Jakarta-based Indonesian indie-rock/dream-pop ensemble lightcraft recently embarked on a trip to Vladivostok, Russia to perform at one of the biggest music festivals in Russia that is V- Rox – just a week before they were due to play We The Fest 2017 in their hometown of Jakarta. Without a clue on what to expect from their very first foray on Russian soil, the three days that they spent at the major Pacific port city left a mark so deep that it will be simply impossible for the quintet to forget.
2017 marks the fifth edition of V-Rox, with the festival growing in size from one year to another. This year saw the shebang running from August 4-6, and lightcraft managed became the first-ever band from Indonesia to perform at the three-day fiesta. lightcraft were informed of their invitation a few months prior to the festival, and preparations went very smoothly, including their visa applications. Their journey to Vladivostok first took half of the band to Singapore, and then to Hong Kong where they spent the night to rest before they left for the unofficial capital of the Russian Far East.
They arrived in Vladivostok during the wee hours of the morning on August 5, where they travelled to alongside Singaporean act Vandetta and Mexican duo Deer. After just a few hours’ sleep, the band had to be ready for their activities for the day in the morning, where they participated in a 2km marathon in conjunction with V-Rox and also spoke at a panel regarding city ecology as ambassadors to the Jakarta-based non-profit organisation Bersih Nyok!. Not long after, they did their soundcheck on the main stage for their performance later during the day, which was scheduled at 3pm. After a few media interviews, they went up on to the stage to a roaring reception by the crowd. Song after song until the very end of their set, their performance was met with enthusiastic response from the city’s baying music lovers and curious onlookers. After a meet-and-greet session with their newly gained legion of fans, lightcraft pushed on with their itinerary for the day with a soundcheck at nearby bar Black Rabbit ahead of their second show that was scheduled to happen that evening. Appearing after Taiwanese indie band My Skin Against Your Skin, lightcraft again proved to be the people’s choice as the venue was packed to the brim by the time they went up onstage, the capacity crowd also comprising those who enjoyed their performance earlier during the day at the main stage.
On the second day of their Russian adventure, lightcraft got scheduled to play their last show for this year’s V-Rox at Cat & Clover Art Music Pub due to high demand from the people of Vladivostok. They were billed alongside the aforementioned Deer and the city’s very own Starcardigan, yet lightcraft managed to drew the biggest crowd of the night, with many returning supporters showing up to say their goodbyes before the band made their return to Jakarta the next day as they sung along to every single song of their set.
Although a short one, the experience that the band went through in Vladivostok was one that made an unforgettable mark on the five young men that make up lightcraft, and also a life lesson for them. “When we were invited to come to Vladivostok to play V-Rox, we basically did not know what to expect. What we did know was that it was going to be a fantastic opportunity for us to visit a new country, meet new people, and to work our asses off to win new fans, spread our music, and show what we and Indonesia are made of to the best of our capabilities. Much to our surprise, we managed to achieve even better. From the first moment we got up on to the main stage until the final seconds of our last show at Cat & Clover, the people there just lapped everything up. They were so lovely, so appreciative, and very supportive. It’s amazing how they can be so warm and friendly, and that they had so much love to give for us. The folks behind the festival were simply superb – each and every one of them became like family to us. To be given the chance to come and perform at V-Rox, and to also represent Indonesia while doing so, was an honour and a privilege, and the mind-blowing reception that we got from our new friends there made the whole episode a dream come true. We’ll be back, Vladivostok!” says guitarist Fari.
2016 proved to be a milestone of a year for indie-rock/dream-pop quartet lightcraft. The Jakarta-based band made headways in their quest to spread their music to a wider audience by performing at various shows and music festivals in countries across the globe. They became the first Indonesian act to play Liverpool Sound City 2016 in Liverpool, England. They performed at two Canadian music festivals in a single calendar year – Canadian Music Week 2016 and Indie Week Canada 2016 – where the latter saw them play three shows in Toronto for the festival, along with an additional showcase in the city of Hamilton. There were a couple of shows in the US as well as appearances at Rocking The Region in Singapore and Taichung International Cuisines Festival 2016 in Taichung, Taiwan.
After releasing their new EP “Another Life” back in November last year, the band opened 2017 by representing Indonesia at DongTaiDu Music Fest 2017 – an annual international indie music festival in Malaysia – in Malaysia in January, along with two additional shows in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor. They also became the first Indonesian band to appear on Balcony TV, in this case, the Kuala Lumpur franchise of the prestigious live music web series.
In March 2017, lightcraft will be among three Indonesian acts that have been selected to perform at the one of the biggest festivals in the world that celebrates music, film, and interactive media: SXSW (South By Southwest). According to its official website, SXSW “was founded in 1987 in Austin, Texas and dedicates itself to helping creative people achieve their goals. Best known for its conference and festivals that celebrate the convergence of the interactive, film, and music industries, the event is an essential destination for global professionals, features sessions, showcases, screenings, exhibitions, and a variety of networking opportunities. SXSW proves that the most unexpected discoveries happen when diverse topics and people come together.”
This year’s edition of SXSW will see more than 600 bands and musicians descend upon the city of Austin to take part in the music festival arm of SXSW, including Indonesia’s very own lightcraft. Set to run from March 10-19, 2017, lightcraft are currently waiting for the full schedule of their shows at the festival. So far, one showcase has been confirmed:
Friday, March 17 Palm Door on Sabine
The opportunity to represent their home country and play at such a prominent and colossal festival is a dream come true for lightcraft, who, like any other bands, have harboured hopes of appearing at music festivals of the same magnitude since the day they got together. “It is such a wonderful surprise to have been selected to play SXSW 2017. We feel so very honoured to be given this chance. We knew about our successful selection during our flight home from our Canadian tour back in November 2016, and we are still trying to process it even now – a month away from the festival! For an Indonesian band like us to be amongst such illustrious names from around the world and play at a massive, internationally acclaimed festival like SXSW – it’s the stuff of dreams, really! We really can’t wait for what lies ahead. We just hope that we could make our country, our family and friends proud, show the world what we’re made of, and give it our best. It will be a truly historic moment for lightcraft, and we hope we can share it with everyone over there at SXSW and back home.” says guitarist Fari.