ternyata mendapat respons sangat bagus dari blog-blog musik jadi kami memutuskan untuk melanjutkan proyek main-main ini. Kami berdua sangat senang bisa berada di band yang sama karena kami saling menutupi kekurangan satu sama lain dengan sangat baik.

Sebelum kalian membuka identitas kalian ke publik, apa gosip paling aneh yang sampai di telinga kalian tentang siapa orang dibalik Summer Camp?

Elizabeth: Kami pernah dikira Chris Martin dan Gwyneth Paltrow, haha!

Tolong ceritakan sedikit tentang proses rekaman album debut kalian

Jeremy: Ha, how nice to be asked! Prosesnya sendiri sudah lumayan lama jadi agak sulit untuk mengingatnya dengan detail. Let me see, yang saya ingat adalah menghabiskan berjam-jam di kamar tidurku yang sempit dan membuat lagu-lagu bersuara aneh, saya cenderung memasukkan suara paling aneh yang saya buat dan tidak pernah membuat sesuatu yang simpel jika saya bisa membuatnya rumit, haha. I’m still very proud of those days, saya bisa belajar banyak, tapi sekarang saya bersyukur bisa tergabung di sebuah band, I always wanted to be in a band!

Saya sudah mendengarkan kalian sejak single “Ghost Train” yang masuk ke kompilasi NME Radar, lalu kalian merilis EP dan sekarang kalian juga sudah mempunyai LP pertama kalian, apa yang kalian rasakan ketika telah berada di titik ini?

Elizabeth: It feels great, kami tak pernah menyangka akan sampai sejauh ini. Kami hanya senang membuat musik dan memainkannya di atas panggung, rasanya luar biasa saat hal itu menjadi pekerjaan utama kami sekarang.

Dimana Condale? Dan kenapa kalian memakainya sebagai judul album?

Elizabeth: Sebenarnya Condale bukan kota sungguhan. Condale adalah kota kecil yang ceritanya terletak di California. Semua lagu kami bertempat di sana, kami menyukai ide jika karakter-karakter di satu lagu dapat berinteraksi dengan karakter di lagu-lagu yang lain.

 

Apa influens terbesar untuk musik Summer Camp?

Jeremy: Wow, sulit untuk disebutkan dengan spesifik. Kami berdua menyukai film dan cerita bergenre coming-of-age seperti Freaks and Geeks, My So-Called Life dan film-film John Hughes. Kami juga menyukai banyak genre musik seperti Motown, Gracelands dan electronic.

So, apa film John Hughes favorit kalian?

Jeremy: We love them all. Mungkin Sixteen Candles karena humornya, Breakfast Club untuk dance scene ikoniknya dan Pretty In Pink karena tokoh Duckie. Ah, Duckie.

Di album ini ada lagu berjudul ‘1988’, apa yang kira-kira sedang kalian lakukan di tahun itu?

Elizabeth: Haha! Jeremy berumur lima tahun baru masuk sekolah di Venezuela, Amerika Selatan yang sama jauhnya dari Inggris dimana dia tinggal sekarang dengan Indonesia. Saya berumur empat tahun dan barangkali sedang makan..

Kira-kira suasana bagaimana yang paling tepat untuk mendengarkan album ini? Apakah kalian membayangkan situasi tertentu saat sedang membuat lagu?

Jeremy: Tidak juga, kami harap lagu-lagu ini bisa dipasang ketika orang ingin berdansa tapi juga saat mereka ingin santai mendengarkan musik sendirian di kamar. Seseorang bahkan pernah mengirim email dan memberitahu kami jika dia baru saja bercinta dengan diiringi lagu kami, which was weird! Haha

Dimana gig terbaik kalian sejauh ini?

Jeremy: Kami baru saja bermain di Oxford dan rasanya luar biasa! Show kami yang berkesan lainnya adalah di Bologna dan New York

Apa rencana kalian selanjutnya?

