|The mighty DEMONS DAMN. Left to right: Jhon, Dimas Damn, Abaz (studio drummer), Ricky, Popo.|
By Dr Kieran James (BUSUK WEBZINE)
Interview: 10 October 2011 at Jasad’s new rehearsal room, Ujung Berung, Bandung, 10 October 2011. Interview amended by Popo, 9 November 2011.
DEMONS DAMN interview with: Popo (female vocals) and Jhon (bass).
Extra comments by: Ferly of Jasad and Bobby of Bleeding Corpse.
|Kieran James, Popo Demons Damn, Bobby Rock @ Cicaheum|
KJ: Hi, Popo. Thanks for agreeing to do this interview and thanks so much for all your help doing the interpretation job for the other band interviews here in Bandung. You helped me very much. My first question is when and how did you get involved in the death-metal scene?
Popo: Hi, and this is Jhon, my bass player. I started in metal when I was in junior high school, 13-years-old.
Jhon: First class in high school, 16-years-old.
Popo: I just listened to metal for the first time when I listened to Sepultura. I watched the video-clip on MTV for “Refuse/Resist”.
Jhon: Basically I first listened to Biohazard [USA].
Popo: When I was in junior high school I went to some gigs, concerts. Someone took me to some gigs, I just wanted to know [more]; [sometimes] I went by myself. I saw those [bands] on the stage, I didn’t know who is he or which band but I just saw and knew people in the same school; they introduced me, I hung out in the music shop. I asked them about the scene, I was 14-years-old.
KJ: How and when did you start out Demons Damn?
Popo: Before this band changed name to Demons Damn, the name was Demons. The first formation was changed. I knew the guitarist from the record studio. We always hung out and discussed [metal] and met with other friends in that studio. I asked him to join my band. When Dimas and Ricky joined the band I changed the music from speed-metal to death-metal. Abaz, who plays drums for Jasad now, he made the music very fast. He still [will] play drums on my [forthcoming] album. He can’t play with Demons Damn [live] because he is too busy with Jasad. He plays drums with Jasad.
KJ: When did you start with the death-growl vocals?
Popo: I started with growl vocals then when the music changed to death-metal, I learnt about more and more deep growls, I use guttural style. You can hear it on my demo tracks. The first song has different vocal from the last three songs. The first song I use growl with the clean articulation. People can hear me when I say ABC, like that. John was the last person to come into Demons Damn.
KJ: What are your goals for the band?
Popo: We have same goals as other bands: to still exist; to promote our band; to make people know about] our band; [and] to perform in other countries. For myself and Demons Damn we have different goals. For me I want people to know death-metal is not only for the boy or man; it can be played with the women inside. I learnt much about the metal, I’m not a follower. I have stayed in Ujung Berung for a long time. I played death-metal in 2008.
KJ: What is the response of the fans to a female vocalist in death-metal?
Popo: The first time they are shocked that a girl plays in a death-metal band. People don’t know about some bands with women because they can’t promote their bands. I’m very lucky because my friends from Ujung Berung helped me very much to promote my band. Ferly [guitarist for Jasad] asked me to feature in one Jasad show. I had two performances, in Bandung and Malang, just me and Jasad. Man [vocalist for Jasad] introduced me on stage. After I give the best performance what [else] can I do for death-metal? I showed them I don’t just follow the death-metal, they like the band.
KJ: Jhon, do you feel it is strange to be in a band with female vocalist?
Jhon: No, it’s not really strange for me. I think girl vocalist has a difference; woman is more disciplined than a man to [attend] meetings with the band etc.
Popo: Manage money... [laughs]
Jhon: Everything! It’s one challenge for me [to work] for female vocals.
KJ: Do you think it is harder to get the death-metal tough-guy image with the female vocalist?
Jhon [Popo interprets to give this answer]: I think it is the same, man or woman it’s the same thing. I think if with boy vocals it is the same [as normal] but with a woman vocal we can look tougher. If the band has a man vocalist it is the standard. The influences for men and women are the same, but, when the woman plays death-metal, it is more interesting, [and] it looks different.
