It is my IMMENSE honor to introduce a legendary Asian hardcore band through this website. This band is NO stranger to the Southeast Asian hardcore scene by any means, a band that garners so much admiration that bands in Malaysia cover their songs frequently, and kids throughout Indonesia get tattoos as a tribute. They have been straight killing it in Indonesia since 1996 inspiring hundreds if not thousands of hardcore kids. Next year marks their 20th anniversary – 20 years of Asian hardcore – and we for one cannot WAIT to see how this band gets celebrated throughout Asia.
Ladies and gents – welcome to the world of Straight Answer from Jakarta, Indonesia.
When this band gets on stage – the entire venue literally gets turned upside down…they hold such an important place in the hearts of Indonesian hardcore kids both young and old with songs like Bangkit Melawan Atau Tunduk Di Tindas, Menolak Tunduk, Hantam Prasangka Buruk…
Today – I am able to do my small tiny part to help continue to establish their status as a major icon of not just Indonesian, but Asian hardcore with this interview and the worldwide premiere of their bandcamp page (Why am I the one launching their bandcamp you ask? Good question! According to themselves, they are the “Flinstones” of hardcore because they’re SO un-tech savvy hahahaha…).
Check out the interview, get on their bandcamp page and download their latest record Make It Happen for FREE!
Interview was conducted with their vocalist and only remaining original member Aca via whatsapp:
I can’t imagine starting a hardcore band in indonesia in 1996 bro – please tell us what hardcore and indonesia was like when you first started this band.
I started with no intentions. I just wanted to play in a band and never once imagined that the band would still be active today. Hardcore was kinda new to me at the time even though I had been watching older hardcore bands in Jakarta since 1990 like the band Antiseptic. They were a band that always blew me away. But it still took me 6 years to finally start my own band with my friends.
Straight Answer actually started as a cover band. We covered Bold and The Misfits and we had one original song. Hardcore was still fairly new in Indonesia at the time. We had punks and skins which was established before hardcore and of course metal was huge. Most of us back then really had a background in punk and oi because that’s what we listened to before we got into hardcore. I remember we used to write letters to bands everywhere even in the US hoping to get a reply from the bands we loved. Dubbing tapes from friends and finding CD’s was very hard back then so we really struggled to listen to the music we loved…but I think that is what made our passion and commitment to this much stronger because we tried so hard for something that we loved. It was not just a click away. We had to bust our ass for everything we had.
So you guys started as a cover band – when you first started playing original music what was the reaction? You say that hardcore was kinda re-emerging in 1996 – so were kids interested in hearing hardcore again when you guys started? I’m just trying to imagine what hardcore was like in Indonesia in 1996 – because right now, hardcore is HUGE in Indonesia.
We had 1 original song 1996 which was called Made to Resist but we didn’t start playing it out until 1998. Like I said above, in 1996 hardcore was pretty new to us because for me personally I didn’t know what hardcore was in 1990..I thought it was thrash metal haha!!! The first time I heard the term “hardcore” was in 1995. I remember that back then the only way I could find out about hardcore bands was to read the thanks list on the back of tapes and CD’s or the shirts the bands would wear on their covers. Everything for me started from there.
Why did you want to start a hardcore band?
The first hardcore bands I listened to were Insted, Bold and Youth of Today and it was really because I was moved by the lyrics. The reason I wanted to start a hardcore band was because of the lyrics I was reading.
So is that also why Straight Answer has that more youth crew vibe in the music?
You can say that…most people say that we sound like Warzone. It could just be because we love old school hardcore bands.
Definitely…I’ve noticed that you guys sing a lot in Bahasa – that’s super rad! Why do you guys sing in Bahasa and where did you guys get the idea to do that?
One of the reasons I started a band was because I wanted to have an outlet to say something besides just playing music. Since I really wanted to share ideas and be able to stay within reach/contact to be able to communicate with our listeners I knew we had to use our own language. By using our own language it was easier to feel more connected to each other, to be able to feel the same feeling. The message is the most important thing in this type of music and we want people to know how we feel and we want to know if they feel the same thing..If they do, that’s awesome. There was no real plan to sing in Bahasa, it just came up. When we started singing in Bahasa the feedback was so positive and that felt great. We were one of the first to combine Bahasa and English into songs and we noticed after that other people started doing it even some pop-stars.
How many records have you guys put out in this time and what’s coming next?
We have 7 albums so far, 1 demo, 1 split and we’ve been on a bunch of compilations. We are going to have a 20th anniversary record out next year on both CD and vinyl. After that we hope to play places that we’ve never been to and make some new friends along the way.
I know that you guys also actively promote something called Here to Stay. Can you tell us what that is?
Here to Stay is actually a Straight Answer song which I then used to name my small shop. HTS is a small distro and we sell local merch, CD’s/tapes and we’re also a record label. We have released Straight Answer’s releases (of course), xVeinsx (modern hardcore), No Compromise (old school hardcore) and we’ve also done numerous co-releases (around 15). Most of the bands that we co-release are from bands outside of Jakarta because hardcore is not always just found in major cities around the world.
That’s a great way to support hardcore in smaller cities around Indonesia. Actually, do you have any idea why hardcore is SO big in Indonesia We’ve played in a lot of places around Asia – but Indonesia definitely has the biggest hardcore scene. What is it about hardcore that it clicked so well with Indonesian kids?
I think everything is big here not just hardcore…punk, oi, metal and even pop are all huge here. We have a huge population, which of course also means a lot more problems but I agree that from what I’ve seen as well, hardcore is big in Indonesia because actually hardcore is huge everywhere now. Thanks in part to the internet where people can access everything and anything within seconds. A lot of hardcore bands from around the world also play here and there are a LOT of great local Indonesian hardcore bands. I myself can’t believe how hardcore is literally everywhere here. I do have a hope that people will stick to this and understand that hardcore is more than just music. I hope we can continue to communicate and talk more about things and let everyone know that we’re here for a reason and just only for the music.
How crazy is it that people have Straight Answer tattoos and that bands in Malaysia cover and release Straight Answer cover songs?
That’s the thing that we can’t believe ourselves! Knowing people tattooed Straight Answer on their bodies makes us feel that we are part of them. And to know that our songs means a lot to them, because of that relationship and similar experiences. We live in the same world and we try to reach people by all means. So, thank you very much for believing in us and let’s keep fighting the good fight!
Awesome – any last words?
Thank you very much. Hope we have enough money one day to go out and play everywhere! Until then…take care and keep the faith!
Blast Straight Answer’s most recent album Make it Happen below and download it for FREE from their bandcamp: https://straightanswer.bandcamp.com
This is their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/sahc96jkt?fref=ts
ALBUM: Until We Win
ALBUM: Passion is the Reason