ROMP Fanzine Interview
Kontra Sosial are:
Ebby: Vocals, Ivan: Drums, Indra: Bass, Billy: Guitar, Torro: Guitar, (represented on this tour by Acil (from Krass Kepala).
Amma which three years ago had the opportunity for Europe tour with his band, Krass Kepala; also attended this interview.
1. Romp: How long have Kontra Sosial existed?
Billy (B): The band existed since 2004. We recorded our first album on 2006 and the second album in 2008.
2.Romp: I know you already have tour in Southeast Asia. When and where was it?
B: We have our first Southeast tour on 2007, in Malaysia. On 2009, we have another tour to Malaysia and Singapore. Early this year, we also have our Java Tour.
3.Romp: O.k. Acil is not the real Kontra Sosial guitarist. How is the story he could be here with you, guys?
B: Torro is actually our second guitarist, but unfortunately, he could not make it to join us on this Europe tour, because his son has a health problem.
Indra (In): He has to stay home because he has to check up his son condition every month.
Ivan (Iv): Yes, and he has to do this for the next 6 months. He also has to think about the money for the hospital.
B: We choose Acil as our second guitarist, because he already knew our songs, and because he was here before in Europe so he can also be our tour guide haha… Also as simple as we need someone with no passport problem immediately when we planned to go to Europe tour. So actually, it was an easy decision for us to take Acil with.
Acil (A): Yes, I was ever on Europe tour with Krass Kepala 2007.
In: It is also because Acil, Billy, Ebby and I live together in the same house at Dandelion Info House.
4. Romp: You once told me a kind of incest for Bandung punk scene, because everyone in every band plays along with another bands.
A: We are all friends, and hang out together a lot. For example, Billy played with Krass Kepala for bass. Also Krass Kepala singer (Pohon) did sing for Kontra Sosial when Ebby was ill.
Ebby (E): I always get sick. You were already sick… Aren’t we all sick? (hahahaaa…)
5. Romp: How many punk bands are there in Bandung and your environment?
E: Oh, too many.
B: You can imagine for example, we did this CD compilation called “Bandung’s Burning”, 30 bands involved in it. All the bands in this compilation, comes from the same scene, we hang out together a lot. Those are not all the bands around. So you can imagine, in our environment alone there are so many bands. There also many bands rehearsing in the same place to cover other band songs.
6. Romp: Can you tell us more about the info house? What is that and what are you doing exactly there?
B: The house is already rented for well… over 8 months or more. This house is quite near from the city central of Bandung. Basically we try to offer any kind of information you need, mostly about activities to improve our environment. It is also an alternative library with the alternative and more to anarchistic reading. We also do different kind of workshops.
In: When friends from other cities or abroad come, they can also stay there and share their knowledge and experiences. e.g. climbing workshop …. or how to distill cheap wine.
7. Romp: Cheap wine?
B: Yea, cheap wine.
8. Romp: What is needed to make cheap wine?
B: With fruits, say like mango. Add it with sugar and let it ferment for two months.
9. Romp: We see ourselves right here. Is it in the same sense of wine, as we know it here?
B: No, no, it is different. Well as long as we can get drunk cheaper and still quite save to consume. Haha.. In most part of Indonesia, alcohol drink considered kind of expensive activity.
10. Romp: What were your ideas of Europe before you are here on tour? And what do you think after you are here now?
B: We had some tours in Indonesia and some part of Southeast Asia countries. But tour in Europe is definitely a different brand new experience. Different environments, different cultures.
E: And of course, to make contacts with many peoples, many friends.
B: We met same European friends who came to Indonesia for band tour or holiday, and now we can meet them here. It was so great to meet them again and see how they live here.
11. Romp: So you have met many people who have been came to Indonesia before?
12. Romp: What do you think the biggest difference between the punk scene in Indonesia and the European scene?
In: I think the biggest difference is probably that here in Europe people tend to squat building or cars. They are also active in more self-managed projects and can manage their time better. It is also different on how the concerts organized…
E: Yes, I think the biggest difference is about the squats phenomenon, and how’s thing happened around it. In Indonesia, it is impossible to squat a building, although we are still trying.
B: In the end it will comes to tenancy problem.
13.Romp: It does not even necessarily be a house. Would something like a caravan site in Indonesia possible?
B: No, we don’t have caravan in Indonesia.
