Indonesian grindcore band, AK//47, is touring the United States for the first time from April 20 to May 12, 2018. Founded in 1999 in Semarang, AK//47 is going to perform 22 shows across the West Coast to promote their upcoming album, Loncati Pagar Berduri (Jump the Barbed Wire). Their third album, it will be released over the summer by Lawless Jakarta Records and Disaster Records in Indonesia.
AK//47 will be share the stage with Violent Opposition, the grind/violence band from Oakland, California. Damian Talmadge (bass) and Mark Miller (drums) will also be performing as additional members with AK//47. “We are intimately aware of immigration affairs as a major obstacle for our bandmates in Indonesia to come here, plus the flights are unaffordable,” said Garna Raditya (vocals, guitar) who has been living in the US for the last two years. Band members Novelino Adam (bass) and Yogi Ario (drums) in Indonesia agree, playing with different members in the US is their strategy for AK//47 to continue performing internationally.
AK//47 has not performed since releasing their last album, “Verba Volant, Scripta Manent,” selected by Rolling Stone Magazine Indonesia as one of the best albums of 2016. Novelino (a.k.a. Inu) continues to perform in Indonesia with his bands, Octopuz and Olly Oxen, and Yogi with Sergapanmalam and Yagim Grind.
In March of this year, AK//47 held a short tour in Semarang, Solo and Yogyakarta, and spent two weeks recording their next album at Girez Studio in Semarang. Loncati Pagar Berduri will feature 13 songs addressing the dystopia and decadence of modern society. According to Garna, living as an immigrant in the US under the current administration has had a deep psychological impact. Even in Indonesia, LGBT people are arrested, places of worship are attacked, there are all kinds of hoaxes on social media, and identity politics and racism continue to dominate the political landscape. Inspired to reflect critically on these issues, they uses the chaotic din of grindcore as a outlet for releasing pent up anxiety and anger.
In facing the rising fears and intimidation of minority communities across the globe, the album addresses a range of topics as immigration, chauvinism, fascism, and homophobia. Songs like “Bebas Berkelamin” (“Free to Choose Gender”), “Menggugat Manusia” (“Suing Humans!”), “Lempar Petasan ke Podium” (“Throw Firecrackers at the Podium”), “Ayat Untuk Menyayat” (“Cutthroat Verses”), “Kepada Bunga Yang Masih Tumbuh di Beton” (“To Flowers That Still Grow in Concrete”), and “Botol, Bensin, dan Mawar Untukmu” (“Bottles, Gasoline and Roses For You”). The album pulls listeners into a political blast-beat of punk and progressive underground sounds.
AK//47 and Violent Opposition begin their Westcoast tour in late April, performing with the hardcore/punk veterans, M.D.C, fastcore trio, Hummingbird of Death and the Seattle anarcho-grindcore band, Resistance Culture. Additional East Coast tour dates will be announced soon.(*)