Naif members say Indonesian rock band’s split was a decade in the making

"We got along fine, but we didn't hang out," bassist Emil said in a new interview

The members of Indonesian rock band Naif have opened up on their split revealed last month, saying their disbandment was at least a decade in the making.

Vocalist David Bayu Danangjaya confirmed on May 10 that Naif were no more. It was revealed that bassist Mohammad Amil “Emil” Hussein had left the band in September 2020, with drummer Franki “Pepeng” Indrasmoro Sumbodo following soon after.

Now, the latter two musicians have opened up on the circumstances that led to their split. Speaking to The Jakarta Post in a story published June 2, Emil said that Naif had been drifting apart for over a decade, and that the band members did not spend much time together outside of their performances.

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“We’d meet backstage or on the plane when we’re playing outside of Jakarta, but we didn’t stay in the same room,” he said. “We got along fine, but we didn’t hang out.”

This had been the case since 2007, Emil said, when Naif’s album ‘Televisi’ was released. He also suggested that their busy gig schedule alongside their family lives contributed to the eventual band’s break-up.

Drummer Pepeng also spoke to The Jakarta Post, saying that in his opinion the roots of the break-up went to the mid-2000s, when Naif became more popular. “We were all engrossed by our own thing [outside of the band] and it affected the communication between us,” Pepeng said.

2011 album ‘Planet Cinta’, he added, “was when we started to lose our commonality; each member had their own material and they were unalterable. Egos were high.”

The band’s most recent – and final – album is 2017’s ‘7 Bidadari’, which was released around six years after their ‘Planet Cinta’.

Emil “wasn’t that involved with ‘7 Bidadari'”, he admitted, despite usually playing the role of the band’s producer. “In my opinion, David was the only one passionate about ‘7 Bidadari’ and made it happen, but overall, the album was kind of abandoned by the band.”

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“It only took me two days to record the bass for all the songs, unlike the previous albums where I would completely dive into the treatment of every song,” he continued. “During the creation of that album, we never saw one another.”

On May 19, Naif guitarist Fajar “Jarwo” Endra Taruna posted a 40-minute video titled “Naif Jangan Bubar Dulu” (“Don’t Break Up Yet, Naif”) on his YouTube channel.

In the video, Jarwo claimed that the three other members of the band had already signed an official document to legalise the band’s dissolution, but he had refused to add his signature.

The guitarist also claimed that he had been excluded from many internal discussions, which he only found out about after seeing the interviews given by Naif’s other members.

“Naif belongs to the public. We have a public service obligation; they have the right to know what happens with Naif,” said Jarwo in the video, addressing his bandmates. “Let’s just sit down and have a discussion; it’s the most elegant way to resolve things instead of having one person saying this and another saying that.”

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