| Written by: Linh Phan
Seen in Indonesia: Underground Indie Indo
Bottlesmoker has been pushing the musical envelope in the Bandung indie music scene for a number of years, so we decided to take a look at what else is going on in the Indonesian indie scene. Here are just a few great finds of those who are doing something unique and innovative across the archipelago.
Noisaurus Records, Yogyakarta
This boutique, DIY indie label was started in August 2012 by Robert Aprlynt. It focuses on analogue formats such as 3 inch and cassette tapes. Taking his cue from other labels such as Relamati Records and PTK Distribution, Robert saw the label as an opportunity to release something unique both musically and physically. He always loved the analogue format and wanted his records to capture that DIY aesthetic.
While the label’s main roster consists of punk, grindcore and hardcore metal bands, for Robert it was about releasing material that he believed in. While the low-fi to no-fi sound may not appeal to everyone, you can feel the rawness and spirit that the label evokes.
Noisaurus has recently released a compilation album called, “Some Kind of Stranger” that’s a throwback to 80s post punk – think Joy Division and The Wire. It’s the first post-punk compilation released by local Indonesian bands. Unfortunately, this is their last release. Being a one-man record label has its struggles no matter how much you try to innovate. Let’s hope Noisaurus re-surfaces again in another format … analogue of course.
Yes No Wave Music (Netlabel), Yogyakarta
This is an online record label run by Wok the Rock, Bagus Jalang, and Adya Mahardhika. Its goal is to promote and provide a platform for young musicians to feature their work and get it to a larger audience. The site runs on the idea of a “gift economy”, providing free downloadable songs but at the same time they create merchandise, such as albums and T-shirts, the proceeds of which feed back into the website. The label features a variety of acts from indie to punk and dubstep to folk.
As a side note, Wok the Rock also runs the alternative artspace, Ruang MES 56, and co-produces “Video Battle”; an independently produced and distributed video compilation on which each video runs 5 minutes or less.
FFWD Records, Bandung
This indie record label was established in 1999 in Bandung and has become the pioneer indie label in Indonesia. They have released some of the top Indonesian indie acts such as MOCCA and S.I.G.I.T. They’ve even expanded beyond Indonesia and released albums for such international acts such as Jens Lekman.
The Secret Agents, Jakarta
It seems like these guys are leading the scene in Jakarta, working together on various art and music projects. The Secret Agents are Agent A (aka Indra Ameng) and Agent K (aka Keke Tumbuan). The pair met in 2002 via the Ruang Rupa art collective and their aliases came about from an art project the two did together in 2005.
In 2008, they started putting on a live monthly music event called “Superbad!”, showcasing new and old, independent local talent at the oldest pub in Jakarta; The Jaya Pub. Indra says, “It is still kind of unknown. We’re trying to keep it small because we need a platform for friends to perform and explore their sound. Superbad! is about developing new talent with small gigs in a small place.”
If Superbad! is about small intimate spaces, then the Agent’s other venture is the complete opposite. RRREC Fest is an annual film, art and music festival. It’s in its third year and has expanded from a one-day festival to a three-day event. These guys just seem to have their hands in everything.
Homeground, as the moniker by which it’s known today, was established in early 2013. Prior to that it was known as Youth is Forever. Homeground is a collective of creatives, fronted by Harsya Joedadi, Triski Nurani, Amanda Herdiani and Alex Zander.
Homeground throws monthly parties that focus on indie electro, disco, house, old school hip hop, electronica, and basically anything that makes the crowd happy. They want people to walk away and wake up the next morning with a story to tell.
They started Homeground because they love music and wanted to promote Jakarta’s dance scene to grow bigger than ever. Their philosophy: “Music is everybody’s culture.” So when it comes to bringing in other people to DJ and collaborating with them, it’s all about bringing in friends and new talent to help them do what they’ve been doing best … pushing the indie dance scene forward.
Berisik Radio (Noisy Radio) – Indie School Radio
This underground internet radio station was founded in December 2009 by three friends; Rudyanto (Rudee Page), Aldy “Keith” Fauzal, and Hariyadi. Their goal: to expose young unknown talent. “We set up Berisik.com because mainstream music in Indonesia is so monotonous,” says Music Director Mahdesi Iskandar.
The project started in Rudee’s bedroom while he was searching for new music. Rudee says, “I always loved listening to radio; I have a radio that is on 24/7. I later found out about radio streaming while surfing the internet and immediately became interested.”
Berisik Radio: Airing the obscurest of them all
Then in October 2009, the three friends, Rudee, Fauzal and Hariyadi began programming and designing the website and a webzine to accompany it. A few months later, Berisik Radio was launched. They went on a grassroots, social media campaign connecting with their extensive network of friends and musicians for music to put on air. A year later, they didn’t have to go looking for demos to play anymore. The demos were rolling in all on their own and Berisik Radio had taken off in a big way.
In 2011, they added more people to their team and started collaborating with various music festivals organisers, broadcasting the live events. Furthermore, the webzine has become the go-to site for latest in local underground happenings.
“We want continue to provide a stage for unknown musicians, for as long as we can,”
Masaru Riupassa, Band Manager founder of 2313 Management (hip hop, r’n’b)