April 27, 2012

Because I Know The Subject Very Well #1

This is the first post, later on each of us numbnuts will write a thing or two about ourselves in relation to music and astrophysics. There will also be a lot of 'I's in the series, so it might be a good idea to have a bucket near you (or just read it before having a meal).

Okay, here we go!

1. A cliche, but my first experience with music was listening to my Dad's CDs. He had this towering cabinet filled with them in his room where I used to sneak in and played all of them in order. They were mainly jazz and pop songs by popular artists like Nat King Cole, Sinatra and his Rat Pack, The Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel etc, you know, your typical suburban Dad's collection. And when he's around, The Beatles was something that he played more often than the rest on his stereo, it's like on every weekend, so we kinda grew up with their songs, well I guess us and two thirds of the Earth's population that is.

2. Just before I went to primary school, there was this period when my auntie tried to influence us kids with her favourite music. She often brought us cassettes, mainly '80s - early '90s pop music, and taught us how to sing them. One of the most terrifying songs that she had at the time was Tommy Page's A Shoulder to Cry On...yes that song. And I remember that we spent like a couple of nights singing it before we went to bed. I think that's how we learned English for the first time too.

3. In the first or second grade, I wrote my first "song". It was a stupid song that sounded like a national anthem or some kinda hymn or something, cause those were the type of songs that they taught us at school. I remember that coconut and banana trees were mentioned a lot in the lyric (I think it's something to do with the banana field that we got in front of our house back then). The process was kinda similar to now, I "composed" the notes with this tiny little toy keyboard, don't remember if it's a Casio or some other brand, and then tried to come up with lyrics as I went through the melodies again. I have the keys numbered and so I could write them on my doodling book. It was like a secret thing that I had at the time, because making music or  pretty much doing anything creative was not a common thing in my family, so it's like this new strange thing, almost felt like doing a crime or being involved in some kinda exciting and yet forbidden cult ritual, I practically locked myself in our guest room and have the toy keyboard set at the lowest volume, so that no one could hear, it was like a real bad ass move.

Well I guess that's enough for now, but worry not because there will be more 'I's coming soon, so don't get your hopes high. Cheers!

- Gilar.

April 5, 2012

Old Stuff

Stumbled upon an old video that I made in 2004. It's basically me doing these things that you're not supposed to with a cheap guitar effect and a crappy handycam. Everything was done old school analog, from the audio to the visual. I don't really recall exactly how I did it, I only remember that I made it during the winter that year.

shaky cloudy from aria on Vimeo.

- gilar

April 3, 2012

Another Collaboration

This time, our multi-talented friend Isha Hening came with her own composition, and she was well equipped- she brought her own harmonica. She came with a song that she wrote early in the morning that day, and which we recorded later in the night.

The following day Ninu heard the rough version of it while I played it on the computer, and it didn't take long until he picked up his drum set and asked if he could join us.

The song is called 'Giver', written by Isha Hening, performed by her (vocal, harmonica), me (vocal, guitar, keyboards, bass) and Ninu (drums). The video is made of a footage that she took while visiting England.

Giver from Isha Hening on Vimeo.

- gilar.

March 30, 2012

An Accidental Collaboration

One night around late October or early November 2011 I was playing around with my old crappy keyboard while waiting for a text from a dear friend. I stumbled upon a really simple arrangement and decided to record it to see if something else can come out of it in the future. Then the next day I emailed it to a very talented close friend of mine, a motiongrapher, to see what she thought of it.  Turned out that she liked it very much that she put it in her visual art project for an exhibition. The audio visual installation was called 'House of The Broken Hearted People' and the artist is Isha Hening.

House of The Brokenhearted People from Isha Hening on Vimeo.

It's a touching piece or work I think, a rather personal one by her. Having seen her portfolio I thought that she would've done something epic, a showcase of her advanced technical abilities, but this time she abandoned it all and chosen an intimate approach, like showing the naked soul of a machine. Projected in a small dark room with no light at all, she managed to shed some emotion in what's usually a playground of the mind with her digital artwork.

