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NICK loves 1980s pop

Marcel Thee

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Fri, July 14, 2017  /  09:43 am
NICK loves 1980s pop

Formed by Nicko in 2012, NICK is rounded up by work-mates Dirama Gemmy on guitar, drummer Ade Kris, synthesizer player Moyas and co-vocalist Yacko. (Adityo Wibowo/File)

With a slew of guest musicians aboard, Jakarta band NICK’s new album Frekuensi in fact sounds like a very 1980s-leaning mix-tape of sorts.

Vocalist-guitarist Nicko Krisna is happy that people are paying attention to his band, but are not too enthused with the 1980s and 1990s-nostalgia correlation — the side effect of his profile as the founder of the social-media community Hits from the 1980s and 1990s.

While Nicko inadvertently found minor-fame through the community, which basked in postings and discussions about pop culture happenings from those two decades and led to a few appearances in the media, he says he feels that it has overshadowed and limited the appreciation of NICK’s artistic output.

“It might be the 1980s and 1990s image people attach to me, since I made that wildest-in-the-nation community in 2014. Now people expect that my music has the same elements (of nostalgia) attached to those two eras,” he says.

Those nostalgia-obsessed people who filled up the “Hits” fan-page may not be entirely incorrect. NICK’s catalogue indeed owes a lot to those eras, in particularly the 1980s, when synthesizer-pop reigned supreme.

Even Nicko himself concurs.

“There are definitely three songs,” he says, before listing the first song in his list: “Nostalgia 80” and following it up with “Janji Zeus” (Zeus’ Promise) and “Piring Terbang” (Flying Saucer).

“But even (the 1980s elements in those songs) are just hints here and there,” Nick proclaims, adding that the nostalgic elements that might arise in those three songs are completely incidental.

“We did not try to make them sound nostalgic.”

Into pop: Dream-pop band NICK loves 1980s pop but cannot stand when people think that's all they are.(Adityo Wibowo/File)

Formed by Nicko in 2012, NICK is rounded up by work-mates Dirama Gemmy on guitar, drummer Ade Kris, synthesizer player Moyas and co-vocalist Yacko.

The band’s debut album, Sky Vs Sky, and was recorded by Aroel Stereogenic from the indie-pop duo Stereomantic and was released in 2013. It introduced the band’s retro-tinged sound and now sounds like a natural precursor to Frekuensi, which sounds much more conceptual, if ambitious.

“Frekuensi took two years to record,” explains Nicko. “We actually had seven songs written, but we threw all of those songs away because the melodies were too reminiscent of (the 1980s and 1990s stalwarts) Tommy Page, Michael Bolton and the Human League.”

Nicko began writing newer songs, while some older members left the band for a variety of reasons. Nicko had managed to write two new songs with those older members, however.

Frekuensi also, rather uniquely, features covers of NICK’s Sky Vs Sky songs as done by other musicians, including the band’s close friends: Sir Lommar John, Trustha, Youth Culture and Gregorius Primananda.

The album also features a host of guest musicians, including popular singer Candra Darusman and Suar Nasution, who sang in the indie pop group Pure Saturday.

“These guest musicians — we tried to make sure that their portions in the song felt right and not forced. We picked them because of different reasons. Candra Darusman was a childhood idol —and he happened to be my wife’s uncle. Java Jr. is an old friend of mine. Gregorius is one of the best folk singers of recent times. Then we have Peels, whose members are old friends, while Sir Lommar John features people who are already in NICK, anyway.”

Nicko and his bandmates are eager to get Frekuensi out to the masses. With the assistance of their label, Kebun Suara, NICK hopes to tour the nation.

“We’d like to get out of Java and play. It’s rare that we get a chance to play in smaller cities. Hopefully it will happen.”