Homegrown & Well Known: BROZIO ORAH

There’s one local music veteran who’s “been there done that” but not that many people—yes you, kids—have noticed: Brozio Orah. Better known as “Zio”, more than decade ago he made quite a buzz on a national scale with his band at that time, Hydra. One of the band’s song was included in a compilation of the most popular independent bands by Sony Music Indonesia, Indie Ten. Not long after that, he evolved from upbeat pop rock to rockabilly. His next band, The Hydrant, was signed by EMI indonesia and is considered a pioneer of the Indonesian rockabilly trend. A few years in the scene with bright lights, big city, fame and—no, not really—fortune, he decided to try his luck overseas playing in a Top 40 band. He didn’t stay there very long and finally ended up back home and back doing his low key things (probably because that’s how he is). He then created a brief-but-brilliant jazz band. Currently, he’s on his feet again. Back on the spotlight with Dialog Dini Hari.

Low profile, warm, likes to laugh a lot and not very loud, this bass virtuoso answers some questions from me and keeping it short and sweet.

Your band’s album, just judged as one of the best album of 2011 by one of the most prestigious magazines in Indonesia, Tempo. You think you deserve it? What’s so special about it?
Haha… It’s not a music magazine, it’s more like a ‘serious’ magazine. Maybe because we are getting older so the people who appreciate us are more from the older and serious crowd. No worries. We are of course very thankful.

You have very colorful CV. You caught the public’s attention by being a bassist in a rockabilly band, The Hydrant, and then founded your own jazz band, and then you were involved in a folk-oriented band. What’s really your passion? Rockabilly, jazz, folk, or what?
I guess I’m too soul for rockabilly, too rock for jazz and too alternative for folk… Can’t decide. I truly love them all!

Is Dialog Dini Hari your only band at the moment? You still have other group?
Only Dialog Dini Hari.

What’s the future plan with Dialog Dini Hari? New album soon, videoclip, tour?
We are in the process of making of our third album. It’s going to be a mini album (EP).

You and music, how did it start?
My first instrument was the drums. I started playing it when I was 11 years old. I moved to bass in my high school era.

Who are your favorite musicians?
The Porcaro—Jeff, Steve, Mike—brothers, Sting, Nathan East, The Beatles, Jaco Pastorius… the list goes on and on…

What are your best albums of all-time?
Ghost in The Machine – The Police,
Aja – Steely Dan
Breakin’ Away – Al Jarreau
My Mother’s Hymn Book – Johnny Cash
Isolation – Toto
Grease soundtrack..

How do you see the future of music of Indonesia (and Bali)? If good, what’s so good about it? If bad, what’s your suggestion?
Hmmmm…. I can’t see the future, it depends on us. Do we still believe in our music or not? No matter what you call it. And I don’t have a suggestion for anyone. Speaking for myself, it’s ‘keep on groovin’ dudes!

Last question, other than music, these last few months you’ve als been busy managing Art Cafe. How do you like this other new job? How do you manage between music and managing a cafe business?
Art Cafe has been around for almost three years now. It’s pretty amazing how I can juggle them, really. I don’t even know how I did it hahaha… Between music and managing the cafe, well, for me it is all about communication and timing. When there’s problems, discuss it with your partner, talk directly, no bull. And of course: a lot of hard work.

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*This interview was firstly published on The Beat (Bali), February 2012

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