If I told you that twee pop was alive and thriving in Indonesia, would you believe me? Annemarie may the best of the current lot of twee band, melding great female pop vocals and jangly guitars. Sugary, bouncy, happy and delicious may be too much for some of you, but we absolutely love it. The band did their best to answer the probing questions of TDOA writer Amy McCarthy on the origin of twee in Indonesia.
TDOA: How is twee pop doing in Indonesia? I can imagine that it is very popular. How do you think that your sound will do in Western countries?
Iqbal: Twee is not really popular in Indonesia actually, the first indie pop (that) came to Indonesia is Britpop. From Britpop, Indonesian people start(ed) to know the roots of indie pop ( C86, Postcard Records, Sarah Records, Factory Records, Rough Trade etc). From there we learned so much more about twee pop and took some bands for our references.
I think our music sounds just like the other twee or anorak bands. After all , apart from that we do have (unique) characteristics. I think our music sounds fine in the western since our first label is Music Is My Girlfriend from Sweden.
TDOA: Judging from your “Top 10” lists on Myspace, you all have very eclectic musical tastes. How does that factor into your sound?
Iqbal: For me it’s influenced me very much, (but) it’s gonna be a different sound by the time we make a song.
Bayu: Basically I’m listening to many kind of music; from death metal to Indonesian traditional/ethnical music. But still, rock is my basic style of drumming since I begin to play punk rock music when I was 13 years old. Playing twee-pop with Annemarie since 2008, for me, is such a new challenge. I learn a lot about controlling emotion, get my left hand-stroke soften, and composing “catchy” songs. It’s not easy, but I enjoyed it, cause I’d love to hear bands with woman’s vocalist before, like The Rocking Horse Winner, Moonpools and Caterpilar, or Frente.
Rima: Different tastes in music at every personnel create a richer musicality of Annemarie, but still cling to the roots.
TDOA: How do you think Asian and Western music listeners are different? Do they expect different things, like different genres, etc?
Iqbal: All people have different ears according to different taste, genres of music whether their Asian, European, American, etc. So I think its depends on ourselves to choose what we like.
Rima: Same. Music is a universal language. There is no difference between Western or Asian.
TDOA: It’s no secret that your lyrics are ridiculously cheery. Are you all just really happy people, or can we expect something a bit more dark (lyrically) in the future?
Iqbal: Of course we are a happy people But, not all of the lyrics. Some mellow lyrics are coated with cheerful tunes.
Bayu: No, I disagree. If you noticed, Annemarie has several political songs like “ABC on TV”, who criticize “instant Idol-phenomena”
Rima: Actually, if you noticed, in the ABC ON TV album there are some songs that the letter is very ironic, but filled with cherry tones. Close to tears but makes you happy.
TDOA: I noticed that Annemarie has a Twitter account, Facebook, and uses Last.FM. How has social media promotion helped your band? Are you doing it all yourselves, or have you hired someone?
Rima: I think the internet is really valuable as a way of spreading music. Very amazing to know that our songs can be heard by people outside our region. And yes, we do have and are assisted by our manager.
TDOA: Who do you consider to be the biggest influencers in your genre?
Tating (Arief): The Smiths.
Rima: Sarah Records band and C86 era.
Iqbal: The Smiths , Acid House Kings, Felt, Pulp.
Bayu: My Vitriol, Akira Jimbo, Allison Krauss, Silje Nergaard, Acid House King, Sigur Ros, Skunk Anansie, Copeland .
TDOA: Along those lines, who are your major influences? Who can we hear in your songs?
Bayu: That’s a hard one. Currently, My Vitriol.
Tating (Arief): The Cure.
Rima: . Red Sleeping Beauty with the touch of 60s sunshine pop.
Iqbal: Belle and Sebastian, The Cardigans, Acid House Kings, The Smiths
TDOA: What are some other great Indonesian acts that the West should be paying attention to?
Rima: Brilliant At Breakfast.
Iqbal: Astrolab, Twisterella.
Tating (Arief): Naif.
Bayu: Death Vomit, Zoo, Somnyfera, Sungsang Lebam Telak, A Stone A, Tabrak Lari Blues, Balawan, Demas Narawangsa
To learn more about the band, visit them on MySpace.