2016, The year when natural disasters wreaked havoc across Indonesia. No less than 1,985 happened, breaking a ten-year record of the most natural disasters ever occurring in a calendar year. One of the most devastating of them was the flash floods that swept the regency of Garut in West Java. They were eventually classified as a national disaster.
Although they were not affected directly, the floods emotionally impacted the members of rock trio Voice Of Baceprot (VOB). Born and raised in a small village called Singajaya, found at the foot of a mountain in one corner of Garut, the news gave them the shock of their lives.
In past interviews, vocalist/guitarist Marsya, bassist Widi, and drummer Sitti have always declared their love for and mentioned their fondest memories of the beauty and simplicity of their home village, the pristine and unworldliness of its people inseparable from the band’s upbringing.
Upon their realisation of the severity of the damage that had been left in the flood’s trail as well as the other natural disasters that had taken place, VOB began to wonder how a terrible incident could have transpired in the unlikeliest of places. Could this be the initial symptom of the effects of climate change?
It was as if Mother Nature went ballistic. Never in their lifetime has Garut been hit by a natural disaster of such magnitude. Similar crises have occurred in the past, but they were rare occurrences. This time, it was different. Everything came about consecutively, one after the other, at an unimaginable scale. Were they simply a show of might by nature’s customary dynamics? A part of the evolution process? Or are we, as human beings, to blame for our greed, ignorance, and narcissism? More questions popped up in their minds. Perhaps, they thought, it is time for us to reflect on ourselves and what we have done introspectively.
“At that moment, we came to think humans are the real Earth’s chief antagonists. We are the most foolish and gullible, spending our time synthesising and justifying all kinds of greed by destroying the world. We are the ones who have been ineptly killing ourselves!” Marsya recalls.
Encapsulating their anxiety after witnessing the extent to how catastrophic those disasters were, “The Enemy of Earth is You” is a song that expresses their broken hearts and agony.
“It is a song that summarises our loathing towards anyone who becomes an enemy of the Earth. On the flip side, the single reminds us not to turn into one of them,” Marsya explains.
With the help of producer and NTRL guitarist Coki Bollemeyer, the band set about rearranging the song’s rhythm flow, initially based on some of the most prevalent nu-metal riffs from the late nineties and early noughties, to assert their collective anxiety and fury. The result is a composition articulating a sense of sadness yet wrapped in VOB’s trademark ferocious sound.
The involvement of their recurring vocal director Irvan Natadiningrat also breathed new life into the song, with Marsya’s intense vocals personifying the pain coursing through her veins.
Coinciding with the launch of “The Enemy of Earth is You”, VOB have aligned themselves with over 6,600 musicians and music industry workers worldwide by joining Music Declares Emergency (MDE), a global movement bringing together musicians, music industry professionals, and organisations to use music as a means for raising public awareness about climate issues and the protection of life on Earth.
With their NO MUSIC ON A DEAD PLANET campaign, MDE have garnered numerous support from some of the world’s most renowned artists and bands, including Billie Eilish, Arcade Fire, The 1975, Imogen Heap, Fatboy Slim, Major Lazer, and Tom Morello.
Available on digital streaming platforms from May 18, 2023, “The Enemy of Earth is You” will also be included in their upcoming debut album Retas, which is set to drop in July 2023.
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