- gilar

March 20, 2012

Whiteboard Journal. SetList Vol.02 : Swimming Elephants (Behind The Scene)  

Chapter 1. Video Shoot Numero Un
That morning, February 19th 2012, Swimming Elephants was probably the busiest band in Indonesia (exaggerating). Two video shoots were scheduled that day, and the videos, well the first one isn’t published yet (we’ll update you when it’s out!), and the second video is for Whiteboard Journal’s SetList, Vol.02 (have you seen it btw?). Well just in case you haven’t, just click here or see our previous posting here by Gilar, or just visit www.whiteboardjournal.com and watch the video there. And while you’re at it, please do roam around all the other sections on their website, I can ensure you that it's very enriching for the soul! :)

Ok so the first video shoot was finished right at lunch-time (thank God we could have lunch), and although we were sweating like mad, it was so much fun and we certainly can’t wait to see how it will turn out! *cross fingers*
P.S : Dear April, can you tell that we miss you? 

So, energy flushed, lepek ("lepek" is Indonesian for sweating crazy like those people at the gym) and belly empty, we headed to RM Sederhana in Ampera first, where we (almost) always have our ‘familial’ lunches. There’s no way we could continue without fuel. Mind you, elephants must eat and they must eat a lot. Fully-fed with plates of coconut milk goods & fat & carb & protein and glasses of ice teas & juices, we’re finally good to roll! 

Chapter 2. Video Shoot Numero Deux
This, my friends, is W_Space. It's where the video shoot took place. Very spacious, equipped with fine lighting & air conditioners (thank God, again), and if you shout out loud here, the walls would just give you back the right echo. In short, this place is perfect :)

Our set is unplugged, and it’s so much simpler compared to our full set. Three songs were performed: Sarah, Digicam#2 and Marion. Now, that curly boy on the drums is Ninu (not Ninuk, just Ninu, without the k). And that white striped shirted boy is Heru Admadja, he’s the Director of Photography of this video. The boy with the hat is Gilar, and the one running in the background carrying a guitar is Yogas.  The right-most photo is of Ranggi (Renggo) on the chair, grinning. Yes he’s always all smileys & rileys. This is us waiting while the audio is being prepped by Rully, the audio engineer of the day.

On the left photo below, the tall dude at the back, that's Ken Jenie, the editor of the video. You may probably know him under the name Jirapah (the band). For more info on Jirapah, please go here. (You're welcome!) :D 

And that on the right is Jan, he’s always itchy around musical instruments. One time he was having such a good time with my Kenny (my CA-110 Casiotone), that I didn't have the heart to separate the two. lol. This video below shows a collaboration of Ken, Jan & James I (The Omnichord). Notice how soft Jan strokes that Omnichord, particularly on the last stroke haha. Silly jammings every now and then, that's pretty much what we do when we get together. Everybody on this planet should jam together! With or without musical skills, people should just get together and play. I bet the world would be a much happier place that way.


I was very excited about this shooting, cause we’re going to be working with some really good friends. And nervous, like hell, like always. If you’re a musician and you don’t get nervous before your gigs, do please e-mail me the tips & tricks to handle such nervousness. I need it bad! I always get cold feet before performing, you know, like those cold feet people get right before they get married? (so they say,  I wouldn’t know, I've never married anyone :p)

But I think the combination of those two dominant feelings (ultra-excitement & nervousness), have created this drive, this big determination to just give it my all and not mess it up, and I think my fellow elephants felt that too. So after around an hour or two, I think we managed to play quite properly. Well at least that’s what we think anyway. But hey tell us what YOU think! We’d love to know! :)   

Chapter 3. After Partay! 
Not so much a party actually, just a wee bit disarraying of stuff every here and there. It's the office's consequence for being so amusing. 
Ninu and Yudhis (from Jirapah & Vague & Clatter), rummaging thru Ken’s computer, in an intimate & heated discussion on BATTLES’s “Atlas” lol. 

Whiteboard Journal’s office, there’s Jan copying movies to and fro external hard disks, and our manager Adityo Cahyo, about to depart to Lawson Kemang for a contract signing (oh you know, managerial duty ;p)

Yogas cozily sitting in between Playmobil giant puppets. 
I think it's my turn now!

It was already 7 or 8 pm by then, and Ken, Heru & the rest of the WJ team were still inside, video shooting Stars & Rabbits for another Volume of Whiteboard Journal SetList (Stars & Rabbits is one local act that you just can't help but fall for, look them up!). And well after everything was a wrap (around 9 pm), there was just one more thing to do before we could call it a day: we needed a GOOD dinner. After much considerations & eliminations of other options, Ajo Ramon's satay Padang (Cikajang) finally came out as winner, so straight down there we went! If we seem like we're a big fan of Padang food, that's just because we are. Bon appetite! :D

Thank you to everybody at Whiteboard Journal, it was a very delightful experience to work with you guys, you bunch of awesome people! (Special to Nico, Putri, Rully, sorry for not having your photos here, I wasn't able to get too many photos, my bad :| ). And last but not least, thank YOU who is at the moment sparing some of your precious time to read my rantings. May the force be with you.

