The electronic duo from Jakarta, Sunmantra, has grown to create the most excellent pieces of techno-acid house music. The brain behind Sunmantra, Jonathan Pardede and Bernaduz Fritz, took the name from a technicolor dream that Jonathan had, and decided that it would suit perfectly with the music concept.
Influenced by the lineage of the best electro, techno and acid house, they are also at the same time nodding to newer sounds and styles that has been evolving around the scene. They’re able to make fresh music that they could put their name into it.
Last year, Sunmantra released their debut single, “Silver Ray” through Sinjitos Records, with help from the brain of Sinjitos Records himself, Joseph Saryuf, as their producer. We’ve been wondering how they’ve come this far and if there are many surprises to come. So we had a chance to ask them things via e-mail and talked with Bernaduz Fritz!
Can you tell us about Sunmantra’s latest formation? Because we knew that you guys started as a full band but now you are more like live PA. Why?
In this current moment Sunmantra decided to perform as a duo live set but we are working on our set as a band too. The progress of developing our live set would never end tho.
Can you tell us about the evolution of your creative process that brought you to play the music you guys are playing now? I mean, to disband the previous band, Black Mustangs, and not playing any shoegaze music anymore, formed Sunmantra as a hard-techno unit?
First of all Black Mustangs were never disbanded, we just postponed the project. Then Me and Jojo decide to break the pattern, because we are tired to play in a guitar driven band and we want to start something new that we’ve never done before.
Is it safe to say that your music is hard-techno? Or do you have any term or else to describe your music?
Basically it is just techno mix with krautrock with a hint of shoegaze.
It’s been a while since you guys released “Silver Ray” as a single and yet there’s no other releases. Any plan to release something new in the near future?
Our label (Sinjitos Records) also asked the same question LOL. We are working on our EP that will be released later this year.
You guys paint your face and wear white on white costumes on every live performance. What’s the idea behind that?
It’s not only white on white we’re also wearing black on black from time to time haha, the idea of the facepainting is we want to be seen as an entity not individuals, not Fritz and Jojo it’s more Sunmantra than being 2 people playing together.
I rarely see Sunmantra’s live performance. I mean, it’s like you guys don’t play often. Why is that?
Yeah we are pretty busy working on our EP and we are working with a couple of artists as song writers and producers and also we have individual projects too.
What equipment do you specifically use for Sunmantra? And are there any dream gears for Sunmantra?
On our live set we use a couple of synthesizers. We are currently working on a more analog based live set, trying to incorporate modular synth and drum machine, hopefully its gonna happen sometime next year.
Where do you think music is going in terms of artist’ not making money off tracks because of the digital age? What is the next big thing for music in your opinion?
First of all we are here because of passion tho hehehe. We guess there wouldn’t be a really big thing in the music industry, since everybody are now producing their own music in a home based studio.
What’s your opinion about the underground music in Jakarta?
Punk, hardcore, dance scene are doing well, they have loyal fans! That’s awesome! but we are in the era where people want to hear something new. The issue is the lack of people who dare to invent new things in the scene tho, besides group like Senyawa, it’s just rare. We just follow what other countries does.
If you could throw the ultimate party, what would it be like? Who would be on the line-up, where would it be?
Ohh, we imagine to do a world tour together with Primal Scream, Chemical Brothers, Erol Alkan, Andrew Weatherall, Kraftwerk together. Lol
Tell us why did you agree to play at DEKADENZ and why we should come!
DEKADENZ introduce EBM, darkwave, techno music where not all the people know how great the sounds are. Furthermore, we think both Sunmantra and DEKADENZ have the same vision which is introducing the uncommon to the world and deliver it through music. Either played by band or DJs and through party where everyone could enjoy those great sounds.
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