Elizabeth: Kami ingin suatu saat datang ke Indonesia untuk sebuah show! Lalu kami juga ingin mulai menulis untuk album berikutnya

 

http://www.wearesummercamp.com/

Body & Soul, An Interview With AlunaGeorge

Duo asal London, AlunaGeorge, meramu musik pop menjadi sesuatu yang fresh dengan vokal seringan helium dan groovy R&B electro glitch. You know you’ll like it. 

Sama-sama berasal dari St Albans, London, dua orang di balik AlunaGeorge yaitu vokalis Aluna Francis dan produser George Reid justru pertama kali berkenalan lewat situs MySpace saat George menawarkan diri me-remix salah satu lagu dari My Toys Like Me, band electronic yang merupakan band tempat Aluna bernaung sebelumnya. Cerita tersebut memang terdengar agak klise untuk era jejaring sosial saat ini, namun untungnya, tak ada yang terdengar klise sedikit pun dari musik yang mereka hasilkan kemudian seperti single-single awal “We Are Chosen”, “Analyser” dan “Disobey” (dipakai di serial TV Skins, baik yang versi UK maupun US) yang menjadi viral hits di internet berkat musik hip pop yang tercipta sempurna lewat team effort yang dinamis. Aluna sebagai penulis lirik dan bernyanyi dengan vokal quirky dan innocent yang terinfluens PJ Harvey, The Knife dan CocoRosie, sementara George adalah orang yang bertanggung jawab di balik nada-nada elektronik yang slick dan penuh elemen 2-step, R&B 90-an serta bassline jenial.

Butuh waktu agak lama sebelum akhirnya duo yang sama-sama masih berusia 24 tahun tersebut membalas email saya yang dilakukan seusai menyelesaikan sesi interview dan photoshoot dengan NME Magazine. Setelahnya, mereka langsung kembali ke studio demi menyelesaikan beberapa track yang hampir rampung untuk album debut mereka, yang akan menjadi follow-up dari EP berjudul You Know You Like It yang dirilis oleh Tri Angle Records tanggal 14 Mei kemarin. Berisi tiga lagu seperti “Just A Touch”, “Put Up Your Hands” dan single “You Know You Like It” yang juga sudah dibuat videonya, mereka seolah memberikan satu resep yang diharapkan bisa membawa musik pop Inggris ke tingkat selanjutnya, yakni radio friendly untuk pendengar musik mainstream dan chart musik namun experimental enough untuk para music snob di luar sana.

“Awal-awal mulai tertarik membuat musik. saya banyak mendengarkan Aphex Twin, Prefuse 73, Chris Clark dan musik-musik lain yang sangat berbasis beat. Namun dalam hal songwriting, saya belajar dari Rodney Jerkins dan The Neptunes. Yang paling membuat saya takjub sampai saat ini adalah bagaimana kita bisa membuat satu lagu utuh dari ide-ide simpel di sekitar kita.” ungkap George tentang influensnya dalam memproduksi musik. Lantas, bagaimana dengan proses kreatif mereka berdua? “Beberapa lagu kami dikerjakan di kamarku sementara yang lainnya dikerjakan di studio baru kami. Proses kreatif kami pada umumnya bermula dari ide-ide melodi yang digagas Aluna. Bisa juga saya membuat beberapa beat lebih dahulu dan membiarkan Aluna memilih beberapa melodi dari situ, lalu kami saling melontarkan ide masing-masing untuk lagu tersebut.” jelas pria yang juga me-remix lagu-lagu dari Lana Del Rey, Wolf Gang dan Baby Monster tersebut.

Saat ini memang tidak dibutuhkan lagi studio rekaman atau perangkat recording canggih untuk menghasilkan sebuah album yang keren, seperti yang mayoritas musisi indie saat ini lakukan. Namun hal itu bukan berarti bebas masalah, kendala yang umumnya dihadapi para bedroom musician seperti mereka adalah kegagalan menerjemahkan musik mereka untuk ditampilkan di atas panggung. Lucky for them, hal itu tak terjadi pada mereka. “Gig pertama kami berjalan dengan sangat mulus,” kenang Aluna, “Kami telah melewati proses panjang untuk live show dalam soal set-up alat dan semacamnya. Seperti yang kamu bilang, tantangan terbesar bagi ’musisi kamar’ seperti kami adalah membuat musik yang diproduksi di komputer tersebut terdengar sama menariknya saat dibawakan secara live. Namun saya rasa kami berhasil menyeimbangkan sisi live instrumentation tersebut dan pada saat yang sama staying true dengan bagaimana seharusnya lagu tersebut terdengar.” tambahnya.