14. Romp: Because it has no place or what?
E: There are some places but …
B: The place is not the biggest problem, but the trailer. There is no trailer in Indonesia.
In: Many punk kids in Indonesia live with their parents. Some of them live by themselves, but only temporary. They will still return to their family and ask for money. So as you can see you still have to adapt to some family rules. Me myself live with my parents partly because I have a good relationship with them. Sometimes with friends, depending on how much money I have. In Bandung, it is also easy to live on the street. We often ask friends if they have enough food to eat together or invited for some food. Or sometimes we can also do shop keeping and get some money for it.
15. Romp: What do you do if you are not on tour? What do you do for living?
E: I work in an art house. We do art workshops and make music videos.
In: I live with my family and an electrician. I design and produce additional modules for engines.
B: I am unemployed. It is hard to find a job.
In: In Indonesia you need college degree to get a job, yet education is very expensive.
Iv: I am a tattooist and piercing artist in Bandung. I also produce T-shirts sometimes and do hair dye.
16. Romp: Is T-shirt print for a living?
In: Well, it is enough to get some food.
In: Depending on how many shirts you produce in a month. This month you could sell lots of T-shirt but in the next month probably not even one sold, so you have to think differently and be more creative.
Iv: Sometimes I get the printing project from friends of mine. I rented my own room in Bandung, so I have a fixed expenditure amount every month.
17. Romp: Don’t you have any problem as the punks life on the street? No problems at all with the cops?
Iv: In some cities, it is really forbidden to live on the street, but it’s ok in Bandung.
Am: Jakarta is a quite different story. You can be in real trouble. But you also have to know that actually Jakarta has a huge punk scene and you can easily find homeless people. It is also very popular for its street music, singing beggar at the traffic lights. Toro used to live from that. At some place where we can find a large shopping center, you can also make money when you help people park their vehicle. Gradus, gradus, (Swiss German) Hahaa…
Bandung itself now is now quite touristy. Local tourists mostly come from Jakarta, it is always a very busy city on weekends. Bandung is popular for its mild climate, it is much cooler than Jakarta. Bandung is also known for cheap textiles and clothes in all kinds. So Bandung becomes one of favorite city for holiday.
18. Romp: Acil told us about this textile industry in Bandung. Is it more for the International market, or more for Indonesia?
Iv: For international and local markets. There are many clothes productions for international markets sent without any label, and after that, they will give an “international” brand sealed as the label. They will sent back the products to Indonesia with a very very expensive price. Haha. Today there are many factory outlets in Bandung sell products which originally to be marketed in international markets but not pass the quality test. Only small defect and the price fall down drastically. Enthusiasts for this market is huge, within 3 km you can find many shops of this kind huddle-crush. Logically from this, there is a huge price war. So if you are in the textile industry, you have to work hard to survive.
In: The government even has launched a program to promote the textile industry in Bandung even more.
B: Well, don’t forget that Bandung is a very large shopping area, it is the shopping city of Indonesia.
19. Romp: How is Bandung actually?
B: Bigger than Singapore.
I: 16,700 ha.
20. Romp: I meant the population size.
E: Around 10 million peoples. But for us in Indonesia it is consider as a small town, because Jakarta which is only two hours away by car, has far more citizen.
B: Bandung has lots of very small and narrow streets where no cars can go through, giving the whole city kind of a rural touch.
Iv: Bandung is the fourth largest city in Indonesia with 2.7 million inhabitants officially. But we believe, more people lives in Bandung.
In: In Bandung, there are over two million licenses for motorcycles. I know this only because a friend of mine is on the bussines. He could sold 50 motorcycles per month. So you can imagine the rush hour there. Haha …
21. Romp: O.K. enough about the traffic crazyness and back to your tour. How long were you traveling?
B: 47 days with 30 concerts in Switzerland, Germany, France, Basque Country, Spain …
I: Definitely the longest tour we’ve ever had.
22. Romp: Tell me more about the tour and the gigs.
In: We share stage having fun with Sin Logica from Barcelona for nine days, Kurwa Aparata from Austria for three gigs and we had nice time also when playing with Seein Red in St. Ettiene.
B: Yes, especially because on the stage we have the same issues about imperialism and we had good discussions with them.
23. Romp: Discussion about what?
B: They apologized for their Dutch grandfathers colonialism in Indonesia. However, we still can feel the effects of colonialism and imperialism until now.
24. Romp: In what way?
Iv: For example, in the bureaucracy. When Indonesia became an independent country, the same laws and the system forms of the new government were just like back then in colonialism era.
