InterviewsSoutheast Asiaunderground

Interview with Fitrah Muhammad (No Label Records)

I’ve come in contact with Fitrah from the Indonesian label/distro No Label Records by pure – and rare – chance: through his small DIY fanzine ARUS BAWAH (namely, #6 from 2008, if I am not mistaken). 15 years is a lot of time, but as a former zine publisher (and of course, a fanzine lover) myself, I couldn’t resist the urge to get in touch with person(s) behind this fanzine to learn more about it.

Thankfully, through our mutual friend Donny (from the Surabaya black metal band Skjønnhet) I was able to reach out to Fitrah and I am very glad he’s agreed to answer a few of my curious questions.

So, without any further delay, let’s discover the world of Indonesian fanzines and music.

Hello, Fitrah, thanks a lot for your time doing this interview! How are you doing these days?

Hello Rudolf… I’m Fine..Thank you…Sorry if I’m a bit late in replying to this interview!

I come to know about you through your fanzine Arus Bawah. Personally, I only know the #6 (thanks to Karyadi from Apocalypse Records), but I like it a lot. Let’s talk about it… how many issues of this fanzine are there in total? Are you still publishing this fanzine?

As far as I remember, Arus Bawah only reached its 6th issue… I’ve made the fanzine just for fun, it has contained several articles about bands and [local] scenes… that’s why it says FUNZINE, not FANZINE hahaha. I haven’t published this fanzine for a long time… because I’ve devoted all my time to taking care for the label and distribution.

When did you start to publish your fanzine and what was the reason or motivation behind doing its publication? Do you publish Arus Bawah alone, or is it a work of a group of friends?

I’ve started to publish this fanzine around 2006 (if I’m not mistaken) and it was published every 6 months. The real reason for its publication was to publish and promote bands I’ve been releasing material for, adding also several articles from friends.

I’ve been told people in Indonesia don’t generally read zines or music magazines… is it true? How well was Arus Bawah received? How many copies you’ve usually printed for any individual issue?

At that time in the scene there were not that many zine publishers compared to tape/CD/t-shirt producers, but Arus Bawah was was quite accepted among the underground community, each issue was sold out, and I’ve printed 500 copies per issue…

Arus Bawah also served as a catalogue for your label, called No Label Records. There is a bit of information online about it, so obviously, I need to rely on you for the rest of the story. I guess it started before the fanzine, or am I mistaken?

Arus Bawah was also a promotional media for releases of No Label Records, which I founded in 1999 in the city of Bandung. No Label Records was an independent label, initially releasing punk/HC albums in tape format (179 albums total). Then I moved to the city of Surabaya and started releasing metal bands in CD format. From 2009 to 2014 [I released] 46 Albums.

I’ve seen a picture on No Label Records FB page, and there are a lot of goods there (I refer to this picture: How did you recall the beginning of your label? What was the goal you wanted to achieve with the label (if any at all)?

My label started with the release of the Free Style Compilation (1999), containing demos from my friends’ bands. From the sales of the compilation album, I’ve released albums for several bands which had appeared on the compilation (those who already have had material for a full length album), and so on every year… until the last compilation (Brutal Disaster) in 2010 in CD Format.

For those who don’t know – can you describe the operation of a small label/distro? How did you find bands with material to release? And with that question comes also another one – which one of your releases was the most successful, and also – which one do you wish you haven’t released at all?

The way my label works is very simple and flexible, depending on the circumstances and offers from the band they want to release… how much royalties do they ask for… or, how much they ask for the album master … it all depends on the initial agreement… in fact, some bands give permission to re-release their album for free, because they needed promotional media to introduce the band.

Some punk albums and punk compilations were quite successful, selling up to 1000 pcs, but there were also those that only sold around 50 pcs (I won’t mention names, as it’s not ethical).

