|IRON MAIDEN concert, Jakarta, 17 February 2011. Kieran James third from left on top row, Brandon Baresi Tobing fourth from left on top row, Ayyub Anshari Sukmaraga first from left on bottom row.|
Online Interview, 6 March 2012
Kieran James: OK, this is something different: it is me being asked the interview questions this time, by Dozan Alfian from Yogyakarta...
Dozan Alfian: Hi Mr. Kieran James, as I said before, I want to interview you.
These are my questions:
Dozan Alfian Q1. What are your reasons to do research on heavy metal/ metal culture in Indonesia?
Kieran James Q1: To me as researcher it is interesting to see metal become so popular in a non-western country so far from where metal began. It is interesting to see people in Indo adapt metal culture to suit the local situation. Man JASAD’s project of organizing Sundanese culture classes at The Common Room Network Foundation NGO in Bandung and singing about Sundanese culture is very significant as metal has not usually been socially responsible unlike punk. As a metalhead it is great to see young people in Indo form bands and enjoy the scene.
DA2: Why did you choose Indonesia? Do you think metal culture in Indonesia is interesting enough to be an object of cultural studies?
KJ2: I chose Indonesia because it’s close by and it’s a non-western country. It deserves to be studied. The metal scene is huge here so people should know about it. Also there have been misunderstandings between Indonesia and Australia due to terrorism and Bali bombings so we must build bridges.
DA3: Please tell me why metal culture in Indonesia is interesting?
KJ3: It is interesting because the scene is so huge here [in Indonesia] and I like to know why metal is so popular here compared to other Asian countries. Man of JASAD says there are 128 active death-metal bands in Bandung. I like to know why metal is so attractive to the people here. But bands often can’t answer that question! I also study here because bands such as JASAD, BLEEDING CORPSE and DEATH VOMIT were so willing to meet me and talk with me and take me to shows. I depend upon this support. I talk with Popo of DEMONS DAMN who is a brutal female singer and that is interesting too.
DA4: Can you tell me about metal society in your home country?
KJ4: Metal is kind of segmented here in Australia because the scene is 30 years old. Older guys like 1980s style metal, younger ones like SLIPKNOT and there is not much interaction. Of course IRON MAIDEN and METALLICA get huge crowds but local bands don’t get much support. Most metal shows are held in pubs where you must be 18-years-old to enter. Also black-metal was a huge craze here in the 1990s and some people have that negative and hateful black-metal attitude.
DA5: What methodology that you use on your research? Did you do observation on the field or did you learn from available sources?
KJ5: Mainly I interview the bands and visit the shows. I went with BLEEDING CORPSE guys on a tour to Cibinong which was fantastic. I saw how the metal people live here. DEATH VOMIT guys took me around Yogya and that was great too.
DA6: How is the response from the people or the band that you interviewed and documented?
KJ6: The message from everyone was very positive. All bands like to talk to me. But I worry because they see I’m foreigner and they think I can give them great success overseas but maybe I can’t. I’m very happy to set up my blog “Busuk Webzine” with John Yoedi and we had 38,000 page-views in 4 months. I’m amazed. Thanks for support.
DA7: What are the obstacles that you face when you work on this book: Indonesian Metalhead?
KJ7: Language is an obstacle. Some Indonesians can’t understand my slang or accent even if they speak English. Popo of DEMONS DAMN helped me with interpretation in Bandung and Oki of DEATH VOMIT in Yogya. That was really important. Money is a problem too because although hotels in Indo are quite cheap the return airfare is expensive.
DA8: What’s your next plan after this book? Are you still interested in studying metal music? Metal music in a bigger scope maybe?
KJ8: I may do a book on Indo black-metal. Abah Desecrator of Bandung band IMPISH has said he will help me on that. I plan Indonesia language book on death-metal then later I will do an English book. The Indo book will be for the fans and the English book may be more academic. The Indo book will include my travel diary including my stories of touring on the bus with BLEEDING CORPSE to Cibinong and hanging out in Yogya with DEATH VOMIT. Maybe I might study metal in other Asian countries such as Philippines but later. For Buzuk Webzine we already interviewed HUMAN MASTICATION and NEKROHOLOCAUST from Philippines.
DA9: Any message you would like to add/ say?
KJ9: Thanks for everyone’s support for my research and Busuk Webzine and I hope to meet you soon. I will go to the ANTHRAX show in Jakarta 31 March then Bandung again 1-5 April.