Debuted in 2014, the current it band Elephant Kind helmed by Bam Mastro, Bayu Adisapoetra, and Kevin Septanto have already been making headlines among the hippest music events, as well as making their way in the heart of music enthusiasts. Though founded from simply a thesis project, the band has garnered a massive fan base thanks to one of a kind vocal by Bam and the distinctive sound of the music.
As an indie band, Elephant Kind has won Indonesia Cutting-Edge Music Awards in 2014, being nominated in Anugrah Musik Indonesia and Indonesian Choice Awards, also recently performed at the prestigious We the Fest 2019.
“Just imagine performing in front of 250k hipsters who actually come for music, it’s insane. Having the whole audience sang along to our songs is whoa—it’s like watching my dream coming through right in front of my eyes.” said the frontman Bam Mastro to LetterF. 2019 marked the band’s fifth year of performing together. Granted they had some ups and downs and a change in the formation, but they still pulled through and released The Greatest Ever.
And now, the question that is often asked: the meaning of the band’s name itself.
Bam Mastro: “Recently, I’m once gain back tweeting and realized just how much fun the platform is. It used to be a lot of fun, where you don’t even bother taking loads of pics—it’s more about expressing what’s in your mind. I remember there was this Uber Fact account that said that elephants can die over a broken heart, it resembles how human works and it makes me feel like I’m an elephant in some ways. So there it was: Elephant Kind.”
Congratulations on the new album by the way. This time where did you draw the inspiration from?
Bam Mastro: “We already have two EPs out and an album; the first album was like something that is self-produced because we did everything by ourselves. There was this one time when a fan approached me and said, “Man, I love your swing. I wasn’t convinced with your first album, but the recent one—you guys nailed it!” I feel like we’ve grown so much as artists, that this is the best thing we’ve done so far. We believe that we have evolved so much and the next album should be better.”
You guys worked with Lee Buddle for the album, how did it happen?
Bam Mastro: “I used to study at WAPA in Australia and he was one of my lecturers there, so that’s basically how I met him for the first time. He’s into pop and worked with many artists before like Kelly Clarkson, Justin Bieber and we wanted to add that pop color into our songs, too. So we thought that his sense of pop music would be really cool for our album.”
Kevin: “Agreed. We worked on most of our songs with him, so he is a part of the album.”
You brought a character that lives a life through your previous albums, is he going to continue his stories in the new album?
“We have a character called Julian Day for the first two EPs, a character that runs through our songs in the album. We had the whole map drawn for our EPs: the visual, the concept, the color of our music, and also a character that can help us approach our listeners better. The first two EPs have a dark reality: mental illness and suicidal tendency. We wanted to deliver a message that life isn’t so bad. Through City J, we shared our stories as a band and our ups and downs. We’d like to encourage people to push their limits to be the best of themselves. The main message is that, “Man, you can actually love yourself too.”.”
Bam Mastro: “The album is raw, but still easy-listening and relatable. We made the album just like how albums are made back in 60s or 70s, we compiled our songs and put them into an album.”
So what’s difference this time?
Bam Mastro: “I feel like everyone can make music in one day and put it up the next day, but we don’t wanna do that. We want to raise the palette and we want to create the highest possible art—we want to break the boundaries, walls and ceilings even if it’s possible. I guess that’s what took us so long for the album, because we wanted to have a main theme. We didn’t want to do our album with a sopa opera vibes or Instagram’s content crazed, it’s about songs and how mean something to you.”
In ’Jim Halpert’, you talked about a character from a TV series, ‘The Office’, why him?
Kevin: “Definitely the love story.”
Bayu: “Yeah, the love story.”
Bam Mastro: “We watched The Office during our tour and fell in love with the characters. This whole Jim and Pam thing is so fascinating, I can relate to Jim because every girl I like happens to have a boyfriend, is engaged, or is married. And since the series is part of the pop culture, I wanted to portray that feel.”
You guys have got some of the random inspirations. Any others we should know about?
Bayu: “Well, we definitely want to keep them as secrets.”
Bam Mastro: “Yeah, well not many people know that City J is actually heavily inspired by a comedian back in the ‘70s, Andy Kaufman in Man on the Moon, and Jim Carrey did this bit about him at SNL. I remember there was a scene where Andy had to shut down the TV for 30 seconds because they don’t have the remote control to change the channel, so when they want to change the channel they have to approach the TV. And that’s what we expected from the album, we wanted people to actually come to us for what we do.”
“There’s also a misinterpretation about our song I Believe in You, people thought it’s about a brokenhearted song or a ‘letting go’ song, but it’s actually about a performer that we respect. Well, it’s about letting go as well, but not necessarily about a romance conflict.”
From all of your albums, which one is your favorite track?
Bam Mastro: “For me, ‘Oh Well,’ because that’s the song that got us the big wave, the kids start singing our songs and it’s all began from ‘Oh Well.’ Without that song, we maybe won’t be where we are today.”
‘I Believe in You,’ from The Greatest Ever is the most meaningful one for me. Regardless on how personal the song is to me, I feel like whenever we bring up the song on stage, the exchange energy between us and the audiences are so high, especially on the first intro of the song. The energy melt together through the sound of the bass and the drums, and I feel like my mind and soul go to auto-pilot whenever I play the song.”
Kevin: “I’ll pick one from ‘City J’ album: ‘True Love.’ The beats are exceptional and the lyrics are incredibly written, and the response was so outstanding despite being the last single that we released.”
What’s next for Elephant Kind?
Bayu: “I think as for now, we’ll be enjoying what we had worked so hard for now.”
Bam Mastro: “I believe that the life we’ve been living is about hustling between studio and tour, but honestly I’ve never seen a band work as hard as we are. Well, many bands relaying themselves on the labels and management, but we manage and organize everything by ourselves. In my opinion, it is now the best time for us to relax a bit.”
“We just released The Greatest Ever and it took us quite some time to bring the best of us. So we wanted to do the same for our next album. We wanted to enjoy the moment for now.”
Editor: Galuh Tathya
Writer: Windyannisa Cindrati
Photographer: Ganang Arfiandi
Digital Imaging: Ari Angga