Part I: Interview with Azhar Levi Sianturi
From now until the next few months, we, as part of “the collective” will present you small interviews (but most current) with former members and musicians who have played with Kekal, to give us some information and intimate insights, but not limited to their works for Kekal alone.
This time, we will start with Levi, former Kekal bassist/vocalist/songwriter. Enjoy the reading!
Levi, we all know that you are THE Coffee enthusiast, can you tell us more about what is the best coffee for you, and how much it has helped you to perform better?
I've asked similar question quite often. For me all coffee is good as long as it's derived from good beans. What is good beans, well I have limited knowledge on that issue, but as far as I'm concerned it is physically appear perfect from its green color, round shaped, no black bean and no bore holes. But good beans is not enough, it should be followed by some other good and "correct" process: roasting, storage and brewing. I roast my own coffee to limited amount so that it'd be consumed up to 7 days only. Beyond that, I doubt its finest taste because it should loss its freshness. One said being green beans, coffee is like wine..the older the better. But being roasted, it's baked bread like, it last for days only.
It has not so much effect to my daily activity though, as I had thought it'd be. It's pretty much enjoyable substance rather than an addictive one. Well I don't smoke so I don't know how hard it is to quit smoking. But in coffee, I can stop drinking for weeks without affecting my daily activities.
Your hand-drawings on the last 3 Kekal albums are spectacular, and I think everyone should buy the CD version to see them as they add more depth as you listen the music. What does drawing means to you, and what do you wish to accomplish with these forms of art? Do you prefer drawing over playing music right now?
Thank you, I appreciate that. I do agree that people should compare the drawing and Kekal music. They complement each other, and yes you could say they add more depth to the music, and I believe people could gain something else from each by observing them separately.
When I draw it marks my mental sobriety. I don't draw to channel my anxiety nor my distress since it requires lots of thinking. When it comes to music -listening music- I can use it to ease my mind. I don't play music at all up to now. I'd really love to do it sometime, I just don't know when. So, I cannot answer your last question. I love them both, but I cannot directly pick which one to do. Listening to music is the closest thing I'd prefer at the moment.
Let’s talk about “Beyond The Glimpse of Dreams” (1998), what are your current thoughts about the album? Also tell us more about the studio experience when recording that album, as it’s in fact a debut studio album from Kekal!
I haven't listened to the album for quite some time. I remember joining the band when it comes to the album, also the demo Contra Spiritualia... I always told Jeff it's my favorite album because of it's rawness..up until 1000 thoughts and later with all non metal albums came out. Looking back to Beyond..I don't think now that I can enjoy being in a studio and recording music as much as I did back then. Why? I have no idea. For me, Beyond The Glimpse... it is now more a mark of Kekal's music journey. Emotionally I'm more related to all less metal albums. Too bad that Audible Minority has never been came out as CD.
Fast forward to the newest album "8", what are your thoughts about the album, and do you think it's still a Kekal album after all these years, even with no members listed?
Yes, 8 is Kekal album. Unless I'm not involved in it, I can toss it away and call it's Jeff's, hahaha. Well, seriously I don't expect myself to be able to involve musically to any future Kekal albums. If an album is considered as a pack of sounds only, than don't count me in. I have no problem with that, I'm content enough to contribute with my drawings. I enjoy listening to 8 as much I listen to other Kekal's less-metal albums..
Do you still listen to metal music? What’s your playlist now?
I listen to almost any kind of music, and yes I still listen to metal. Lately I listen to the Boxer Rebellion, Suffocation, Nile and to some crust-grind bands like Insect Warfare and Disgust. The list change from time to time, but this pretty much describes what I'm into at the moment.
What's your opinion about social networking? Do you think smartphones have become as important as basic needs like food or clothing?
I have no concern about those things. I use facebook a lot to get news from my less-interaction-with friends and news from coffee world. And No, I don't think smartphone has become that important to me.
Are there places in Indonesia that you would recommend for a visit?
I would recommend all parts of Indonesia, too bad I myself has no chance to visit many of them. If you like beaches, we have them. Mountains? tons of them too. Forest? Well, screw government, they destroy lots of them. Cities? we should have beautiful and unique cities if not because of corrupt government, even for Jakarta! I'm expecting to visit any coffee plantation soon, hopefully I can manage to make it come true.
Feel free to ask more questions to Levi by adding your comments to this posting, and feel free to share & re-post this to your friends on Facebook.
Next week, we will present you the interview with Leo Setiawan.