Jajan Rock with Harlan

After we heard that Bin Harlan / Harlan Boer has just released his second mini album last February, we made an appointment to interview him on Friday, March 1st 2013. The guy with black-framed glasses in yellow Majalah Cobra shirt came down from his office with a stack of CDs in his hand. “I want to sell this for a vinyl  he explained. We couldn’t help not to grin: it really is Jajan Rock time! Read our evening chitchat (which happened at Taman Ayodya at the exact same spot of where Yang Bersangkutan song was made (just so you know) about jajan rock and his fiery belief in something physical. Physical what? Read on!

JajanRock - Harlan

Hi, Harlan. How are you doing?

I am doing a role as a father who drives my kid to school in the morning, then goes to a 9-to-5 work in the office. I work in a digital advertising agency as a content editor. Sometimes I still write for Majalah Cobra. No longer a manager of any band nor part of a band. Now it’s just me and this, my mini album project.

So, Jajan Rock is your second mini album, right? Why make mini album?

Yes. I like many forms of recorded music: single, extended play (EP), album, double album, box set, etc. I make mini albums because it’s relatively feasible, with around 4 tracks and the envelope kind of cover. It’s a strategic option for me right now, between singles and albums, because I want to produce it regularly like magazines, probably every 3 months. Moreover, I am basically a fan of artwork and this will give me chances to create more artworks. I can also put more absurd idea or theme in each album (laughs)

What does the term Jajan Rock mean? If we buy a pop music vinyl, can we still call it jajan rock?

Haha, it is actually not a fixated term or something. In the song, it was about purchasing vynils, but long before I started collecting vinyls  I have used that term in many ways, like “sakit rock”, “jajan rock”. Whenever I buy cassettes  CDs, or band merchs it can be jajan rock. I can buy a vinyl of, let’s say, soul music or whatever and yes I can call it jajan rock.

How important is jajan rock for you?

Well, it depends on how much money I have (laughs). In my opinion, buying physical audio formats is important for my life, because that what builds an affectionate bond between me and music, like, I can immerse myself in it. My asumption is, people who buy physical audio formats will produce creative output more than those who don’t. It’s hard to explain but I can feel it, at least to myself.

Where do you usually go jajan rock-ing?

Blok M Square, Taman Puring, Jalan Surabaya, Monka Magic, High Fidelity Kemang, Brief Record Fatmawati. Sometimes I buy, sometimes I sell, sometimes I exchange with friends. That’s the game,that’s where the fun is.

JajanRock - Harlan

Buying physical formats or going to concerts, which one is your priority?

It depends, but I think lately there isn’t many magical concerts rather than magical albums. One of the most impressive concerts I have ever been to was the Flaming Lips concert in Singapore. Every thing was there: the technology, the expression, everything. The kind of concert that I will consider as high priority in my expense. Other than that I would go to concert which band has personal value for me like Stone Roses, Blur. So I personally find albums are more fascinating than concerts.

What do you think about digital music sales?

I think it doesn’t make sense. What do you get for buying digital audio format? I have a friend who bought digital album for IDR 100,000, and I bought the CD for IDR 110,000. But I can re-sell it, even maybe only for IDR 40,000, or maybe I can exchange it. Can you sell the digital format? The good thing about digital audio sales are only the pricing and the shipping, but what do consumers get, really? If they ask who wants to buy physical formats nowadays, well they should’ve asked who wants to buy the digital formats either?!

I think digital is still too puny to eradicate physical formats. Look at the development of photographs. Until today there are still people printing photos. Why are there printed photos of your family in your living room, your wedding photos, or your graduation photos? It’s a digital era, the digital frame has already invented. Now you already have the digital format, why do you still need to print it? That answer the need of buying physical audio formats, too. Well yes, the quantities are dropping. If before you have a roll of 36 and you print them all, now you have 100 digital photos and you only print two of them, but still.

Which one do you like better: getting an e-card or a real card? Handwritten letter or email? There’s so much more in physical formats than the digital, it is the emotional superiority that is kinda difficult to explain. It’s like the beliefs in God, something that is unseen. It’s not only about filling the hungry tummy. Do you get what I mean? People who intensely listen to music are basically melancholic. While digital benefits the mediocre listener with its practicality, it also makes us numb. Flat, no feelings attached, losing human sensibility. Digital membuat manusia makin datar, gue yakin tuh.

This is the last question, which one do you prefer: a full house gig of yours or your CDs sold out? 

How about both? Hahaha well I am actually a very shy person, that’s why I don’t do expressive, spectacular stage act or something. I don’t feel comfortable performing in front of a strange crowd. What I mean by strange is a crowd who actually doesn’t listen to my kind of music, like maybe for example the audience of ‘that’ morning music shows. So between those two, I’d pick the sold out CDs.