Feelin’ the blues (an interview with Adrian Adioetomo)

Browsing the internet for interesting Indonesian music, I’ve stumbled upon the video of “Burnin’ Blood, Cold-Cold Ground” by for me an absolutely unknown person by the name of Adrian Adioetomo.

The music and the video have really caught my interest and it hasn’t taken long for me to get in touch with Adrian and our conversations and co-operation had resulted in the review of his latest album “Violent Love, Gentle Kill” (a.k.a. “The Grey Album”) on IndoKult.com.

However, could I be satisfied with that? You know, write the review, post it online and share it here and there…and that’s it, move to the next one? Nope, not me.

So I’ve given Adrian a shout and the result is this interview, which – I do really hope – you will enjoy.

Assalamualaikum, Adrian, and many many thanks for your time doing this interview!! How are you doing these days?

Waalaikum Salaam. Thank you for the opportunity! I am doing well, considering the pandemic situation. Thank you for asking!

I will admit I was quite enticed by your promo picture for your latest album, where you look like a some kind of old sage…so let me ask you, how old are you? The reason for this question is quite funny, many Indonesian musicians I am coming into contact look soooo young!

Hahaha! I am 48 years old as of this March. I wasn’t aiming to look that old, actually, hahahaha… But I hope it looks cool enough. Maybe like the old hermit in Led Zeppelin’s Stairway To Heaven illustration.. 

Personally, I am always interested in the artist’s beginnings…any artist’s beginnings, for it’s always inspirational. And, obviously, I’m going to ask you too about it 🙂 So, how did Adrian start to get interested in music? Interestingly, I’ve read an old interview with you where you did mention getting into western music (Beatles etc.) in 3rd grade or so… for me it’s quite interesting, what was the state of the “knowledge of the western music” back in the 1980s Indonesia? (I assume we’re talking about that decade)

Wow! Umm.. to be honest, I only vaguely remember how it was back in early 80’s Indonesia. I got into The Beatles when my mom took me to Australia and saw an animated cartoon of them there. When I got home, all I wanted to know and hear was nothing but The Beatles. Aside from that, my uncles were into music, and they would listen to anything from Earth Wind and Fire to Deep Purple. So I was just exposed to whatever different music they were listening to, and that would be my early exposure to Western music in Indonesia.

OK, an interest in music is one thing, but an interest in actually playing music is totally different thing. When did you start to develop the urge to take an instrument into your hands and was guitar the very first choice?

To be honest, I may not exactly remember when my fascination to playing musical instrument actually started. I’ve been told I used to air guitar to that song “Feeling” when I was a toddler. But then I vaguely remember asking for guitar lessons, but discouraged. I did, however, got into keyboards during the whole new-wave synth-pop thing during my early teenage years, before I decided guitars were cooler!

Raksasa

Now…where we start 🙂 I was thinking of you as a blues player primarily, but then I’ve found out your contribution to music is way beyond that! Well, let’s start the discussion with your involvement with Raksasa. For those unaware of this band…what can you tell our readers about it?

Very kind of you to say! Thank you. Raksasa was initially formed as an ‘indie all-star’ band to play at this charity show on a national TV station, but after we played there, our drummer, Pepeng who was the drummer for the Indonesian band Naif, got really pumped up about our performance and asked if we could keep jamming. The bass player and singer who were taken from different bands had to pass on the plan since their bands require them full time. So we got another bass player and singer, jammed and wrote a bunch of rock tunes. They turn out like hard rock with some twists here and there. Personally, it became my outlet to channel my inner Classic-Rock side. Hahaha! You know, Gibson guitars and tube-amps

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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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