French Fanatic and Sound Craftsman

Versi Bahasa Indonesia silakan klik di siniA failed French teacher goes on to become the sound architect behind Bali's best recording and production studio---and consequently boasts the best live sound open-air art space.

Versi Bahasa Indonesia ada di bagian bawah

By Rebekah Moore

A failed French teacher goes on to become the sound architect behind Bali’s best recording studio.

In one short year, Serambi Arts Antida has become the choice haunt for the young novice and seasoned doyen to socialize, theorize, and cultivate an already burgeoning Denpasar arts scene.

On Saturday (29/10) Serambi Arts Antida celebrates its one-year anniversary with a lineup of performing artists that suitably reflect Anom’s vision for an artistic mélange on the Serambi stage: Performers include dramatist and writer Cok Sawitri, two outstanding folk trios Nosstress and Dialog Dini Hari, 15-years-strong rockers Navicula, and several international guests, including tenacious hip hop emcee and long-term Bali resident Kamau and visiting American blues and soul guru Jim Larkin. One year ago Serambi opened its doors to local, national, and international performing and visual artists and their enthusiasts. In the last year, Serambi Arts Antida hosted some of the most talented and creative provocateurs through photograph and painting exhibitions, music album launches, education workshops, jam sessions, and poetry slams.

The cozy, open-air venue, partitioned into a warm bar and stage area and an inviting, spacious garden, is attached to the island’s best recording and production studio—and consequently boasts the best live sound mixing, a reputation which is attached to the name of the architect behind it all: Gung Anom.

Antida’s roots lie in a country thousands of miles away from Bali: Switzerland. Anom moved to Switzerland where his father was employed in order to study French, with the goal of becoming a French teacher in Bali upon his return.

But with only three months of French lessons at Alliance Francaise under his belt before settling in Europe, Anom faced an uphill battle gaining entry into Switzerland’s competitive school system. Eventually, after several months of intensive language studies, Anom managed to secure a spot at a college in Geneva, studying French and linguistics. During his studies he pursued his love of French—and met his true love and future wife.

Toward the end of his studies, Anom realized he had little interest in returning to Bali. He enjoyed his lifestyle in Switzerland, and particularly the creative community to which he had access in Geneva. He couldn’t imagine returning to Bali: a place that, to him, was still devoid of a thriving music and arts scene.

But newly married and with work and residency permits in hand, Anom now faced the hard truth that there was little he could do with a certificate to teach French as a non-native speaker living in Switzerland. “I still wanted to live in Switzerland, but I couldn’t work as a language teacher,” he explains. “My first experience in the recording studio was making coffee for the engineers and cleaning the studios,” Anom laughs. “Eventually, the engineers gave me a few lessons.”

So with no job prospects in the field of language teaching, Anom turned his attention to another: He enrolled in a state-run audio technician school and began freelancing as a sound engineer for television broadcasting, live outdoor productions, and theater. He worked everyday and attended audio theory classes once a week for two years before receiving his certificate and beginning work fulltime in sound reinforcement.

Anom opened a small, underground studio in Geneva, christened with the same name that signifies the high-end and expansive production studio now located on Jalan Waribang. He also explored other musical terrains: together with his friend, Pouney, he founded a French hip-hop duo called “Tout un Monde,” All The World
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After thirteen years in Europe, Anom’s romanticism of life there began to wear thin, and he longed to return to the serenity he remembered in Bali. “It turns out that life in a foreign country isn’t as easy as we imagine,” Anom recalls. “Don’t think that everything there will be great. It’s actually really difficult, and I had to work so hard.” Anom and his wife left Switzerland behind and settled into Balinese life and Denpasar. “These days,” he says, “I’m much happier in Bali, much more comfortable.”

In 2004, Anom opened a tiny studio in a storefront space—the second location of Antida Studio—in front of Taman 65 on Jalan W.R. Supratman, which he subsequently filled to capacity with the audio equipment he purchased and brought back from Switzerland. He continued to freelance, mixing for live events, and he rented his studio for recording and production.

Finally, in 2007, with the help of a few wise investors, the third edition of Antida Studio opened its doors on Jalan Waribang. Antida Studio quickly gained a reputation for its international-standard recording equipment and expert recording, mixing, and mastering engineers. “The thing about sound reinforcement is that you really can’t study it in theory,” says Anom.

Today, as he nears fifteen years of experience, Anom’s services as a freelance engineer, as well as his studio, are in high demand. Balinese, national, and international recording artists ranging stylistically from hard rock and grunge to jazz, pop, world music, and gamelan have all recorded and produced albums at Antida. “Dangdut’s the only thing we haven’t recorded,” Anom says, chuckling. Anom has also sponsored and produced several artists, including Dialog Dini Hari and Nosstress. Anom says, “My dream is to start a record label under Serambi. I enjoy supporting bands who have great potential”

Anom hasn’t completely left Switzerland behind: he returns once a year to spend several days handling sound for large conferences and festivals. The time spent there—and the extra cash flow it provides—allows Anom to maintain his internationally competitive studio.