See you in another posting!


March 15, 2012

Swimming Elephants - Set List Vol.2 - Whiteboard Journal

Ah this one is nice too! super thanks to whiteboardjounal.com, W_Space, Ken, Nico, Heru, Ruly, Adit, Putri, Jan, Yudish and everyone who participated! :D

Sarah was performed a tad too fast I think, my bad, but anyway, its a great video! :D

by the way, visit their website for more goodness! our friends Ken and Nico from Jirapah works there and they have the best office in Jakarta!

- gilar

March 14, 2012

A Video or Two

hey, this is kinda nice, a video for Slow Club's Two Cousins:

and this of course, supernice one:

- gilar

March 9, 2012


We are thrilled to announce help spread the word that "Radio Killed the TV Stars #001" a compilation by Organic Records has been released today. click jump for more info.

Also featuring songs from 21st Night, The Upstairs, Maliq & D'Essentials, Endah & Rhesa and many more.

March 7, 2012

(A Much Belated) Aloha 2012 !!

hallo friends, how has it been? it has been quite a (long) while since our last blog post. it's true that each of us has their own jobs and stuff but mostly because we are too lazy to update this blog. actually one of the reasons we start playing music is because we are too lazy to go out to the city on weekends (most of us live in Bekasi). yes we are that lazy.

anyway what's new? last year we played RRRec Fest in Cikini. Gigsplay has post some stories of it here and iRockumentary has some cool shots here. after that we're pretty much out of the hype. we played no gig since, but don't worry we still believe in what we do. we have some things going on the last 2 months and some gigs for this March, i will write about it in a different posts, for now i wanna talk about our songs so far.

i remember last year Gilar posted his ramblings about some of our songs, about 10 of them, you can read about it here, back then he said:

"Oh yeah, one more thing, we're planning to have 12 songs (that's 2 more songs to go) ready this year to be played live and recorded, we're thinking of making an album...you know, just a little something to tell our future kids about before they go to bed (or when they start to think that they have boring parents) :)"

well, that was a year ago. how about now? apart from the 10 songs he described before, there are several others now. and below are hints of some of it ;D

  1. Madelleine  - Currently the only swimming elephants song that you can dance to, a bit trippy and sounds quite european. Gilar wrote this one and i honestly dont know what its about. Currently it's the song we (at least i) enjoyed most playing in rehearsals. this is also a song where i got tricked into playing an electric guitar, the other being 'She Ocean'. we havent had the chance to play this live yet. and i think no one outside swimming elephants has heard of this one, but not for long...

    oh and 1 more thing: Gilar sings in this song.

  2. Marion - i know its quite pointless at this point to explain how i adore what Saras's vocal harmonies, Ranggi's awesome bassline, Ninu's drumming, and Gilar's guitar riff did to this song because you all havent heard it i'm sure haha.. but we've played it for Whiteboard Journal's Setlist, i think its gonna air shortly, do drop in on their website. regarding the song itself, all i can tell you is that i have been fascinated with acoustic sounds and vocal harmonies since forever, and if there was a song that embodied my love for them it's this one. oh, and its also about a girl i know : )

  3. Digicam #2 - still a working title, the song has been around for quite a while. Gilar wrote it back in 2009 i think. a simple sing-along with folkish tone and a reffrain line that just sticks. we have been playing around with this one since long ago and until now havent found the right formula. maybe later Gilar will write something about it.

    on a personal note: everytime we play this i have a solemn feeling, like a reminder of some sort that in life you make a choice, and with that choice you're bound to win some and lose some. that's what it sounds like to me.
currently we are working to finalized the songs (at least to the point that we're happy with the arrangements), we have 14 of them now. with 8 of them that we're content. 3 still needs to be tinkered here and there. and the other 3 we havent had the chance to really tapped into yet.

and in case you're wondering, yes, we are in the (beginning of the) process of recording an album. not much to say here yet, with oh-so-many details are yet to be point out and decided. but we have some really great people on board and i personally are excited about this.