Ever heard of eleventwelfth ? The chance might be slim if you do not follow the latest trend on the rise of this particular band who bring indie rock and emo flair to their music. After starting their journey to record an album from 2015, this year the band that are comprised of Rona, Almas and Kessa eventually reveal their self-titled EP on 10 March 2017 via Six Thirty Recordings. Little did they expect this album to receive a warm welcome from listeners and fans alike. They plan to make an album launching party titled “introducing: eleventwelfth” this Friday, 7 April 2017 at Borneo Beerhouse Kemang and we had a chance to interview eleventwelfth before this band become the next big thing. The band hailing from Jakarta also spill further details about their raison d’etre, the influence for this album, the philosophy behind their intriguing black & white visual as well as their dreams and plans for the future as we dig deeper inside their minds. Stay tuned, because their heads might be your favorite bookstore (pun intended).
The Display (TDP): Hello guys, first off, we would like to know whether the three of you have a particular reason to play together in eleventwelfth. Do you have the same role model in terms of music?
Rona: To be honest it’s blink-182, if it wasn’t for blink-182 we wouldn’t have this conversation with you because that band is the reason we wanted to play in a band. That was the first conversation that me and Almas have ever had before we even knew each other. To be precise, since eleventwelfth doesn’t have too much in common with blink-182, we are open to any kinds of music and the thing that makes us play together is not one band or the other band instead, but it’s that we share the same vision on playing music. We just want to create something that pushes the boundaries, our boundaries, to maximize our potential as a musician, to know how far we could go with our music with every up and down and hopefully our EP is the answer.
Almas: I agreed to play music with Rona again, not because we idolized the same band, it’s because I’ve been playing music with him since 2005, and we feel that we are suitable enough to be a partner for playing in a band together and have a lot in common from music arrangement perspective.
Kessa: From me personally, I always had a lot of conversation about music with Rona and we don’t restrict ourselves to a particular genre. If we’re talking from guitar perspective, coincidentally we share the same references in music like Toe (Japan), American Football (US), Chon (US), and many more.
TDP : It can be said that you guys bring back the emo genre with your new album. Is it hard to relive this genre who used to be so popular back in the 90’s?
Rona: It’s not like we’re wearing it on our sleeves, it just happens that our debut EP is leaning towards emo and indie rock more than anything else right now. We do not have any intention to relive the genre or embrace one specific era of music, we just want to play the music we create and share it to the world. So is it difficult? We don’t know, we’d rather focus on what we’re presenting to the world with our music for now, if it connects with you then it’s good and if it’s not then it’s fine. We have a wide range of influence going on in our music, so we’re not going to be stuck to this genre for the rest of our lives. Almas started learning drum as a Jazz player and he started to play drum because of Phil Collins, Kessa used to play in a lot of Post-Hardcore bands and cites John Mayer as his guitar hero, so who knows what we’re going to do next. We’ll see where this EP would lead us.
Almas: From the moment I started to asked Rona to play music with me again in 2014, we never really had that kind of intention. It is purely because we want to feel every joy and every pain from being in a band again and pushes my ability for playing drum in a maximum way I could possibly get.
TDP: We’re sorry to hear the passing of Rona’s father in 2015. Rona stated that this album is dedicated to his late father and he influenced eleventweltfh as a band, how come?
Rona: Thank you, and yes this EP is dedicated to my late father. So here’s the thing, I have been playing music with Almas since we were 13 years old, so I know him for half of my life and the first time we were playing music together, my father has always been there. My father is a music geek he also was in a band when he was young, he loves The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, and Rush a lot. I mean there’s not a lot of father that listens to this kind of stuff. He is like our number one Fan/Supporter for every band that we’ve ever been with. He used to drive us to our practice session when we are still in Junior High, he used to watch our band perform whenever he got the chance. He likes to give a review after he watched our band. In a sense, he influenced us in a way that shapes our band to become who we are right now.
TDP : Can you tell us about your collaboration with Asteriskan from Barasuara on a track called “your head as my favorite bookstore”? Was the genre difference set some difficulties during the recording process?
Rona: I already made this song as a draft maybe in 2013, and after we changed our format as a full band, this draft idea finally has its way to be cooked as a song. I always imagined this song to have a female vocal to accompany my singing in the last chorus and Ichyl (red: Asteriska’s nickname) was my first choice and there was no second option or plan b in my mind back in the day when we were still writing this. The last time I was having a conversation with Ichyl was probably in 2011 or 2012. It was like more than 5 years ago. So after we made a demo out of this song, I messaged her via Facebook and we talked a little then I asked her to hear our demo. She liked it, I asked her to collaborate with us and the next thing we knew we were already in the recording studio and the song was done. There were no difficulties at all, since we’ve said earlier we already have a lot of influence and open to any kinds of music so it comes really naturally for us to make this song happens
Kessa: Asteriska has always been our first choice. We don’t even know anybody else who meets the criteria. She is very talented and has a very unique vocal character. I am a fan of Barasuara, and at the beginning we’re kind of curious if she will be willing to help us for this song but after all she said that she likes it and then there it goes.
Almas: From the beginning, we like to try new things for eleventwelfth, so there really were no difficulties.
