‘Voice of Baceprot’ breaking stereotypes in the Rock Music industry

By Fadhil Ahmad Fauzan

As we have known, a metal band typically would have its members wearing attires which are gothic and sometimes shabby. But one band from Indonesia has broken the boundaries of that notion of a typical rock band clothing – Voice of Baceprot (VoB).

The VoB metal band was formed in 2014 in Indonesia, specifically in Garut, West Java. One significant uniqueness of this band is its members. It consists of three hijabi women, they are Euis Siti Aisyah (the drummer), Widi Rahmawati (the bassist), and Firdda Marsya Kurnia (vocalist and guitarist).

According to their official website, the word ‘Baceprot’ comes from the Sundanese language which means “noisy” or “talkative”. The term represents the type of music that was carried in the band.

The VoB started to emerge in limelight after they posted a cover song of a band “Rage Against The Machine” on YouTube in 2015. It went viral afterwards.

The trio then continued to cover songs of other famous bands such as Red Hot Chili Papers, Metallica, and Slipknot, which received another huge attention in the media worldwide. Eventually, they came to a point where they can release their own original songs or albums.

VoB stated that when it comes to their genre of music, what matters is the taste, and with songs that they have covered from other bands, it completely matches with the theme of the band. Plus, the hijab is adding up the embellishment of the band.

In an interview conducted by Kompas on 18 August recently, Marsya, the vocalist of the band, spoke about the hijab being the attire of VoB. She admits the scarf they are wearing is nothing of an obstacle in pursuing their dreams of being an artist.

Marsya added that rock is a genre of music they can freely express themselves, at the same time, they are able to fulfil their responsibilities as Muslims. Because of this trait, the VoB would not be in the position they are now.

At the time when Guns N’ Roses held a concert in Jakarta in 2018, the VoB was admired by the Guns N’ Roses’ guitarist Slash, and the band group was personally invited to meet on backstage.

Before the three became VoB, they first met each other through a theatre club back when they sat on school of Madrasah Tsanawiyah in Singajaya. Singajaya is a small village located outside of Garut city, West Java; two hours to reach the village.

Siti recalls the memory of that time with her best friend since elementary school, Marsya, and claims they were rebellious students and often called to the principal’s office to get scolded or punished by their teachers. She also said being in the theatre club was to channel their energy and talent.

Erza Satia, also known as Abah, then their counseling teacher, and now their VoB coach, provided songs from his laptop as their reference. Moreover, Abah also teaches the basics of playing musical instruments available in the theatre.

As the group reached their confidence, Abah registered them to perform in one of Garut’s band competitions and some other places.

Currently, Abah feels fortunate to be the manager as well as a band lyricist for the band group. VoB later in 2018 made a deal with an agency centred in Jakarta, Amity Asia. Not long after, they released their single debut titled “School Revolution”.

This first single, produced by Stephan Santoso, brings VoB more widely known. VoB became a point of discussion for global media such as The New York Times, BBC, The Guardian, and others. As a result, the group received offers to appear at well-known festivals around the world.

Shortly after graduating from high school in 2020, the three moved to Jakarta. VoB has also built a career in the music industry, apart from developing their music skill from various musicians like Andyan Gorust, Alan Musyfia, Andra & The Backbone, and Stevi Item.

The group returned to the studio this year to work on “God, Allow Me (Please) To Play Music”, their first original single. Stephan Santoso has been involved in this production as well. The single was released on 17 August this year.

Prior to their original single, VoB released an EP (Extended Play) titled “The Other Side Of Metalism” where it covers their teenage years. The EP consists of live cover of songs that inspired them of becoming the band they are now, along with the live version of the single “School Revolution”.

In between studio recordings, VoB was invited to perform at several local and international virtual music festivals. One of them is the Women of the World (WOW) Festival UK 2021.

The Duchess of Cornwall, HRH Camila Parker-Bowles, was even introduced to the group during the celebration of International Women’s Day. The festival brought VoB to greater prominence and came under the spotlight of Metal Hammer, a British heavy metal and rock magazine. In the magazine, the group is respectfully mentioned as “The Metal Band The World Needs Right Now”.

Dika is a fan of heavy metal and rock genre, and he was asked of his opinion about this new phenomena in the rock/metal music Industry. Upon this group’s emergence in the limelight, he said, he was impressed how unique this group is.

“I’m amazed how VoB got into the metal industry, consists of three women who strongly uphold their belief, their responsibilities as Muslims, combined with their love and passion to metal,” Dika noted.

Albert Einstein once said, “When I examine myself and my methods of thought, I come to the conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to me than any talent for abstract, positive thinking.”

It means every person can determine what their talent is, one point that is worth to note is how to tame, practice it to perfection.

The VoB has achieved the unimaginable of being the first well known hijabi rock band. Their accomplishment will inspire many others.***

(This article is written as part of individual assignment series for Feature Writing class)

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