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Peterpan’s last flight

February 25, 2009

Prodita Sabarini, ,  The Jakarta Post, ,  Jakarta   |  Sun, 12/14/2008

When it comes to the name of their band, members of Indonesia’s pop-rock sensation Peterpan seem to share the same philosophy as 16th century English play-write William Shakespeare, what does it matter?

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet”. (William Shakespeare)

Having shot to stardom with their hit debut single Mimpi yang Sempurna (A perfect dream) in 2002, Bandung locals Peterpan have since stayed in the limelight, selling millions of copies of their six albums. Their songs dominate radio airwaves, their gigs are played on various TV stations, and their songs have become anthems for thousands of Jakarta’s street singers.

They have, in a way, become a brand of their own. To Indonesian music fans, the word Peterpan instantly induces thoughts of catchy easy listening rock and the guttural grunts of vocalist Nazril Irham, popularly known as Aril.

But an internal conflict that caused the 6-member-band to split in half two years ago has resulted in a resolution to make the name history as of next year.

Founder of the band, keyboardist Andika Naliputra Wiraharja, who coined the name Peterpan, and guitarist Indra, were forced to leave the band by other members and the management due to divergent musical visions. The two then founded another band, “The Titans”, and signed with an international label.

According to a contract with Andika and Indra, the other band members can use the name Peterpan until the end of 2008. In August the band released the cheekily titled Sebuah Nama Sebuah Cerita (Every Name Has a Story), their last album as Peterpan.

Sitting lazily in Musica Studio, the office of their label, guitarists Muhammad Kautsar Hikmat and Loekman Hakim, along with drummer Ilsyah Ryan Reza, talked to The Jakarta Post on Thursday. They spoke about the band broadly, from their looming name change and their split with Andika and Indra to their music and their life under the spotlight.

The three finished eating lunch and waited for Aril, who was nowhere to be seen. “He hasn’t arrived yet. That one sometimes comes a bit late,” a Musica studio official said.

The last, hefty, 24 track album, is comprised mostly of previous hits; among three new songs, there is one single titled Tak Ada Yang Abadi (Nothing is forever).

Tak Ada Yang Abadi represents us in a way. Nothing is forever, including Peterpan,” Loekman said.

The upcoming change of name is a challenge that has to be faced, he added. “There’s apprehension but we try to not think about it.”

Talking on the phone, Aril said that it was no use thinking about it too much. “If we think about it we won’t move forward. We should just leave sadness behind,” he said.

The band members explained that the split was inevitable as the difference in the way Indra and Andika made music was too far removed from the rest.

“It always took a very long time to finish even one song arrangement because Andika would not approve and so it would drag on and on,” Loekman said. After the split, arranging music has been a lot faster, they said.

Andika named the band after the Disney character Peter Pan, a dreamer who wanted to fly, which suited the fledgling band.

As news about the band’s looming name change circulates, the joke has been that they will now be called Tinkerbell, after the petit fairy in Peter Pan.

Band members smile at the notion. “We don’t take jokes like that seriously,” Reza said. “There has been a lot of name suggestions coming in, but we haven’t had time to think about it,” he added.

Despite having a don’t-sweat-it attitude, the last album was designed to celebrate the name and was pretty nostalgic. The three new songs, with good-bye related lyrics, was an intentional concept for the album, the band members said.

The album cover, which depicts wax models of the band members in a glass frame with a sign reading “Peter Pan 2000-2008” was a farewell album to the name Peterpan. In the acknowledgments the band members gave a special thanks to Indra and Andika.

Their latest concert in Ancol, North Jakarta in October had emotional fans swelling with tears as Aril sang “Tak Ada Yang Abadi” — nothing lasts forever.

Aril said the change of name was just that, a change in name only. “Some people think that the change of name would be a good opportunity to change image, start fresh, but we won’t change. We’ll just be the same us, trying to explore our music more.”

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