Photo Credit: Tiny Studio
If I had to assume, I’d say that roughly 75% of creative people are introverts and that most of us choose an outlet not only because we have a gift when it comes to writing, sculpting, music, etc. but because it’s our way of expressing ourselves without getting tongue-tied. At least that is the commonality between myself and the Angee AKA ⅓ of the Indonesian trio out of Yogyakarta known as Grrrl Gang. We spoke not only of utilizing the arts to be heard, but also favorite karaoke songs, how they’ve grown as a unit, and more like their 2023 release, ‘Spunky!’ which drops on September 22nd.
Kendra: You came together a handful of years ago and have since made a name for yourself in the Yogyakarta scene. Would you say it’s a music scene that is as eclectic as a place like Brooklyn here in the U.S.?
Akbar: I would say yes! So lots of people come to Yogyakarta for different kinds of business, from different kinds of cultural backgrounds, while Yogyakarta itself holds a strong and rooted culture on its own. For me and Angee, we actually moved to Yogyakarta for college, and quoting from one of our friends that been in the scene for a long time (Woktherock) we always recognize Yogyakarta as a sandbox where you can explore and be anything that you want until you finally go out and share what you have learned during your “Study.” That is what makes Yogyakarta “eclectic,” it’s the differences, the people, and the attitude that I would say you can’t find anywhere else.
Kendra: This September you’ll be dropping ‘Spunky!’ and it comes a few years after ‘Here to Stay!’ Looking at both albums, how would you say you’ve changed as an artist in that time?
Angee: I think we’ve grown a lot over the years since ‘Here to Stay’ as individuals and as a band. We’ve gotten a lot braver at conceptualizing our materials, in terms of story-telling and sound. I’d like to think that ‘Spunky!’ is a mature debut album.
Kendra: Y’all also connected with Lafa Pratomo for ‘Spunky!’ and noted that it was different working with someone outside of your tight-knit band. How long before you were fully okay and comfortable with giving Pratomo the reins?
Angee: It didn’t take too long for us to feel comfortable with Lafa because he really wanted to get to know us quite deeply at an individual level. I think that aspect made it easier for us to work with him and shine in our own respective ways during the recording of the album.
Akbar: …and technically, he IS GOODss
Kendra: ‘Spunky!’ wound up with 10 stellar tracks including “Rude Awakening.” This song is a journey, but it starts with the notion of not feeling like anyone is listening. This is something I deal with too often as I’m naturally quiet and people do tend to speak over me – a lot. This is why I like to write and podcast; they help me be heard. Have you always treated music as your way of getting your voice out there?
Angee: Yes, always. I have a hard time verbally expressing how I feel and what I think, and I’ve found that songwriting is a great outlet for me to just convey everything that’s going on in my head without any fear of rejection. It’s one of the ways I can be honest with myself.
Kendra: Another song on the new record is “A Fight Breaks Out At A Karaoke Bar.” With that, what is everyone’s go-to karaoke song?
Angee: My go-to karaoke song is Madonna’s “Like a Virgin!”
Akbar: “Like a G-6” by Far East Movement straight up!
Edo: Mine, “Believe” by Cher
Kendra: I did want to ask who some of your influences were because listening, I felt like I was back in the ‘90s listening to some alt-rock stations; very ‘Reality Bites’ soundtrack – which I enjoy!
Angee: Hole and Sleater-Kinney!
Edo: The Cardigans
Kendra: Now it’s time for a side note – with it being September AKA Self Improvement Month, I’m asking everyone to give us a song they like to put on when they are in self-care mode…
Angee: It has to be “All I Want” by Joni Mitchell because listening to that song feels like a good long rejuvenating shower after a hard day at work.
Kendra: And lastly, with ‘Spunky!’ out on September 22nd, what else do y’all have planned as we head into fall?
Angee: More show dates! We’re looking forward to traveling a lot.
Akbar: Yeppp tour, tour, tour, and start to prep for the second album, maybe?
Edo: I’m really excited about the tour!