Hasn’t it been a while since an Indonesian rock band ventured on synth and reverb effects? Nick is the one who refreshed our thoughts with their various sounds from electric guitars to synths complemented with soothing vocals making us go off into our own world while listening to them. Their debut album, SkyVsSky, varies from songs that are quite relaxed with a hint of Britpop of the 90s until these distorted and most influenced by the synth. One song wanting to get their shoe back, one about a sports equipment brand and one about the reality faced by people nowadays. They also proclaim themselves as cult rock, a rather rare genre to hear nowadays. Overall, it’s all a bundle of familiar things and also unfamiliarity at the same time.
Meet the people behind Nick; vocals by Nicko Krisna, Ade Kris with the drums, Rizky “Kiki” Anugerah on Bass, Adirama Gemmy as lead guitarist, and Yacko Krisna with the backing vocals and some tambourine.
So, What does the SkyVsSky album mean to Nick?
Nicko (N): The album is actually quite abstract. It’s about that there is no solution on the battle between the sky, the jungle and the mountains. In other words, in my imagination there are always conflicts happening between these three elements which always want to be the best and SkyVsSky made a better name than the literal translation from Indonesian Language.
Ade (A): It’s quite complex, basically it’s a parable on what we felt about the process of making the lyrics. More about what we tackle on a daily basis and the struggles.
Kiki (K): It takes up a wide scope. There is a sky beyond the sky. We wanted something beyond it, and this is what we made.
Gemmy (G): Personally, it’s my starting achievement and the first album I’ve been involved with.
Yacko (Y): SkyVsSky is an album of my dedication to my husband (Nicko). It’s also a form of my exploration.
Describe the album in one word
Cult Rock (as the band proclaim themselves) is something you don’t come across on a daily basis, what is Cult Rock to Nick?
N: It is something that I found on notations that is known in cult. though it’s kind off confusing actually, but Cult Rock is just the the right one to describe the SkyVsSky album.
A: I can’t say it’s a genre, it’s more eclectic. From the 70s to the 80s to the 90s there was a fine line and a phase that just happened in between them, and that is cult rock.
K: The core is still Rock mixed with whispers and shoegaze making us drift away.
Y: It’s not necessarily a genre, anyone can define cult rock by themselves.
It’s been a while since an Indonesian rock band ventured on synths and sounds regarding it, are there any specific musicians or bands who influence Nick the most?
N: The main influence would actually be music in the 80s. Bands like The Human league and Pet Shop Boys, I guess I’m kind off stuck in that era. Yet for the sound, it can’t be just based on that. We then added rock into the music so it can be easily digested by the audience now.
A: Basically Nick has different influences, but there is a root that makes these influences meet. Though I don’t know what it is exactly, but what I listen to is quite similar to the others and more of the movement rather than the musicians. For me personally, I like New Wave but I also like Rock & Roll and classic rock. Just like My Bloody Valentine and Depeche Mode. The ones with machine beats and fuzzy sounds.
K: For me it’s Nirvana since the first time I’ve played music, and well, Kurt Cobain.
G: It’s definitely Kurt Cobain for me, but it’s not mirrored in Nick’s music. For Nick, I think it’s Anthony Gonzalez from M83.
Y: It’s mainly hiphop like Lauryn Hill and Talib Kweli and I’ve been listening to Haim recently, they’re quite unique.
So, choose one song that’s in your head right now
N: Forever by Haim
A: My New Career By Japan
K: You Are a Tourist By Death Cab for a Cutie
G: Smells Like Teen Spirit By Nirvana
Y: Forever by Haim
What are Nick’s inspiration in general?
N: Windows, keyboards, my kid. My kid actually inspired me to make the Y.O.N.E.X song as she hums and mumbles. The song is from my kid, Alana, and my wife.
A: It’s times where I’m on the way to the office and people walk by. Those sometimes give me inspiration, but my main problem is that I always forget them. But actually inspiration can come from everywhere, for instance, even from George Michael’s Last Christmas song *laughs*
K: There are no specific moments for inspiration but sometimes it just comes unexpectedly. Tired after work, lazy to go to work, and I find times like that makes me inspired to make music. Also feelings that doesn’t often come like happiness or sorrow.
G: My girlfriend *laughs*
Y: Things I experience myself and my triple roles in life. A mother, Lecturer and a rapper. Well actually there are 4, including my role in Nick. I sometimes feel Nicko’s lyrics, though I don’t understand them all the time, but I can create harmonization from them.
The lyrics to the “I want my shoes back” song is rather consistent, shows that you guys really want your shoe back, is there a story behind it and what is that song to Nick?
N: It’s actually pretty simple, I lent my shoes to a certain person back in Junior High. In the 80s, these kinds of shoes were hard to get. I actually searched for this shoe until my college years. No, I didn’t get it back and had a moment where I wanted to wear that pair of shoes, hence the song.
A: It’s a catchy song and it’s the first song when I met Nicko. I’ve always wanted to make songs with machine-like drums and sweet vocals with layers of guitar, and Nicko made it.
G: It’s actually Nicko’s story, whether it’s real or not *chuckles* I don’t even know the ending to the story right now.
In the description in Nick’s website, “Ghost” is written based on skepticism on the reality nowadays, can you elaborate?
N: Actually, the description was merely for press release, but “Ghost” is actually based on a dream I had. The dream is about being raped by a ghost, when I woke up, found the notation, gave it to the guys, and made “Ghost”.
A: For me, it’s the routines. They make a black hole that just pushes us and gives us pressure.
G: Reality nowadays may be filled with people who tend to polish everything and putting appearance on top priority.
Y: It really depends on how you see it. There are three people in the world. The one who’s positive, one who’s negative, and the one who tries to be balanced. For those who are negative, there are lot of things nowadays that just makes you want to just stop everything, be skeptic and think of only the negatives, but when you try to be balanced, there will always be a positive side to it. Despite it all, it doesn’t hurt to be skeptic sometimes.
One last question on inspiration terms, what about the Y.O.N.E.X song?
N: There’s actually a lot behind that song. Some of the lyrics and the song in general came from my kid, Alana, when she was mumbling, “Sayuur mayuur”. For the title, Y.O.N.E.X could also be an acronym of You Only Need Ecstasy and Xanax for times when I was struggling with drugs.
A: Firstly, Badminton. Secondly, Dreampop.
G: I was amazed when Nicko told the meaning to the song.
Y: Nicko may say it’s an acronym, but for me it’s more than that. It’s a collaboration between my kid, Alana and Nicko.
Lastly, What’s next for Nick? Any plans on adding rap in next materials?
N: We’re currently making a compilation of our songs remixed, it will be released digitally on soundcloud. The DJs we worked with are Dedo16, DTX, Cekompak Project, Wididata, Tosi, OSDG, Mustang, and Tandun.
K: We’re actually working on a new album and making a new video clip.
G: Promotion, more gigs, and banking new material for the next album.
Y: So far we don’t know if it’s gonna be a full album of our remixed songs but it will be released digitally. No intentions on adding rap, maybe Nicko will rap sometime later *laughs*
Interview by Annisa Indrasari