YOGYAKARTA EXPERIMENTAL NOISE ROCK
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Scroll down for the interview and to read the detailed information of the tracks and credits
INTERVIEW WITH RULLY SHABARA
Who is ZOO?
Rully Shabara: Zoo was set up around 2004 in Jogjakarta, Indonesia. Most people, including you, would often categorize us as an experimental rock band since there is no exact term to perfectly fit
for our music. I am the singer and occasionally play the jembe and synthesizer. I am also the singer in Senyawa. Bhakti Prasetyo plays bass guitar, and most of the time treats his sounds
to resemble many other instruments, particularly electric guitar. We have two drummers with different styles; Ramberto Agozalie, who is also the drummer for Jogjakarta’s finest metal band
Cranial Incisored, plays more upbeat and technical beats, while Dimas Budi Satya would be more rhythmic and straightforward. Recently, Dimas handles the background percussions to broaden
the range of our rhythm section.
Do you remember how you started into music?
All of us are 31, except for Dimas who is 28. Neither of us attended any musical school, although Ramberto and Dimas are now teaching private drum lessons. Dimas and Ramberto were
childhood friends and they both started playing drums together when they were kids but then Ramberto grew more interest in metal music while Dimas was more interested in more teenage
music such as grunge and melodic punk. Bhakti started young as well and I decided to be a singer only 13 years ago.
History of ZOO:
I started this project in 2004, Dimas was my first choice to be the drummer back then, and we also still had a guitar player. Bhakti and I used to live in the same boarding house
and we both listened to the same types of music. So, when he joined the band, we decided that we didn’t actually need a guitar player. Ramberto joined later after we decided to
tighten the tribal side of the band. Ramberto and Dimas were childhood friends. It was Dimas who introduced him to us.
The imaginary behind:
Zoo is a metaphor for modern civilization, and that is the big theme which underlies every aspect of the band. Modern world serves the purpose of creating more advanced, systematic,
human-centered civilization while detaching themselves from nature, traditions, and anything ‘wild’ and ‘chaotic’ but on the other hand it's leading them toward new kind of chaos,
disorder, and worse, destruction. This is the foundation that shapes every Zoo’s lyric, image, album concept, and music. See, the first full album "Trilogi Peradaban" was divided into
three reversing sequence (Neolithikum, Mesolithikum, Palaeolithikum) in order to introduce the whole concept. It's like the civilization is pulled backwards so that it can start over
with a whole new civilization and traditions while the remaining experience of the previous era is still there. Then, the following albums would focus on building each element of this
new civilization one step of the time.
The first one is language, and that is the theme of the second album "Prasasti", in which 10 different traditional languages are being used for lyrics, as well as new alphabets
called Zugrafi is invented to write these lyrics, and the use of actual stone as the album packaging to symbolize the album title "Prasasti" (Incription) .
The next elements for future albums will be architecture, then technology, religion, nations, and so on.
Connections between then band and traditions:
Continuing from the previous answer, the music should then be able to reflect the big theme. Chaotic, wild, and at the same time is trying to pursue and redefine the lost tradition.
We are not talking anything about Indonesian traditions in particular, although the choice of tone and the way of singing in our own tradition may be unavoidable.
Many of your compositions are quite complex. How is the process constructing
your pieces - is it that improvisation plays an important role?
Improvisation is a crucial aspect in our music construction. Every song would be initiated with an improv, then the structure would be built on that. What seems to be a very complex
structure is actually a result of the thought process which is built upon a simple and pure improvisation.
What do you think about the importance of rituals through your music,
and what does it mean KEDO KEDO?
Kedo-Kedo is a Bugis word, an ethnic group from South Sulawesi, which means 'dancing in circle'.
Rituals may be one of things we talk about but never a deliberate way to create and
perform our music.
No matter your project is considered as experimental 'extreme' rock, we can realize
sometimes in the rhythms some folkloric influences. Talk about your aesthetics:
Exactly. If you strip down all the harsh sounds, the modern instruments that we use, the extreme and distorted voice, you'll be left with nothing but tribal and folkloric rhythms
and melodies. We are trying to make people realize this by doing a completely acoustic rearrangement of some existing songs. The EP is now available.
Influences and important musical references in the very beginning of ZOO:
Zoo in the early days was influenced by Ruins, Melt Banana, Fantomas, Naked City, and such.
But those references slowly blended in with influences from traditional music from all
around the world.
You have already done since 2007 5 albums. Kebun Binatang (2007) & Trilogi Peradaban (2009) with YES NO WAVE MUSIC,
in 2010 you released again Trilogi Peradaban for the Australian Release with Dual Plover and Tenzenmen [ by the way, Dual Power is considered the pioneering independent Australian
record label founded in 1996 by Lucas Abela and Swerve Harris... ]; then in 2010 Bambu Runcing (Featuring Wukir Suryadi from Senyawa), Album Kompilasi 'Jogja Istimewa'
with Anarkisari Records, and again with No Wave Music last year you have presented Prasasti(2012).
