Known to be the best-kept secret in the independent music industry, REOG has just released their third album, Final Tears Falling. Straight from Los Angeles, the Indo-American band is reaching out to their fans in Indonesia, and included an Indonesian song in this album. Soon, they will tour to Jakarta, but for those who cannot wait until then can catch their rockin’ performance at the world-famous Whisky A Go Go at Sunset Boulevard or Roxy.
Tell us a bit about REOG and the kind of music you make
REOG is an Indo-American band, which started in 2006. It was all Indonesian members in the beginning, but we had lost some members here and there. Since 2009/2010 REOG has been Sammy Tampubolon on backing vocals and guitar, Duan Damais on lead guitars, Jeff Moscone on drums, Matt Pick on vocals and Hadeem Saint on bass. Jeff is one of the most sought after drummers from the Sunset/Hollywood scene. He played with Jet Boy, Stephen Pearcy of Ratt and is a well-known session player. Matt is a performer through and through, he’s an actor and has played in “Rent,” a musical in Hollywood and hosts various Japanese TV shows. We are an interesting combination of people that write and play REOG’s brand of hard rock. Originally, we played music that could be categorized as thrash metal, but then as we progressed, we incorporated more classic rock influences and pop melodic senses. We even have classical music in some of our instrumental tracks. Lately, people have compared us to Visual Kei. I would say Visual Kei is one of the influences that comes up unconsciously, since we all love X-Japan!
How is it like to finally have more than 25000 fans from all over the world?
It is kind of overwhelming to tell you the truth, but at the same time, we kind of knew that people would relate to our music. Because our music really comes from us, it is not trend driven. We genuinely make this music because we want to play it. Most of our fans are from the United States, Indonesia, the Philippines, Japan and the rest of Asia. There are a significant number of our fans that are from South America and Europe too.
Final Tears Falling has just come up – can you tell us a bit about it?
Final Tears Falling is our third album. Our first album is called From The Fire (2008), and then we made For The Flowers (2009). The songs are varied in style but yet it’s still REOG. I would think there is something for everyone. We have fast songs to funky to straight up rock to ballads. This third album consists of 9 songs. We even have a great surprise by covering a famous Indonesian song. I can’t tell you what that song is. You have to check it yourself! Ha ha..
How did you guys come up with this album and what are the songs and inspirations are?
“Final Tears” is the oldest song on the album; the idea of that song came from our drummer’s relationship story. Of course it’s a relationship story! What is interesting though is that "Final Tears" is the fastest song on the album and almost a straight up metal song. Almost! We do a remake of "Against The World”, which was originally released on For The Flowers. However, this time around we made it into an Indonesian version. Yea, Matt Pick sings in Indonesian! Our first single is called “Reflections”, we have the promo video for it on our YouTube channel.
How long did it take to come up with this album?
We have been working on Final Tears Falling for about 2-3 years. It’s definitely a labor of love. We consciously made this album to be more melodic. As I mentioned before, we used to be a full on thrash metal band, but we felt that we would not reach our full potential if we neglected other styles. It’s just a natural thing to do. We all listen and love all kinds of music anyway, it’s just letting it out in our songwriting. And I must say the result is satisfying to us. After all, we wrote what we wanted to write. We are our own toughest audience.
Do you guys, rockstars, cry? What makes you cry?
I don’t cry..haha..well, unless my wife cooks me some spicy food then I will probably cry..haha. No, in all seriousness, of course we do. We are all human after all. Matt just cries more than any of us. Haha.. I am joking!!
Do you guys have a day job?
In this era of music business, each one of us in REOG has a day job. Well, at least until we are able to support our lives with music full time. You just have to. Interestingly enough, none of members in REOG have similar jobs; we are all in different professions.
Isn’t it very competitive to do music in Hollywood? What keeps you going?
It is super tough. It is all for the love of the music really. It’s hard to have any other reason than that in Hollywood scene. Musicians from all over the world come here to try their luck. Since the music scene is so competitive here, you will be disappointed if you are not doing what you do for the love of the music itself. It will chew you up and spit you out. REOG has lost several members because of how competitive the music scene is here. But we keep on pushing through despite all of that.
What do you think about our music industry here in Indonesia?
Honestly I am not sure what to think of it. I have not been in Indonesia for so long. Haha..But I still listen to Indonesian music such as classic albums from Dewa, Netral, PAS, and Edane. I love Edane! The good ol’ Slank never disappoints. And I love listening to the band KOTAK. We opened for them about a few months ago when they played Los Angeles.
If you can work with any band in the world, who would you collaborate with and why.
Oh man, I don’t know where to start. I love Metallica, but I don’t think they collaborate with anyone…well, unless you are Lou Reed. haha.. I love Pantera, but then they are no more after Dimebag died. I would like to write songs with Doug Pinnick from King’s X, that dude could write great songs. I would love to write songs with U2; that would be a dream come true.
What do you hope to bring about in your work?
Nothing far fetched. I just want people to have an escape through our music. We write our songs from our personal experiences, from our hellos and goodbyes with people. We want people to express themselves through the emotions in our songs – the tears, heartaches, dreams and hopes. Or at least be entertained by them. That’s really the bottom line: to have people entertained by our music.
Any plan to come to Jakarta in the near future?
Oh yeah, of course! We would love to perform for our fans in Jakarta. Don’t worry we are working on it. Hopefully it is sooner than later!
What’s next for REOG?
Obviously, world domination but we will settle for Hollywood. Ha ha ha!
Final Tears Falling can be purchased at CDbaby: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/reog3
Can’t get enough of REOG? Check out REOG’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/reogmusic and their music videos on REOG’s YouTube channel, www.youtube.com/reogmusic. To follow on Twitter, visit www.twitter.com/reogmusic
By S.L.C. & Sammy T.