Sound Check vol. 7, with Terima Kost Putri

By: Claudia Siregar |

On October 27th, local alternative rock Jakarta-based band Terima Kost Putri (TKP The Band) held their very first concert, “Konser Metafase” in celebration of the release of their debut EP “Metafase”. The band conveyed that they wished to become a thought leader in the Indonesian music scene, donating the concert’s proceeds to Save The Children foundation while commemorating the first anniversary of the Palu-Donggala tsunami. The Speedofsound Mag team had the chance to interview the band on their creative processes, their thoughts on social issues, and a lot of other things.

Hello, we are from Speedofsound Mag. How does it feel to finally be able to release your debut EP and hold your very first concert?

Axel: For me, personally, we had a lot of “homework” to do since we didn’t have anyone back then. We only had each other and our willingness to take the risk, but at the same time, we can’t thank the people around us enough. Currently, we are very nervous as we worked on this concert by ourselves.

Abary: We mean to show a certain “process” through this EP. And that process is a very heartfelt one, from our days as a campus band playing at campus gigs to our days performing on public stages and recording a debut EP, up until we finally took the leap and decided to hold the “Metafase” concert.

How did your creative process go for your new EP?

Elvin: Production-wise, we received a lot of help from our friends. The arrangement process took the most time since we revised our songs over and over again arrangement-wise. If you look at our YouTube profile, you’ll find many different versions of our single Masih Penasaran. Over the course of a year, we kept re-arranging the song. Even up until the production process, sometimes we still have re-arrangements to do.

Are there any literary references/visual artists that inspired you guys during the making of the EP?

Everyone: [laughs] none in particular.

Your new debut EP seems visual-heavy. Any reason for this?

Abary: We need to thank Hanief, our art director and good friend for that. He gave us a lot of good input regarding our visual material. We had a lot of artistic ideas in mind, but none of us are able to translate them into visual art. Lucky for us, Hanief is able to translate our ideas into matching visuals. For example, when he listened to Masih Penasaran, he immediately pictured a red fabric, and that’s where the very-”Indonesian” visual for the song came from.

Fahran: His Instagram handle is @phantom.killah if you want to check his stuff out. His artistic interpretations sure are unique to me.

We noticed that every song in “Metafase”, despite of not straying from the rock genre, is inspired by a different rock subgenre one to another. For example, “Masih Penasaran” seems to be late 70’s rock-inspired while “Berlari Kembali” is reminiscent of early to mid 2000’s East Asian rock and Indonesian “pop melayu” bands and “Kembali Ke Samudra” contains vocal harmonies that are reminiscent of Fleet Foxes. Did this happen due to different musical references between members?

Axel: Musical reference-wise, we are pretty diverse. For example, Elvin might enjoy listening to a certain band while I don’t. Yet we always try to find a middle ground between all these musical references.

Abary: Fahran has a jazz background, Elvin likes indie rock and punk, I like emo and metal, while Axel is into math rock. We are different, yet as TKP we are able to work together to create music that makes an impact on the society. We make music with a message that brings impact.

Despite of your diverse taste in music, are there any bands/musicians that everyone in the band collectively enjoys?

Axel: Depends on the song. For Masih Penasaran, I was personally inspired by Barasuara. For Kembali Ke Samudra, we collectively looked for references that are similar to the idea we had in mind for the song, which is why it’s not that surprising that we accidentally put some Fleet Foxes-ish elements in it…and maybe some accidental Kunto Aji-ish elements. When it comes to current inspiration, we’ve been listening to local indie bands, for example .feast. A collab with them would be nice.

Elvin: As an alternative rock band, TKP was mainly inspired by Barasuara and The Adams. But we don’t limit ourselves to just one type of musicians, we listen to every musician there is out there and look for what makes them and their sound unique – and that inspires us.

Out of all the songs in the “Metafase” EP, are any of them inspired by personal, real-life experiences?

Abary: Masih Penasaran is about a very ‘masculine’ guy with melancholic (“galau”) feelings towards a girl. Yet the one that hits home for me is Kembali Ke Samudra since it tells about how I lost a lot of things during the Aceh tsunami in 2004.

Elvin: A lot of our songs are about issues that circulate in society and personal experiences.

Why “process”? Why metaphase (Metafase)?

Elvin: Metaphase is a part of the cell division process according to biology (ref: prophase, metaphase, anaphase). Why metaphase? Because life is a process. Everything we do is a process – for example, starting your own business is a process. The only thing that will stop the process is death, and cells are the perfect symbol for this since they also divide until they die.

