JRX interviewed by Rudolf Dethu for Jakarta Expat Magazine
JRX: Hopes in music industry shouldn't rely on the labels, but on the fan base. As long as we have a solid fan base, we'll survive. Our merchandise sells like rocket, thanx Bobby Kool for being a great SID graphic designer. And of course, our main income coming from live gigs, adverts and stuff like that. With Sony we've been develop such a good relationship, for some reasons we don't work for them, but we work together. And that's the most important thing, in terms of being in the 'industry'.
So, keep sticking with major label or go Do-It-Yourself?
JRX: We've always been a DIY band since day one (1995). Everything that came out from SID were/are 100% based on our own work/ideas (videos, lyrics, art work, album covers etc) The only obstacle we had was in distribution, and that's why we decided to work with Sony in 2003. But these days where everything went digital, something might have to change, we'll see, perhaps not so long from now. And whatever that decision will be, that ain't gonna change - not even one inch - that SID will always be a DIY band.
Other than being a drummer and songwriter in Superman Is Dead, you're also masterminding Devildice. No conflict of interest? No protest from your bandmates and/or the label? How you manage all these?
JRX: Key is to know what's your priority and what you're looking for in each band. With Devildice I know exactly how this band going to be in 5 years from now: Playing selected gigs, staying 'cult' with not so much ambition. We're chill, but whatever we do there's always a loyal market for us. It's like a small band that people keep hearing about but never really got to see them. A myth, perhaps. And we (DD) are comfortable being in that zone. With SID, man, it's like my home. My comfort zone. My pride and joy. Whatever I do, I'll always come home and try to make it a better place to live. Making sure that we'll have enough food on the table. And yes, I still have so many dreams I'd love to accomplish with SID and will always put SID on top of my list. Nothing in this world can change that. So far, there's no personal conflicts regarding to this two bands. Both are under one management (Outsider Inc.) and under one label (Sony). Life is good :)
How, let's jump to another topic, do you see democracy implement in Indonesia, better than before or no significant progress? If it's not satisfying yet what's your suggestion?
JRX: I care about my country but I'm not into politics. It's complex. It's retarded sometimes. I believe there's a lot of good-smart people out there, doing their best to make this country a better place to live, but then again, in politics there's so many different interest. And admit it, most of our politicians are not so bright, but they're majority in quantity-wise so they'll always have the 'vote'. It's frustrating! For a long term goal, I think the best way to develop this country is to give free education/free health care for the poor. I know its sounds corny, but hey, you gotta know how to stand up before you learn how to run, right? And the poor people, they're the arms and the foot of this country. Without them, we'll have no buildings, no roads, no small businesses, no farms, no industry, NOTHING.
And religion, and law enforcement, more and more problems have shown to the public lately. Is this because of information-super-highway phenomenon, these days it's been easier for us to access information, or simply ineffective government, they don't really do their job?
JRX: I think it's been all the same since ages ago, it's just been more televised these days. And more open. And with this situation, it's (supposed to be) easier for us, the people, to know who to believe. But then again, in politics, even the truth is sometime not completely true.
You are also a vintage car and big bike enthusiast. Don't you think this is against your move as an enviromentalist due to those vehicles, they use so much gasoline a.k.a. not environmentally friendly?
JRX: Yes, I've been thinking about this too. And I will sound like a hypocritical bastard here. This is one of the reason I sold my vintage cars two years ago. But I can't just remove my passion for old cars/bikes, it's in my blood. I still kept one of my vintage bike. And the wisest thing I can do is not to abuse the machine. Please note that I don't drive cars in Bali. For daily use, I'm riding my bicycle or my small Japanese moped. I only ride my big bike when there's a special event, and that's very rare. I don't join motor club, I don't do touring. I only ride it maybe, twice a month. With guilt. I guess I'm just a walking contradiction. Just like everybody else. Ha!