Kotak keeps rolling in rock
Novia D. Rulistia
The Jakarta Post
Rock band Kotak has come a long way since it first emerged from the box where it was formed, presenting its best for its fans during its 10-year journey in the music industry.
The three members of the group say they want more ' and will keep going making music for many years to come.
'We've been here for a decade, we're quite satisfied with what we've achieved but we don't want to just stop there and will keep learning,' said the band's vocalist Tantri Syalindri Ichlasari.
They have probably been around for years, but the band's guitarist and front man Mario 'Cella' Marcella said they still thought of themselves as a new band that needed to constantly evolve.
The band just released its fifth full 11-track album, Never Dies, to mark their 10th anniversary.
Cella said the album was unlike their previous ones since it featured elements 1990s rock music and was composed of various sounds from other genres.
'This is a perfect album for me because my dream of bringing back the 1990s rock music has come true,' Cella said.
The second track in the album, 'Inspirasi Sahabat' (Best Friend's Inspiration), is the album's first single and is dedicated to the band's best friends and fans ' called Kerabat Kotak ' for always supporting it throughout the years.
The song appeared as the soundtrack of Bangun Lagi Dong, Lupus (Lupus Reborn) movie last year.
Kotak also rerecorded one of its older songs, entitled 'Sendiri' (Alone), which is taken from their self-titled debut album.
'We decided to rerecord 'Sendiri' because it was like the starting point of our journey, and also to remind ourselves of the good and bad times that we've had,' Cella said.
They also worked together with several noted local musicians in the album.
Cella collaborates with guitarists Parlin 'Pay' Burman Siburian of rock band BIP and Eross Chandra of So7 in 'Bobrok' (Damaged), a song that voices their concern about the government.
They also collaborated with rapper JFlow for 'Rise and Fall', which has become a theme song for soccer team Manchester United, and with singer Judika for 'Aku yang Tersakiti' (I'm Hurt).
The album's recording took only a month as they had collected all materials needed in advance. In addition, their tight performing schedules also forced them to work quickly to finish the album.
'But we were very serious when we made this album. This is called Never Dies because we never want to die in making music,' said Tantri, who is also a jury at the Indonesian Idol singing competition.
Kotak was formed in 2004 through a talent competition initiated by the bassist of pop band Kahitna, Dody Isnaini.
The first formation consisted of Cella; Julia Angelia Lepar or Pare on vocal; Prinzes 'Icez' Amanda on bass; and drummer Haposan 'Posan' Haryanto Tobing.
The band was then named Kotak, literally meaning 'square', to represent four different characteristics of its members that were bound by music.
They released their first album in 2005 under record label Warner Music Indonesia. Two years later, Pare and Icez left the group and replaced by Tantri and Swasti Sabdastantri, or Chua, on bass.
With this new formation, their name continued to shine in the local music industry, receiving many awards, including best rock band and best album from Anugerah Musik Indonesia (AMI) Award, and lots of offers to perform abroad.
Despite all the success, Posan left the group in 2011, and the remaining members decided to stick with the current formation and play only with additional drummers for their performances.
'Having to go through several changes was definitely hard for us, but we stick together. We often argue a lot, too, but that actually makes us closer,' Cella said.
However, the band does not plan to add a new member to the current group.
'We don't have a plan to fill the vacant side of the square because it now belongs to Kerabat Kotak,' Tantri says.
To date, Kotak has produced a total of eight albums ' five full albums, one repackaged and two compilation albums.
'We still have so many things to accomplish in the future, including getting married,' laughed Cella, referring to Tantri's and Chua's wedding plans this year.
'But one thing for sure, even when we already get married and have kids, we will still play music because we're more than just bandmates ' we're a family.'
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