Sekarang, berkat hype yang dibangun para music blogger dan media musik baik online maupun offline, mereka dihadapkan dengan jadwal tur Eropa yang semakin padat, termasuk penampilan di Hultsfred Festival, festival musik selama 3 hari di Swedia yang juga menampilkan The Cure, Mumford & Sons, M83, The XX dan line-up keren lainnya di bulan Juni ini. Tinggal masalah waktu sampai segala hype tersebut sampai di belahan dunia lainnya, terutama Amerika Serikat yang menjadi sasaran mereka berikutnya. Sebagai penutup, saya bertanya gambaran masa depan AlunaGeorge menurut versi mereka sendiri, “Exciting, busy and noisey!” jawab George dengan antusias. Ah well, I bet it’s gonna be a good noise indeed.

As published in NYLON Indonesia June 2012

Photo by Fiona Garden

Toys Are Us, An Interview With Bottlesmoker

Dari kamar tidur sampai ke Negeri Cina, Bottlesmoker menyebarkan kebahagiaan lewat toys musical instruments mereka.

Berawal dari dua orang mahasiswa jurusan Broadcasting FIKOM Unpad bernama Ryan Adzani (Nobie) dan Anggung Suherman (Angkuy) yang memiliki Nomor Induk Mahasiswa berdekatan sehingga mereka sering tergabung dalam satu kelompok untuk mengerjakan tugas kuliah yang lekat dengan software musik. Latar belakang akademis tersebut mengajarkan untuk selalu memiliki theatre of mind dalam setiap aktivitas mereka agar terlatih membuat jingle atau backsound, hingga akhirnya membuat mereka tertarik untuk mengaransemen musik elektronik instrumental. Seperti mahasiswa pada umumnya, salah satu hal yang selalu ada di depan monitor ketika semalam suntuk mengerjakan tugas adalah botol-botol bekas minum yang menjadi asbak dadakan untuk menampung abu rokok, dari situlah tercetus ide memberi nama Bottlesmoker untuk proyek musikal yang mengusung instrumental bedroom electro pop dengan influence yang kebanyakan berasal dari Jepang dan Islandia seperti Lullatone, I am Robot and Proud, Shugo Tokumaru dan Amiina ini.

Selain musik elektronik tanpa lirik yang dibalut aneka toys music instrument seperti glockenspiel rainbow, akordion dan keyboard mainan, hal lain yang membuat dynamic duo ini standout adalah dari awal mereka selalu memberikan karya mereka, entah itu full album, single atau kompilasi untuk diunduh secara gratis. “Dari awal memang tidak mau membebani orang harus membeli lagu kami, kami cuma ingin berbagi musik.” Jelas Nobie tentang konsep free music sharing yang mereka terapkan. Album pertama mereka, Before Circus Over, dirilis di tahun 2006 dan dua tahun kemudian disambung oleh album Slow Mo Smile. Kedua album ini juga dirilis oleh label indie mancanegara seperti dari Spanyol, Rusia, Jerman dan Amerika Serikat. Selain lagu buatan sendiri, mereka tak jarang me-remix lagu dari band dalam dan luar negeri, sebut saja mulai dari Homogenic, Vincent Vega hingga lagu “Somebody” milik Depeche Mode yang di-cover dengan mengajak Risa Saraswati untuk mengisi vokalnya.

