Arthur posing with a couple of Scottish fans
I first heard FireyJak from a compilation tape sent to me by my good mate Mr Dolly Patchaos back in 2005 of different Jakarta Bands. The comp was ok but the real stand-out group for me was FireyJak, great sing-along melodic punk rock in the true '82 style that quickly had me, and everyone else who was forced to listen to it, singing along too. It was a dream come true when we got to play together with these guys earlier this year in Jakarta and you can see a clip of their riotous performance at the end of this post.
I mailed FireyJak's lead singer Arthur and asked him a few questions about the history of the band, their connection to their beloved football team FC Persija and the history of the punk scene in Jakarta in general, here's what he had to say.
The band started in late 97 early 98, basically we'd known each other growing up in the same neighbourhood, we'd always meet in the afternoon to play football together. We played punk rock when we 14 years old and started the band called Subculture, it was me, O'net, and Delont together with other mates covering Sham 69, Blitz, a little bit Sex Pistols. We also appeared at a local gig once, but things didn’t go quite right that day!
When Ossy the guitar player died, me O'net and Delont were still in love with the punk rock things so we decide to go on, then we met Edot, he's been my mate since kindergarten, and Edi(Pitik), he's also our mate. we took the name from the Toy Dolls song Fiery Jack, but in mid 2003 changed to FIREYJAK. so yeah that was our first line-up.
me(Arthur) on front,
Delont on melody,
O’net on guitar
Edi on bass
Hedot on drums.
In 2004/5 O'net was replaced by James, he's still our members in the Meruyaoi!punk scene/ Meruya barmy army. He's a good melody player and guitarist, he also had a band called Red Suspender but they are not active now. We also now have Peter(P-brown) on keyboards and this formation still stands right now.
Unfortunatley now we cant play with the complete line-up of the band cause Delont works in Kalimantan, a different island from us, and Edi's got stuck with a job to feed his wife and son so we use additional members.
The thing with oi! music is we don’t need to change ourselves for it, we grew up together, having football as our local culture and also punk rock music. Fighting for our existence and having a laugh, dya know what i mean? The fact is we're the first band that stand for the club itself, not much of the Persija fans knew the oi music in the early days, but now they do through the rumours and the time they have followed us because we're the original one. We just carry our attitude and now it spreads all over the scene. Some of the fans started wearing boots to follow us and now they start dressing casual too. The passion for our club is what brings us together but we don’t mind to hangout with ordinary kids, hc kids. football hooligans/ultras, in Fireyjak gigs we're one for Persija.
To be honest Jakarta was the first city where the scene started. When we started going to punk rock gigs in Jakarta, we'd love to see Hustler playing. They were a skinhead band cause the members were skins, but they played Menace, Sham 69 etc. I guess Hustler was the one group that inspired us to play like them, There was Sixtols,The End ect on the skinhead side, and there was Ina Subs,Error Crew and Out Of Control on punk side, but still a little gap for skins and punks, i mean when the band that members of skinhead play not much punk to it, it goes both ways. That was face of oi! scene before 1998. Today it's a mix of hc-punkrock-skins - everything. In 1998 there was a compilation of Jakarta punk bands that appeared with Overcast(Hustler’s break up) Error Crew and Out of Control. I think the golden era was when Hustler were playing, much into the classic sound, now there is too much of the America sound, but today is quite interesting as there's an oi! band from Jogjakarta who can rock like AC/DC. I'm sure that band was the reason we become like we are today. And then there's a wave of Boston ruck 'n' roll pioneered by the band called Tenholes(also ex-Hustler). But some of the people said that the Fireyjak era was the golden years cause it mixed alot of skins, punks, hooligans, and herberts.
To me Fireyjak is my second home, my family. It feels a lot of different right now when we play with the additional players but the fans and the city is the reason that we carry on. In the early years we're not gonna play when one of us cant join in. We've been through all the phases together, from the start smoking in the backstreet, watching the blue film together, drinking in a holy month, but now we cannot all play cause the wives don’t give us all the time. To me Firejak was the original spirit, the birth of the real oi!music. It’s a family celebration, and of course a party of Jakarta kids. From Doc Marten to trimm trab trainers, from bootboy music to top boys culture – that’s us.