Day 1. (14th Dec)Esa, our tour manager for Indonesia, met us at the airport. Picking us up with a car and drove us to an apartment complex where we were to stay the night. Being tired from the travel and hungry as ever, he took us to a food place where we got an amazing plate of ace vegan nosh. And some weird beans called Jenkol. Which apparently made your pee smell like shit and if you ate too many you’d get poisoned. After that we bought some beers and went up to our apartment. Our tapes with the new album (Lurad) arrived and we had a go at putting them all together for the tour. We delved deeper in the alcohol possibilities of Indonesia. Got some Ciu which is more or less moonshine. Add to that black wine served in plastic bags with a straw, made from fermented fruits.
Later that night Martin from Appäratus arrived with some friends and joined us hanging out at the courtyard of the apartment complex. Tom our bass player had taken a later flight and arrived together with the rest of Appäratus. The plan was to go to a music studio nearby for Appäratus band practice.
On the way there we ran into some trouble. I was walking a bit forehand talking to a friend when we realized we had lost the others. We started backtracking a bit and that’s when I saw the others gathered around a hole in the road, out of which I saw two arms sticking up. When I got closer I saw that it was Oskar who was lying therein. He was alright but had done a classic ”did not see the big hole in the road”-crash. It all resulted in a DIY wound cleaning and more booze. We hung out at the studio for a bit and then we all went back to the apartment to try and get some sleep before the first day of the tour.
We arrived at Studio Nabil, the venue for the fest. A music studio with tiled floors which got really slippery later on that night due to the combination of being packed with people, high humidity and copious amounts of sweat. This was also the first night we were introduced to the way things are different in SE Asia than in Europe. This festival, with thirteen bands, was a one day gig. This was occurrent throughout the tour. Where the highest amount of bands we played with on one night was twenty.
There was a really rad band called Terenggaworo playing where this six year old kid was doing most of the vocals. Totally crazy and crushing raw punk!! This pretty much sat the feeling for the whole night!
After the show we hung out outside the studio and waited for our tour van to arrive. We got to meet the guys in Endorphins Lost, Tersanjung 13 and Busuk whom we were to do a lot of shows together with. All awesome people playing superb grind core.
Our driver Yudah showed up with this really huge van all fancy looking. A really solid guy, who didn’t take shit from anyone (just ask the Endorphins Lost guys) and drove like a total maniac but with utter confidence. We got in the van and embarked on our journey through Indonesia on the island of Jawa. Towards Sidoarjo through jungles and cities, passing by mountain sides and volcanoes. Next stop Bandung.
I awoke to the feeling of sliding off the road. Yudah was doing some crazy turns on a really small road with a steep cliff just by the edge of the road. I was a bit worried but this was nothing for him as I would understand later on. It was early in the morning and we were greeted by Ivan who lived in the Pirata house. Where we were to get some more sleep before going to the venue. The other ones went to bed right away, while me and Martin stayed up drinking tea with Ivan and eating tofu fresh off the factory trays next door. After a while we got some sleep as well.
Along woke us up to go to the venue. And as the Swedes we are that means NOW. Three hours later and a visit to the tofu factory next door we were on our way up the mountain side to the venue.
The venue was a villa above the clouds in the outskirts of Bandung. We were greeted by the Pyrate Punx collective. Fantastic people doing all sorts of rad things with a really cemented DIY mind set. We hung out on the big porch of the house all night having Arak and lot’s of snacks.
A lot of good bands played, including two absolutely mental shows with local hardcore/d-beat heroes Krass Kepala and Kontrasosial. People were moshing in the roof, bursting with energy and the living room of the villa was packed to the brim. There was an amazing after party, and the last thing I remember is going to bed in the van and the others out in the rice field on top of our backdrop.
When they finally did, it was group photo time. This was also an occurring thing at all the gigs to come. We then left for the city to meet up with Kung one of the organizers of last nights gig. Who had a really nice shop called Perompak in a mall downtown.
Went for a walk together with some friends, had some Gado-gado and settled down at a beer mart but took the drinking to a nearby park until it was time to head on towards next city.
This was a bit creepy at the time, as I was still drowsy and walking up to the building heard this eerie song from a building out in the jungle. Apparently there was a class of school girls for gymnastics class who were singing. We left the venue after a while to got to our sleeping place. Where we came back to life again.
Had breakfast down by the bus station where we most likely got ripped off. Because the old man who ran the shop barred the place up almost the instant we paid for the food. I guess we made his day and I don’t mind as he was being all cute and had really nice food.
The rest of the night was a very interesting show in what felt like in the middle of nowhere. With all the sounds of the jungle around us. Topped off by drinking beers on this water tank next to the place.
