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Head in the Clouds 2023 Q&A: Indonesian metal group Voice of Baceprot on facing backlash, overcoming obstacles

(Left to Right) Dressed in all black with amber accents, Voice of Baceprot’s Marsya, Sitti and Widi play their instruments on stage. The heavy-metal trio’s Head in the Clouds performance took place on Sunday afternoon. (Megan Cai/Daily Bruin senior staff)

By Dannela Lagrimas

Aug. 7, 2023 5:51 p.m.

Voice of Baceprot is uninterested in sitting quietly.

The Indonesian all-female, hijab-wearing metal band performed their debut set at Head in the Clouds Los Angeles on Sunday afternoon. Baceprot translating to “noisy” in Sundanese, VOB has faced equal parts admiration and backlash for their politically charged lyrics and thunderous sound. The band, composed of lead singer and guitarist Marsya, bassist Widi and drummer Sitti, began their first U.S. tour in August, following the release of their debut album “RETAS.”

Following their performance on the Honda Double Happiness stage, VOB spoke with the Daily Bruin’s Dannela Lagrimas about pressures surrounding fame, live performances and their thoughts on being role models for young girls.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

[Related: Head in the Clouds 2023 Q&A: Artist Stephanie Poetri discusses career evolution]

Daily Bruin: You’ve talked previously about how you’ve faced both physical and social backlash from conservative opponents in West Java. How do you combat those kinds of external negative remarks when you take the stage?

Marsya: It makes us scared at first and emotional, but we know that what they want is for us to stop making music. That’s why we never stopped making music, and we just say it in our song. We know that we have each other and we can make ourselves feel more strong.

DB: As you mentioned, you all share a very close relationship. What else helps to center you when things become more chaotic or challenging?

M: We have Ahba Erza, our teacher, (who) is our support system since a long time ago. We have our family now because we got their support. At first, it was really hard to get their support because they didn’t like metal, they didn’t understand it. But now they are really supportive and it gives us big energy.

Bassist Widi looks at her instrument. Vocalist and guitarist Marsya said the group is happy to hear they are an inspiration, especially for girls, and they hope to see the rise of more female bands. (Megan Cai/Daily Bruin senior staff)
Bassist Widi looks at her instrument. Vocalist and guitarist Marsya said the group is happy to hear they are an inspiration, especially for girls, and they hope to see the rise of more female bands. (Megan Cai/Daily Bruin senior staff)

DB: What is the most powerful moment you’ve experienced in a live performance?

M: When we were coming back from Wacken Open Air last year, (one of) the biggest metal festival in the world. It is the biggest dream (of ours) since high school. We have became the first women in hijab to play there.

[Related: Second Take: Young, female fan bases face undeserved scrutiny for music taste]

DB: One of your biggest influences when you were first getting started was one of your teachers, who helped mentor you all. Would you ever consider taking on a similar mentorship role for young, up-and-coming artists?

M: We just want to play (music) – we’re a little bit good at playing. But we love to see other people, especially girls, who love to play music and say they get inspiration from us, it’s really heartwarming. We hope in the future, we can see a lot of female bands.

DB: As you said, people have called VOB role models. Do you ever feel pressure to be “good” role models, or to be “revolutionary” in your fields, and if so, how do you handle that?

M: Sometimes, yes. Because a lot of people see us like an angel with no mistakes, perfect girls. But in reality, we are not like that. We’re just humans with a lot of mistakes. We never thought that we could be inspirations for other girls. But we’re glad they feel like that.

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Dannela Lagrimas | Lifestyle editor
Lagrimas is the 2022-2023 lifestyle editor. She was previously an Arts contributor from 2021-2022. She is also a second-year communication and political science student from Temecula, California.
Lagrimas is the 2022-2023 lifestyle editor. She was previously an Arts contributor from 2021-2022. She is also a second-year communication and political science student from Temecula, California.
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