måndag 9 maj 2016

TOUR DIARY: SE Asia "Fire From the Northern Sky".

UPDATE: One sad news that was brought to us last week was that our friend Are from Svatantrata had been found dead in Vietnam. This is outmost horrible news and we wish his friends and family all well wishes. There is a fundraiser going on at the moment for his mother to get his body back to Malaysia. Any money is appreciated.

Day 1. (22nd Dec)

After a long wait, two years later and cashing out the piggy bank. It was once again time to go to South East Asia for some more craziness, punk family, noise, ciu, monkeys, chili and tofu. Sadly this time our merch guy Eddie (last tour; now our second guitarist) couldn’t tag along. But the chaos squad family were stoked to go on new adventures. We gathered at Daniel and Eddies place for departure, like we always do as it’s close to the train station. Our first flight was bound for a layover in Dubai, which offered some of the best airplane food I’ve ever had. (Here I wrote ”Food desc.” in my notes, but I can’t for the love of my life remember what it was. So it can’t have been that fantastic). After a couple of beers, very expensive ones at that, we continued our journey to Singapore.

Day 2. (23rd Dec)

Here we were greeted by our friend Hafiz telling us to fuck off through the widows to the baggage retrieval room. We felt right at home. When we had picked up our stuff and some hugs we took the train to the inner city where the venue and art space Substation is situated. We had some food Hafiz brought for us, and made ourselves comfortable on the pavement with the local punks. Always nice to meet both new and old faces. Being back here brought back memories. And for me it was so nice not to be sick as hell this time. Last time I had a high fever, diarrhea and couldn’t really enjoy Singapore as much. On top of that I remember telling Daniel that Singapore probably wasn’t as manically clean as I remembered it, who concurred.

During the night I had my first episode ever of land sickness and had to ask Daniel whether or not I was really drunk as my balance was way off, which was somewhat of a weird experience. It subsided or got mellowed out after some beers though. Then the bands started playing. The ones I found really good was a cool Indonesian one called Attack to the Front, Singapore's own Lubricant and an amazing performance by Annhilitia! It was a great kick-off of the tour. I love floor shows, being on the same level as the audience, and that it invites to some craziness and chaos. There were also some pretty intense stroboscoping going on which really messed with my brain when I looked down on the neck of the guitar.

After the show we were taken pretty far off, to the outskirts of town, to sleep in a condo/”bungalow”-complex. We had some food and an after party together with the bands and punks. But cut it pretty short as we were all damn tired after the long trip and were to get on a bus to Kuala Lumpur the day after.

Day 3. (24th Dec)

Awoke early by Oskar who couldn’t sleep and were rummaging about in the room, but managed to catch some more sleep before Hafiz told us it was time get our stuff together and go to the bus station. We tried to get us some breakfast on our own, but either since I pronounced it wrong or the guy in the food stall didn’t understand me there was no place for us to eat. So I got Hafiz to come with us and then there were loads of it. We sat down on the stairs eating until the rain forced us under the roof. The bus was massively delayed but finally arrived and we were on our way to KL. But first the border control and security check boogie. Where they didn’t seem to care and people (as always) acted as if they were the only ones in line and wanted to get on with their lives and not being herded like sheep.

We arrived a bit later than expected and sat under the towering freeways of Kuala Lumpur and waited for Ci Chaan and Borhan who picked us up in their cars. Yet another welcome meeting of our close friends. We drove to an amazing Chinese all vegan buffet restaurant and had a big meal, of all kinds of fake meats and fish, with some orange juice. We also learned the most important phrase in Malay ”Cili potong” (Chopped chili). Here I got the snus (Swedish pouch tobacco) which Borhan had bought for us. As it was expensive as hell to bring with us, due to us arriving in Singapore the previous day. Where we ran into some issue with the border security last visit. But apparently the convenience store Cold Storage in Malaysia sell Swedish Snus. A bit sweeter than the original recipe but they do like their sugar in SE Asia. It was pure bliss.

With a snus under my lip and a belly full of good food we took off for the venue in Puchong, Ci Chaans area. The venue was a studio called the M2 Sound Studio, pretty big with great equipment, sound and room. Ci Chaan took us to a small alcohol store, just a hole in the wall, where they even had a small bar. We bought some beers and whisky and returned to the studio. Puchong Wolfpack presented some really good bands and we got to play together with Borhans own band Osmantikos. As always it got hot as hell. Which was a good reminder for tomorrows upcoming show at Rumah Api (Translated House of Fire). A lot of old friends showed up, which was a really nice opportunity to be able to hang out before the chaos at Rumah Api. There's always too much happening to be able to get some time for deeper conversations. We then had some Indian food after the show and then got a ride by Mad Yus back to Borhans moms place, who'd kindly offered her upper floor for us to crash on for the days we were spending there. Took a shower and went to bed.

