By thefirm, 2011-04-25
Interview with TheFirmIndonesia
by: Kiva Johns-Adkins for www.butterfliesradio.com
“I think music in itself is healing. It’s an explosive expression of humanity. It’s something we are all touched by. No matter what culture we’re from, everyone loves music.”
LEXINGTON, Kentucky - It’s midnight on a Friday night in Kentucky, USA, and it is cold outside; one of the harshest winters in years. At that same moment, it’s also noon on Saturday in Jakarta, Indonesia, and the guys who make up TheFirmIndonesia have gathered together on a lovely summer day to enjoy coffee and comradery while they talk with me about their music. Thanks to MySpace and the Internet, 10,127 miles and a 12- hour time distance don’t matter. Summer and winter, English and Indonesian don’t matter because, at this moment, music has allowed us to co-exist.
According to their MySpace page: “THE FIRM tries to give hopeless and dark feel in their music. Broken hearted is something bad, but THE FIRM presents that bad things to be beautiful. In their songs, romantics and reality lyrics about failing in love are being one of their characters.” (sic)
The Firm Indonesia is an Alternative Pop Band from Indonesia made up of six friends who joined forces four years ago. Members Odie, Aji, Ariel and Anay Ndut performed together in a band called The Bends before personnel changes led them to form a new band, adding Ipang and Ian Gorgom to complete the six-man band who have since played at venues all over Jakarta, Indonesia and Bandung, West Java – Indonesia.
“At first the band was named ‘The Bends’ – taken from Radiohead’s album, which has stood since the 90′s. Personnel changes almost reached 80 percent, so we decided to change the name of our band,” The Firm Indonesia said. “In the early formation of this band (2007), our members (were) still college students and unemployed; so we gave the name ‘The Firm’ for at that time we did have a real firm. In addition, we plan to make our self-company with the employees of our friends who have not worked. (There is) lots of unemployment in our country.”
Influenced by the likes of The Cure, Radiohead, Sonic Youth and Morrisey, The Firm Indonesia considers itself a Do-It-Yourself band that is proud of its Indie status. There are no record companies, no labels, no higher-ups. Like many Indie artists, the members of the Firm hold down regular jobs as teachers, students and employees of private companies. They film their own videos and promote themselves around the world thanks to modern day social networking.
“We join many music blogs, webzine, streaming radio or terrestrial radio (stations). In addition to promoting our band, we can also do promotions for music blogs who help us, as well as cooperate with them,” they said. They practice the ideals that are at the heart of the Indie music scene – a community that believes in helping one another.
“Equality and freedom (are the greatest things about the Indie music community). Whatever we do is the joint agreement. We can understand what is happening with our friends in the band. It’s different if we look at what is happening in major labels and their management,” The Firm Indonesia says. “When I make some connection with the community of indie from Denmark, New Zealand, Canada and even UK and America, they are very welcoming to fellow indie musicians.”
After hearing about The Firm Indonesia on Twitter I went to their MySpace page to check them out. As I watched their video for “Hopeless Acoustic” I felt like I was taken to a very exotic locale and I found myself relating emotionally to the music. Lyrics aside, their melody, instruments and rhythm capture the human .
“In every acoustic version (we) perform, we are influenced by Electric President and our guitarist is influenced by Sigur Ros and Radiohead. But we try to combine it with our own way,” the band says.
True to their D.I.Y. approach to music they film their own videos. They own their sound from the conception of the lyrics to the birth of the performance.
“With the Do It Your Self, we are free to do anything, free to allocate our funds, time and song, our inspiration what we want, not what the market wants,” the band mates say. “We prefer freedom. We do not like attachments and any form of restriction that occurred on a major label in our country. They prefer the market but neglect the development of musician’s creativities.”
In five years the group still plans to have complete ownership of their music. For now, they take each performance as it comes and value the time they get to share with each other, like getting together over coffee to do this interview with me for Butterflies Radio.
“We are currently seeking funding to attend several festivals in other countries, such as (an) invitation from friends in Singapore or the Laneway Festival in Australia and Singapore,” the band members say.
The Firm Indonesia will go where the music takes them, and thanks to the internet and social networking, the six friends from Indonesia can be heard in coffee shops, living rooms, schools and bedrooms all over the world.
This band, this “brotherhood” of musicians who have been playing instruments since they were in middle school, offer these words of wisdom and advice for new artists trying to break into the indie music scene:
“Don’t think about where you will distribute your music. Simply create music that you like. Play with heart. Love your community. Eliminate differences, all human are the same, someday we would die and only our music will live forever,” The Firm Indonesia said.
By thefirm, 2011-04-25
Every Tuesday we give away an MP3 by an up and coming artist for your listening pleasure. Download it here, and by helping us share it via Facebook and Twitter, we'll reward you with Notes for your Track Record. Check out this week's free track:
akarta's answer to Depeche Mode? The Firm are dark, bleak, melancholic, all of the above. But they hope that this atmosphere manifests itself into some sort of tortured beauty with an outside albeit accessible perspective which musically explores the darker side of Western culture a la new romanticism, industrial rock and Morrissey.
The Firm is an alternative pop band from Indonesia. The band started thanks to a mutual love of the same music such as Radiohead's The Bends. Initially made up of members Odie, Aji, Ariel & Anay Ndut, the band seeked out personnel for keyboards and vocals.
They then recruited Ipang & Ian Gorgom to join the group and thus The Firm was born. Retro and futuristic sounds have added character to the sonic makeup of The Firm whom attempt to evoke a hopeless and dark feeling in their music. Broken hearts and that old love lost aesthetic, the sextet acknowledge that these harsh scenarios can be re-presented in a beautiful light.
Their songs deal with themes of romantiscm, lyrics about falling in love being a common characteristic. Static lo-fi vocals, classic rock distorted guitar effects, a solid rhythm section and a touch of keyboard synths make up of the sound palette of The Firm as well as nods to such influences as Radiohead, Rialto, Sonic Youth, Morrissey, and Moby.
By thefirm, 2011-04-25
On 11 March 2011, a devastating earthquake hit the coast of Japan claiming thousands of lives and causing extensive structural damage. Indie Aid Japan is a collaborative effort between independent musicians from across the globe to raise funds for victims of the recent Japanese tsunami. From accomplished and award winning musicians to bedroom and garage bands, Indie Aid Japan is a 28 track digital download compilation album.
Download the entire album of 28 tracks for only USD 6 (or download the album more than once, if you are feeling generous) and proceeds from your purchase will go to the Japanese Red Cross.There is also a Paypal option inside.
This project is coordinated and organized by Saintz & Sinnerz and Popfolio Sdn. Bhd. Special thanks goes to musicians, Rachael Malai Ali (Brunei) and Erick Fabian aka Cerumentric (Philippines) for being the inspiration behind this project.
INDIE AID JAPAN
The M.A.D Project (Melissa Indot, Altimet & Deja Voodoo Spells)
"Land of The Rising Sun"
"You in Mind"
"Peace n Love"
James Baum featuring Nerdy Boy
"Let Me Know'
Artist, Singer, Lyricist, Composer, and Reiki Master
Morgen Bis Abend
"Feel That" (featuring Vandal)
CC Sound Factory
Looking in the face of danger
"Let's Get Mary'd" (red-i-remix)
"Thunderbirds are go"
(written by Otis Mace; produced by Don Mcglashan")
Crush featuring Jason Lo
"The Aliens Are Coming"
"Land of The Rising Sun"
"Kenangan sebuah kenangan"
"Children of the world" (nupachino edit)
Galvin Patrick featuring Mr .Boy
"Try to save the world"