This is an excerpt of an interview with Igo Blado, musician, event manager, and artist manager, and Rudolf Dethu, writer, event manager, and former manager for Bali rock bands Superman Is Dead and Navicula. Way back in 2009, when I had just begun my dissertation research on indie music in post-bomb Bali, I sat down with Igo and Dethu and asked them to tell me about Bali's music industry. Below is an English translation of this interview excerpt:
Igo: I see it like this: So after the first bomb, the nation was largely focused on recovery for Bali at that time. And large concerts were staged, and all of the big bands [from Jakarta, Bandung, etc.] were brought here as a gesture of sympathy and to improve conditions, brighten the spirit, etc. And the only Bali band that was known at that time was Superman is Dead. And indeed they were the most capable to represent Bali because they had been a big fan base. Bali had already released three albums independently. Yeah, if compared to other bands, they were the biggest. And they deserved to represent Bali, because of their large fan base. And from there…because it happened that a lot of great bands, well-known bands would come and Superman is Dead played really well. Naturally, it all stems from there so yes, arguably [the bombings] were one of the [defining] moments. Eventually SID was picked up by Sony, and in cooperation with Sony they released their album nationally. And it was a success. As Dethu just said, a sales success. They became a new icon in the history of Indonesian rock. A new icon. And it makes sense that, after Superman is Dead managed to become an icon, all the young people realized, Balinese bands could really make it. There is a new choice. If at first, this wasn’t possible. Typically before [the bombings], bands were marginalized, only playing in cafés. That was actually the peak, in the beginning. The starting point for Balinese music artists began to create their own works.
Dethu: It's like a wake up call.
Igo: For bands to create their own works. Because they had already seen a successful example. And SID was the starting point. Although there had already been a lot of bands that did that, but none became an icon before SID. They were not the first, but they were the first to succeed. And from there, if we trace from 2003, right after that there was Navicula, and everyone got serious. Everyone got serious. And when they started to get serious, automatically their music improved as well.
Dethu: And do you know how easy it was for me to offer Navicula, when they asked me what other band from Bali is good? “Oh this other band that I’m managing.” That’s what I said when the Sony guy asked me. He had a nickname, the Golden Ear, because of the bands that he picked up, and Superman is Dead was the most recent. Then he asked and I said, “Oh Navicula is good.” “Oh, really? And if we invite them to join Sony would they agree?” “Definitely!” Even though thousands were queuing tto sign with Sony and had been unsuccessful. All because of [the bombing]. Maybe it was shocking for people. And so Navicula gained a majory Cuman because sangking ... maybe shocking yes for people. And so Navicula signed with a major label, and Bali went crazy!
Igo: So, this public belief in music, that music was an option, a professional option…
Dethu: It finally happened. And maybe because it was like people were finally waking up, after the bombing they could open their eyes. "Fine wrote streets continued. So it wasn’t the bomb’s influence. It was the music’s influence.
Igo: That new excitement, yeah.
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