A Breezy Sunday with Jirapah

Jirapah, is a Brooklyn-based band consists of 2 original members, Ken Jenie (Vocal, Guitar) and Mar Galo (Keyboard) with helps from Januar Kristianto (Drums), Yudhis Tira (Guitar), and Nico Gozali (Bass). They have released some free EPs on the internet and now they’re aiming for something more. During one of Bandung’s finest food festival, Keuken #4, we talked about their love of music, their unique name, and many more. Here is the interview…

Hello guys, straight to our first question. Where did the name Jirapah come from?

Ken (K) : Hello, hello hello (imitating a phone gesture), actually the name Jirapah came from our dearest friend who used to call me “Jirapah” because of my height. Well, me and Mar loves the idea of using the name, so, that’s where the name “Jirapah” came from. Pretty simple, isn’t it?

Yup, it was pretty simple. So could you tell us more about how you guys met?

K : Oh okay, so, I met Mar a long time ago, we used to date each other for a very long time during our days in New York, and uhm, I met Jan right during my first gig back in Indonesia. Jan was hitting on me (laughing) and we found out that we shared a lot of things in common, such as our love of Hardcore music, Classic hip-hop and Japanese Noise bands. I’ve met Yudhis during one of my gigs at Treehouse, Kemang. Jan and Yudhis are playing in a same band, Vague, and at that time, Jan asked Yudhis to catch my performance. And Nico, He used to work as a graphic designer at Whiteboard Journal, same place where I work. At first, he was a roadie, and then we asked him to play bass. We’ve been playing together since then.

For Ken, what is the difference between being in a one-man band and a full formation like this one?

K: Actually, I’ve never played as a one-man band. Well, maybe once or twice back in New York. But yeah you could call me a one-man band when it comes to recording. But back in my NY days, Mar and some of our colleagues used to help me play on stage. So yeah, I love playing with other people, especially my friends. I think I’d never hire someone to play with me (laughing).

What is the difference between New York’s scene and Jakarta’s? Is there anything that Jakarta’s scene doesn’t have? (Being compared to NY one)

Well, because of cultural differences, we can’t say that Jakarta’s scene is not as good as New York ones. Every scene has its own signature. But there are some pros in the New York scene such as massive amount of venues and good infrastructure. But it doesn’t mean our local scene doesn’t have an adequate number of venues. Well, we can take Keuken Bandung as an example. They have transformed an empty warehouse to become a good place to play. Well, that is why we think our local scene is not inferior to a scene in New York.


Well, could you tell us a bit about the story behind one of your song, Alexander?

Um, back in New York, there’s this French guy named Jacques who was a frequent customer at the place where Mariati used to work. He used to be a famous actor back in his homeland. But he decided to throw it all away and start a life in New York. Despite the fact that he’s not young anymore, he decided to start everything from scratch again.  Personally, I think his story is a one hell of a good story to tell. So that’s why I wrote “Alexander”.

Since you’re in Bandung, What is your favorite Bandung-based band?
M: Mocca
K: Sigmun
Y,J: Sloth
N: Pure Saturday

Okay, this is my last question. Is there any plans to release a physical album/EPs somewhere in the future?

Yeah, we have planned to release a physical album since a long time ago. But, right now all of us are in the condition where our life outside music is much important than our band. But still, there are some plans to drop a physical release of our album. If we ought to make a full-length album, It has to be a well prepared one. I’d rather have an album with a good concept from start to finish instead of a compilation of our songs that we’ve created. But yeah, there is a plan to release a 7-inch vinyl with our friend from Orange Cliff Records. So, wait for it, we hope we could drop it as soon as possible.

Okay Jirapah, thank you for coming to Bandung. I hope that you guys are enjoying Keuken Bandung as much as I do.

Yeah, we hope that we don’t have to encounter a technical difficulty tonight and we could entertain our friends in Bandung. And, our pals, Bergaz is also DJ-ing tonight. I hope you could catch him later on.