Namun, siapa sangka proyek iseng yang berawal dari sebuah kamar sempit di Bandung ini bisa mengantarkan mereka bermusik sampai ke luar negeri. Mereka sudah pernah mencicipi panggung di Filipina dan ketika saya mewawancarai Angkuy dan Nobie untuk artikel ini (Maret 2011), mereka baru saja merampungkan tur Asia mereka yang meliputi Malaysia, Brunei, Hong Kong, dan Cina. Lebih dari sekedar tur, perjalanan ini juga menjadi pengalaman spiritual tersendiri bagi mereka. “Di Malaysia dan Brunei kami dimanjakan oleh keadaan yang tidak jauh berbeda seperti di sini, tapi ketika Nobie tiba-tiba sakit demam, kami sempat panik dan mau nggak mau kami harus lanjut ke Cina dan dari situ ada suasana yang berbeda ketika kami harus pergi ke tempat sejauh Cina, ditemani hanya satu orang perempuan sebagai tour manager lokal di sana dan Nobie yang sedang sakit.” Kenang mereka. Angkuy dan Nobie pun sempat mengalami momen Lost in Translation ketika mereka tiba di Cina yang bersuhu di bawah satu derajat, penduduk yang tidak dapat berbahasa Inggris, beradaptasi dengan makanan aneh dan perjalanan 18 jam dengan kereta antar kota yang melelahkan. Perjalanan yang hampir bisa dibilang backpacking, di mana tim yang hanya terdiri dari lima orang ini harus membawa peralatan sendiri juga menjual CD dan merchandise agar bisa survive. Namun mereka selalu merasa sangat puas karena di setiap tur mereka dapat bertemu orang-orang hebat, berkenalan dengan musisi lokal dan membuka networking yang lebih luas lagi serta tak lupa mencari toys instrument di toko setempat dan menikmati ambience setiap kota yang berbeda sebagai sumber inspirasi baru bagi karya mereka selanjutnya. “Ada semangat yang membuat kami percaya dengan adanya ketulusan. Kami pada dasarnya tidak punya label di Indonesia, musiknya free music dan kami pergi ke sana atas dasar percaya aja sama orang, ternyata kalau kita tulus sama orang, kita juga akan dapat ketulusan yang sama dari orang lain.” Ucap mereka. Lalu apakah kita akan mendengar nuansa Cina di lagu mereka selanjutnya? “Sempat terpikir sih, saya sempat merekam audio suasana di kereta yang dipenuhi suara orang bercakap-cakap yang mungkin akan digunakan di satu lagu”. Jawab Angkuy sambil tersenyum.

Rencana mereka dalam waktu dekat ini adalah merilis EP berjudul Recollection of Elation yang berisi tujuh lagu yang belum pernah dirilis secara resmi tapi sudah tersebar di dunia maya, mempersiapkan tur ke Singapura dan membuat dokumentasi untuk setiap tur yang pernah mereka jalani. Setelah Cina, kemana lagi tujuan impian mereka selanjutnya? “Mungkin Eropa dan Amerika, karena album kami juga dirilis di sana, semoga tahun ini atau tahun depan kami bisa pergi ke Eropa atau Amerika.” Jawab mereka.

Jarum jam telah menunjukkan lewat pukul enam sore ketika akhirnya tiba giliran mereka untuk difoto. Photo shoot dengan mereka berlangsung cepat dan efektif, thanks to konsep visual yang kuat dan semangat serta spontanitas mereka yang tinggi. Setinggi harapan mereka untuk memperkenalkan Indonesia lewat musik ke seluruh dunia.

As published in NYLON Indonesia April 2011

Foto oleh Anton Jhonsen

Swedish Hymn, An Interview With Pallers

Lewat Pallers, Johan Angergård kembali membuatmu jatuh cinta lagi dengan dinginnya musik Swedia.

Saya yakin di satu titik hidupmu, kamu pasti pernah mendengar Swedish pop semacam Club 8, Jens Lekman, The Cardigans atau setidaknya band-band indie pop Indonesia yang banyak terinfluens oleh band-band daerah Skandinavia tersebut. Musik pop Swedia memang memiliki tempat tersendiri di ranah musik berkat kemampuan mereka meramu musik pop yang kreatif serta easy listening dan bila bicara tentang Swedish pop, mau tak mau kita harus menyebut Labrador Records sebagai ujung tombak dari scene ini berkat rilisan-rilisan influental seperti The Radio Dept, Pelle Carlberg, Sambassadeur dan banyak lagi. Di balik label ini ada seorang Johan Angergård yang merupakan tokoh penting bagi musik Swedia berkat perannya sebagai personel Acid House Kings, Club 8 dan The Legends atau pun menjadi produser untuk musisi-musisi muda Swedia seperti Amanda Mair. Kini bersama bekas teman satu flat-nya, Henrik Mårtensson, ia membuat proyek musik terbaru bernama Pallers dan merilis album debut The Sea Of Memories yang berisi lagu-lagu ambient down-tempo dengan soundscape elektronik yang kaya akan cerita.

