variations in sound - part 1: divisi 62
Over the past 2 years, Indonesia's Divisi 62 have steadily provided pleasure to our earbuds with a fusion of traditional and modern sounds. We caught up with one of its founders to discuss the journey so far.
Some believe that each country or even city has its own sound. The kind of sound that describes its traffic, food, the skyline, etc. Even the mention of its name might remind you of a certain sound. For example, if someone asks what kind of sound Jakarta would represent, some would say "Riotous, loud and lively."
But, when it comes to the local electronic music scene, what really represents the city? In this series, we talk to some musical prodigies of Southeast Asia who are more than ready to give you the variations in sound!
VARIATIONS IN SOUND - PART 1: DIVISI 62
In 2015, a group of Jakarta-based producers got together to form indie label Divisi 62, a platform that allows them to offer some refreshing mixtures of sounds with a blend of Indonesian traditional instruments. The tracks produced by three of the founders (Pujangga Rahseta or Django, Harsya Wahono and Randy MP), in particular, are mostly adapted from their own music heritages.
Today, the trio has produced at least three rosters under Divisi 62. In November 2017, as a part of the Europalia Arts Festival Indonesia's lineup, they were invited to perform at the prestigious Berghain nightclub in Berlin, as well as in other venues in Gent, Brussels, Rotterdam and Amsterdam.
From the intense drums to the groovy beats that make you tap your feet, Divisi 62 is taking you to a musical excursion. Co-founder Django, who is also Globetrotter's one-to-watch, gave us a few insights into the sound/visual label and its aim to reach new heights in the continual construction of the Indonesian identity.
Globetrotter Magazine: Tell us a bit about Divisi 62!
Django: It started out when I was doing some projects with [co-founder] Wahono, and at that time he was still living in Singapore. We both wanted to create something with our cultural heritages. Then we started talking about the Western music scene. Our main interest was to make something that's not yet existed in clubs out there. Then Wahono introduced me to Randy MP, so we started going back and forth to his studio. The name "Divisi 62" was conceived from a conversation we had, then we came up with some ideas to make rosters such as Uwalmassa, RMP and Marsesura.
Globetrotter Magazine: We heard that the three rosters are pretty much inspired by different aspects of culture. What's the reason behind this? Is it your personal interest or is there any other particular reason?
Django: We actually still have plenty of other rosters coming up. But the three names we have now are differentiated by their creative processes and the ways they're performed live. Basically all of them are made by the three of us. RMP is Randy's personal project, Marsesura is like a marriage between traditional Indonesian music and modern electronic music.
On the other hand, there's Uwalmassa, whose music is made from the samples we make with traditional instruments. The whole idea is to create something that is not specific or limited to Indonesian culture only; the music flows according to the process and concept. So we have no particular reason behind it.
Globetrotter Magazine: What's the process of creating each track like? Is it always spontaneous?
Django: We always write down our ideas first. Doesn't matter where they're from; they can be from a book or an article. From there, we would develop or explore the kind of elements that we think would be a perfect match for 'em. With Uwalmassa, for instance, we would record our own samples of gamelan (Javanese traditional instrumental ensemble - Ed.) which we then modify until we can say that it's our track. We have limited skills or knowledge on playing the instrument, but we figured that this is our way to deconstruct. So, yes. You can say that the whole process is spontaneous.
Globetrotter Magazine: You guys are probably the youngest/the first Indonesians who have had the chance to perform in Berghain! Have you gotten more recognition after the showcase?
Django: Of course! We performed there during the weekdays, and so many label owners and festival promoters were there. We exchanged numbers with them. So far we have no offers to perform at shows yet, but we have upcoming releases under a label from Berlin!
Globetrotter Magazine: What's your most favorite track that you have produced under Divisi 62, and why should more people listen to it?
Django: I can't really pick one, but most definitely, our first release, Untitled 01. More people should listen to it because of the concept, even if most people won't understand it. But I think no one has ever done something like it before.