Friday 31 August 2018

NEW SAFFAR INTERVIEW: Religious band SAFFAR returns with new promo CD 2018, 31/8/2018.

Our third interview with Saffar (Bandung Death Metal)
Date: Wednesday 16 May 2018.
At: Butche’s house, Cicaheum, Bandung
Interview with: Acil (guitarist).
Translation by: Popo Demons Damn and Teguh Prasetyo (Interfectorment).

Kieran James: What is the progress now with Saffar?

Gilang Acil Saffar (guitarist): We finished recording a promo, two songs.

KJ: To be released when?

Acil: July 2018.

KJ: Record label?

Acil: Hadeath Records from Bandung.

KJ: What is the line-up?

Acil: Acil, Iyenk, Evan.

KJ: Acil on vocals?

Acil: Yes.

KJ: Is there a plan to get a vocalist?

Acil: We still did not find the right vocalist. We only use the additional vocalist to help us perform (Andri Gila). Last month, we had a show in Tangerang (April 2018). Andri helped Saffar to perform but I am still doing the vocal. On the promo Andri helped as additional; there are two vocalists. Andri helped me to make the lyrics also. In the performance it is good but Andri uses a different character. Usually he is guttural but this time he growls.

KJ: Why and when did Ramon leave Saffar?

Acil: August 2015. He is busy in the other town; and Ramon got married.

KJ: How did the lyrics change compared to before?

Acil (translated by Teguh): It is still about Moses and Egypt but the different thing is that the lyric does not use such a religious approach like before.

Acil (translated by Popo): The lyrics on the first album use more religious language and sometimes use quotations from Al-Quran. But this time not so many.

Acil (translated by Teguh): Parjo is a more religious person and he understands these things more.

KJ: Did Parjo leave because he wanted to focus on religion in his life?

Acil: Yes.

KJ: Ramon too?

Acil: Not really.

KJ: Butche says Bandung Death Metal is dying; what do you think?

Acil: In the past, Bandung Death Metal had a place for nongkrong so the musicians could share and discuss everything including equipment, performance, and gigs in other cities. The BDMC is now inactive; we used to hang out at Serak (or Uus’ office) in Jalan Cihampelas; before, Uus was a shopkeeper in Ari’s place. For now, we have lost a place to hang-out. We just meet at the gigs or at someone’s place. It doesn’t happen as often as before. Now it is just person-to-person meetings rather than the community meetings.

Popo Demons Damn: We need to make the community active again; to nongkrong together. At Cihampelas, the regulation to relocate came from the Bandung government. They can’t sell anything downstairs to the pedestrians on the footpath.

Teguh Prasetyo: The relocation of the shop is one factor but it is not the main factor. The government wants everything to be in order.

Popo: The problem is the community itself. We still go to Papap’s house for nongkrong. The original people got older and have commitments.

Teguh: The mentality of the young generation is different now.

Popo: I’m in the middle.

Teguh: No, you’re old; part of the first movement.

Teguh: Those who made Bandung Berisik; they are the old-school, the first generation.

Popo: No, I’m a fan at that time.

Teguh: Popo rode the last wave; took the last bus.

Popo: I’m in the middle; I’m not too old, not too young.

[KJ note: Popo was in the tail-end of the original generation along with Bobby, Daniel, Glenn, and Uus.]

KJ: What is the plan for the album?

Acil: So many problems happened; we did not have members; we only had two people in the band; it was hard to make this album happen; this is why we could not make the album happen two years ago [July 2016, time of our last Saffar interview]. So we started again this year to make a promo.

Teguh: I’m a big fan of Ramon and of course Evan too, the new bass player. Why did you choose Evan?

Acil: Evan has the same style of playing as Ramon; he can catch up with Ramon’s style of playing and have the same understanding with the rest of the band.

Teguh: I was a little shocked when I heard that Evan left Digging Up; I had to replace someone [in Digging Up] with that level of quality.

Popo: I don’t have any question but I’m still waiting for their new album, I’m curious.

Teguh: Me too, a lot of people are waiting for the new Saffar album.

Popo: So many things happened to Saffar; I want to see what type of music they can make with the new members.

KJ: What is your message for the fans of Saffar?

Acil (Teguh translates): It has been too long, the time between the first album and the new promo. Everything happened to Saffar; I will put in maximum effort to make the music side of this album as strong as it can possibly be. I hope the fans like it and I’m sorry that the second album has taken so long.

[Teguh translates for the remainder of the interview.]

KJ: Does Parjo believe it is wrong to play metal?

Acil: Yes, he believes that playing Heavy Metal is not allowed (not halal) in his beliefs but the rest of us still think it’s OK to play music.

KJ: Is Parjo still proud of the first album or does he try to forget about it?

Acil: I don’t know what his feelings are but Parjo believes it is forbidden (haram) to play the Heavy Metal music again. Maybe he is still proud of the first album inside himself but we never know.

Teguh: It’s part of his history. That’s a new issue in this age, this time, between music and religion but I see that music is like a tool, like a knife; you can use it for a good purpose or a bad purpose. This is why my friends and I still play music. I’m getting pretty tired of this argument [issue]; for me the music makes me more close to God.

KJ: Does Ramon still play for Dismemberment Torture? When Ramon left it is not due to religion like Parjo?

Teguh: No, it’s not due to religion; only due to the work and that he must live in other city.

KJ: Is the promo sound different to the old sound and how is it different?

Acil: The new promo is not too fast; it uses more Arabic melodies.

Popo: That is why I call it Arabic Death Metal [laughs].

KJ: Do you want to ask Bobby to join Saffar?

Acil: I am respecting Bobby so no comment.

SAFFAR April 2012: Parjo (vocals), Iyenk (drums), Acil (guitar), Ramon (bass).

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