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“The apocalypse is scarier when you put yourself in that picture.”


-Kareem Soenharjo

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Kareem Soenharjo adalah multi-instrumentalis yang memiliki banyak moniker: BAP., BAPAK, Yosugi, dan YosuBAP. Ketertarikannya pada berbagai macam genre membuatnya berkarya dengan menggunakan moniker/persona berbeda untuk setiap output kreatifnya. Kamu bisa menemukan elemen-elemen lo-fi hiphop, experimental rock, noise punk sampai chaotic hardcore di karya-karyanya. Mari berbincang sedikit dengan Kareem Soenharjo mengenai kolaborasinya dengan Eka Annash (The Brandals), Boiler Room dan karya terbarunya, ‘ Painting with Suwage’…


Halo Kareem! Apa kabar? Sebelumnya bisa ceritain sedikit ga tentang moniker-moniker lo BAP., BAPAK. dan Yosugi? Bagaimana semua moniker itu terbentuk dan apa perbedaan output musiknya? 




Hello, I’m doing good, you know? Living live aja untuk sekarang. Kalau moniker-moniker gue, BAP tuh lebih untuk things that are hip hop, BAPAK itu lebih berbasis instrumen mungkin yang ensemble, Yosugi lebih untuk my introduction stuff. Pertama Yosugi duluan yang terbuat gara-gara I was just making beats in high school. Which is fun, ya know? BAP menjadi extension secara artistik untuk itu. Yosugi di belakang panggung, BAP lebih di depan panggung. Walaupun dua-duanya pernah juga di depan panggung. BAPAK lebih ke passion project aja.


Kolaborasi “noise punk” lo dengan Eka Annash (The Brandals) di Boiler Room sangat menarik. Bagaimana awal mula kolaborasi tersebut ter develop? Bagaimana ceritanya bisa terlibat dengan livestream ‘Respect Our Elders’ dan bekerjasama dengan Boiler Room?




Waktu itu gue di interview mas Eka untuk Diskas media terus sejak itu jadi follow-follow an dan keep in contact. And then my friends let me know that he was doing a show for Boiler Room and that he wanted me to perform. Dan memang tema nya tentang intersection antar generasi, jadi harus mengajak orang yang generasi lebih tua atau lebih muda untuk kolaborasi. Kebetulan abis di interview mas Eka juga, i guess why not?



Lo sudah mengeksplor lo-fi hiphop, noise punk sampai experimental rock. Bagaimana lo memberi benang merah di semua rilisan dan output musik lo tanpa mengalienasi fanbase lama lo? 




Mungkin benang merahnya tuh bahwa itu gue kali ya? It's all personal i suppose, the music that i make. If it's not my story, it's the stories of the people around me. Jadi emang there's always all sorts of relatability. Seperti multiverse kali ya? Maybe i suppose if that makes sense. Setiap fanbase untuk tiap rilisan pasti ada yang lebih alienated, bakal ada (juga) yang lebih suka atau nemu fans baru juga. I guess i make this for me juga ya by the end of the day. So maybe having a fansbase is.. A bonus I suppose and I'm very grateful for it.


MADVILLAIN adalah kolaborasi antara 2 orang: produser Madlib dan rapper MF DOOM. Sedangkan YosuBAP adalah kolaborasi antara sisi produser lo dengan Moniker Yosugi dan rapper moniker lo BAP. What is it like to work with yourself through different personas or monikers? Is it like Madlib working with Quasimoto, who is himself too?


This is a good question. I guess so.. It’s like Madlib and Quasimoto. Kalo boleh jujur they don’t exactly separate themselves, engga segregated juga gitu dua persona itu. Bisa juga idenya dari Yosugi duluan atau BAP duluan tapi it's just like.. It's not that mystical becuz i usually know what I wanna make. Or when I'm experimenting, tau-tau udah kegambar aja gitu gue mo ngapain. Most of the time i already have a lot of things that i wanna say anyway. 


