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Jakarta Post

Kotak keeps rolling in rock

  • Novia D. Rulistia

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Fri, April 11, 2014   /  12:49 pm
Kotak keeps rolling in rock Keeping their edge: Kotak consists of (from left to right) Tantri Syalindri Ichlasari, Mario “Cella” Marcella and Swasti “Chua” Sabdastantri. They have kept the formation since 2011. (Courtesy of Warner Music Indonesia)

Keeping their edge: Kotak consists of (from left to right) Tantri Syalindri Ichlasari, Mario '€œCella'€ Marcella and Swasti '€œChua'€ Sabdastantri. They have kept the formation since 2011. (Courtesy of Warner Music Indonesia)

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.

'€œWe'€™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 '€œCella'€ 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.

'€œThis 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, '€œInspirasi 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 '€œSendiri'€ (Alone), which is taken from their self-titled debut album.

'€œWe 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 '€œPay'€ Burman Siburian of rock band BIP and Eross Chandra of So7 in '€œBobrok'€ (Damaged), a song that voices their concern about the government.

They also collaborated with rapper JFlow for '€œRise and Fall'€, which has become a theme song for soccer team Manchester United, and with singer Judika for '€œAku 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.

'€œBut 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 '€œIcez'€ Amanda on bass; and drummer Haposan '€œPosan'€ Haryanto Tobing.

The band was then named Kotak, literally meaning '€œsquare'€, 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.

'€œHaving 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.

'€œWe 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.

'€œWe 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.

'€œBut 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.'€