E: We can see the images clearly in most government buildings in Indonesia. When the Dutch withdrew, the party that took over the building was just another politician or military, and they keep it occupied ever since. Haha. Don’t forget that the railway on Java was built by the Dutch. Ok, we mean, Indonesia workers built it but the Dutch planned it. You can build anything if you have the power.
B: But Indonesia was indeed colonized not only by the Dutch but also by Japan, England and Portugal in East Timor, which was then colonized by Indonesia.
**The story of East Timor is characterized by a long period of foreign domination. 450 years dominated the Portuguese east of the island, constantly harassed by the Dutch. Only nine days after the proclamation of the independence of East Timor in 1975 occupied Indonesia the country. In consequence of the Indonesian occupation, the 24 years passed, came close to 200,000 people died. on 8 October 1975 told Philip Habib, a member of the National Security Council, the other participants that it looked as though Indonesia had begun to attack East Timor. Kissinger replied that he hoped Habib would his mouth on this thing with. The United States feared that East Timor could become a second Cuba, since the FRETILIN, had contacts with the People’s Republic of China, as a communist was. Forcas Armadas MPLA Nacional de Timor Leste FALINTIL (Armed Forces of National Liberation East Timor). In the three-week civil war fought around 1,500 UDT supporters against 2,000 men of FRETILIN.Particularly at this time, shortly after the end of the Vietnam War, did not want to risk a communist domino effect in Southeast Asia, which is why the U.S. and Australia tolerated the actions of the pro-western Indonesia, while Portugal was a member of NATO and tried its former colony to support. Lisbon had, however, against the interests of the states involved only diplomatic options.
After three years of management by the United Nations was released in 2002 in East Timor’s independence. This was East Timor, the first state to the 21st Century became independent. Internal conflicts but always provided for new crises.
In: Currently some provinces not satisfied with the government and want to be separate themselves from Indonesia. Well of course, the government prevents these kinds of cases by all means.
25. Romp: That is similar to the Basque country. Did you notice the situation in the Basque country before being here on tour?
B: Not really. We read few times about the ETA in the newspapers, but it wasn’t really detailed or accurate as it happens in the real life.
Iv: Bring the Basque prisoners (about 700 political prisoners) back to the Basque country! We met Jumpi at Zarrautz on our first concert in the Basque country, he told us about the current situation. After the concert, late at night, me and Acil still had a long discussion with an old Basque man. I tried to listen and understand rather than talk. I liked it in the Basque country, including in La Kuadra where it was not really lots of people, but everyone enjoyed the evening. And the party was great, too.
E: Unfortunately, Indra, mistakenly deleted all the photos. Or was it intentional? Hmm.
B: It was not many people at the gigs, only two bands played, and there were only perhaps 12 people join the party. I have no problem with a few people at gigs as long as the mood is good.
26. Romp: What else you do you love from this trip?
B: I’ve enjoyed the snow as we were in Grüebli (friendly farm in the mountains). We have no snow in Indonesia. Haha.
27. Romp: So some of you have seen snow for the first time?
B: Yesss! But four days is enough. Longer and it would be too cold and dreary. And we’re learned something that we should not eat the yellow snow. Haha.
28. Romp: What are your plans when you are back?
B: Maybe we will have another tour, some friends already asked us to have another Indonesia tour. We also planned to have split tour with Alcoholic Nerd from UK, perhaps for Java tour. We also want to make new records.
E: Working again on something, perhaps African tour… or some new songs also will do. Haha.
29. Romp: Tours in Indonesia? How does it work? A bit different from here?
All: YES. Completely different.
B: We do not travel by bus and we do not have our own equipment, we have to rent the place and also the equipments…
Iv: We have to pay the electricity for the concerts …
In: For me, touring is more for meeting new people, seeing friends from other cities, make connection. We just start the trip first and try to collect money to pay the bills for the next gig in other town.
Iv: On our last Java Tour, we took our screen print equipment. So people could print their own T-shirts by donation. The price is not more than 1 Euro. With this money, we have the money for the gas and food.
B: But it is nevertheless still always possible to make a tour in Indonesia.
30. Romp: Where do you held gigs in Bandung? In the info house?
B: No, we can’t held a gig in the info house because it really next to our neighbors. The info house only separated by a wall. Haha.. If we have enough money we could rent the equipment and the venue. If we do not have much money, we can just make the gigs on the mountain, in the jungle.