Being able the swim in a waterfall the day after a show can’t be described other than magical. Pure bliss. Maybe with an exception from the fact that a group of teens showed up and, as many times more, wanted to take pictures with the white freak show. We also made each other a bit nervous about going into the water by talking about these small animals that swim up your urethra. But it was fantastic to be able to cool down as the heat was pretty pressing.
When we got back to the venue the van was gone. So we sat in the sun and air dried. Then when Appäratus came back we all hopped in the van to go to Semarang. We stopped by a restaurant to have some food before leaving and found an amazing buffet place with mountains of stews, tofu and tempeh. So with a full stomach we drove on. I also bought a cough syrup at a supermarket, as I’d had a cough that didn’t seem to have any thoughts on going in away, which totally knocked me out.
For the first time there were finally female gig organizers which made me very happy. As even female attendees at the gigs were pretty sparse through out the tour.
The back line was run on a diesel unit which during the night ran out of diesel and they had to moped away to buy more. So when we started playing it was pretty late and the crowd was looking a bit thin. But it was a really nice gig and people were tearing that place down.
We went to Jogjakarta the same night as Martin lived there and we all preferred to have the travel done with for the next day.
When we got to Martins house it was pouring down. It was the rain season in SE Asia. But we hadn’t really seen much rain except for some when we arrived in Jakarta. We were greeted by a whole bunch of kittens which made for excellent company when drinking my first coffee without sugar! Slept some more after hanging out the porch. When I woke up the rest of the house was up and going.
Martins house mates ran this super awesome Queer collective called Crafty Queer. They did heaps of screen printing, organizing women's self defense courses, wrote fanzines and lots of other women’s rights activism. Totally worth looking up.
Some germans who were staying at the house went and got us some breakfast. Which was not surprisingly... Gado-gado.
Later on we went to the venue. A really rad music studio called Impact Studio. But I really had to take a dump and pretty soon realized that there was no toilet. Oik the organizer of the night, who also made the awesome poster for the gig, hooked me up with a friend who took me on his moped to go for a toilet hunt. Which was an adventure in itself. But let’s just say we found one at a gas station.
Back at the studio, the booze we had ordered through Martins friends had arrived. Fermented rice alcohol called Makkoli. Thick as milk and sweet as pudding. It was fantastic.
The gig was yet another insanely mental one with people moshing in the roof. I couldn’t hear anything as the place was packed and the people were covering my guitar cabs. But I had a fucking blast. On top of that the place was a sound proofed studio for recording with very little ventilation so it was hot as hell in there.
After cooling down outside we went back to Martins place for an after party. Where we got the first home cooked meal of the tour, listening to W.A.S.P, drinking Makkoli, and having a laugh at Oskar and Tom. Who decided to go frog hunting on the rice fields in the dark with flashlights. First one to catch a frog won. They came back empty handed all muddy, but later on Oskar managed to get his hands on one in the garden beside the porch. No frogs were harmed.
A really rad thrash metal band called Mountain Sickness played when we arrived and finished their set off with a cover of ”Smoke on the Water”, which really made my day.
The venue was a badminton court wall to wall with a mosque. A really interesting set up, as when the hour of prayer kicked in all the bands had to wait. Same thing happened when we were to play. But half way through one of the organizers got tired of waiting and just told us: ”Fuck it, just play!”. A crazy feeling with the minarets thundering outside and knowing people were praying just behind the wall, when I cranked the guitar and stomped my distortion pedal. I don’t think I’ve ever played a show like that.
After the show, we were brought to a local market where we had some amazing food once again. Buffets in Indonesia are the shit. Just ask what stuff is before putting it on your plate. I was really intrigued by one thing here, which was cows skin…
We also were surprised by an interview the organizers wanted us and Appäratus to do for the local radio station, Asri Radio. I felt all out of place, but it was run by really rad people who were passionate about underground music.
Day 9. (22nd Dec)Got to a house in the outskirts of Kediri early in the morning and crashed on the floor. Had a confusing all cartoon dream about touring and and that we were to play Krusty the clowns amusement park. Where I found out together with Homer Simpson that it was all a scheme to kill people.
Woke up and the guys from Endorphins Lost were there. They had arrived later that morning. Had a coffee and then went to a mall downtown Kediri.
Tried to leech some wi-fi off of McDonalds to try and order new t-shirts as we had run out. But it was too slow, so I sat out to find myself a computer. I found a small tattoo shop down the road with two super nice guys. Had a go at the computer and stayed for the company and coffee. When I left the place the road was a stream and I had to wade through the water to get back to the mall where the rest of the crew was.
We got to Studio 35, a practice space and café, and did some guitar service. Then it was a really intense and cramped gig before leaving for Malang.
Played with a band called Xenobiotic, female fronted grind core with absolutely crushing vocals. As well as the mixed grind core band Hellcore who ripped!
Had a slow day in the heat with food and drinks. Later on we were picked up to go to the show. A nice back yard outdoor gig behind a café is the best way to spend a christmas night.
