Exclusive Interview With Chaseiro

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Chaseiro-Interview-Jazzuality

CHASEIRO is certainly not a new name in Indonesian music scene. Formed in 1978, The vocal group consisted of Candra Darusman (vocal, keyboard), Helmie Indrakesuma (vocal), Aswin Sastrowardoyo (vocal, guitar), Edwin Hudioro (flute), Irwan B. Indrakesuma (vocal), Rizali Indrakesuma (vocal, bass), Omen Norman Sonisontani (vocal) made an important breakthrough after they won a competition held by Radio Amigos on May 6, 1978. Soon after they appeared at the first ever Jazz Goes to Campus, a special appearance in the 70’s popular TV show Nada dan Improvisasi and the rest is history.

Chaisero’s well known for their catchy melodies  and lyrics which often made simple but close to our everyday’s life, in many times inspiring or  even come with social and politic issue. For instance, “Pemuda”, is one of their best songs, memorable, inspirational, even the lyric is still relevant for our young generation now.

 

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More than 30 years have passed and now Chaseiro still full of spirit and energy to continue their music career. The surprise is here : Recently they released a new album named Retro 2 (buy here: http://store.jazzuality.com/product/chaseiro-retro-2/), following the first Retro released a couple of years ago which marked the return of Chaseiro in the recordings. The press conference was held on October 11, 2014 at BlackCat, Plaza Senayan, Jakarta, moderated by Bens Leo. The popular group RAN was there too as the representative of guest stars in the album. The band is 36 years old, yet they are still showing high energy and passion to craft new things in the music industry.

We had chance to know the whole process about it. They shared their stories about recording, solidarity between them after Helmie’s passed away, being in the same square circle with so many young and new musicians and the next big thing they would like to do about Chaisero’s future music. If you have some questions about what’s inside the album or why you should get a copy, this interview will reveal it all too. We met some of them at Vio Hotel Bandung. At first there were only Chandra Darusman and Omen Norman Sonisontani but later Aswin Sastrowardoyo joined the conversation.
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The past three years must be hard for Chaseiro due to the passing of three friends. First Uce Hariono, then Ade Hamzah, and last year we were all shock by the passing of Helmie Indrakesuma.  How’s Chaseiro and how do you deal with it?
Of course it brings a huge impact on us. He’s a big loss for us, because Helmie brings an important role in Chaseiro’s vocal harmonization and music, and to our unity as one big family too. But life has to keep going forward. Now that he’s gone, we’re still keeping our friendship tight to his family.

He has a strong character over his voice that’s easy to distinguish in Chaseiro’s song..
Yes. In terms of vocal, Helmi is irreplaceable. We’re very sad and miss him so much. But Chaseiro is commited to keep moving forward, keep on crafting in Indonesian music industry.

It must be hard for you to realize that Helmi’s not there anymore every time you stand on stage, especially since he was already there with you from the beginning?
Yes, it’s sad to realize that he’s not there anymore. Well, why we can not sing “Shy” until now, because he sang it a lot (he actually wrote this song too in 1983-ed). But there’s no burdened feeling between the member of Chaseiro. We know we just have to keep going.

 

 

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Having existed for 36 years and obviously still driven by passion. With that kind of passion, surely you have some plans in mind. What’s next?
We still want to make new songs, where there’s a lot of changes over the years. We’ve been together since we were young and single, until now that we have family and kids. As we get older, we have a lot of responsibility. Musically speaking, our mission is not only about ourselves anymore, but also about the young generation.

You’ve been doing it for more than three decades. You know, the inspiring, positive message through the lyrics..
Well, those themes are still the same.. you know, about solidarity, honesty, friendship…  but we also realize that we need to keep on evolving.

One of the most important example is “Pemuda”. After all this year, the message carried by the song is still relevant. I think it can be mentioned as the most memorable one. A lot of people still enjoy listening to that song, it even appeared in the commercial nowadays.
We still don’t get it ourselves. (Chandra Darusman laughed). Maybe there’s still so many people need and looking for something so that it still feelsrelevant to a lot of people.

 

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Now let’s talk about the most recent album of Chaseiro called Retro 2. First of all, I’m interested with the word “Retro”. Nowadays we tend to go retro almost in everyting. In the movie, photo, fashion, music and so on. Recycling something from the past to be a today’s trend… so the fact that Chaseiro uses Retro, twice in the comeback is really interesting.
Exactly. We actually mention it in the press release. We brought some of our old hits but made a fresh rearrangement. But there are new songs too. So it’s like the compilation of those hits with a new breath.

Again, this time you collaborate with a lot of guest stars, including the top ones in today’s music scene.
Yes, we work with a lot of young musicians to make Chaseiro’s music become fresher than before. This time we feature RAN, Marcell, Tompi and some other artists that have started before them like Riza Arshad, Tohpati and Uci Nurul.