Tell us about the contemporary panorama for experimental and extreme music in Indonesia:
Experimental music in Indonesia emerged in the late 90's and blossom in around 2003-2005. But the
scene mostly only exist in major cities in Java, particularly Jogjakarta
because of the city's incredible mixture of people, higher chance of meeting people with interest in
art, and cheaper living standards which makes DIY movements more viable.
How did you arrive to this connection between extreme music, tradition and ritual/experimental
Yes, I guess the intention originally was just to get away from western influences since they are already overwhelming us but we couldn't merely refer to our native tradition.
So the idea is kinda create a new tradition, like an attempt to reach back to the native tradition and fail, but actually results something new instead.
Who writes the lyrics? Some of your titles are Civilization Hymn, The Giant,
Engined Mannequin, Misantrophe, Dance Forgiveness...
do you have any political direction on the music?
I write all lyrics, some words were taken from ancient Indonesian texts, and there is absolutely
no political tendency or whatsoever in everything I write, and surprisingly no curse
or coarse words.
Did you realize important changes in the musical "experimental" scene on the last
years in Indonesia?
Internet certainly brings radical changes in the scene. Experimental bands and artists found their way easier to either come or just to promote their music to our country.
People now are getting more and more attracted to experimental music; beginners mostly will start with just noise and playing with pedals, and some with laptops and electronics.
Interestingly, most of these people used to be metalheads or punk-rockers.
How do people can learn the roots of traditional music? Any specific style who inspired
you in a any way?
Roots are not learned. It's always been in the mind and memory of every person.
So we cannot name any specific style that we adopt because we consume so much
music every day - any kinds of music, and they also stay in our memories, blend in with our primal roots. So when we decide to use and apply them, they're no longer a certain source.
They are unique individual experience.
Experimental festivals in Indonesia:
There are few to none experimental festival in Indonesia. We've got plenty of metal fest, jazz fest, punk fest, etc though. There is Jakarta Noise Fest where the lineups are mostly
Labels and constructive collectives related to experimental music, extreme and noise
music in Indonesia?
Yes No Wave Music is probably the most renowned label that has gained its reputation by promoting experimental music of great range. They also collaborate with Performance Klub
to organize monthly event called Yes No Klub that has touring bands or bands from other countries as one of the headliners. This is a very important event for Jogjakarta's experimental
Propositive artists and legendary performers from Indonesia:
Rully: God Bless, Iwan Fals, I Wayan Sadra, Discus.
Ramberto: Discus, Kua Etnika.
Dimas: God Bless, Slank.
Interesting artists in the present days that inspire your work?
Ramberto: Gilang Ramadhan.
Dimas: Andy Warhol.
Rully: Wukir Suryadi, Rod Cooper, Uchihashi Kazuhisa
Projects, albums or bands that are your major influences:
Ramberto: Ruins, The Mars Volta (Amputhecture), Hella (Hold your Horse Is)
Dimas: The Doors, Nirvana, Melt Banana
Rully: Diamanda Galas, Enrico Caruso, Michael Nyman
Recommendations for experimental contemporary art & music in Indonesia:
Yes No Wave Music (netlabel), Yes No Klub (organizer)
Special Thanks: "We want to thank Wok the Rock,
from Yes No Wave Music, who basically introduced us to the world."
Conversations between Rully Shabara and Julian Bonequi. Rully Shabara, Yogyakarta 15.11.2013
From Trilogi Peradaban , YES NO WAVE MUSIC, Indonesia 2009
Trilogi Peradaban is the first LP by ZOO based in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. It consists 22 tracks categorized in three parts: Neolithikum, Mesolithikum and Palaeolithikum.
A few tracks taken from the Kebun Binatang 2007 EP.
01. "Manekin Bermesin"
04. "Para Raksasa"
08. "Epilog: Yang Berpulang"
11. "GisaGisa: Tarian Pengampunan"
From Prasasti, YES NO WAVE MUSIC, Indonesia 2012.
02. "Kedo Kedo"
03. "Hymne Peradaban"
05. "Pada Gunung".
From the first EP Kebun Binatang, Demo Number 2, YES NO WAVE MUSIC 2007.
[ar090] ZOO |YOGYAKARTA EXPERIMENTAL
NOISE ROCK 2004-2013
Promotional compilation curated by Julian Bonequi. Compositions by ZOO.
Dimas Budi Satya / bedhug, drums
Bhakti Prasetyo / bass, ukelele, mandolin
Rully Shabara / vocals, synths, jembe
Ramberto Agozalie / drums
Special thanks to Rully Shabara, Bhakti Prasetyo, Ramberto Agozalie & Dimas Budi Satya, Wok the Rock & Yes No Wave Music Indonesia
for his vision promoting bands as ZOO and Senyawa.
Picture by Satya Prapanca. Design by Audition Records.