Interview: Risky Summerbee & The Honeythief

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Our intern, Farah Azahar, managed to sit down with Risky, frontman of Indonesian psych-folk act Risky Summerbee & The Honeythief (RSTH) here at our office on June 19, a day after their show at Pisco Bar, Kuala Lumpur.

risky summerbee

1) RSTH was founded back in 2007 and started as a psychedelic music project. What drives your music being what it is now?
We started as a psychedelic music project for the performing arts scene where we make long compositions and contexts related to the theatre to be played. During the journey, we have also recorded other compositions. It then ticked our instincts that we should just start over as a band in our indie scene. What we play now is varied. We insert more elements like folk, pop, as each of us has different influences. Some favour rock n’ roll, jazz, folk, and dark music, so we all contribute our ideas for our band’s music.

2) When making music, do you have any restrictions among each other?
Not from me or other members of RSTH but from our collective, Teater Garasi. The song produced must be suited to the theme. For example if it’s a rock song, it should sound like it is one. To me actually it’s not a restriction; it’s more like a dialogue on what’s supposed to be played that way.

3) Your arrangements are properly done, sometimes it even sounds orchestral. Do you have any music influences or inspirations for you to produce your materials?
Some of our favourites include Pink Floyd, The Beatles, Fleetwood Mac and Bruce Springsteen. Also, we like Heiner Goebbels who plays contemporary theatre music. We make references for music, not for the lyrics. However for some songs like Lucky in The Sky and Flight To Amsterdam, they were inspired from an incident, thus resulting the lyrics based on those stories.

4) You guys don’t just play music, but you’re also actively involved in art projects and collaborations like films and theatres. What is RSTH going after in this industry?
Actually, as long as a certain thing is feasible, we’ll go for it. But right now, we want to purely participate as a band. It’s been a while since we last collaborated in projects though we’re itching for it!

5) RSTH is involved in the Indonesian Corruption Watch along with some other bands like Morfem, Eye Feel Six and Sajama Cut. How does this actually affect your music and acceptance from Indonesia? Any changes you want to bring to the society?
The acceptance was good and I hope it could contribute to the development of one’s character. The effect might not be seen instantly as it’ll be a long term effect. I know that music solely isn’t able to change perception without a clear movement who brings the cause. Take Woodstock for example. The music is like a side dish, the main course will be variety of education or exposure levels. With our music as the medium, we hope people could discover more than just our melodies and beats – the message itself. One thing people have to know about RSTH is that we’re not a political band.

6) Yogyakarta is known as the melting pot for Javanese arts and culture. What is the music scene like in Yogyakarta? Any most played genres by the indie bands there?
The simplest way to say is that the eccentric of Jogja’s music scene is raw, it’s not clean or sterile. There’s actually a trend here and recently there’s been lots of folk bands. But outside these periodical phases, no genres are basically dominant in Jogja.

7) After the diverse flavours jumbled up in Pillow Talk, what could audiences expect from RSTH in the future?
We’ll continue experimenting and explore beyond what we are now so we don’t stick to one genre – we’re no longer that psychedelic music project.

risky summerbee

Check out the band’s Facebook page for more info.

Interviewed by Farah Azahar