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“It all felt so natural” – An Interview with Grrrl Gang

Indonesian punk-pop band Grrrl Gang build on their considerable worldwide buzz with Spunky!, their full-length debut album which was released last week by Green Island Music in partnership with exclusive licensees Kill Rock Stars (for North and South America), Trapped Animal Records (UK and EU) and Big Romantic Records (Japan and Taiwan). The trio of Angeeta Sentana (vocals, guitar), Akbar Rumandung (bass, vocals) and Edo Alventa (guitar, vocals) met in college but moved to Jakarta after graduating and recorded Spunky! there with in-demand producer Lafa Protomo.

The results are a ten track collection that buzzes with sparkling riffs and energy and does not overstay its welcome with a run time under twenty-five minutes. While the tunes may be upbeat, the lyrics tackle darker subjects such as self-loathing (“Birthday Blues”), depression (“Better Than Life”) and insecurity (“Cool Girl”). The album ends on a more upbeat note with “Blue-Stained Lips” (the stand-out track) and “The Star”. It’s an excellent debut album and it will be interesting to see where the band take their sound in the future.

We chatted to the band before the release about Spunky! and the music scene in Indonesia.

Hi! How’s everything going right now?
All goooooood!! We just released Spunky! As per we did this interview hahaha

What classic album cover art is your current mood?
Akbar: For me, it’s Slayer “Reign in Blood” because it’s hot like hell here in Jakarta right now
Angee: Captain & Tennille’s “Make Your Move”, because I’m feeling quite romantic.
Edo: Morcheeba’s “Big Calm”, did yoga yesterday and I’m feeling kinda calm right now.

Your new album “Spunky!” is out this week. When and where did you write and record it?
Akbar: We recorded and wrote Spunky! in the middle pandemic where it was harder for us to gather and write down our music together (like we used to). Thank god for technology we can manage that easily with the help of cloud sharing and other remote working app, which we use throughout the process.

You worked with in-demand producer Lafa Protomo for “Spunky!”. How did they influence the sound of the record compared to “Here To Stay!” (the 2020 remastering of the band’s previous EPs)
Edo: Working with Lafa was such a great experience for us! Looking back at the whole process, it all felt so natural, in a way that pushed us to dig deeper into our sound and embraced what was already there. He was able to bring out a more polished version of what Grrrl Gang really is and  we’re truly grateful for that. Cheers to Lafa!

If you could only listen to one record, what would it be?
Akbar: Stone Roses self-titled album
Angee: Françoise Hardy’s “Tous les garçons et les filles”
Edo: Kimiko Kasai’s “Butterfly”

How and when did you meet and form Grrrl Gang?
Akbar: It was back in 2016 where three of us still studied at the same university.

What is the music scene like in Indonesia right now? Are there any other bands we should be checking out?
Akbar: It’s crazy here! New music almost every week and festivals every weekend. There are lots of recommendations from here but if you like extreme metal you guys should check Exhumation and Flowr Pit for those who like 90s alternative americanpie-ish music. (The guy from Flowr Pit also play as a additional guitarist for Grrrl Gang)

You played the online SXSW in 2021 – are you hoping to play the festival in person soon?
Akbar: YES! It’s a bummer we didn’t manage to go to SX 2 years ago because we already prepared everything we even have our visa already! But yeah hopefully next year

What would go on your signature pizza and what would it be called?
Akbar: Don’t need one because pepperoni is ALREADY my signature pizza i am DTF with pepperoni
Angee: Same with Akbar, but I will add a little bit of pesto on it. I might call it “Pestoroni”!
Edo: Didn’t realize that we’re all pepperoni people but YEah pepperoni for sure~

What do you have planned for the rest of 2023 and beyond?
Akbar: More tours for sure!! And preparing for the second album I guess………..
Edo: Yeah more tours around for sure! Weirdly enough I not only look forward to performing in different cities, but also exploring the cities by having a little shake out run before/after the shows.

Grrrl Gang first got together in 2016 and proceeded to take the local, regional, and international indie scenes by storm, leading to a prestigious performance slot on the pandemic-induced online edition of SXSW 2021 and an A- review that esteemed music critic Robert Christgau bestowed upon Here to Stay!, the 2020 compilation of their early singles.

You can find buy a copy of Spunky! Or get some merch from the Grrrl Gang Bandcamp page and follow the band on Instagram and Twitter for all the latest news.

Featured Image Credit – Tiny Studio

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