Day 4. (25th Dec)

Borhan woke us up early for breakfast at a local Indian restaurant. Noodles and some Malayisan raw Tofu with loads of chillies. A great start any day! We then went to a mall to try and find an exchange office to get rid of our Singaporean dollars. Oskar needed some new shoes and the price tag was really cheap so I got a pair for myself as well. I realized mine were bound to give up during the tour some way down the line. Tom bought an emergency pack of chillies for us all. Went back to Borhans moms place and took a quick nap before Mad Yus came and drove us and our stuff to Rumah Api. Man opened up for us, we talked a bit about the police raid which occurred a couple of months ago. (As they want to level the whole area and build a freeway where Rumah Api is situated. A lot of punks got arrested and got all their equipment confiscated). Since it was still early we took the chance to do some touristing and went to the Batu caves. A huge mountain formation with 273 flights of stairs to climb up to a massive cave with a just as high golden statue, stalactites, bats, a hindu temple, monkeys and yet another ”Dark cave”. Which we decided to stay as far away from as possible, after seeing all the crazy insects and spiders residing there. Had some more food by the foot of the mountain and then went back to Rumah Api where the festival was brewing.

We were greeted on the balcony by some more friends and a big bottle of whisky. Hung out and waited for people to arrive and the festival to start. Met so many old and new faces, CIRA (Chaos in Rumah Api) is an amazing punk family fest, and I was so happy we got a second chance to play there again. During our set we had our good friend Kody, from Singapore, pitch on vocals on one of our songs. It was a blast! The sweat was pouring, people were flying and chaos all around. Afterwards we all went to the restaurant area and had a big long table dinner with all the bands and local punks under the starry night sky. Food, crazy people singing, beer and a lot of chillies. Then we were to go back to Borhans moms place. I rode with Mad Yus again trying to catch up a bit more. We talked for what felt like hours and after a while we stopped the car and realized that we were actually a bit lost in the villa area. But I have a pretty good sense of location and we found our way back to the others who had started to wonder where we ended up as we drove off some time before them.

Day 5. (26th Dec)

Today we were leaving for Sungai Petani, so Borhan woke us up early again. We first sent off Daniel with all the equipment to the train station. Then the rest of us got a ride with Borhans father who kindly enough offered to drive us. Tom wasn’t feeling alright and had an intermission with the local fauna and then we took the train to the bus station together with a lot of newly awakened people going on holiday. It was a long wait for the bus to arrive, due to the holiday causing some delays, so we got some breakfast at an Indian place. Soggy pancakes with curry and masala served with warm water, which was the only vegan food they offered in the morning. We all passed on the water. Felt a bit weird after the pancakes and ran to the bathroom where I found a guy panic smoking in the sink. But the old clunker was fine. Finally the bus arrived and we had six hours of sleep on the way.

Arrived in Sungai Petani, and got thrown off the bus in the middle of the street. Met some friends of Borhans who owned a shoe store on the other side of the street where we stored all of our bags and equipment for the time being. Went for breakfast, noodles and raw tofu with chilies, before heading out to somewhat of a river delta with an overhanging bridge. It was pretty cool as it was low tide and we found some weird foot prints. We all wanted to take a swim but Idan who had come with us told us not to. Later on we realized it was both due to the water being dirty and the fact that there lived Komodo dragons just under the bridge. We met a lot of wedding couples taking pictures on the bridges and everything felt a bit surreal. But it was really beautiful, so totally understandable.

We headed for the studio where we were to play later that night. Had some food at the Indian restaurant just around the corner together with Neng and unloaded our stuff up in the studio. It was a massive studio place where they were renovating, hence there were loads of foam insulation and wooden panels lying about. Which you could jump around and climb on. It was a really nice show. I had some issues with one guitar amp during sound check but got told that “When you’re gonna play it’ll be fine”. As it had happened before. And indeed, so it was. We played together with a cool rock and noise band called September Clash which was a really nice break in the punk/d-beat frenzy. Then per tradition Oskar hurt himself again, this time his foot. He jumped off the foam pile, which I described before, onto the floor only in his socks. This was due to the fact that you had to remove your shoes before entering the studio.

After the show we picked up some painkillers and liniment for him. We were staying at Idans sisters house, where we hung out, tried the local tree brew Kratom and stayed up talking all night.

