called Nasi Campur. They're actually a bunch of hippie kids from the Green School in Ubud. Funky looking people, but they had some good songs. For a while it seemed like everyone in Bali was a DJ. Like, no matter what you do, oh, I'm a DJ too. Now it seems like live bands are making a comeback around town. Arja: True. There's a lot of new crowds coming to Bali now. We've got people from all kinds of new places and they want to hear something different. A lot of places, even the club venues, are now looking for live bands. Will you ever go to a club to hear a DJ? Arja: I still do. I like all kinds of music, even electronic. Funk, soul, you name it. As long as it gets people moving. What's the weirdest show you ever played? Padma: One time at Single Fin this guy got up on stage with his harmonica. He played his harmonica from the C chord, and we were playing from the E chord and A chord. And he just kept playing and rolling around on the ground. He was really into it, but it sounded pretty bad. Arja: He was a nice guy. He was just psyched. We just rolled with it. You kinda have to.
Do you guys have a CD? Palel: Not yet, we're still recording our first album. With all the piracy of DVDs and music in Indonesia, are you scared that some dude on Poppies II is gonna rip off your album and sell bootleg copies on the street for 5,000 rupiah? Arja: That's a global problem. It's not only in Indonesia. In the world now, people don't want to pay for CDs – unless they go to a concert and see a really good band. So right now we're just counting on performances and selling CDs at our gigs. Maybe some online music sales as well. As far as I'm concerned, in Indonesia, if you've had your CD pirated, that means somebody actually wants to listen to your songs. So I'm not scared of that at all. Padma: I think if people appreciate the music they will actually buy the CD, because they want to support the band. And they will want the whole CD for their collection. Do you guys have day jobs? Arja: Yeah, some of us do. We're all musicians, so we play in other bands for money. Cafés mostly. A couple of the guys have regular gigs at restaurants in Sanur, playing mostly jazz, blues and Top 40. You gotta eat. Padma: But Deep Sea
Explorers is what we put our heart into. We didn't become musicians to play at cafés. We became musicians to be able to travel the world for free and get paid to have fun and live the life. But mostly for the groupies, right? Arja: (laughing) One time we were playing a gig and a groupie was trying to get on us the whole time, just coming up and flirting so heavy everywhere we went. The next day one of our roadies came over in a bad mood. He said, my girlfriend doesn't want to be with me anymore. We're like, relax, let's just go out tonight and have some fun. Later we found out that his girlfriend was the same girl who was hitting on everyone that night. That's awkward. Is he still your roadie?
Palel: Same. Janis Joplin.
If we went out to sing karaoke right now, what song would you sing?
Padma: Graveyard (hard rock band from Sweden).
Padma: Anything by Queen.
Arja: I just discovered this band from 1981 called The Gun Club. They're pretty amazing. You should check them out.
Hendro: Zeppelin. “I Can't Quit You Baby.”
Where do you see music in Bali evolving in the next five years?
Arja: I usually sing “How Deep Is Your Love” by the Bee Gees.
Arja: You can't deny that music has helped us evolve as human beings. You know, rock and roll was the engine of the 60s counter culture revolution in California and all that. Now the music industry is trying to keep us down by putting these commercial songs out there that don't mean anything, and it just repeats over and over. It's just stuck there. But what we're trying to do is inspire people again.
That's a good one. My personal go-to is Marvin Gaye's “Let's Get It On.” Or “My Girl” by the Temptations. You can't go wrong with old school R&B.
Arja: No. What's your favorite Indonesian band? Hendro: Navicula. Padma: I'm more into Indonesian bands from the nineties. Arja: There's quite a lot nowadays. I like Navicula, of course. There's also Rollfast. No Stress. Naff. Hey, I actually have a question for everyone too. What band have you been listening to recently? Hendro: Janis Joplin and Big Brother and the
What do you talk about in your songs? Arja: For our first album we're gonna do a concept album, because nobody has done that in a while. Because our name is Deep Sea Explorers, we're calling this album Atlantis. So we're going to do a lot with the ocean and what's happening in the oceans these days. There's also going to be some political ideas in there. I wrote a song called “The Dictators of the World,” about the situation in North Korea, for example.
Palel: Red Hot Chilli Peppers. “Californication.”
Arja: So true. Ok, so when you guys are playing a show, what's the one song that always gets the place pumping? Arja: Usually we sing “Gloria,” originally by Van Morrison, but we do the Doors version. What song is like catnip for the ladies? Palel: “I Just Wanna Make Love To You.” Originally written by Willie Dixon, but we do a Rolling Stones version. That's a classic. Good base line. Arja: That's all you need, the base line. Hendro: It's all in the vibration, man.
Bali Belly is an independent youth culture magazine based in Bali, Indonesia.