Interviews

BANGSAT: The past, present and the future of the indogrind band (an interview)

When I’ve received a big bunch of tapes from Indonesia, there were so many great releases! There was also a tape from the Indonesian grindcore veterans BANGSAT “Whoever Sows the Wind Will Reap the Storm 2003 – 2012” and you know I just couldn’t resist to get in touch with the band and talk about it a bit. So, here we go! The storm is coming!

Hello there, Agus!!! First of all, thanks for your time, brother, discussing your band! How are you all doing? I know the band is not very active these days, what’s the status of it?

Hello Rudolf, glad to hear from you and thank you for your interest in my band Bangsat. I’m good and at the moment I’m jobless and some members have their own jobs. Since last year we are not quite active, cause we don’t have any guitar player at the moment but this band must continue. We have a pending releases plan.

To start with a style (haha), what does the name “Bangsat” means? Also, I am aware of another grindcore band with the same name from Bekasi…does that fact create any confusion?

Bangsat means bastards in English. I name it because simple words. Bekasi? You mean Busuk or Tyranny or?

No..apparently there is another grind band Bangsat in Bekasi.But I might have a wrong info here…it doesn’t matter… You can certainly be viewed as veterans of the Indonesian grindcore scene, if I am not mistaken, you formed Bangsat back in the year 2002. What were the reasons for forming the band? What bands (if any) have inspired you to start your musical journey?

If you said we are veterans – maybe some old grindcore bands who already exist around 95 are more veteran than us 🙂 Let’s say we are band, which has started in the middle era, cause we’d started in 2002 as a grindpunk band. I’ve formed this band with my mates as a hobby and for the like of the music. All of us like Grindcore and crust punk music, bands like Napalm Death, Terrorizer, Discharge, S.O.B., Heresy, Hellbastards, and more.

What does the life of a grindcore band in Indonesia looks like? I mean…how hard is it to form a band such as yours in Jakarta? Looking back 20 years (that’s a long time ago indeed), is there anything you would do differently if you have the chance to start again?

Back in the day there were not many bands as nowadays, the movement was small, not as big as it is now. That was the time when internet era came 🙂 Through that era only a few grindcore bands have existed, most have played brutal death and crust. Only a few local people and friends liked grindcore back then. We made some studio live recording in 2002 to make our demo EP and promote it overseas by post with DIY traders who have showed interest in our music. We’ve had our demo released in the USA on CDR and with xeroxed cover.😂That time was nice and fun, after that our line up has changed and music changed too, to make it same what we looking for or style in grindcore.

Back in the day you’ve been quite active (haven’t been all of us like that, haha), so, let’s talk about your releases a bit. First of all, I’ve found an information about “Less Talk More Noise”. Was that a debut demo? I can’t find any info about it, what has happened to the songs on it, did any make it to the other official releases?

That’s the debut demo which released on US DIY label called Destroyed Umbrella. It’s DIY Anarchist label with Infoshop.
That Demo sounds grindpunk and for my opinion is not my cup of tea. If I have a chance to change or start again then i would make more heavier and pure grindcore.😂

Bangsat follows the grind tradition with releasing a couple of splits too! Have you been approached with the idea for the split from the other band, a label, or have you been active seeking “the other side” (so to speak 🙂 ) to release material with?

Yes we have some split releases made in USA and Europe on vinyl and CD. We do that with our friends’ bands and friendly labels, DIY bands or labels.

I’ve sought and promoted Bangsat during the time when only a few people around the world knew about Indonesian bands 🙂 That was fun and exciting moment doing mail with overseas people to introduce and promote my band’s music untill we find someone interest to release it.

Grindcore bands usually release their stuff on different labels… what label you’ve had the best experience while working with it?

Most labels who released our stuff are good and fair to us cause we knew them from the bands or friends who have the labels. Back in 2000s not many local people have a turntable so not many people could know our music as easy as playing in via CD or tapes. So, back then, locally only a few people, mostly collectors and friends, knew about us.

You’ve released your debut album on Asusila Records. What has happened to that label? I guess it was local to your city, right?

Yes, that was a local Jakarta label. It was friend’s label who played as additional bass player on our first demo. If I’m not wrong, that label is not active anymore.

First of all, I’ve noticed one song is missing – “Milenium Kanibalisme” from the 2013 split with Deathevoker. Haven’t you been content with the song anymore, so you’d decided not to include it on the tape?

Yes, you’ve looked at our songs carefully.😂We’ve forgot to include that song on the compilation tape, but that song has also appeared on our split LP with Cause Of Divorce. Sorry, maybe my old guitarist has forgotten to include it. Actually, that song is one of my favourite Bangsat songs.

You’ve mentioned in our online chat that you’re not active nowadays because you don’t have a guitar player anymore. What has happened to him? Any hints of a replacement?

My guitarist is my best friend, just like my brother. He doesn’t have any free time to practice and to make songs due to his busy activities and family and maybe he doesn’t have any more interest in playing grindcore music, but like it or not, this band must continue to create some works. I’ve already found a new guitarman and he is also my friend, but I must wait for him to begin to practice with us to see wether he enjoys playing our songs and music, or not. That’s the reason i haven’t introduced him formally at the moment.

For those interested, how the grind scene in Indonesia looks like these days? Any newcomers you might be aware of? What bands can you recommend for people who are just getting into indogrind?

Since I was busy with my work everyday I’m not quite digging to the scene anymore, but some old bands already exist again, same like us. I look more into old school style, which is rarely to find these days, cause mostly play with blasting style and speed. For me, that’s not my cup of tea, cause i would more like grindcore with death metal style or like 90’s era.

That’s why we start Bangsat – because liked old school grindcore from 1990s, mostly UK grindcore.

I know the grind gigs are usually small…however, is there any important event for Indonesian grindcore bands to play you can introduce us to? How many live gigs have you been playing (if any) and which one do you remember as the most successful?

Nowadays, it’s not like in the old days, when grindcore has been played in small gigs and sometimes played in HC or Punk gigs. Now the scene is bigger and more professional. They made Grindfest venue and many grindcore gigs are organized these days, which is good for the scene and also for the movement.
As for us, it’s sad – but true – we’ve have played only a few gigs long time ago, because we are more keen on making many songs and to release them. That’s because for me the band means playing music and we must create as many songs or releases as we can, but everybody has their own mind or way of thinking for being in a band or as a band.

We have played at collective gigs with some good friends from hardcore, punk and grind bands back in the day.

What are the plans for the near future for Bangsat? Even without the guitar player for now, are you still making new songs?

We have a plan to do split project with a German band and also with a German label. When everything turns to be alright, we will do this with our new guitar player. After that we have a plan to make a new mini album or maybe split again. Time will tell – the most important thing is we must make this band active again.

The final question is also a traditional one – any final message from Bangsat for the readers of Indokult?

Thank you so much for your interest in music of Bangsat. Anyone interested, feel free to check our Instagram account bangsatgrindcore and listen to some of our past releases on Digital plattforms like Itunes,Spotify and Joox. Play that songs on maximum volume and stay grind!

Rudolf Schütz

I am the founder/owner and editor-in-chief of the Rubber Axe webzine, the underground/overground cultural publication, publishing also this website dedicated to all things Indonesian. I'm a happily married guy with 2 kids and a fantastic wife, and I'm a relentless discoverer of all things cultural and culinary. An everlasting dreamer and idealist.

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