Day 6. (27th Dec)

So after two hours of sleep we had to get up again. Our next destination was Mentakab on the other side of Malaysia so it was to be a long drive. We were going together with Idans band Svatantrata (Weird and amazing crust/doom from Sungai Petani). Had a smoke for breakfast, sat in some ants freeway and had to shake down my pants. Idan was downtown picking up our van and when everything was loaded we embarked on our 12 hour long ride through the mountains. Apparently it was the ”easiest” way there since it was holiday traffic on the highways. We only stopped a few times. Once for food and then random pee breaks. This was when Idan received his nickname Hell-driver for cruising up and down the mountain roads (without railings) in high speed. When it started to rain so came the agony, and we broke out Toms vodka bottle.

We arrived in one piece in Mentakab pretty late and had to hurry and put our stuff up, as they could only have the studio open for so long. Just when we arrived Tom took a leak in the bushes and found himself covered in ants, and had to strip down to his boxers. What a way to make an entrance! We got on with the show and played together with a pretty cool local power violence band called Gymnastic Skull Whistling. Svatantrata did an amazing set and sat the bar for the night. Ares voice was extremely crushing and Idans guitar running through both the guitar and bass amp is such a nice take! We then headed out for food and talked some, but had to keep it short and drive back to Kuala Lumpur to Borhans moms place the same night. As we were flying to Indonesia the day after.

Day 7. (28th Dec)

Everything has to have an end and so did our part of the tour in Malaysia. Finally caught a good night's sleep even though I spent the night talking to Idan and Ali, going through Borhans zines in his old room. We had breakfast together at the same place we did the first day in KL. Said our goodbyes to the Malaysian god Borhan, who'd been an amazing, host, tour-manager and support, and then got a ride to the airport. Once at the airport the hassle started, with eTicket-machines not working and being directed to all sorts of counters. After some endless queuing we finally found someone who could help us. I had to pay extra for my guitar as we had exceeded our weight limit somehow. Then an immigration control boogie and a ”security check”, where Tom and Oskar went through the metal detectors in their studded vests and the only reaction they got was pretty much non-existent. Since Oskar had some trouble walking I tried an information booth to try and get him some crutches. But the only answer I got was: ”We don’t supply Crutches” and all I could think was, well thanks for that one. Pun intended. We found a bar and had a wifi-party until we were to head for the gate. Tom stopped for snacks. We went ahead. Panic! There was yet another security check and super long lines. I ran up the stairs to get Tom. Luckily enough the check went fairly fast and smooth, and when we arrived at the gate the plane was delayed. Due to some complication they had to switch out the planes and of course our food didn’t make it. We did get some tasteless cup noodles with lukewarm water instead. Yay!

Well in Surabaya, Indonesia we were picked up by Tyan instead of our tour-manager Esa and two local punks in a small car. So we crammed in like a clown car with all the equipment. We drove to Malang which took us three hours, where we were supposed to sleep at an info shop without walls in an old garage. It was a cool space but the location was well... interesting. Oskar stayed behind when we went for some excellent food at the roundabout. Indonesia the promised land for Tofu and Tempeh! We then slept for a really long time.

Day 8. (29th Dec)

Woke up to a sunny day in Malang. Found Daniel and Tom on the driveway. We went and bought some ice cream and hung out in the sun, waiting for the car to arrive to drive us to the venue. It was after a while revealed to us that the car wasn’t coming to where we were so we had to pick up our stuff and walk a bit. Stopped at a local booze shop and I finally got my hands on a bottle of Orang Tua again (kind of like a thick and sweet red wine which tastes of herbs). We hung out with the locals in the intersection where we were to be picked up. The car arrived just before it started to rain, and we had a bumpy ride up the mountain into the forest.

The venue was a villa with an open space under the roof where the show was to be held. Nineteen bands in one day including us, we sure were back in Indonesia. I saw some good bands, but I can’t remember any names due to the sheer amount of them. A lot of chaos going on. We decided to fall back a bit, as we’d been told that there was a waterfall near by. Tyan took us walking in the direction, approx. 20 min. After a while we met a tea picker on a motorbike. Asked him where the waterfall was. Apparently it wasn’t 20 min. but two hours away. So we turned around. We stopped in the middle of the tea plantations and had some booze with some punks. After a while we went back to the villa
and the nearby food shack. Ordered some food but discovered that there were sausages in it, but the old lady was kind enough to cook us a new batch. Had a chili-fest, took photos with some nice people and then we were to play. Some street punks had a falling out during our set and it looked violent, so we stopped playing. Talked a bit about it but got reassured that it was nothing and finished our set. Afterwards we had to pack up really fast and waited for the van to take us down the mountain to the roundabout, where we had the food last night. We were told the bus to Jogjakarta was supposed to leave from there pretty soon.

The van never arrived, and now we really had to hurry to catch the bus. Our gear got thrown into a truck and we got a ride down the mountain on scooters. It was as if picked straight out of a movie, rushing downhill in a big crowd of scooters overlooking the whole city by night. It was very beautiful. At the roundabout we hurried with withdrawing some cash. I had to pee and barged into a
more fancy restaurant and asked for the toilet. I got directed to the second floor and all I found was a shower next to the dinner guests. I went downstairs again to ask the bartender but he assured me that it was the place where I should pee, so I did. We then continued to wait and hang out on the pavement. Met a lot of folks from the show, had some grilled corn, warm peanuts, and Gado-Gado (here we go again!). Finally a van arrived, maybe 3-4 hours later. But when we were to load in the gear we realized the back of the van was filled to the brim with flowers. Apparently it wasn’t a bus we were waiting for but this guy who was making a flower run to the other side of Indonesia. We managed to cram everything and everyone in, and we embarked on the bumpiest ride I’ve ever ridden. Seriously, it was like riding the inside of a rust bucket of a dryer for ten hours. I switched places with Tyan halfway at a roadside buffet in the middle of the night. Where our driver over-ate and sat next to me retching the rest of the trip. Many stops were made for him to puke. Which made me feel sick and kept me from going to sleep, as if banging my head in the roof or sitting on top of the warm and nodular engine wasn’t enough. At the end of the trip Tyan apparently had happened to nudge to loose wires under the dashboard with his feet (I kept mine away since there was a hole straight through the hull) and the flashers stopped working. So we had to stop yet again to fix that.

Day 9. (30th Dec)

After finally falling asleep we awoke in Jogjakarta as the car had gotten too warm to drive and we had to wait for it to cool down. The organizer of tonights show came by and got a ride to the collective we were gonna stay, Rumah Kata, an amazing collective who apparently did Warn!ng Magazine together. We hung out on their balcony in a hammock and bamboo chairs. Had some sleep. Then we went for food at an amazing buffet place where I think we all filled our plates to the brim and indulged in all kinds of skewers and stews. Afterward I took yet another well needed shower. We sat at Rumah Katas balcony for quite some time and ordered booze for tonight (as a friend was already going outside of town to buy some).

Getting to the venue was somewhat of a project in itself. We packed our essentials and once again got to ride scooters over there. It was a communist café called Nol Kilometer, where apparently the communists of old Indonesia used to meet. Now it was a subversive café where they had shows and art-exhibitions once in a while. Had a great time, met our old friend Oik who painted the poster for our US-tour and loads of other great people. It was a crushing show in the attic of the house, small and intense, awesome bands and good energy. I even managed to knock Oskar in the head with my guitar by accident.

After the show we headed back to Rumah Kata by scooter and went by a super nice old lady's food stall in the middle of the street before taking the party to Rumah Katas balcony again. We sat and talked for many hours about everything from lessons in Swedish to how the punk scene is different in our countries compared to each other. I went to bed a bit earlier than the others and fell asleep to their conversations. It felt really nice.

Day 10. (31st Dec)

We got up at four o clock in the morning since it was gonna be a long drive to Semarang. But the ordered car never arrived. So we went back to bed and waited some more. Finally it arrived, but it was a small one so it was clown car time all over again. We rode for a while, filled the car up and bought some food on the way. But all of the sudden we stopped at the car pool. We had to change car, because this driver didn’t know the way to Semarang. Instead we got this crazy guy yet super sweet guy called Eddie (!). I fell asleep on the way there and awoke for what I thought was a piss break but apparently we were already there. Which was nice for a change. Went into an Indomaret in the middle of a bustling intersection with people and families getting ready for New Year's Eve. Sat on the stairs with Eddie and talked a bit whilst waiting for the organizer to come meet us. After a while one of them came by scooter and met us. He guided us up the mountain to a villa resort where they had rented a house for the big punk bash, Total Dis-co no. 5! It was quite surreal, a small villa resort with our neighbor being a group of teens getting ready for the Indonesian equivalents of keg stands and whatnots. The surroundings were beautiful with all the sloped vegetation and flowers, so we went for a walk after we had unloaded all the gear. Found a small village on our walk, where I guess not many Europeans come to visit. A lot of kids giggling and running and hiding on their porches. As we were zig-zagging the holes in the roads and the chickens. We turned around when it felt like the road came to an end and only paths in-between people's houses were what was next.

The show wasn’t supposed to start until four o' clock, so we sat down with some local punks and Eddie who were hanging out in the garden in front of the house. Had some Arrak. Swung some on the hammock and talked some shit. Eddie was really surprised that we were hanging out with him. Apparently he only drove fancy rich tourists who made him take them to their destination and didn’t care for what he was to be doing whilst waiting in-between. We had a discussion on how we felt people should be treated and how punk is not in the clothes. He told us he was feeling a bit out of place in his Hawaii shirt and bling. Tom did what he does
best. Went in the house and changed out of his studded vest and into his Hawaii shirt he had brought, to Eddies great surprise. So all smiling and some drinks later, some of the bands arrived. People arrived, went up and down the mountain to buy drinks and an amazing Coconut and Jackfruit stew. When the clock was seven they decided to start the show. Some bands had gotten delayed and they felt they couldn’t wait any longer, as there were quite a few bands playing this night.

The show space was the garage driveway on the hill connected to the house with the audience on the road in front of it. A lot of good bands this night with an exceptional performance from Disgörge, total d-beat noise attack! Playing ”outside” also made the end of our set pretty bombastic. It looked super cool when we ripped off our track Lurad as the bell tolled twelve and fireworks started filling the skies above the heads of the audience. Almost magical, so to speak. Then there were Ciu in huge amounts, as well as another delicious Chinese brew that was more to my liking. Which we sloshed our New Year's noodles down with. We had a big party on the road but since we had to get up at 4-5 am again we had to cut it shorter. We all fell asleep in a big bed together whilst Tyan partied on for all of us.

Day 11. (1st Jan)

Awoke by mine and Daniels alarm. He got up and tried to find Tyan, but couldn’t find him. So he passed the task on to me and went to sleep again. Me being the not so much of a morning person said ”Yes of course” and fell asleep again. I then dreamt that I got up and went downstairs where I found two people still awake talking. Asked them if they knew where Tyan were. They pointed me in a direction and I found him sleeping in the bed in the room next to the kitchen. I then woke up for real. (A couple of minutes later). Had the weirdest feeling, but thought “Hey! I might as well try it”. And just as I had dreamt, I found two persons to ask and found him in the exact same place. We then woke the rest of the guys up, found Eddie brushing his teeth next to the van and packed in all the gear. We drove back down the mountain to the intersection where we first had arrived in Semarang. Bought some amazing food packages and water to bring and a net of Snake fruit. On the way I desperately needed to take a shit. So we stopped for gas and after delivering a small two year old, we got on with our journey again.

It was yet another bumpy 10 hour drive to Bandung, but at least this car had better seats than the flower carrier. We were greeted by Kunx our old friend from the Pyrate Punx of Bandung. Looked for some food, but many places were closed due to it being New Year’s day. We gave up and headed for the Pirata House, which had moved since our last visit. But the new house was even more amazing! A two story house on the outskirts of town, with a huge garden in the jungle with a big pond, outhouse and one pond they’d redone into a gig space. Last time we were here they’d had a lot of issues with the police coming and raiding their gigs if they ever talked open about it. Here it was on their own land and terms. They’d also adopted a dog called Burik. We hung out all day and met old friends, had beers (not that common, and cold!), drank Arrak and shared some Jim Beam, played kicker and talked shit all night. We then went to bed in a tent on the stage. Old friends and Chinese food is the best!

Day 12. (2nd Jan)

Oskar woke me up being all excited. I had the worst hangover of the tour, but tried to get myself together as I heard we were going to a waterfall. Eddie had some issues trying to get the car up the slope from the house up to the road. It smelled a bit burnt, but the car worked and we didn't think any more of it. We stopped in the middle of the road and then wandered through the vegetation and down the slopes of a cliff. All to find a big pool at the end of a majestic waterfall, together with our friends. They thought we were crazy to go for a swim in the ”cold” water but it was the best cure for a hangover and it was a while since I showered now. So amazing to be able to swim in a waterfall. Although I did cut my foot on the way up again on some sharp rocks. But it wasn’t all too bad. We hung out with our feet dangling on a bridge above the water basin next to the pond for a while. Some more people found their way to the waterfall, and we started our climb back up to try and get some breakfast. It was a balance act and not as easy as it had been on the way down.

We arrived at the Pirata House just an hour before the show was to start. Yet another big family reunion of our old friends from Milisi Kecoa and Kontradiksi whom we were to be playing together with as well. Such a good night, only good bands and friends. They all did amazing sets including Chaos Devil and a good party. It all escalated into a hilariously fun karaoke night. Everything from Abba to Indonesian pop. We had planned to go to the hot springs later that night but realized that we were all a bit tired and Kunx needed to go back to his house and fix the electricity due to some issues. So we caught a couple of hours of sleep instead. I had some mellow talks on the front porch, before I headed upstairs to go to sleep in the house. But ended up talking even more shit with the guys there before hitting the sack.