Anom has long contemplated making a more direct impact on Bali’s creative community. This desire became the impetus for breaking ground on Serambi Arts Antida. “Serambi Arts Antida is dedicated to developing and promoting contemporary art and culture of the local communities in Bali.”

He also hopes these local communities feel a sense of ownership over the space, and he is proud it has become a popular hangout, particularly for local musicians and their friends and fans. But he also wants to facilitate an experience of a wider diversity of art: “Bali has such a strong rock music scene, and that’s great,” he explains. “But I also hope young people can hear something new as well.” One of Serambi’s most popular music series has been their world music concerts. “I’m hoping that this kind of music can have a place in Denpasar, just like rock music. I want to encourage young people to hear and appreciate all kinds of music in an open, creative forum.”

With Serambi’s continued success, it seems that the creative community Anom appreciated so much in Geneva can now be found in his own backyard.


*All photos in the English section by Rudi Waisnawa
*The article was firstly published on AKARUMPUT on October 31, 2011, and republished under permission of Rebekah E. Moore

Versi Bahasa Indonesia

Oleh Rebekah Moore

Guru bahasa Prancis gagal yang menjadi arsitek suara untuk studio rekaman terbaik di Bali.

Bila diibaratkan seorang bayi, Serambi Arts Antida seharusnya baru belajar berjalan. Atau mungkin masih merangkak. Tapi bayi yang satu ini meski baru berusia setahun, sudah melesat lari.

Sabtu (29/10), Serambi merayakan ulang tahun yang pertama dengan pertunjukan yang mencerminkan visinya. Pementasan diisi oleh penyair Cok Sawitri, grup folk Nosstress dan Dialog Dini Hari, Geekssmile, band grunge rock Navicula. Kamau, penyanyi hip-hop yang sudah lama tinggal di Bali serta kakek blues dan soul Jim Larkin yang sedang berkunjung dari Amerika Serikat, ikut meramaikan Serambi.

Setahun yang lalu Serambi membuka pintunya bagi seniman pentas dan visual lokal, nasional, juga internasional. Dalam tahun pertama, Serambi menjadi wadah bagi para insan kreatif melalui pameran fotografi dan lukisan, peluncuran album, lokakarya pendidikan, jam session, dan poetry slam.

Venue yang semi-terbuka ini terbagi dua bagian. Ada bar dengan panggung dan kebun yang terletak di belakang studio rekaman dan produksi yang saat ini dianggap terbaik di Pulau Dewata. Dan nama harum Antida dengan kualitas suara pertunjukan live dan mixing rekamannya tidak bisa dilepaskan dari peran arsitek di belakangnya: Gung Anom.

Kelahiran Antida punya jejak di sebuah negara yang ratusan ribu kilometer jauhnya dari Bali: Swiss. Anom pindah ke Swiss mengikuti ayahnya yang pindah tugas kerja. Di Jenewa dia belajar bahasa Prancis karena berencana menjadi guru bahasa Prancis saat pulang ke Bali.

Namun, sebelum pindah ke Eropa, Anom hanya kursus bahasa Prancis di Alliance Francaise sebelum selama tiga bulan. Akibatnya dia mengalami kesulitan diterima di sistem sekolah Swiss yang sangat kompetitif. Setelah berbulan-bulan mendalami bahasa Prancis, Anom diterima di suatu sekolah di Jenewa. Selama sekolah, ia mendalami kecintaannya terhadap bahasa Prancis dan bertemu perempuan yang menjadi istrinya di masa depan.

Setelah tamat sekolah, Anom tidak berkeinginan pulang ke Bali. Dia merasa sangat nyaman hidup di Swiss, terutama di komunitas kreatif di Jenewa. Dia tidak bisa membayangkan kembali ke Bali yang menurutnya masih kekurangan komunitas musik dan seni.

Anom sudah menikah di Swiss dan mengantongi dokumen kerja. Tapi dia harus menghadapi kenyataan tidak banyak yang bisa ia lakukan dengan sertifikat mengajar bahasa Prancis di Swiss. Apalagi bahasa Prancis bukan bahasa ibunya. “Saya masih mau tinggal di sana, tetapi tidak bisa bekerja sebagai guru bahasa,” kata Anom.

Ia mulai bekerja dengan gaji kecil di sebuah studio sound engineer. “Awalnya pekerjaan saya buat kopi untuk engineer dan bersih-bersih studio. Dan mulai belajar sedikit-sedikit,” kata Anom.

Tanpa prospek bagus menjadi pengajar bahasa, Anom mengalihkan perhatiannya: ia mendaftar di sekolah sound engineering. Dia pun mulai bekerja lepas sebagai sound engineer untuk program televisi, produksi acara non siaran, dan teater. Setiap hari dia bekerja dan sekali seminggu selama dua tahun dia mengikuti kursus teori suara. Dia pun mengantongi sertifikat dan mulai bekerja penuh sebagai sound engineer.