The tracks off “Metafase” seem to tell a story. It seems like the songs are linked to each other, like a concept album. Would you say “Metafase” is the story of someone’s life? In addition to that, some of your lyrics are very metaphorical. For example, in Terbakar Realita, there’s a line that says “hidupku adalah lambang kebebasan” (“my life is a symbol of freedom”). How would you guys interpret this? Does ‘freedom’ in the song equate to death and release from the process of living?

Abary: In Masih Penasaran, the loss takes place and you’re disappointed and left wondering what could happen if you hadn’t lost someone or something precious to you. Then you’ll start running back (Berlari Kembali) to get them/it back – yet there is a chance you might fail and come back to the ocean (Kembali Ke Samudra) to weep. But in the end, you will be burnt by the reality that only you can save and “free” yourself (Terbakar Realita).

Many of your songs are inspired by your own nostalgia, yet the theme of the EP is “processing” a.k.a. “moving forward”. Does this mean you guys agree with the phrase “to move on, you must first accept the past”?

Fahran: Yes. You might fail yesterday, but you can succeed tomorrow. The key is not to let past failures and loss stop you from trying again.

What does “freedom” mean to you guys?

Elvin: Freedom means being able to do what you love and caring for others at the same time. It’s rather introspective. There is no such thing as being free without caring for those around you.

Abary: For me, freedom means being able to express yourself and create. The only way you can make an impact is through creating.

Is there such thing as originality for you guys? Or do you agree with the cliche statement “everything is a copy of a copy of a copy”?

Abary: For me, nothing is new under the sun. Everyone tries to be authentic, but in fact there are 7 billion people in the world, so “is it only me?” shouldn’t even be a thing. We should all just live with appreciation for diversity and enjoy the process of life.

Each member’s favourite song off the album:

Abary: Kembali Ke Samudra

Axel: Masih Penasaran

Elvin: Masih Penasaran

Fahran: Terbakar Realita

Faris: Berlari Kembali

We noticed that you guys collaborated with two local fashion brands for Konser Metafase. You guys also celebrated National Batik Day on your Instagram profile. It seems like fashion is very important to you guys. Why fashion?

Elvin: We just wanted to go all-out during our performances. As well as giving our audience a good musical performance, we also wanted to look good onstage.

Do you guys think fashion, music, and other forms of art in Indonesia will harmoniously complement each other to create a successful future for the Indonesian creative industry?

Elvin: Of course. We all support local brands and I hope local brands and local musicians can support each other to the top.

Abary: I think that’s the beauty of the Indonesian creative industry – fashion brands, visual artists, and musicians supporting each other. By building this positive ecosystem from one onto the other, that is when empowerment comes rushing through.

We noticed that TKP once performed with JKTMOVEIN. How did the experience of performing at a theatre go for you guys?

Elvin: It was rather unexpected. Someone from JKTMOVEIN approached us to join their competition and we accepted the offer. It was a new experience for us.

So you guys are open to cross-genre collabs?

Everyone: Absolutely yes.

If you guys could have a collab with anyone in the music industry from a different genre, who would it be?

Abary: I’d say Rossa. Don’t know why, though.

Faris: White Shoes and the Couple Company

Elvin: my favourite, Vira Talisa

Fahran: my favourite, Barry Likumahuwa

Axel: Rara Sekar

Lately collabs between Indonesian artists and international artists have been happening. An example of this would be Rich Brian’s collab with K-pop artists such as Chungha and Jackson Wang. Some people however think that international collabs would ruin Indonesian musicians’ idealism in making music. What do you guys think about this?

Elvin: According to me, it all depends on the musician. Each to their own.

Abary: Idealism goes back to the musicians themselves, but for me, there is no such thing as a “label” in music. I don’t believe in “this is Indonesian music, that is Japanese music” – music is just music. As long as you want to make music with positive connotations, just do it – just make music.

There has been a lot of discourse on sociopolitical issues in music lately. Do you guys think it’s important for local musicians these days to be aware about sociopolitical issues?

Elvin: Yes, since music is the safest and easiest route for people to voice out their opinions on sociopolitical issues. I’m from a law background myself and sometimes it scares me when my friends voice out their opinions on social media. Some of my friends in discussion groups have had their groups disbanded, yet my friends who voiced out their opinions through music have never experienced anything harmful.

This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity. Ralka Skjerseth and Syahzanan Haunan F contributed to some of the questions.

The SoSM team (left to right: editor-in-chief Claudia Maria Siregar, co-editor Ralka Skjerseth, and graphic designer Syahzanan Haunan F) with Terima Kost Putri the band. Photo credit goes to Hanief Bagus Pratama (@phantom.killah)

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