Many of us call ourselves punk. We have the right clothes. We have the right hair cuts. We listen to all the right bands and we know exactly which bands are definitely NOT punk - I'm lookin at you Good Charlotte.
But then there are the rare few who are the embodiment of what punk is and should be. Not because they played in right venue back in the day, or come from the right city; not because they sound a certain way, but because they LIVE in a way that few of us could really understand.
We may rebel against authority. We may stand up for rights and we may protest, but at the end of the day, those of us in the U.S.A live in one of the most free societies in the world - a society where the gender of a potato is something to fight about.
This is not the case for my interview this go around. These guys - assholes they call themselves - have been on the front lines in a true fight against their government, and as they will explain, felt it was their JOB to do so.
I spoke with Dignity of Assholes about being punks in Jakarta (Indonesia), how they make music, and how they found their sound:
Headwormz: Who are you guys?
Dignity of Assholes: We are dignity of assholes a band from North Jakarta Indonesia formed in 15th October 2009, who loves to play Punk Rock.
Were just best friends who have the same vision of having fun and criticizing [through] music and gigs. Founded by the Esha Gembel (story teller), Aang (bass) and kartubi asep (lead guitar).
HW: You gotta tell me about the name you picked for the band....
DOA: Dignity of assholes was named coz we were assholes that came from a small city, but we have the dignity to fight through our music (...no one here thinks its a good idea) so ya we called ourself [sic] assholes for this.
HW: Love it! How did you get into punk?
This is a hard one but... we grew up listening lots and lots of rancid
Oh man! Rancid is one of my all time favorite bands! What is like being a punk band where you live? Are people in Indonesia supportive, or is this scene and style more of a fringe thing?
Another good question! Being a punk here.... we just don't care what people say about us, we just keep on living it and just keep on doing what we believe.
Punk rock to the core! So how do you guys write your music?
Well, on how we do that, we gather all together and Esha starts writing it down. Thats the technical stuff, but we write our songs based on real life events. Our upcoming album will be Fight For Revolution, This is a real life event where Esha tells us (about) a real life event where he fought the Indonesian regime (from) 2011 - 2012... they weren't pro to Indonesian people.
You want to tell me anymore about that? It sounds very intriguing, and dangerous
Esha was part of many movements (against policies) that weren't pro with the people. It was his job as a student to fight in the frontlines during that time, That's where we found punk in our music, He started the movement from 2 - 4 students and managed to get thousands (of) students in just 1 day to join him ... there was a riot on 29th march 2012 in Salemba Jakarta on his campus where the campus was shot by tear gas for hours. One of his mates got shot and caught in jail... the movement failed because there was betrayal after the riot, It will be better if we can tell you guys more after we launched the album coz you can feel the rhythm and beats there.
Esha on the bullhorn leading a group of protesters against unjust government polices:
That’s a pretty amazing story. So what are your goals as a band? Are you Hoping to get big and play arenas?
Short term goal will be get our first album released and get listened as many as it can
Long term goal will be surviving with the band as a family, because its a hard competition out there. And no were not hoping to get big, but if it gets big of course were gonna be ready and yes its our dream to play in arenas because we just love to perform!
How often do you play live?
Tbh our last gig was at mid 2016 before that we usually play twice a month, it was because our lead guitar went out to the country. We had to stop for 4 years and brought back our band in the late 2020 during the pandemic.
Dignity of Assholes will be wrapping up their first full album soon, and will be available on all streaming services via Headwormz Records! Click the player below to check out a sneak peak of their next single "We are one but we are many".
Be sure to check out Fight for Revolution when it drops to get more amazing ska and punk and get the rest of the story of this bands past. Subscribe below to be get informed when it goes live.
To help support their future, visit all the links below to hear music, follow them on social media, and pick up an exclusive shirt, only available through AudioAngst.com