Hi Johan, apa kabar? Apa saja yang sudah kamu lakukan hari ini?

Johan: Cukup baik. Saya seharian ini bekerja di Labrador menyiapkan rilisan Amanda Mair, apakah kamu sudah mendengarnya? Mungkin belum…albumnya baru keluar di Swedia. Dia gadis berumur 17 tahun yang sangat bertalenta. Sekarang saya akan membuat segelas kopi dan memasang vinyl Depeche Mode.

Sounds great, sekarang tolong ceritakan tentang proyek barumu, Pallers.

Johan: Saya dan Henrik sudah saling kenal cukup lama. Bertahun-tahun lalu saya punya band bernama Poprace bersama Karolina Komstedt (dari Club 8). Kami mencari pemain bass dan Karolina memberitahuku tentang Henrik, teman sekelasnya yang bermain bass dan mendengarkan The Smiths.  That sounded pretty great to us jadi kami mengajaknya bergabung. Henrik sebenarnya pernah co-writing sebuah lagu untuk Club 8 dan kami pernah membuat lagu instrumental bareng untuk Summer Songs EP. Pallers juga tercipta tanpa disengaja, saya merekam vokal untuk lagu, mengirimnya ke Henrik dan dia mulai memproduksinya. Hasilnya ternyata cocok dan lahirlah Pallers.

Bagaimana kalian membagi tugas untuk proyek musik ini?

Henrik: Kami berdua menulis lagu. Johan bernyanyi dan saya lebih banyak mengerjakan programming dan beat making, namun kami selalu berusaha menjaga lagu-lagu itu sesuai arah yang kami berdua mau. Lalu kami melakukan final touch dan mixing. Proses yang cukup memakan waktu sebetulnya, namun membuat kami berdua sama-sama puas.

Dibandingkan proyek-proyek musik sebelumnya, apa hal paling standout dari Pallers yang ingin kalian tonjolkan?

Johan: We have a very three-dimensional sound. Musik kami terbentuk dari banyak detail-detail kecil yang terjadi bersamaan dan menciptakan lanskap suara yang luas seperti sebuah dunia sendiri. Sebenarnya masih bisa dibilang musik pop karena melodi-melodinya terdengar pop, hanya saja setiap lagu dibangun dan terstruktur dengan cara yang sama sekali tidak pop.

Saat mendengarkan CD kalian, saya merasakan sensasi dingin tersendiri, apakah kalian setuju jika orang melabeli musik kalian sebagai Chillwave? Atau kalian merasa istilah Chillwave itu sendiri agak overrated?

Henrik: Kurasa semua “waves” selain ocean waves itu overrated. Saya tak melihat banyak persamaan antara kami dengan band-band yang disebut Chillwave. There is far too much ice on our waters for waves to form. Namun setiap orang bebas menyebut musik kami sesuka mereka. Tapi sebutan “Chillwave” itu sendiri juga nggak terlalu keren kok, apa sih artinya? “Death Metal”, “Stoner Rock” adalah genre yang terdengar keren. I´d join a genre if it had a name like that.

Johan: Saya tidak mendengarkan band-band Chillwave.

Swedia selalu memiliki tempat tersendiri di industri musik, apa pendapatmu sebagai orang yang bisa dibilang key figure untuk scene ini?

