Rizky Sasono on Indie Music in Late New Order Indonesia

Our guest for this episode of the podcast is Rizky Sasono, a PhD student in ethnomusicology and a singer/songwriter who has performed around the world with his band Risky Summerbee and the Honeythief. He is also a member of a Teater Garasi/Garasi Performance Institute, a contemporary theater group based in Yogyakarta. 

His newest publication is a chapter in the newly released Bloomsbury book Sound Communities in the Asia-Pacific titled "Sounds of Political Reform: Indie Rock in Late New Order Indonesia." Rizky’s chapter traces the formation of the independent music scene in Indonesia (specifically in Yogyakarta) in the 1990's against the backdrop of student-led political activism. The "indie" spirit was expressed in both the DIY music making practice and a diversity of indie genres including grunge, alternative, thrash metal, prog, punk, and more. Indie music spread through campus-organized concerts, college radio, and mix tapes of popular bands. This new music expression was vibrant against the backdrop of increasing political tension in Indonesia that eventually forced President Suharto to step down. 

Prior to his studies at the University of Pittsburgh, Rizky earned his MA degree in Performing Arts and Visual Arts Studies from Universitas Gadjah Mada in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. He completed another MA degree at the University of Pittsburgh (2019). His thesis, titled Aksi – A Soundscape of Political Protest in Indonesia, 1998, examines protests in Indonesia that led to the fall of ex-president Suharto in 1998. 

Musical excerpts in this episode are by Risky Summerbee and the Honeythief. 

First excerpt: “Slap & Kiss” from The Place I Wanna Go

Second excerpt: “Scherzo”

All works copyright © M. Rizky Sasono and used by permission.