TDP : Let’s talk about the visual for this album. Eleventwelfth has been pretty consistent with the monochromatic tone for the band’s visual, is there any philosophy behind it or do you plan the brand image to be like this all along?
Almas: Interesting question. I have a few answers. First of all, I believe it is imperative that a brand works in black and white first, in order for its counterpart in color to achieve its purpose of bringing a brand to life because there is a certain presence and elegance that colors cannot achieve alone. Next, black and white brings the audience straight to the point by stripping a brand bare of unnecessary detail, letting you appreciate the detail for what it is. Black and white is also simple and timeless. It strips a brand to its basic form and allows the audience to appreciate its personality as we move towards its impending evolution. Last but not least, black and white, one color, is art reduced to presence and absence. A collection that is unequivocally appropriate for this binary digital world we live in, which clearly exposes that reducing everything to 1 and 0, bright and dark, does not mean a brand is the result of a cold calculation made by a machine or a program, but the essence of the human spirit.
TDP : From the 9 tracks in this album, which one is the most interesting track to make and the most difficult one to process?
Almas: Because every song from this EP comes from the guitar parts that Rona has created before there was nothing else, so every process seems interesting for me. But the most notable one is “farther than I might have ever figured”. Because this is the second to last song that we’ve created for this EP and I just said to him that I wanted to play this kind of beat that I created specifically. For the most favorite one is “your head as my favourite bookstore’.
Rona: The most interesting one is the first and second track from our EP “farther than I might have ever figured” and “quite quiet”. It is the only song that we have never practiced before we got into our recording session. We never knew how the final outcome will sound. This is the only song on our EP where the first idea doesn’t come from guitar, Almas told us he wanted to play this beat over and over again and it started off slow then gradually become faster and faster to the point where the beat is finally constant for a whole minute. After that I made the guitar part while I was listening to the beat on loop and threw a bunch of ideas with Kessa on how to end this song. We came up with the idea to slow it down again, filled it with a bunch of noise coming from our gear and ended it with acoustic guitar before we even practiced it. It was so spontaneous yet it’s still a fit opener to our EP as it indicates that we could play something really fast to something really slow. Currently every song is my favorite one because I see this EP as a whole, but the most important one has to be “later on” and “your head as my favourite bookstore” because it’s the first song that everyone has ever listened to from this incarnation of eleventwelfth.
Kessa: The most favourite one maybe “your head as my favourite bookstore’. It feels and sounds like eleventwelfth and every part successfully delivers the emotion. The hardest and the most interesting, I have to agree with Almas and Rona, “farther than I might have ever figured” and “quite quiet”. The process took quite a long time for a song that only clocks in less than two minutes each.
TDP : The enthusiasm for your self-titled EP is pretty high, did you at least expect this kind of response? How do you feel that now your music has appealed to those from outside of Jakarta?
Rona: Who could have thought? We don’t have any expectation about this EP since we make this solely for ourselves and to me personally for my father as a tribute. We are really glad that people seems to like it.
Kessa: Because I’ve played in a post-hardcore/emo band before, from what I’ve experienced myself, I think that maybe this kind of music is much more appealing towards people outside of Jakarta than Jakarta itself.
Almas: Anyway, we are really thankful to anyone who has been giving us any kinds of feedback, willing to buy our CD wherever they are and to people that spent a brief time of their life to give us any chance to be a part of their listening pleasure. A big thank for all of you.
TDP : Can you spill a little about your forthcoming album launching party this Friday? How is the preparation so far?
Rona: There are other 3 bands that are going to play with us in this launching, one band has also just recently released their EP, Secret Meadow, one band comes from Bali, Jangar, and one band is an upcoming new band, Nort. We’re just practicing a lot. Practice makes perfect and we do believe that.
Kessa: We won’t be playing any shows before our launching, a little bit nervous so we’re adding up a lot of time for our practice session.
Almas: Having a good rest after work and eat properly so that I don’t get sick until the day we held our launching.
TDP : How about your future plan after this, does a tour seem likely? And lastly, what is your future endeavor to explore eleventwelfth’s sound, another collaboration?
Rona: Hopefully Java Tour soon enough, fingers crossed. If everything’s working out right and we do have a chance, we won’t be closing any kinds of offer and will be trying our best to let our music get heard. As for collaboration, it’s already been done, hahaha. We never thought that we could collaborate with Asteriska and make that song comes to fruition exactly as what we have in our mind. She is one of the most talented person and one of the nicest human being we’ve ever met. No joke. We are really grateful that we could collaborate with her, and if our paths crossed again then maybe we could work other things out. Who knows?
Kessa: If eleventwelfth could collaborate with The Trees and The Wild, it probably would be cool. Anyone can dream right? Hahaha.
Almas: For long term, I don’t have any specific idea who or what band would I want to ask to collaborate. But other than bands, I really want to collaborate with an orchestra or a marching band.
So, that pretty much sums up our in-depth interview with the band. For you who want to attend eleventwelfth’s album launching party, you can buy the ticket for IDR35,000 on the spot at Borneo Beerhouse Kemang starting from 6PM this Friday. But before that, prepare to sing along with them by streaming their latest EP here or cop their album in its physical format here (it is reported to be temporarily sold out, so stay tune to Six Thirty Recording’s social media for the latest update).