Johan: Saya tahu orang-orang yang mendengarkan band-band dari Labrador akan memandangnya sebagai sesuatu yang Swedish. Dan memang semua band Labrador berasal dari Swedia…tapi saya selalu ingin membuat sesuatu yang menjadi scene tersendiri dan saya selalu memandang Labrador sebagai label internasional. It’s just my taste in music dan saya berusaha memengaruhi selera musik itu ke orang lain. Kurasa saya menjadi tokoh penting dalam musik Swedia hanya kebetulan saja. I just wanted to be a key figure in my very own scene.

 Apakah kalian memiliki satu momen dari musik, film atau buku yang mengubah hidup kalian yang terus mengendap di sub-concious masing-masing dan muncul  lewat karya kalian?

Henrik: The Smiths really changed my life dan caraku melihat diri sendiri dan orang lain tapi saya tak pernah memikirkan mereka saat membuat musik. Sejak tahun 1995, Autechre juga mengubah pandanganku pada musik dan saya sering memikirkan style bermusik mereka dengan sadar. Kita tentu mendapat inspirasi dari hal-hal yang kita lihat, baca atau dengarkan dan entah bagaimana mereka akan muncul saat kita membuat sesuatu. Autechre, The Smiths, Burial, film seperti Gummo dan My Life as a Dog atau buku The Dice Man adalah hal-hal yang mengubah hidupku tapi jika salah satu dari mereka muncul di musik kami, saya tidak bisa mengingatnya.

Johan: Saya juga akan bilang The Smiths. Mereka memengaruhi banyak sisi dari hidupku, it’s silly. Saya mungkin saat ini sedang mengerjakan sesuatu yang benar-benar lain jika saya tak pernah menemukan mereka.

Apa yang sedang kalian dengarkan akhir-akhir ini?

Henrik:  HTRK, Grouper, Andy Stott, Jacques Greene, Demdike Stare dan Starlet.

Johan: Amanda Mair, A Place to Bury Strangers, Cosmetics, King Creosote dan Jon Hopkins.

 Rencana berikutnya untuk Pallers?

Henrik:  More music.

Apa pesan kalian untuk yang sedang membaca artikel ini?

Johan: Thank you for being you. Jangan lupa berkunjung ke Pallers.se!

Henrik: Have fun and take care of your loved-ones!

As published in NYLON Indonesia April 2012

Foto oleh Henrik Mårtensson

Down to the Rabbit Hole, An Interview With Stars and Rabbit

Mendengarkan lagu Stars and Rabbit seperti membaca buku cerita yang tak ingin kamu letakkan sebelum selesai.

Saat tengah bersiap menyiapkan Radar 10 Local Music Heroes untuk Music Issue NYLON Indonesia tahun ini (April 2012), tentu saja kami sudah mempunyai bayangan siapa saja yang akan termasuk di dalamnya dan jujur saja salah satu yang paling pertama saya ingat adalah duo musisi Yogyakarta bernama Stars and Rabbit. Walaupun saya sudah mendengarkan beberapa lagu mereka sejak akhir tahun lalu dan ingin segera menulis tentang mereka, saya sengaja menyimpannya untuk edisi spesial musik ini, so, here it is.

Dijumpai di sebuah studio musik di bilangan Senopati, Stars and Rabbit yang terdiri dari gitaris dan arranger Adi Widodo dan Elda Suryani sebagai singer-songwriter baru saja menyelesaikan interview shoot untuk sebuah acara televisi, sebuah kegiatan yang tampaknya semakin lumrah bagi mereka belakangan ini. Memadukan vokal Elda yang unik dan kemampuannya menulis lirik imajinatif dengan musik gubahan Adi yang catchy, mereka tak hanya menjadi omongan di media musik dalam negeri, tapi juga sampai ke berbagai publikasi di Inggris, Italia hingga Islandia, walaupun mereka belum merilis album satu pun sampai saat ini.

Saat bertemu, mereka sedang membicarakan dialek daerah dari berbagai kota yang pernah mereka tinggali dengan bersemangat, terutama Elda yang sangat ekspresif saat menceritakan sesuatu. Elda yang baru sampai di Jakarta sehari sebelumnya terlihat ceria, walaupun mengaku dirinya baru saja sembuh dan mengalami kecelakaan kecil jatuh dari tangga. Jadwal Stars and Rabbit sendiri lumayan padat, menghabiskan satu hari di Jakarta untuk beberapa interview dan besoknya mereka langsung berangkat ke Bandung untuk sebuah gig. Anyway, pertanyaan pertama tentu saja bagaimana mereka bertemu. “I know him from my ex-boyfriend. They had a band. 6 or 7 years ago, dan kami berteman baik sejak itu. Tapi kami sempat hilang kontak dua tahun terakhir.” ungkap Elda. “Kalau aku sudah ngefans sama Elda sejak dia masih main di bandnya yang dulu, Candles. Dari dulu sebenarnya kami sering sharing masalah musik dan aku sempat beberapa kali bantuin beberapa project Elda, kami sempat lost contact cukup lama sampai akhirnya di pertengahan tahun 2011, Elda menghubungi aku buat project baru. Karena terlalu banyak rasanya hal-hal yang sayang untuk kami abaikan begitu saja, karena pemikiran dan visi yang sama, akhirnya kami melanjutkan project ‘Stars and Rabbit’ ini.” lanjut Adi. Walaupun saat itu mereka sudah memiliki beberapa lagu seperti “Like It Here”, “Rabbit Run” dan “Worth It”, nama band justru baru mereka pikirkan belakangan. Stars and Rabbit sendiri sebenarnya adalah nama akun personal twitter Elda, yang akhirnya dipilih karena dirasakan cocok untuk lagu mereka yang memang cenderung whimsical dan manis.

Bicara tentang musik mereka yang whimsical, hal itu tak lepas dari vokal Elda yang kerap dibilang mirip Joanna Newsom, Emiliana Torrini dan Cerys Matthews, namun gadis pengagum Jewel dan Vanessa Carlton ini mengaku jika cara bernyanyinya memang keluar begitu saja tanpa dibuat-buat, sama seperti lirik yang ia tulis. Walau tak bisa memainkan instrumen, jika mendapat inspirasi yang datangnya bisa dari mana saja, Elda akan mencoret-coret di buku doodling yang sering ia bawa, humming dan memetik senar gitar berdasarkan insting. Di saat itulah ia membutuhkan bantuan Adi yang akan menerjemahkan apa yang ada di pikiran Elda lewat musik. Proses bermusik yang berjalan dengan sangat natural untuk mereka. Lucunya, walau chemistry bermusik mereka sangat kuat, namun mereka mengaku jika sebenarnya mereka tidak terlalu nyambung kalau di luar musik. Untuk hang out pun mereka memiliki lingkup pertemanan masing-masing, walau tak bisa dipungkiri jika kedekatan keduanya memang terasa. “Dia itu sudah seperti kakak saya.” kata Adi sambil tersenyum, yang langsung disahuti oleh Elda, “Haha, kita kan cuma beda dua bulan padahal!”

Walaupun kini Adi menetap di Jakarta dan bekerja di sebuah Production House, sementara Elda masih menetap di Jogja sambil mengurusi toko handmade miliknya yang bernama Little Garage. Mereka mengungkapkan dengan yakin jika sampai kapanpun Jogja adalah rumah mereka, walaupun mereka sendiri bukan orang asli Jogja. “Tidak bisa diungkapkan dengan kata-kata, Jogja dikelilingi gunung, laut, bukit dan orangnya pembawaannya laid back semua. Padahal dulu sebelum pindah dari Surabaya, aku sempat menolak tinggal di Jogja, eh begitu sampai di sini jadi nggak mau kemana-mana rasanya,” ungkap Elda. “Tapi itu juga yang menjadi salah satu ‘bahaya’ tinggal di Jogja, saking nyamannya banyak yang nggak mau mengembangkan diri keluar. Seperti adegan orang-orang yang makan bunga lotus di kasino di film Percy Jackson.” Lanjut gadis yang kerap memakai topi-topi lucu saat manggung ini. “If you want to do something, you must act now. Nggak usah takut, karena semua pasti ada jalannya sendiri.” Tutupnya dengan senyum lebar.

As published on NYLON Indonesia April 2012

photo by Muhammad Asranur