Popo: Maybe it is the coolest!
|Popo Demons Damn, Bobby Rock|
KJ: Have you faced any problems being a female vocalist playing death-metal here?
Popo: For the bands there is no problem at all. The problem is just with the [general] community. The problem is with the police permission [for shows], as I said in the Bleeding Corpse interview [8 October 2011, see older posts on this site for my full interview with Bleeding Corpse]. Now women in the scene can be respected by the fans because the women can prove they can play death-metal, this is different from [in] the past.
[At this point Ferly of Jasad joins in the interview]
KJ: Do you see a role to teach young women?
Popo: If the young women ask me how to learn about the vocals, I try to help them.
Ferly: Puji [stage name is Popo] has a great vocal and, of course, great performance, she is the pioneer in here.
KJ: How is the progress for your album?
Popo: We must record the vocal; the rest of it is done. We have nine songs; we have influence from Vader [Poland], Kataklysm [Canada], Disgorge [USA], Suffocation [USA] and many killer bands.
KJ: Have you got the song titles yet?
Popo: We have the song titles but not the album title. I have one song planned with Bobby [Rock, vocalist of Bleeding Corpse]. I wrote all of the lyrics of the songs. The topics are revenge, hatred. I try to write like Suffocation lyrics.
KJ: I think Suffocation lyrics go for an overall feeling. If you read small parts of them they don’t seem to make sense.
Popo: The Suffocation lyrics are idiomatic, meaning you cannot translate [meaning give meaning to] the words one or one.
KJ: Waaah, I only speak English but I don’t think I know what the word “idiomatic” means!
Popo: I finished my thesis [on this topic] for Bachelor of English Literature, Pasundan University [Bandung], 2008. I wanted to discuss about Jasad and Forgotten [Indonesia] lyrics. However, my teacher suggested I write [about] popular band in Indonesia, pop band like Peterpan or other ... that made me disappointed because the band suggested [by] my teacher is a mellow band and, lucky me, I heard Linkin Park release new album Minutes to Midnight so I chose Linkin Park [rather] than local band even [though] they're very popular in here but I didn't like them.
KJ: What are some of your favourite authors?
Popo: I like Karl Marx, I like Malcolm X. I like to read about the women in the patriarchy in some religions. I like feminism. I want to learn about the women who fight the hard things, why females can do anything...
KJ: Like feminism?
Popo: Yeah, yeah.
[Bobby Rock of Bleeding Corpse joined us now during the interview, Ferly has already left]
|Bobby Rock, Popo, Butche, Man Jasad, April 2012|
KJ: Bobby, how do you feel having death-metal vocalist as girlfriend?
Bobby: It is something like ... whether a singer or not it is the same thing. I don’t like her [because] she is onstage as a vocalist. I like her because of her attitude.
Popo: I knew Bobby before [KJ: the relationship is for two years so far]. I don’t care that he is the vocalist for Bleeding Corpse. I just know he’s kind, he doesn’t like to play with a girl, he can take care of me, it’s very important [KJ: now is Bobby’s turn to be shy and blush].
KJ: Popo, did you find it strange that Bobby is brutal metal vocalist onstage but offstage he is such a gentle guy?
Popo: I think Bobby onstage is funny but Bobby onstage is different from Bobby offstage, he dies not talk about music too much offstage but onstage he looks like a brutal guy!
KJ: Who can kill the dragon, haha, like in HammerFall songs?
Popo: Yes! I make a character for myself [too] onstage, Popo. Popo is the killer female who can punch you but Puji is a shy girl. When I go to some shows I must be the cooler female! There is one band, Cerebral Bore from Glasgow, Scotland; in 2010 they changed to female vocalist [KJ: new vocalist Simone “Som” Pluijmers]. The hard thing is to make people believe I can play death-metal.
KJ: Ok, we finish here. Thanks very much Popo, killer female, John, and Bobby. Best wishes for your new Demons Damn album. I look forward to hearing it.