Jakarta. March has been a busy month for Tashoora, the alterna-pop band from Yogyakarta, with most of its time taken up to prepare for the hotly anticipated 2018 Java Jazz Festival this weekend, March 2-4, at the Jakarta International Expo convention center.
Formed in Yogyakarta in 2016, Tashoora is a fresh new voice in the Indonesian music scene, quickly attracting rave reviews for their unique take on alternative pop.
The band's current line-up is Danang Joedodarmo (acoustic guitar/vocal), Dita Permatas (accordion/keyboards/vocal), Gusti Arirang (bass/vocal), Danu Wardhana (violin), Sasi Kirono (electric guitar) and Mahesa Santoso (drums).
Tashoora started as an instrumental project for Dita and Danu before Danang and Sasi said they wanted to work together with them.
The band's cover of "Desember," a hit ballad by Indonesia's melancholia-meisters Efek Rumah Kaca, was included in the "Tribute to ERK" album released in 2016, after which Gusti and Mahesa joined the band.
Gusti said playing the Java Jazz Festival is quite an achievement for the newcomers.
"The festival's organizer called us after seeing us play at Ngayogjazz [festival]. This is very exciting for us," he said.
Mahesa said the band's slightly unusual name is a modification of the name of the street where their studio is located, Tasura, in Yogyakarta.
"It's a simple name. We like things simple, including our music," Mahesa said.
Though the band's music is often described as alternative pop, Sasi said they never aim to create songs of a specific genre.
"We listen to all sorts of music and explore every genre. But when we make our own music, we go with the flow. The important thing is that we enjoy what we make," Sasi said.
Gusti said the band members' various musical backgrounds also help them grow as artists.
"We explore each other’s [musical] taste. I still get surprised by what my bandmates listen to sometimes, it challenges your opinion about music and helps you create," Gusti said.
Danang said the band also pays close attention to their lyrics, which speak at great length about current political issues, including gender inequality, intolerance and human rights violations.
"Most of our songs are inspired by current affairs – [Ahok's] blasphemy scandal, LGBT issues, religious intolerance. Some people might consider these topics taboo, but in Tashoora we are allowed to talk about everything," Danang said.
The band so far has released four singles and is in the studio recording songs for their first album.
"We've been workshopping the album for ages, we want to get it right first time around," Danang said.
Tashoora will play at 2018 Java Jazz Festival’s Garuda Indonesia Stage on Saturday, March 3, at 4:45 p.m.