Most bands send me demos and most of them I release as albums, so my label’s release material is really full and I don’t have time to think about which bands I’m targeting and really want to release…

I know that Indonesian underground is very active, there are so many bands, distros, labels, gig organizers, merchandise makers and sellers…but apart maybe Gerilya magazine and KuprOi! Zine I hardly know any other fanzines beside yours. I think you are well informed in that regard (well, definitely better informed than me 🙂 …so, therefore, let me ask – for people interested in Indonesian music zines, no matter the genre, would you be able to mention and recommend to me and the readers other Indonesian publications you might be aware of?

There are lots of good zines from Indonesia, both professionally produced and DIY, some good zines that I still remember such as LOST IN CHAOS zine, TIGABELAS zine, UNDYING zine, BERONTAK zine… some I forgot the names… some still exist and some are not active anymore.

You are from Surabaya and I know your city has a big music scene. I know some metal bands, but not really any bands from other genres, like hardcore/punk/grind. One point of doing interviews is also to talk about bands and other music activities people outside Indonesian may not know, and it wouldn’t be a complete interview if we don’t talk about your local scene. For people interested in discovering the best from the Surabaya music scene, which bands would you recommend to check?

Surabaya has lots of good and unique bands, I’ve released tapes, CDs and merchandise for some of them. Between 2003 – 2014 I interacted with the local music community here, after that I had a bit of a hiatus in the music community, focusing more on my other hobbies (sports and gems)
Some Surabaya bands whose albums I have released include:



DEVADATA (Hardcore),


THE SINNERS (Punk) 3 Albums,

SLOWDEATH (Grindcore),


JAGAL (Death) 2 Albums,




WAFAT (Death) 2 Albums,

FEAR INSIDE (Death) 2 Albums,

MEDUZA (Death),


and Others

All these bands are great and I personally recommend them.

Now, for something totally different…I see that apart from music-related merchandise (CD, patches etc.) you are also selling gemstones and rings with gems. Tell me, how does one get involved in gemstone trade? Especially a metalhead?

I started to sell gemstones in 2017, I’ve tried to combine rock music and gems (Rock N Stone), as both of these are my hobbies.

Merchandise is more for a special market (community), while gemstones are more for the general market… I think there’s no harm in running both and combining them.

Of course, there’s also a place to promote yourself and your activities! So, where can someone who’s interested in your label or shop find you? Especially people outside Indonesia looking for new bands to enjoy? I’ve already mention you’re on Facebook, however…do you have any online shop, catalog or a product page people can have look at?

I used to display my products on the Myspace site and my own website
But the site hasn’t been updated for a very long time because I’m more focused on domestic distribution…
For overseas distribution, I have several international partners such as SEVARED RECORDS, COYOTE RECORDS, COMATOSE MUSIC, NICE TO EAT YOU RECORDS, AMPUTATED VEIN RECORDS, etc.
I’m doing trade with almost 50 labels from other countries (40% of all CDs are distributed outside Indonesia), so for those looking for my products, you can check labels I’ve mentioned above.

Although we are past the first half of the year of 2023, there is still a lot of time till the end of the year. Any interesting plans for the rest of the year?

Right now I’m more focused on moving the my old product stock, I don’t have any plans for the future yet… yeah, just do it and enjoy the whole process.

13. And coming to the end of this interview…any final message to the readers?

Keep doing what you like even though sometimes the cost of living and age factors don’t support it, hahahaha.. We salute you! 🤘

Many thanks for your answer and I wish you all the best in everything you do!


Rudolf Schütz

The creative mind behind the,a fervent connoisseur of cultural treasures, with an unwavering passion for Asian and Indonesian movies and music. He is a true aficionado, driven by a desire to unearth hidden gems and shed light on the often-overlooked. From the grand stages of mainstream performances to the gritty underground scenes, Rudolf is equally at home, recognizing that every note and frame tells a unique tale. As a cultural enthusiast, Rudolf is not just an observer but a storyteller in their own right. Through his insights, analyses, and reviews, he shares the captivating narratives that ripple through Asia's music and movie scenes. Whether it's a haunting melody that resonates from Indonesia's hidden corners or a cinematic masterpiece that transports you across time, Rudolf is your trusted guide to the captivating world of cultural expressions.

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