Day 12. (25th Dec)This was our second day off, and was topped off by me starting to feel sick. Tom had already had some stomach problems. So me starting to feel sick was not something I was very keen on. I blamed it all on the air-condition which insisted on being stuck at 18 degrees.
|Our super awesome driver Yudah|
Feeling all lucky I had been able to grab a ledge in time and not cut open my back, I stumbled down the street and caught up with the others. The FBS screen printing collective was really cool. They had an amazing setup and did everything from printing to embroidering. We hung out there for a while but I got tired again and headed back home to try and sleep my sickness off. A great day off…
Day 13. (26th Dec)A day reserved for traveling and it was a good thing we had planned for it. Because after we had packed our stuff up, paid for our rooms and a table. We were met by a delayed flight at the airport. Two hours later we were served food, as is customary after two hours delay. Four hours later we still had no clue as to when the flight was to be arriving or leaving. I passed out on the floor for another four hours. Then finally we were off. In Johor Bahru we had some food and went straight to bed.
At the music studio Stop Zone, we found out that this was their first show that wasn’t just metal bands. Metal and grind core is really really big in SE Asia. But here I found a copy of the scene report of Malaysian punk called Shock & Awe, which I had heard so many good things about.
Then, just after our show, it all started. It was bound to happen. When in Asia, for me it’s just a matter of time. At least once during the trip. The stomach rumble boogie. The rest of the night was spent hugging the toilet. I didn’t love Malaysia as much any longer.
Day 15. (28th Dec)Fadel, our mate and merch guy for Appäratus, woke us up the day after. Made sure we got to Stop Zone to get our stuff and to the bus station where we were to catch a bus to Kuala Lumpur. He was gonna stay behind as Johor Bahru was where he lives. We said our goodbyes and got on the bus. As the bus didn’t exactly have a toilet I was lucky that Daniel had these diarrhea pills.
In Kuala Lumpur we were picked up by our buddy Jerry who drove us to Rumah Api (which translates to fire house). Where the most amazing punk festival was held, Chaos in Rumah Api. And chaos and hot as hell it was. The info shop/culture space held its end of the deal, brimstone and fire inside. No ventilation. Me playing with a high fever trying to focus and stand on two legs. But it was an amazing fest to play. One of the best shows of the tour. Met a lot of old and new friends and saw yet another crushing set by Kontrasosial. But when the shows were over these german hippies started playing techno and were poi dancing, as the punks took it to the streets. That was my queue. I fell asleep with a big smile on my face. Amongst kittens and passed out crusties on the top floor.
Had a day off in Kuala Lumpur. Jerry was kind to take us on a tour through town. Went to an all vegan restaurant. But I was too sick to eat more than some vegetable stew and rice. Visited the twin towers and strolled through a park. Found some new diarrhea pills with the fantastic illustration of a dripping tap on the front. They did the trick in a matter of seconds. We then went back to hang out at the third and last day of Chaos in Rumah Api.
were to tour the last couple of days with us, did an incredible gig of utter noise and aural destruction.
Afterwards there were buckets of cocktails and Tom tried to crush ice with his forehead. To try and sum it up.
Day 17. (30th Dec)In the morning we had a train and a bus to catch and arrived just in time. Riding the train with air fresheners and people on their way to their jobs monday morning made me realize how much we all smelled. A tour in SE Asia is not easy on the nose.
We spent the night at Kedai Anak Merdeka, an anarchist info shop and studio. Where the organizer of the gig made us some tasty Nasi Uduk (rice boiled in coconut milk) served with chili sauce and peanuts.
Day 18. (31st Dec)Next stop was Penang, an island off the coast of Kulim. When we got to the jetty, the van with all the equipment had gotten a flat tyre. So it had to arrive later. But we got on the boat and crossed the sea.
We even had a hostel booked with one room per band here. At first we just hung out at the rooms. Then the others found a liquor shop while I was resting so we started the new years eve party a bit earlier.
We played an old Chinese mob party venue. Coldest place we played on t
our. Lot’s of AC. But with a bar and a really nice stage. Played together with Bakteria again who were more people in the band from last night and did an awesome set. And one of the crutches Tom had brought for Oskar to have on stage was given out in the audience to be broken to bits. And it came back in small bloody pieces. Mission accomplished.
After midnight the party continued on the street outside our hostel.
Day 19. (1st Jan)Two hours of sleep later me, Daniel, Oskar, Along and Jess took a cab out to Penang national park. Where we had breakfast and then started a hike through the jungle to go to Monkey beach. Now I’m not really a morning person and was super hung over and sleepy. The hike took maybe one and a half hours and was in a JUNGLE. It was hard and tiring, but shit it was worth it ten times over when we finally arrived at the beach! Palm trees, sand and the Andaman sea. Absolutely stunning. And to go swimming was just what the hang over needed.
