Revenge of the Nerds With Chiptunes
In high school, most students belonged to a group defined by a common interest and attitude. There were the jocks, the rich kids, the pretty girls, the musicians and the nerds. The jocks always dated the pretty girls, while the musicians were popular with everyone. The nerds, on the other hand, with their chess club and computer games, were outcasts.
But it seems that the tables have turned and now being a nerd is cool. Nerd culture has taken off all over the world, including here in Indonesia. The thick glasses that once earned nerds the nickname “four eyes” and lunchtime beatings have become fashionable. Reading manga, collecting quirky toys and playing computer games are now trendy.
And a nerdy form of music has also developed in this subculture, which is slowly making its way into the mainstream. Indonesia, make way for the Chiptune Revolution.
TLTN Keeps It Hardcore
When Metallica played in Jakarta in 1993, a riot broke out between security and fans without tickets. It was clear that heavy metal had gained steam in Indonesia and that fans identified with the drama and rage metal bands exuded on stage.
The genre dwindled in the late 1990s, but heavy metal made a comeback in the early 2000s, with bands like As I Lay Dying from the United States and UK group Bullet For My Valentine. These groups retained the instrumental heaviness of the Metallica era, but ornamented it with more melodic vocal lines, making the music more accessible to a wider audience.
Breathing the Delta Blues
Legend has it that the Mississippi blues legend Robert Johnson, who died in 1936, sold his soul to the devil on Route 666 in exchange for the ability to create the greatest blues ever known to mankind. Listening to local blues guitarist Adrian Adioetomo’s mastery of the genre, you would be forgiven for wondering if perhaps the 35-year-old musician struck the same deal.
Adrian spent years of his youth in Australia, where his surroundings influenced his musical mind-set.
KunoKini: Keeping Musical Traditions Alive
KunoKini is not your everyday drums-guitar-vocals band: The foursome play indigenous instruments from around the country, and some from abroad.
Their sound is a fusion of different traditional Indonesian styles with the more modern echoes of Bob Dylan and Bob Marley. The band members have built a strong reputation for themselves at home and internationally as an innovative, yet conservational band, hence the name KunoKini: kuno meaning “traditional” and kini meaning “now” in Indonesian slang.
The band wants to change people’s perceptions of what music is considered cool. “Indonesian youths have forgotten traditional music. They’re more comfortable with modern music,” says Akbar Nugraha, a band member.