We were approached a little while ago to listen to the new album from Sigmun, a rock band from Indonesia. As we were previously unaware of that music scene over there (we knew there was a thriving pop scene, but not rock) we were intrigued, and listened, and loved their album, ‘Crimson Eyes’. We thought their story was worth looking into, so we sent them over some questions, to dig a little more.
EP: What’s the Sigmun story!
S: Well this might be a bit disappointing, but the story wasn’t all that exciting. We were just a bunch of college friends who think that it would be cool to have a band. It started around 2009, there was this music festival called LA Lights Indiefest, we decided to form a band and audition for it. The name of the band was not Sigmun back then, the band was called Loud. Indonesia was having the vintage rock’n’roll revival, we were listening to bands like Wolfmother, The White Stripes, The Sigit, and of course, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and Pink Floyd. That was the start, then around 2011. We decided to take this band more seriously, we changed the name to Sigmun, because of course there was already a band named Loud out there. we were really into surrealism back then, admired the likes of Salvador Dali, Rene Magritte and so on, and Sigmund Freud was like godfather of all that stuff. We decided to use his name because it was really relevant with the things that we were doing.
EP: How do you combine these interests? Are there crossovers with the ways of thinking of Freud and Led Zeppelin for instance?
S: We always treat music as a way to release, like a catharthis. Music for us is emotional and also very physical in a way, and there’s nothing more proper than heavy metal and rock music to express that kind of artistic urge. We also believe that even though we wrote our music fully conscious, there will always be a fragment of the subconscious that slips in.
EP: ‘Crimson Eyes’ is an epic album! Talk us through it. Is it a concept album? What’s the thinking behind it?
S: I don’t know if we can call it a concept album, because most of the concepts and ideas actually came out after all the songs were ready, because we often depend on intuition and spontaneity in our music. We treated the lyric writing in a very narrative approach, like a storyteller. Think of it like a series of surrealistic landscape paintings. The story was quite simple actually, the rise of the absolute evil, each song represents a different chapter in a chronological order of the whole story. The audience may interpret them as metaphors or just enjoy like they enjoy a fairytale.
EP: We were aware of the pop music scene in Indonesia but you’re the first rock artists we’ve come across from that country. What’s the scene like? Are there others we should know about?
S: The scene is still growing right now, and by scene I mean the independent music scene. It started around the 90s and has become pretty huge today. There are independent bands like Seringai, The SIGIT, Burgerkill, KOIL, Pure Saturday whose fanbases might even compete with the fanbases of the mainstream bands. These bands (and a lot more I can’t mention) have inspired more kids to start their own bands. There are also huge varieties of genres even among the rock bands. Recently there have been a wave of stoner rock/ psychedelics rock bands like Matiasu, Kaitzr, Heast, Napolleon, There are also a variety of indie rock bands like Polka Wars, Jirapah, Vague. The dynamics in the scene might be kinda different here because we don’t really have many venues like pubs or bars for independent bands, and the people are not really used to paying for shows or tickets, so independent bands usually depend on sponsors to invite and pay them to perform on their shows.
EP: You believe your music comes spontaneously from your unconscious minds – talk us through the songwriting process.
S: We don’t really write our music unconsciously, like consuming any substances before writing. We always do it consciously but we try to let “the unconscious” slip through, like doing spontaneous and lengthy jams, singing any random words that comes to mind. we scrap the gibberish, rambles and riffs then build the song from them, for example like in the song ‘Devil In The Disguise’, we never planned to set the song to certain theme, but we built the song, especially the lyrics, from a random spontaneous set of words that was sung during the practice, “All your lies can’t feed a man”. It’s always like that when it come to song and lyric writing. We don’t do it that way because we’re diehard followers of Freud’s psychoanalysis, we do it that way simply because we find it more enjoyable and more natural for us to do it that way.
EP: What’s your opinion on the current state of the music industry?
S: The industry is shifting, the digital formats are taking over, but at the same time there are also some people who turn back to physical release like CDs, cassettes and vinyls because they’ve finally discovered the value of them, so it is a pretty exciting time for the music industry actually. Some say that digital and the internet are destroying the industry, but we think the digital format and the internet actually gave us the opportunity to reach more people, both in or outside our country.
EP: Where shall Sigmun be in a year’s time? In 5 year’s time?
S: Hopefully touring around the world performing in festivals like Roadburn, Austin Psych Fest, and still working on our next album.
EP: What question do you wish someone would ask you in an interview, but nobody ever does?
S: This very question! Thank you. Hahaha!
Check out their song, ‘Ozymandias’: