Volkgaze: Kareem Soenharjo, The Mastermind of BAP, BAPAK and Yosugi

Making the beats and living the tune, Kareem Soenharjo is a figure of delightful-inspiring figure.
Photo by Kareem Soenharjo

Kareem Soenharjo is a multi-instrumental musician for which we know him as BAP, BAPAK and Yosugi. As this 3 monikers have been rocking the stage, we eager to dive a bit for hearing his story about his carrier and so forth.

He always goes beyond, from lo-fi-hip-hop to experimental rock, making beats, rap the lines or even producing music. There’s a lot to dig out from Kareem figure, as we’ve a little talk about how music have been really getting to him.

Off the record, Kareem is such a loving-caring guy, we’ve a great talk.

Well, check this out :


Pertama boleh dong perkenalan sedikit, siapa sih Kareem Soenharjo?

“I guess i’m just an ordinary people who love music as it’s the central of my life and the others thing is just the planets that surround me”.

“Kalo background, gue lulus dari Universitas Prasetya Mulya, ambil jurusan marketing. Nggak ada nyambung-nyambungnyakan haha. That’s all i guess”.

Boleh cerita dong, bagaimana awal mula Kareem Soenharjo mulai dikenal orang?

“I was making making beats, post it on facebook and people starting to get noticing me. Apa ya, mungkin gue lucky dan juga my hardworks is finally paid off. Tahun 2017 “Messages” Yosugi out and one thing led to another. I guess my turning point waktu Belladona (EP) release. Monkshood is also kinda my breakthrough. Oh iya man, gue pernah main di Surabaya, kalo gak salah waktu itu di Legacy”.

Credit : bandcamp.com

Bagaimana kehidupan seorang Kareem Soenharjo sebagai musisi dan artis?

“Pasti ada upside down lah, lo pasti kan gimana. Been living pay check to pay check. Awal pandemi kerasa banget sih, but i try my best and keep doing all my stuffs”.

“Sebenernya it’s not all about money, i make a living in music but there’s another space for me and my own work. Ada ruang kosong yang gue sisain untuk kerjaan, project dll, but mostly i keep my own music and all the stuffs in my mind”.

Bagaimana Kareem Soenharjo survive sebagai penggiat seni atau pekerja kreatif?

“Gue selalu ingin berada di spectrum yang ada di luar orang. Selalu ada keinginan agar gue bisamenciptakan spectrum baru, pasar baru, bukan gue yang mengikuti pasar, tetapi pasar yang bisa ngikutin gue. But, to earn something pure you have to get your hand dirty on the other stuffs. Jadi produser music, bikin jingle and so on, that’s how i’m lending my talent. To be real, gimana gue mau buat suatu karya something pure if my plate is empty. Being dumb sekarang itu mahal man, you have to do something”.

“Selalu ada keinginan agar gue bisamenciptakan spectrum baru, pasar baru, bukan gue yang mengikuti pasar, tetapi pasar yang bisa ngikutin gue”

Dari tahun ke tahun, bagaimana sih Kareem Soenharjo bisa konsisten mengembangkan dan explore segala macam bentuk seni dan music hingga muncul karya-karya yang outstanding?

Keep going on, always go for the next. Selalu explore. Gue selalu ingin membuat persona baru.

“I just do what I want, do what i love to do. Just do it in context. What’s in what you do, lo harus tau apa itu. Keep going on, always go for the next. Selalu explore. Gue selalu ingin membuat persona baru. Itu tadi sih, create something different, keluar dari spectrum yang ada. But sometimes you just don’t wanna explain what are you doing, karena gue nggak pengen orang determine my work as i said they so. Mereka bebas untuk interpret as what they want”.

Credit : bandcamp.com

It’s like Kareem Soenharjo never run out of ideas, dari mana sih dapet inspirasi itu? Apakah ada favorit artist, musician atau figure tertentu yang sangat mempengaruhi Kareem ketika berkarya?

“It always changes man, i can’t name all of it because it always changes. You gotta keep rotating, menemukan sesuatu yang baru. Mungkin kalo disebut ya kayak, Jimi Hendrix atau Tyler the Creator. But you have make something different, contoh lo suka si Tyler, lo harus buat sesuatu yang keluar dari spectrum si Tyler ini. You have to contribute sesuatu yang beda dan fresh”.

Perihal genres favourite, ini nih yang Kareem Soenharjo bilang…

“Apa sih genres itu kalo sekarang kita lihat, menurut gue itu cuma kayak system yang memudahkan lo buat access music itu. It’s all just for convenience kalo, kayak tools yang mengelompokan music-music itu. Anyway no one has shit taste, anyone has no right to judge what you like. You can just listen what you want”.

Anyway no one has shit taste, anyone has no right to judge what you like.

Kareem Soenharjo

Sedikit out of topic nih mas, kalau dari mas Kareem sendiri ada nggak recommendation brand untuk device, gears dan instrument? Atau brand yang click banget sama kebutuhan bermusik mas Kareem?

“Untuk DAW (digital audio workstation) gue pake Abbleton. Kalo buat audio interface gue pake Tascam US 2×2, biasanya ini gue pake untuk rekaman vocal, dll. Untuk VST (Virtual Studio Technology) gue pake Spirfire Labs, ini kayak ngebantu gue dapat sound-sound, semacam, audio library gitu”.

Personally, aku lihat mas Kareem as a fusion of musician and artist. Kalau diminta untuk memilih, what would you rather be, a musician or artist?

“That’s all deeply rooted in my life, dari gue masih kecil. I failed class juga gara-gara itu. Gambar-gambar di kelas terus di hukum, man dua hal itu deeply rooted, for real”.

“Pertanyaan ini nggak bisa dijawab. If i gotta choose? Itu sama aja kayak milih kehilangan kaki atau tangan. Music dan art itu 2 hal yang integral dalam hidup gue”.

Music dan art itu 2 hal yang integral dalam hidup gue

Terakhir nih mas, ada pesan atau motivasi dari seorang Kareem Soenharjo untuk para artis atau pekerja industry creative di luar sana agar tetap dan terus berkarya?

“Simple sih man. Just keep it real man, keep moving. Do your best to make it happen and do what make you happy. Again, not anyone have a right to judge you.”.

Titik sukses itu menurut gue, when i can keep doing what i love. Just keep it real, but don’t ever lose yourself.

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