Day 13. (3rd Jan)

Once again only one or two hours of sleep, but started the machinery up. Packed our stuff and said our goodbyes. I thought I was gonna catch up on some lost
sleep while on the highway. But awoke a bit later to a weird smell and the car feeling funny. Eddie and Tyan spoke to each other pretty worried and all I could hear was the engine roaring yet nothing happened. The car had broken down. We figured (with the incident yesterday on the slope) that the clutch discs were bust. So we stood there and waited for a tow truck to take us to the closest car repair shop. Next to the car shop was a small snack/drink shop which we occupied and slept some on the pavement until they had fixed the car. They were amazingly fast and it only took a couple of hours until we were on our way again.

We arrived at Tyans house in Jakarta. Took a shower and hung out on his porch for a while before heading to the venue around three. We drove for an hour and then it dawned on me, both that Jakarta is one hell of a big city and that it was much farther than we had expected. Two hours later we stopped for food and drove a couple of minutes more until we finally arrived at a University campus area, where we were going to play the big parking lot. In a party tent. It couldn’t get any better after a long day in the car. Weird show spaces are the best!

At the campus we were directed down in some underground corridors to drop off the equipment at first. Met our old friend Syahir of Pissed Off! Records who’s helped a lot in releasing our records. We then went upstairs again and met Esa our tour-manager whose place Tyan had been filling ever since we got to Indonesia. So nice meeting this crazy fella again. Sadly Kontradiksi from Bandung had to cancel their show for tonight, which I was a bit bummed out about but they had to for a good reason. And I was soon to be crushed by some Jakarta punk bands and thought I’ll see them again. The Jakarta punks had brought out the black wine again (Intisari) which is one of my favorites. Saw some really cool bands including one that totally blew my mind called the Roof with their song Today Chaos, Tomorrow Destroy. His furious vocals blasted through a blown out monitor gave me chills down my spine. I snuck away for some water at an Indomaret down the road. It was pretty dark on the pavement and I walked pretty fast. So when I was just about to walk past a couple and found myself tripping over ”nothing” and kicking something into the bushes. I realized that it was a rat that had been crossing the street heading for the bushes already. Haha. I guess I gave it a shove down the right direction. But it left both me and the couple stunned for second.

When I came back to the campus I caught Esas band Zudas Krust being as good as ever and soon it was our turn. Afterwards we had an after party on the parking lot. Total chaos, Jakarta style. We then went and got some food on our own, because Esa had disappeared, and some confusion occurred but it was all under control. We then slept at Tyans house. We also paid for the car, said goodbye to fast Eddie who got on his way back home to Jogjakarta, which must’ve been like a trip of 18 hours or so. I was glad I wasn’t doing that one.

Day 14. (4th Jan)

The rain was pouring down and we were to go to the airport today. Caught a small break in the weather and Tyan drove us to the bus station. Said goodbye to Tyan who’d been an amazing tour-manager, merch-guy, support and friend. The bus took a while but it gave our clothes some time to dry up a bit. Had some food after the check in. Then we ran into some troubles trying to find the right gate, as ”the board was not to trust” and the guards just sent us around in circles. The flight was only two hours to Borneo, Balikpapan.

Our old friend Ebby from Kontrasosial picked us up, whom we were going to play the last two shows together with. He drove us to the Stone Head squat, which was an old car shop where they had shows occasionally. This was also the place where the last show of the tour was to be in two days time. Met the other band Pakar Serang who were also coming along with us, really sweet guys. Some amazing people had cooked delicious food for us so we had a dinner party. Tried the Borneo version of Ciu made of coconut which was like balm for your soul compared to the rocket fuel Ciu on Jawa (Sorry, not sorry). It had been a long day of traveling so we all went to bed pretty early.

Day 15. (5th Jan)

Woke up and had some breakfast. Thirsty as ever I guzzled down a couple of the weird plastic water glasses with straws they tend to have everywhere. My stomach started acting up again. I got worried again that it was time for me to get sick. As Oskar had been having some issues last night. But after some squatting at the toilet I realized I just had to get some chillies out of my body. Ever since my incident last tour I worry for this but didn’t get affected this tour. I did on the other hand keep my pack filled with diarrhea pills, just in case. We were to ride the local bus to the bus station but it was too crowded. Instead we got picked up in a jeep, which this guy rode around in with closed windows and no functioning ventilation. I dare say it was even hotter in this guys car than at Rumah Api or at least on par with. Add to that that Borneo is close to the equator line (or maybe even on it?). Anyway, It was blazing hot, but he seemed to like it and the ride wasn’t that long.

