Saturday, 14 March 2015

Indonesia Rocks (and Gazes): Introducing Damascus


Exposed to the world through the inclusion of their song ‘Slightest’ in the recent (free to download) compilation ‘REVOLUTION – The Shoegaze Revival’, released by Ear to Ear Records (UK) and Gerpfast Kolektif (Indonesia), Damascus is one of five bands from this country included in this groundbreaking collection, along with Intenna, Sharesprings, Digilite and Seaside, essentially putting Indonesia on the shoegaze map. 



Based in Jakarta, Indonesia, this band has built their sounds on the rough side of 90s shoegaze bands, including Swervedriver, Ride, Catherine Wheel, etc. The band is fronted by Peter Andriaan Walandouw Ritchie on vocals and guitar, Ned Hansel on guitar, Ricky Babay Janitra on bass, and Freddie Warnerrin on drums.

They believe shoegaze is all about rock n roll, not suicidal tones. Their press info reads: “Fuzz, reverb, wah wah, and tremolo blend into one package”. They are into fuzz, tremolo, feedback, and stage diving, describing their music as “intense, spacey, and fuzzy”. 

Influenced by bands like Swervedriver, Catherine Wheel, MBV, Ride, Boo Radleys, Drop Nineteens, Moose and Medicine. The band says they would cover Swervedriver’s ‘Mustang Ford’ if given the chance because “it’s a bad ass song”. They also plan to release our first EP in the middle of this year via Heyho Records. 



We had a quick chat with Peter, transcribed below: 

Can you tell us about your involvement in the Revolution shoegaze compilation? 
My friend for Gerpfast Kolektif told me about the compilation, and really excited to be involved with good bands around the world and also to be on Ear to Ear Records. 

What does this mean for you to have Indonesia so well represented in this compilation, which has even been recognized by such famous people as Creation Records’ co-founder Joe Foster, who also produced MBV and Jesus & Mary Chain. 
Yeah, I think it's really important for us, and for shoegazers from Indonesia to get our noisy music out from our countries, and also for the rest of the world to knowing that we also got our own scene that celebrates itself. hahaha I'm just hoping the network that we are creating through this compilation could provide greater exposure and opportunities to share gigs in each of these countries. Also cool that some big names have heard it.

Why is it important for the world to hear your music? What kind of message would you like to share with international listeners?
We got our own scene here in Indonesia, and by the way, my label Anoa Records just released the Indonesian Shoegazer Compilation, on cassette and digitally. You can purchase it on our site anoarecs.com.

Can you name some bands from your country as recommended listening?
Sharesprings, Mellonyellow, Themilo, Sugarstar, Astrolab, Jellybelly, Treasure Hiding, Lazysofia, Poptart, Elemental Gaze, Seaside, Kapsul and many more. You could go to my blog at indonesianshoegazer.blogspot.com for the list of interesting Indonesian shoegaze bands.

What was the songwriting process like for your song ‘Slightest’?
The song actually created by our lead guitarist, Ritchie. So he had some good riffs, and then we polished it into a song. We tried to put more reverb noisy atmosphere on the song, similar like what Ride or Chapterhouse has done. I always love how Ride created their songs covered in noise and reverb. The lyrics are actually about a surreal feeling with someone, like you’re in limbo and you can't get out or you want to leave the moment. Actually, 'Limbo' was the first title we gave this song. 



Can you share those lyrics with us here?
Between noises and delays, it’s your texture
Stand still, Slightest and surreal
Silenced and shadowed
Consumed and mesmerized
How does it feel to feel
The weakest lover
The beauty of yours, illuminates agony
I’m falling inside your premature skies
But I wouldn’t run from every sight of yours
The texture of hollow
Slowly feel the rush, sunburst in your eyes

Anything you’d like to share about the recording and production process?
The process of writing this song involved making it pretty easy on the writing part, and also on the recording. We recorded it on semi dub track recording session. First we recorded the drums, the rhythm guitar, and the bass. After that, we filled in the leads, layers, and vocals. 



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Shauna McLarnon, Canada

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