Homegrown & Well Known: GUNA KUPIT

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His very existence brings with it the hope that Bali, musically speaking, still has a big, bright future. His unique approach to composing songs has awoken legions of local youth to the idea that being indie does not always mean being try-hard or, for punk’s sake, that you have to be punk. His band, Nosstress, inks Bali fair and square on Indonesia’s indie subculture map. Guna Warma, otherwise known as Kupit, is here to tell you what time it is (oh, and he can fix your computer if you need him too).

How long have you been into singing? Has getting up on stage always been your thing, since you were a kid?
When I was still in primary school, I was one of those kids who’s forever wanting to get up and sing in front of their class and for me, that’s a pretty good example of me wanting to get up on stage from the very start! It’s my nature. My family aren’t really artsy types, so there’s no artsy blood line thing. And maybe because of this, I was, musically speaking, more of a late bloomer. I grabbed hold of my first guitar when I was in senior high school and then started a band, a typical teenager kind of thing and it was really just for fun. Things got serious after I finished high school when a friend of mine asked me to establish an acoustic band with him. From this point I began to take music seriously, and set out to learn how to play guitar and sing. Then we began gigging around universities, birthdays, weddings, and even kids’ circumcision events. The more gigs I did, the better I understood about performance. It’s true what they say, that practice makes perfect.

That acoustic band, it evolved into Nosstress?
Yeah, Crocourt Acoustic was the embrio of Nosstress. Back in 2006 there were seven of us, but after a few years only three of us remained; me, Cok and Angga. By the time 2008 came along, the three of us had started playing regularly at Bali Seamens Club and a few other bars around Sanur. I think it was around this time that we’d started to use Nosstress as our name, formally. But I, we, can’t really remember the exact date Nosstress was born. The following year we began slowly introducing our own original materials. We were hanging out with this music based non-profit organisation, OneDollarForMusic, and a young socio-political think tank, Komunitas Taman 65, at the time and we were learning a lot from those guys about music and social issues. Finally, in 2011, Antida Studio produced our full-length debut album.
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Nostress are one of Bali’s few amazingly talented bands, you’ve got a solid fan-base and you seem to always be getting invited to play at big and important events. Personally, are you happy with what you’ve achieved?
Honestly speaking, no, not really, there are still too many dreams that haven’t come true. But, hey, that’s life, right? Things don’t always go as you wish. I don’t think it’s wise to complain and I don’t want to go on about it, I just want to put things in perspective. My music career hasn’t been easy, never been easy—my family hasn’t really given me the kind of support that I need. I haven’t been overly successful in convincing them with regard to choosing music as my life path. But I’ve gotten this far: the audience happily sing-a-long with us during our concerts, we’re constantly gigging here and there—not only in Bali, but Java, too, even South East Asia. I’m so proud of this, and that our tunes are frequently on radios’ heavy rotation.

Do you have other side music projects? Sing solo?
Nope, there’s no such thing as a side music project yet. I have been invited to perform as a solo artist a few times, but I still sing Nosstress songs. Outside of Nosstress, I teach guitar, occasionally give workshops at OneDollarForMusic, or fix computers (you might not know but, in between the music, I’m a graduate in computer tech). Other than that, I just play guitar and drink coffee.

What’s next? A new album? It’s been a while since you guys released Perspektif Bodoh.
We’ve planned to release our second album this year. I’ll keep you updated! Oh, also, not very long ago, we uploaded “Ini Judulnya Belakangan”, a song about the condition and expectation of Bali, the island that we live in. Before we uploaded it to YouTube, no one had seen or heard the song before.

Any last nagging words?
Kick back and relax. Do that sometimes, it’s good for self-healing. No stress.

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Homegrown & Well Known is my biweekly column in The Beat (Bali) mag. Basically it’s an interview via e-mail with Bali’s local big shots. This is the 22nd edition, was firstly published—a slightly different version—on The Beat (Bali) #339, Jun 07-21, 2013
Co-editor: Lauren Shipman
Photography: This page by Esha Satrya, front page courtesy of Guna Kupit
Check out also videos of Guna Kupit with his band, Nosstress, with their never-before-seen material, “Ini Judulnya Belakangan,” and one of their most popular tunes, “Tanam Saja”:

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