At the bus station I headed for the toilet once more and bought myself a soda for the road. The rest of the Kontrasosial guys met us there, who had been traveling from Bandung since four in the morning the same day. A bit tired but all in good moods with a cold beer to share. We filled the back of the bus with punks and had a nice bus party towards Semarang. Saw some amazing nature on the road. And the ride was filled with people hopping on and off selling various treats, food and musicians coming aboard to play for money. At our destination we waited for a while in the shade for the organizer to come and pick us up. We once again got crammed in a small car and rode to the area where we were to play. It was a small recording studio on the second floor of the building. We unloaded the gear and hung out on the balcony and underneath in the garage. A lot of people started showing up. Probably around a hundred of street punks hung out along the road and I wondered how this was gonna work out. There was no chance at all for them to fit. As the room we were to play was only maybe enough for 30 people maximum. I was told it was many years since a western band had come and played on Borneo as many usually decide to go to Bali instead. It made me a bit concerned again over the size of the venue (although it was to be remedied the next day), but also very happy that we had the possibility to go here and play.

Quite a few photos were taken and we had some Gado-Gado before the show started. A cool ambient electronic project named Sarana kicked the show off by building soundscapes. Pakar Serang did an amazing set. And Kontrasosial killed it like always, such a good band! D-beat madness with harsh vocals. When it was our turn to play the studio was well pre-heated and the AC didn’t seem to work. You could feel the moisture on the walls. During the set a small lake of my own sweat had amassed under my feet and I almost slipped. That sure was a first. Afterwards a lot of people wanted to take photos and buy merch but we all needed to catch our breath/cool down, thankfully the guys in Kontrasosial kept an eye on the distro for a few minutes. We first got interviewed for Borneo Indie channel all still a bit dazed from the hot show. Then something really weird happened as the owner of the venue wanted to take a photo with us in his home, which was fine. But apparently they had made us some food and wanted us to hang out in their living room. We stayed a while, took the photo and thanked them so much for their kindness, but felt we'd rather hangout outside with the punks again.

The venue closed pretty early and we went to one of the girls in Saranas place. We came to the house, hung our clothes to dry after the sweaty show. Her mother had cooked a huge meal for all the bands, which we ate on the front patio and drank coffee (one of the few times on this tour, and I’m a huge coffee junkie) and talked all night.

Day 16. (6th Jan)

As always at the end of a tour I have a hard time sleeping. I lie and think back at it, write this diary and roll from side to side. On top of that one of the ones I was sleeping next to kept punching and kicking in his sleep, with me being the punching bag. It might’ve been due to the mosquitoes in the air or maybe he was just an aggressive sleeper. The mother of the house also kept running in-between her and the girls room endless times during the night for some reason.

When I woke up everyone had already had breakfast and sat outside. I had some of the leftovers from yesterday and a coffee. Jumped in the car and we got a ride to the bus station. Back in Balikpapan we got dropped off in an intersection where we were to be picked up, but me and Ken from Kontrasosial didn’t fit the car. So we had a soda and sat in the sun for a while until two friends came by with scooters.

Back at the Stone head squat we spent the day with eating, napping, putting up the distro and hanging out with the local street punks who came for the big fest and end show of the tour. They held screen printing workshops, art exhibitions and several distros were there for the fest. The bands started playing early as there were many to play. They had cleaned up all the engine parts and made the car hall really nice looking. Which made for an awesome setting for it. So loads of bands and over a hundred people in the crowd. It was packed! It was a crazy show, with good energy and a lot of chaos going on. When Kontrasosial played the whole place was rumbling. I of course blew a string. Bumped around with all the people who were on stage. Oskar climbed a wall and dropped the mic outside the wall. It was such a party, and the energy! We couldn't have asked for a better end of the tour.

After the show some guy insisted on us sleeping in his guest house and we couldn’t say no. We were gonna eat together with all the bands on a street restaurant later on in the night so we went with him to his ”guest house” to drop off the stuff first. When we arrived, we realized that it wasn’t really a guest house. It was more of a hotel than anything. But he insisted that we were to stay there so we did even though it felt weird. Back at the intersection we had some amazing Gado-Gado, a lot of chilies, hung out a while and then said our goodbyes. Some hugs and strong feelings later we came back to our room. I took a shower and thought it’d be nice to get the dirt and grime away, but somehow forgot to wash my hair. Which I was to regret later when I’d gone to bed and pulled my fingers through it. I recognized the smell but couldn’t quite place it… Until I realized it was mildew. The last two shows had been intensely warm and sweaty, without any direct possibility for it to dry up. But we were going to the beach before starting our flight home. So I thought I’d wash it out there.