We stayed at the beach all day. Swimming and Oskar and Daniel raising hell with a pack of monkeys. But after a couple of hours that thought emerged… Sun screen… I sat in the shade for the rest of the time spent at the beach. We later took the boat back to the parks entrance. When I got off the boat I was as red as a shrimp. Of course we had all burnt ourselves in the sun pretty bad. Tourists.
Later we met up with Martin and the Scumraid crew who had been to another beach and went back to the hostel. We were gonna catch a bus to Singapore later on that night.
Day 20. (2nd Jan)After an eight hour long bus ride with sun burn chills and fever. We thought we were to get off in Singapore. But had ended up in Johor Bahru. Yet another miscommunication. And the second I got off the bus my stomach, which had been fine for the last couple of days, started acting up again. There’s something about that place I tell you. We waited some and then got on the second bus to Singapore.
We got off at the immigration point, an ominous looking concrete building, where you had to change buses and walk through immigration. Then a safety check where everything was fine until they asked if I was carrying any tobacco.
We had been told that opened packages of tobacco was alright but if not you would have to pay taxes for bringing it into the country. This was not the case. I had a box of snus and a pack of kretek cigarets as a gift for a friend. The officer asked me to follow him. I got into an office where I found Daniel sitting already. I thought, at least we are two. They looked at every pack very meticulously, made notes and stared at us. Then led us to a small holding room. After a while we were told that we had broken the tax laws and were to pay 500 Singapore dollars and sign a paper that they could throw the tobacco away. But then the officer told us that since it was our first time we could get away with a warning and them throwing away the tobacco. We left the room and met Oskar and Tom who had to go through the same procedure. Then the officer waved us off with a big smile and telling us to have a good stay or gig.
Singapore is a really weird place. It’s hard to describe but let’s put it like this. Smelly crusty punks in the cleanest city I’ve ever seen. Where you get fined for spitting or throwing stuff on the street and smoking outside of designated smoking areas. And the toilets are so clean you can probably lick them. The ones at the venue even had kiss marks. It’s a crazy place.
The show was our last on tour and we had to leave directly after playing as we had made a hiccup in the planning with timezones and all that. But it was an amazing as well as emotional show. Before playing we took our last big group photo of all the bands and guests at the show. The last crutch was smashed to pieces. Varalliinen did a totally bad ass show, and so did probably Appäratus, Scumraid, Endorphins Lost, xSAXONx and Life Lock as well.
Afterwards we packed our stuff up, tried to say our goodbyes but it was hard. Ending a tour is never a fun thing. All the amazing people we’d been touring with, hanging out and experiencing all these mental things with, and all of the sudden you're supposed to go home. Not doing another show the next day. Some more group photos were shot and we got in the taxis to the airport where we flew back home.
It was an interesting ride, being on tour in SE Asia. We met so many awesome people who became our friends. Saw innumerable great bands we probably never would’ve heard of otherwise. Got to visit rad places of different kinds. Eat a lot of good food. Drank weird booze and played tones of shows in a 35 degrees hot climate when the apocalyptic winter was raging in Sweden over the holiday season. I wouldn’t have done it any different now than then. It was my best tour ever, as well as one of the best things I’ve ever done in my life. SE Asia, you won my heart even though you made me sick for a couple of days. I recommend you all wether you have a band or not to go there. It’s absolutely fucking fantastic.
Links and RecommendationsAppäratus - http://apparatuspunk.bandcamp.com
Asri Radio - http://asrifmsragen.blogspot.com
Bakteria - http://www.reverbnation.com/disbakteria
Busuk - http://www.reverbnation.com/busuk
Crafty Queer - http://queercrafty.blogspot.com
Endorphins Lost - https://www.facebook.com/EndorphinsLost
Hellcore - http://www.reverbnation.com/hellcore
Kedai Anak Merdeka! - http://kedaianakmerdeka.blogspot.com
Kontrasosial - https://www.facebook.com/KontraSosialPunk
Krass Kepala - http://www.bandmine.com/krasskepala
Mountain Sickness - http://www.reverbnation.com/mountainsickness
Perompak - https://www.facebook.com/perompakshop
Pirata house - https://www.facebook.com/rumahpirata
Pyrate Punx - https://www.facebook.com/pages/Bandung-Pyrate-Punx/155507621134475
Rumah Api - http://rumahapi.weebly.com
Scumraid - https://www.facebook.com/scumraid
Stop Zone - http://stopzonestudio.blogspot.com
Shock & Awe - http://shockawemedia.wordpress.com
Tersanjung 13 - https://www.facebook.com/tersanjung13grindcore
Varalliinen - http://vaarallinen.blogspot.com
Xenobiotic - http://www.reverbnation.com/xenobiotic
xSAXONx - http://xsaxonx.bandcamp.com