Iv: But we still have to collect the money from the bands who play itself. Each band should pay the same amount for the rent price.
E: At least, for the gigs at the forest, we just need the money to pay the generator rent and the fuel.
31. Romp: And you must always pay in advance? Not until the gig finished?
E: We have to pay first.
Iv: If we could get some money after the show, we will share the money at the same amount for each band. But usually we lose our money in the show, it doesn’t matter, the main thing is that we do something together.
B: The cheapest way is to held a concert in the studio, at the rehearsal room. We call it the studio show. We rent the cheap studio. Perhaps the room is only fit for 30 people inside; it is always incredibly hot in there.
In: It is almost impossible to get affordable price in the city, that’s why we choose the cheaper venue at the forest.
Iv: But it’s still possible to play from time to time in the city.
B: And you also need to ask the cops for permission.
32. Romp: You have to ask the cops?
B: Yes, you need written permission. And to get this, you have to pay, bureaucracy as usual.
33. Romp: Is it like bribe or what?
B: The written permission is official. Actually, you do not have to pay for it. However, if you do not pay, you will never get the permit.
In: If you are lucky, you can also have a gig without have to pay the police. Like on time me we made an event at a university campus in Bandung, which one of our friend, studies there. We made poster announcement about workshops for bamboo and agricultural products. We also have the stage for the bands to show. We did not have to pay the venue rent because the bands from the campus also wanted to play. We just have to rent the equipment, about 1 million Rupiah (100-Fr). Since there were a lot of people came and pay for the ticket entrance, we have extra money to pay the band who showcased at the event. However, you have to be careful and make sure none of the neighborhood around the area will complain if they think the event is disturbing, because otherwise the police will be aware. If the police come, it means you still have to bribe the police otherwise the show won’t go on.
Am: I’m there also and helped organized the events. The first time, everything’s under control and no cops came. But at the second time, more people came an more crowded. Actually, everything was ok and well run, until cops came.
B: At worst, they confiscated the rented equipment.
Iv: Fortunately, the cops in Bandung are not that strictly and harsh to the punks. We ever come to Jakarta, but can not play because the band who’s playing before us, break foot pedal drums. So we went out around. Not in 10 minutes later the cops came, without saying a word they started to attack the punks with the stick.
In: The worst case would be if they confiscated the equipment. We really thanks for the support from Bremen. Some friends gave us money from charity events to begin. We bought two amp’s and had to hire less and we’re able to save money for other stuffs. Meanwhile, we have a whole equipment together. Thus, it would be shit if we fight provoked by the collective equipment would lose. We have always rented for 10 years long and we feel that this is really stupid. In the future, we try to do something like try to rent a new bar.
B: For your concerns we do not have any cool bars or pubs to play.
Am: Yes, we could also perhaps do our own benefits for new equipments. If we have our owned bar, we need no more permission from the cops.
Iv: In order to make the concerts harder, in 2008, 11 peoples died at a metal concert. At the concert, the permit was still in progress. So the cops came in the concert room and tried to drive out the people. The result was peoples trampled down to death. Since that time, the government argues punk and metal music is deadly.
B: The government raised new requirements for concerts. Like everyone who going to held a show they have to had two fire mobiles, ambulance and local police are there for controlling all things.
E: These conditions are mostly happen for big event, although it has impact also for the smaller gigs.
(Little beer break)
In: Some people also organize big gigs, with 20 bands perform or so, with more than 1000 people came. For this, usually they use the military barracks for the venue. Cops is has no teeth facing the military, so in a way, show will go on smoothly. Yeah, sometimes we have to make peace with the condition. However, the guy makes some cool stuff. So he made e.g. times 50 CD’s benefit for us, or financed the studio costs.
AM: I was wondering, why are they doing this in the barracks? He said then with this strategy, he would reach more people to punks or some kind like that
34. Romp: Are there any funny story from the Europe tour you guys would like to share?
B: In Urretxu we had this fun game, we’re jumped into the trash bin from the bar stools. Now we can said that as the crust. Because we jumped into the thrash, we stepped the punk. Hahahaaa…
**There was also equal to the K7 finished. The game turned out so the man in the already considerable drunk from bar stool to bar stool and jumped to the conclusion found in the trash had to. The so were a few bruises, abrasions and sprains. Can I own a song sing it, but we had fun anyway.
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