HEALS: Bandung-based Musicians Speak of Shoegaze

HEALS: Bandung-based Musicians Speak of Shoegaze

Identifying as an alternative rock and shoegaze band, HEALS is one of the rising wave of artists in Bandung. Its members are young, straight to the point, and definitely ready to take over the world.

Upon creating much hype with the digital upload of their single Void in 2014, HEALS landed a record deal which led to the release of B-sides in cassette format. In 2017, a full album was launched — Spectrum is a capsule of ten tracks channelling the 80s energy with distorted guitar riffs and soft, melodious vocals. Sonically, it's filled with imaginative, colour-filled perspectives on the human experience. 

How does the social and creative setting in Bandung feed your music?
When we started the band, the stoner and hardcore scenes were on the rise — yet we weren’t directly influenced by these forms of music.

We released our first single Void in 2014. At that time, many other bands and musicians from Bandung started to upload their songs onto music platforms such as Soundcloud. That was when we truly gained more traction for what we do. 

We understand that your members have previously played heavier genres. Why the transition to shoegaze music, and how is it something that speaks to you?
Before this, we mostly listened to and played genres like grindcore and death metal. Lately, we've been listening to a lot of music beyond the scope of extreme music. Why shoegaze, you ask. 

At that time our members Eca, Via, and Rara were in an instrumental band while Alyuadi took on the role of vocalist in another band. When we decided to form HEALS, we were short of a drummer, so we invited Cumi. Deciding on the kind of music to play wasn't easy as we couldn't find something that uniformly replaced our individual genres prior to the band. 

We eventually chose shoegaze because it's mild and gentle nature — yet it wasn't necessary to eliminate any drive or distortion layers in the music, something which we were used to doing from previous bands.

Can you tell us about your 2017 album — Spectrum?
Our album, Spectrum is a manifestation of our personality and thought processes. It reflects our reckless tendencies sonically, aided by implicit lyrics.

Is there any pressure to make sure that listeners know what you’re singing or playing about — or do you feel that it’s more important for listeners to interpret your music in their own way?
Yes, we would prefer that listeners interpret our songs freely. So no pressure there.

What do you think of when you’re performing on stage?
We always think about the audience, whether they’re enjoying our performance or not. Although we usually leave people with their own interpretations, it feels much more rewarding when they do enjoy our performance. Other than that, we think about our gear and other technical issues, and hope nothing gets messed up.

What have you learnt in the past year about the music industry in Indonesia and elsewhere?
How to target our listeners as well as distribute our music, which is crucial in the digital era. Although we’re not completely green, as Alyuadi had also worked for several record labels back then, we see the difference in how things are managed within the music industry and the means in which we can make a living as musicians.

Lastly, what do you have to say to your audience at Laneway Singapore 2018?
We will be bringing tons of merch and CDs to the festival!


View the Laneway Singapore 2018 line-up hereGet tickets here
More about HEALS here.

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