Album ‘Miasma Tahun Asu’ BAPAK yang dirilis tahun 2020 kemarin terasa sangat pas dengan mimpi buruk semua orang pada saat pandemi datang. Apakah konsep album itu terinspirasi oleh tema-tema apokalips? Apa yang menginspirasikan lo untuk membuat album itu?




I’ve always liked the concept of biblical or mythological apocalypses. Or a real life apocalypse  that we can see progressing day to day when we read the news and whatnot. So I think it's always an interesting topic to uphold, especially if you can integrate your own personal stories into it. ‘Cause I feel that the apocalypse is scarier when you put yourself in that picture. ‘Cause when you think about the apocalypse it's a global scale phenomenon and you're just a speck of dust besides everyone. Putting your own personal opinion on it makes things a little more intimate and more terrifying, ‘cause it's something that you go through by yourself.



Ceritakan sedikit tentang proses pengumpulan personil BAPAK dan pengerjaan album ‘Miasma Tahun Asu’ tersebut, dari songwriting, sampai proses recording..




A lot of jamming, lot of improv, itu semua teman-teman dari dulu; Bagas Encek (Tarrkam) drummer gue di BAP, Alfath (Flowrpit) temen gue dari SMA, we share some music stuff, dan Kevin (Whoosah) temen gue sejak kuliah, semuanya juga hubungan nya gara-gara musik-musik yang kita dengar. It was a fun process and emotionally baring i suppose. Making music with them is a blessing, they are more talented than i am. My vision and my ideas.. They can paint it on my canvas very well and i'm very grateful for that. We made a really great album last year, and that’s not possible without their help.


BAP. kabarnya akan merilis ‘Painting with Suwage’ dengan Lamunai Records. Bagaimana rasanya kembali ke “comfort zone” lo di BAP setelah bereksperimen di BAPAK? Atau akankah ini berbeda dengan BAP yang dulu?




I mean this isn't exactly my comfort zone. Things are a little bit more poppier, pop ala gue kali ya? bukan pop secara general. I always tried to kind of make myself uncomfortable with every release with this BAP thing i suppose, mungkin gara-gara single nya itu yang paling ganas. It’s an eclectic album as usual. I like to keep things interesting and surprise myself and everyone who listens. This is still experimenting to say the least, whether anyone will agree or not.  

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“What i want in these tough days is to listen to music that gets me


excited throughout the day” -Kareem Soenharjo

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Bisa ceritakan sedikit mengenai proses pembuatan ‘Painting with Suwage’? Apakah ada hubungan dengan pelukis Agus Suwage?


It’s a fun track aja menurut gue. I was just flexing my muscles. Dengan topik-topik yang gue suka i try to integrate all of them into my songs. I just wanna make something you can pump in my shows. (Something) You can just enjoy pas lo baca liriknya. It’s an enjoyable song to listen to. It gets me pumped. That's what i want in these tough days is to listen to music that gets me excited throughout the day. Agus Suwage is one of my favorite Indonesian painter.  Dari kecil i’ve always admired his work, there's a lot of weird cynicism and kinda existential joyful cynicism to his work. He put himself into his work which i feel adds a whole strange dimension in how we perceive and process his work. I've always seen myself as someone who would like to do that. I’m heavily inspired by his work bukan cuma dalam medium visual. It can transcend into an audio thing juga by the end of the day. It's like putting yourself into your work and integrating it. It kinda gives a whole new meaning. It's like a mirror that we can look at but Agus Suwage looks back. That serves as a whole lot more interesting discussions i believe…



Last question: apa genre berikutnya yang akan lo coba dan belum lo ulik? Mungkin next akan membuat sebuah band jazz fiktif seperti Madlib dan Yesterdays New Quintet?


I don't think I know that. And if i did, it might be not wise to tell people that right? Haha. I just wanna keep everyone on their toes. Whatever shit i'm making, i don't even know juga. So i'm not the wiser person to answer this question. So, it's gonna be just as a surprise to me as to everyone else who listens to my music. So just be prepared i guess..


Words & interview by Aldy Kusumah
Photos from Kareem bandcamp & instagram
Layout by Prita