Indonesia’s Float Takes Its Fans Back to Nature
Indonesian band Float recently brought together music, nature and environmental awareness in Float2Nature. The event drew 200 fans from Jakarta and other cities in Java who joined the weekend getaway from June 8-10 at Dieng Plateau in Central Java. Seeing the unexpected enthusiasm, the band is keen to again offer a natural experience to go with its music.
Despite the poorly organized trip, in which the whole entourage arrived half a day late, the three-day journey has turned Float and fans into, as lead vocalist Hotma “Meng” Roni Simamora put it, one big family. It is documented on the website www.float2nature.com, where memorabilia such as blog posts, mixtapes, videos and photos are being gathered from fans.
Meng said the band did not expect to gather 200 fans. Float is, after all, an underground band with a small but loyal fan base.
The band is made up of Meng as lead vocalist and on guitar, Timur Segara on drum, Leo Christian on bass, David Lintang on guitar and Iyas Pras on keyboard.
They never really hit the mainstream despite their big debut on the original soundtrack for “Tiga Hari Untuk Selamanya” (“Three Days to Forever”), a comedy-drama from Riri Riza in 2007.
“It seems that our music and this trip have touched them personally,” 37-year-old Meng said of the group’s supporters.
Fans would be the first to agree. Willy Irawan, one of the participants in Float2Nature, said that Float offers catchy tunes and personal lyrics. A Bandung resident, he had been looking forward to seeing the band live but never had the chance. For Willy, Float2Nature blends the beauty of nature with touching music.
“I’m more of a beach person and I love diving, so I was curious to know about mountain landscapes,” he said. “Indonesians who don’t go climb mountains and go diving … it’s like having a Ferrari and Lamborghini in the garage and never driving them.”
Personal experience is the key to a band’s marketing these days, especially for aspiring artists. Indonesian band Zeke and the Popo is known to personally deliver their album in a pizza box to their fans’ homes.
Overseas, music fans may be familiar with the former drummer for Nine Inch Nails, John Freese, who provided a $75,000 package for interested fans to go on tour with him. The package also included the promise of a five-song EP about the fan’s life and other personalized activities with Freese.
Stephanie Josephine, another participant, said she didn’t think of Float2Nature as being a form of marketing.
“Despite the messed up organizing, it’s a new way to enjoy life and take a break from a big city,” Stephanie said. “As for the plateau, maybe not everyone knows about it.”
The event was keen to draw attention to things people might not be aware of, whether it’s Float itself or the Dieng Plateau. Stephanie said Float2Nature was an event that made her “breathe” again and see the hidden gems of a beautiful plateau, good music and friendship.
“Life in the city can be so pretentious and individualistic,” she said. “It’s good to feel the excitement and make new friends on the road.”
In an interview last week, Meng said he was touched by how much Float2Nature seemed to affect his fans.
It wasn’t originally the band’s idea, but a collaboration with nature-exploring communities Lembah Pelangi and PicnicHolic, who served as organizers of the event.
The band’s frontman said Float never strived for fame and stardom. As an indie band, the group doesn’t require support from a label. All tracks are self-recorded and people can listen to them for free on music sharing platforms like SoundCloud.
The band has had its up and downs. There were only three members when film producer Mira Lesmana first discovered them in 2006 at Tornado Coffee Shop in Kemang.
Joining Meng in the band was Windra “Bontel” Benyamin and Raymond “Remon” Agus Saputra. But at the time, Meng felt that Float was more like a project and less like a band, because none of the band members could commit full-time to the group.
Even now that Float is regaining strength after a hiatus, Leo and Iyas are still members of the band Ecoutez!, which is planning to release a new album soon.
Float’s new album is on the priority list, said Meng, who writes all the band’s songs. Some of the hits, such as “Pulang” (“Going Home”) and “Sementara” (“Temporary”), are more than a decade old, written by Meng during his university years in 1995.