Di Jenewa Anom sempat membuka studio underground kecil bernama Antida. Inilah cikal-bakal Antida Studio di Jl. Waribang Denpasar. Tak hanya bekerja di belakang layar, Anom juga menjalankan duo hip-hop Tout un Monde (Seluruh Dunia) bersama temannya, Pouney.
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Setelah 13 tahun di Eropa, romantismenya tentang tempat itu mulai menipis dan dia ingin kembali ke suasana damai yang diingat di Bali. “Hidup di sana tidak segampang yang kita kira. Jangan kira di luar negeri enak. Di sana susah sekali, harus sangat kerja keras,” kata Anom. Dia pun memboyong keluarganya ke Denpasar. “Saya jauh lebih senang di Bali sekarang daripada di Swiss, lebih nyaman di sini.”

Tahun 2004, Anom membuka studio kecil di depan Taman 65, Jalan WR Supratman. Studio ini dia lengkapi dengan perangkat audio yang dia bawa dari Swiss. Anom masih bekerja secara lepas sebagai sound engineer untuk acara musik dan studionya disewakan untuk rekaman.

Tahun 2007, dengan bantuan beberapa investor, Anom memindahkan Antida Studio ke Jalan Waribang. Antida cepat dikenal karena kualitas alat dan teknik rekaman berstandar internasional. Kemampuan sound engineer juga faktor penentu. “Cara mengatur suara tak bisa dipelajari secara teori saja. Dan tidak bisa dipelajari dalam satu minggu, tapi lewat pengalaman,” kata Anom.

Kini Anom sudah mengantongi 15 tahun pengalaman sebagai sound engineer untuk panggung. Untuk rekaman dia menangani musisi Bali, nasional, dan internasional beragam aliran, dari hard rock, grunge, jazz, pop, world music, hingga tradisional seperti gamelan. “Hanya dangdut yang belum pernah” kata Anom sambil ketawa.

Anom juga pernah menjadi sponsor dan produser untuk beberapa grup musik, termasuk Dialog Dini Hari dan Nosstress. “Impian saya adalah memulai label rekaman di bawah nama Serambi. Saya ingin mendukung band yang potensinya bagus,” kata Anom.

Setiap tahun Anom ke Swiss untuk menjadi sound engineer di beberapa konferensi dan festival. Penghasilan tambahan yang didapat di luar negeri memungkinkan Anom untuk terus menjalankan studionya di Bali.

Sejak lama Anom memendam keinginan untuk memberi pengaruh lebih langsung pada komunitas kreatif di Bali. Karena itu dia mendirikan venue Serambi Arts Antida. “Serambi Arts Antida berdedikasi mengembangkan dan mempromosikan seni dan budaya kontemporer dari komunitas Bali.”

Serambi bukan hanya bar lokal yang menampilkan musik. Anom berharap Serambi dapat memberi konteks bagi seni dan musik lokal agar bisa terus bekembang dan mekar. Dia juga berharap komunitas lokal punya rasa memiliki terhadap tempat itu. Anom cukup bangga, dalam setahun venue ini telah menjadi salah satu lokasi tempat yang orang suka ngumpul, terutama bagi musisi setempat dan teman dan penggemar mereka.

Anom ingin Serambi lebih bisa memfasilitasi pengalaman seni yang beragam dan lebih luas. “Bali memiliki scene rock yang kuat, dan itu bagus. Namun saya juga berharap anak muda akan mendengarkan sesuatu yang baru.”

Visi itu dijalankan Anom lewat seri pertunjukan World Music, yang merupakan salah satu event yang sangat sukses di Serambi. “Saya berharap musik seperti ini bisa memiliki tempat di Denpasar, sama seperti musik rock. Saya ingin mendorong anak muda untuk mendengar dan menghargai berbagai jenis musik dalam forum yang terbuka dan kreatif.”

Sepertinya komunitas kreatif yang Anom nikmati di Jenewa kini bisa ditemukan di rumahnya sendiri.


*Foto-foto di seksi Bahasa Indonesia serta halaman depan dipinjampakai dari Facebook
*Artikel ini pertama kali tayang di AKARUMPUT pada 31 Oktober 2011 dan telah mendapat ijin tayang ulang dari Rebekah E. Moore

Rudolf Dethu

Rudolf Dethu

Music journalist, writer, radio DJ, socio-political activist, creative industry leader, and a qualified librarian, Rudolf Dethu is heavily under the influence of the punk rock philosophy. Often tagged as this country’s version of Malcolm McLaren—or as Rolling Stone Indonesia put it ‘the grand master of music propaganda’—a name based on his successes when managing Bali’s two favourite bands, Superman Is Dead and Navicula, both who have become two of the nation’s biggest rock bands.
Rudolf Dethu

Rudolf Dethu

Music journalist, writer, radio DJ, socio-political activist, creative industry leader, and a qualified librarian, Rudolf Dethu is heavily under the influence of the punk rock philosophy. Often tagged as this country’s version of Malcolm McLaren—or as Rolling Stone Indonesia put it ‘the grand master of music propaganda’—a name based on his successes when managing Bali’s two favourite bands, Superman Is Dead and Navicula, both who have become two of the nation’s biggest rock bands.


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