©Thomas Wesley

On a rainy Melbourne afternoon, the city is buzzing for the footy grand final. Meanwhile at the consulate general of Indonesia, a press conference anticipating the 2019 Soundsekerta music event hosted by PPIA is underway. I was lucky enough to be invited to attend as a representative of AIYA, to interview the stars of this year’s event.

And what a line up it is. Performing in Melbourne this year are Jakarta pop-rock group RAN, which includes Rayi Putra Rahardjo (vocals/rap), Astono “Asta” Andoko (guitars), and Anindyo “Nino” Baskoro (vocals)- the name of the group taken from the members’ initials. The group is well known for their single “Salamku untuk Kekasihmu yang Baru” and won the 2017 Indonesian music award for Best Album.

In addition, performing is a singer and songwriter Yura Yunita, commonly known as Yura. Originally from Bandung, her album ‘Yura’ was chosen as the 4th best album in 2014 by Rolling Stone Indonesia, produced by the legendary Glenn Fredly.

Finally, legendary Indonesian part-time pop star and part-time plastic surgeon Tompi- a nation-wide known star and a personal favourite of my own. Tompi pursued his love for music while studying medicine at university, and has had success in both worlds. He continues to produce pop music and is well known for his hit love songs, notably “Menghujam Jantungku” and “Tak Pernah Setengah Hati”. Not to mention, his newly released film “PRETTY BOYS” directed by Tompi…truly a man of many talents.

The theme of this year, ‘music of the nation’ feels fitting for the star line-up, who truly do reflect the core of Indonesia’s pop music scene and are enjoyed inter-generationally by both young and old.

©Thomas Wesley

Given that young people face many challenges, why is music important for young people in the modern era?

Karena ada banyak tantangan yang dihadap anak muda, kenapa musik penting buat anak muda di zaman sekarang?

RAN: Musik itu kaya semacam oxygen buat saya… selain itu musik bisa menjadi satu… segala macam perbedaan; agama, pilihan politik, semuanya bisa bersatu dengan musik. Maka, musik sangat essensial buat hidup apa lagi di kehidupan anak muda, dan apalagi juga, bisa bersatu hubungan di antara Indonesia dan Australia.  

(“kayanya hal-hal udah siap dari konsul jeneral gitu”- Anton)

Music is like a sort of oxygen for me…apart from that music can make everyone one; all differences aside, religion, political preferences, everyone can become united with music. Therefore, music is very essential for life, let alone for the lives of young people, and furthermore, the unification of the relations between Indonesia and Australia.

(“looks like you had your response prepared for the Consulate General” said fellow band member Anton)

Tompi: Sekarang, saya rasa musik itu bisa menjadi kendaraan buat siapa pun yang menguasai musik untuk hidup untuk lebih layak, terutama teman-teman yang jadi mahasiswa. Kita sering mendengar cerita orang sukses Indonesia yang kembali ke Indonesia terus cerita, sekarang sukses, tapi dulu dia cerita: dulu saya kerjanya ngebersihin WC, dulu saya kerja tukang koran, terus saya nggak keren sih… Can you imagine kalau misalnya, dia nguasain musik? Dia tuh bisa jadi ngerjain musik, which is skill akan sangat menentukan dia akan bisa berpijak di mana, bukan berarti jadi tukang cuci piring, ga keren ya, ga keren sih… setiap dari kita punya skill dan musik itu adalah sesuatu yang mungkin sangat gampang. Orang Indonesia begitu lahir dinyanyiin sama bapak ibunya… nah jadi, kalau ini kita kuasain bisa menyenangkan hidupnya disamping bisa mencegah kita dari keadaan gila.

I think that music can be a vehicle for anyone who masters it to live to be more well-meaning, especially friends who are students. We often hear stories of Indonesian people who return to Indonesia, and are now successful, but in the past they say, “I used to clean the toilets, I used to work as a paperboy, and back then I wasn’t cool” … Can you imagine if, for example, he mastered music? He could be working on music which is a skill that will determine where he will be able to stand, it does not mean being a dishwasher is not cool, (although it is not very cool….) each of us has skills and music is something that is pretty easy. Indonesian people are born to be sung by their mother and father… well, if this is done, we can enjoy our life besides being able to prevent us from going crazy.

Yura: menurut aku, kenapa itu musik sangat penting untuk anak muda? Lihatlah sekitar sekarang! Bisa bersatu, bisa semakin kenal dari semua anak mahasiswa yang mungkin jurusannya beda-beda… Dari yang suka matematika, fisik, semua… semua mahasiswa beda di acara ini, kita bisa bersatu, berkumpul, semua panitia bisa menjadi lebih akrab. Terus acara musik bisa menjadi acara momentum yang bisa diingat untuk hubungan kalian. Jadi, musik salah satu hal yang menyenangkan dan bisa mempersatukan kita semua, itu jawabannya!

For me, why is music very important for youth? Just look around us now! We can be united, get to know each other- all the students who have different majors… From those who enjoy maths, physics… All the different students at this event can be unified and come together. And the committee can become closer friends. Music events can become momentum, which can be remembered in your own relationships. Music is one thing which can be enjoyed and unify us all, that’s my response!

Following the panel discussion with all the artists, I sat down with the three guys from RAN to further discuss the importance of music for youth.

 Nasihat apa yang ingin disampaikan kepada anak muda yang tertarik menjadi musisi?

What advice do you have for young people interested in becoming musicians?

Stay true to yourself, emphasise your uniqueness and become recognisable for your own sound. Your weaknesses can also become your strengths. In this digital era, everyone can post their songs, so you have to be able to get someones attention in a minute or two. Also, (staying true to the Nikes he was wearing) Just do it.


Apa pentingnya dalam memiliki outlet kreatif?

Why is it important to have a creative outlet?

Everybody must have a way to express something everyone has art in them. It could be drawing music dancing, everyone has it. It can be a way to distract from your daily routine. It’s also really important for self-expression. Stress comes from not being able to express something that is within you. Everyone needs a way to express something. Music can be medicine. Then, the way we express something can generate appreciation and everyone needs appreciation. We get inspiration from everything; it could be a drawing a chat, feeling something and needing to express it…the nice thing about being an artist is you can make anything into art. We never know what will come out.



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