Day 17. (7th Jan)

We got up early to go to the beach. Got served breakfast at the guy who owned the ”guest house” house. Waited for a long time for him to hear from Ebby, but I guess there were some mis-communication. Because when we finally arrived down at the beach they had already taken a swim. But we got to see some of downtown Balikpapan, and stay at the beach for a while with some cold brews. It was amazing. Even though the water was a bit dirty. Oskar found a talon floating, as well as some garbage every now and then. Me being the pale skin that I am got up early to sit in the shade. I still managed to burn my right arm though. But at least it wasn’t as bad as last time when I became the Swedish lobster. Said goodbye to our good friends. We then went back to the place to pick up our stuff, had some food and got to the airport.

At the airport they weren't really willing to help us at all when trying to check in. They acted as if they’d never seen neither instruments nor backpacks and sent us around and around. When they finally sent us over to the over-size baggage check-in, we got totally ignored again for a while. So I already started to get irritated here. Then when going through the security check I got pulled over to the side as they apparently had found what they described as ”big knife” in my bag. I told them I didn’t have a big knife and they scanned my bag again. Once again they prompted that I had ”big knife”. I opened the bag and showed them that it was only music equipment (as I had my cables, pedals and what nots in my carry-on luggage). They scanned the bag again. One final time they said I had ”big knife”. That's when I started to get pissed about their constant hassling and not doing anything but only telling me. So I tore open all the small compartments and threw everything on the table. That’s when I saw it. I had forgotten to pack my multitool in my checked in baggage. So I said I was sorry and told them to throw it away, and that’s the story of how I received my nickname ”Big Knife” Nilsson.

We then sat down at an Indian restaurant and had some beers before the gate opened. Enjoyed the last bit of Borneo before flying to Jakarta where we were to meet up with Esa and Galih. They wanted to meet us before we flew home and deliver ”some tapes” for Oskar at the same time. We also had quite a few hours to spend until our flight to Dubai departed. So we hung out at the bus stop outside our terminal. It was so nice to see Esa again since he’d had to cut his stay short at the show a couple of days earlier. We talked a lot, had some Intisari, got hassled by the airport police, and re-packed a shit-ton of tapes into a massive box. Galih and his friend had brought it all a small scooter, which was pretty impressive. We then proceeded to our gate, flew to Dubai, had some more shit expensive beers before the last flight back to cold, nuclear winter Sweden. Where they'd just closed its borders and started having police patrols searching all Sweden bound trains for immigrants. Luckily enough we had some sun in our minds from an amazing tour with amazing people.

// Big Knife

Links and Recommendations

Attack to the Front - https://www.facebook.com/attacktothefront/
Chaos Devil - https://www.facebook.com/chaosdevilpunk/
Gymnastic Skull Whistling - https://www.facebook.com/Gymnastic-Skull-Whistling-184972014873861/
Kontradiksi - https://www.facebook.com/KONTRADIKSI-d-beat-noise-137001316378053/
Kontrasosial - https://www.facebook.com/Kontrasosial-183753218487680/
Lubricant - https://lubricant.bandcamp.com/
Milisi Kecoa - https://www.facebook.com/Milisi-Kecoa-169107063132104/
Pakar Serang - https://www.facebook.com/Pakar-x-Serang-845103692215680/
Sarana - http://www.sarana.biz/
September Clash - https://www.facebook.com/SeptemberClash/
Svatantrata - https://svatantrata.bandcamp.com/
the Roof - https://www.facebook.com/THE-ROOFpunk-hardcore-114529365249060/
Zudas Krust - https://zudaskrust.bandcamp.com/

M2 Sound Studio - https://www.facebook.com/M2MusicStudio/
Nol Kilometer Café - https://www.facebook.com/pages/Nol-Kilometer-Cafe/114783708608045
Rumah Api - http://rumahapi.weebly.com/
Stone Head squat
Substation - https://www.facebook.com/thesubstation/

Bullwhip Records - http://bullwhiprecs.blogspot.se/
Doombringer Records - https://www.facebook.com/Doombringer-Records-273661266013694/
Pissed Off! Records - https://www.facebook.com/pissedoff.recs/

Bandung Pyrate Punx - https://www.facebook.com/Bandung-Pyrate-Punx-155507621134475/
Warn!ng Magazine - http://www.warningmagz.com/

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