So, modern element is important in Retro 2, just like the first Retro?
Yes. We’re trying to accentuate the modern elements so our content can be delivered to the youngsters.

 

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Such as?
Well, you will hear new arrangement over the songs that you’ve probably know. Speaking of modern, there will be rap, reggae and the new composition in a group like the way RAN has been doing.

Do you guys keep your eyes on the Indonesian music references today, especially on the young and new musicians?
Of course. We listen to RAN, Tulus, Raisa, Barry Likumahuwa, also the genius one, Joey Alexander. We think he’s way better than Indra Lesmana in his age. He’s gonna be the next big thing.

Knowing that the members are scattered in different sides of the sphere, you (Chandra Darusman) in Singapore, Rizali in India and the rest in Jakarta, is it hard to keep running especially in the recording process of Retro 2?
We have to admit that it was hard. In Retro 2, all the recording process held when we were in different places. Thanks to the technology, we could take vocals, send the data, and all the recording stepped without boundaries. There are lot of tech features that can be used such as emails, dropbox feature, etc. Those facilitated us during the recording process. Since Tohpati and Tompi were busy, we actually did it too with them. We were collaborating with Tohpati and Tompi indirectly using the internet to send their vocal and guitar tracks. We even sent the payment to them by using e-banking. (laughs).

 

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What is Chaseiro’s plan for the near future? Will there be a breakthrough or you will still go retro and serve those beauties in new style?
For the next plan, we do wish to make an album of all new songs. Chaseiro doesn’t have a plan to continue to Retro 3 after Retro 1 and Retro 2. In Retro 2 you can already listen to three of our new songs such as “Tell Me” (written by the late Helmie Indrakesuma), “Siapa Bilang” and “Pagi Hari”. Actually, we also have an interest on releasing song one by one with video clip, we compile it one by one and when it’s enough for an album, we make one.

So make one song after another, release it as a video clip? That’s interesting. But why exactly you want to make it that way?
It’s because making one full album is a lot of work and doesn’t always sell well, right? That’s why we have to think about new strategy, and that one seems good.

The messages contained in Chaseiro’s songs have a wide and universal meaning. And as far as the music goes, it seems that Chaseiro never stuck on one genre. Instead you go with whatever style, from jazz, Latin, pop to even country, often you also combine those elements. If one ask you about the genre of your music, what would you tell them?
Actually if we have to mention Chaseiro’s music in one genre, I think it’s going to be pop latin. That’s the closest element of Chaseiro. But, we also have a little jazz here and there, although it’s only mild or light. We also love to add some samba elements and other varieties of music.

Aside of Chaseiro, what do you think of Indonesian music nowadays?
We see that the Indonesian music industry has been growing much better. We see Indonesian music is always irreplaceable in its home. Although there’s certain trend such as K-Pop or Western music domination, but somehow, the Indonesian music can still keep its path towards a better direction. Our music is actually doing better  compared to the nearest neighboring countries.

 

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Last question, but probably the most important thing regarding to the new Retro 2 album. What’s interesting in this album so the music fans have to own it?
First, we renew the old concept so it’s very refreshing.
Second, there are seven guest stars, many of them are from the young generation to reach wider, younger segment.
Third, you can still listen to the works of our late friends (Helmie Indrakesuma, Uce Hariono and Ade Hamzah). Before they passed away, we still got the chance to record some materials with them. So now you can listen as if they were still alive and played with us.

and then, Chaseiro also cooperate with Indonesian Cancer Foundation (Yki-Yayasan Kanker Indonesia) with our song titled “Dara”. As a part of our CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility), our consistency in humanity and future generation, we decided to donate all the royalties of “Dara” to the research and treatment of the ladies who suffer cervical cancer. Why we chose to donate it to the cervical cancer patient? There are some reasons. One, because I don’t know why, but we found out that Chaseiro’s listeners are mostly women. And cervical cancer is one of the most medical problems that women had to deal with. So we want to help them by contributing with our music.

(Aswin who also work as an Obstetrics and gynaecology (OB/GYN) doctor explained to us that in Indonesia this type of cancer is still the biggest threat to female. It actually can be cured if detected earlier, but many people don’t realize the importance just yet).

Lastly, the unique thing about this album is ‘the behind the scene’ part itself. As we said earlier, the album process was assisted by the internet techonology, such as vocal takes in separate places, send the data and stuffs. We know that we need to keep being updated with the technology development. that can always help us to evolve better from time to time.

BUY THE NEW ALBUM OF CHASEIRO : RETRO 2  at our online store: http://store.jazzuality.com/product/chaseiro-retro-2/

See more pictures:

 

Interviewed by: Riandy Kurniawan and Maudy Puteri Agusdina
Photos during the interview were taken by: Armano Putranto and Mia Damayanti
Photos from the Press Conference belong to Dudut Suhendra Putra, provided by Niny Sunny

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