Indonesia is one of the countries with a growing skinhead scene. there are Oi! bands from this country. One of the longest running Indonesian Oi! bands is No Man’s Land. Founded in 1994 they are one of the pioneers in the skinhead scene overthere. Band based in Malang – Indonesia. Once before they formed the band, fery and didik were friends in same high school, but not for didit. He knew them both as playmates at the age of 13 until they were in high school.
Didit was the one who always had musical ideas or direction not commonplace and were sometimes considered extreme to some parents in local community, but they all have the similarities in outlook on social development in which they live. All three friends liked pretty much the same music. And most of all, punk and Oi!, they liked different music too and all three were music lovers. They did not like popular music,-pop music .But liked underground music that tended not be popular music listened too by other youth around them at the time. He was always more critical of the lyrics and music of other bands that might have an influence on them.
And after they graduated from high school, they formed a band called No Man’s Land. They took this name from a war movie they had liked and all seen. No Man’s Land was a punk band they formed which was more of an upbeat, faster and more of a singa long punk rock style.
Their music, started taking on a different direction and influence. After Didit introduced them to Oi! music such as, The Last Resort, The Oppressed, The Strike and The 4skins Cockney Rejects, The Business etc.The first time they recorded it was on very basic, simple equipment. The results for the first time weren’t what they wanted. Determined to make better recordings and sound better, they kept trying, and recorded once more with some additional tracks.
In 1996, they made recording of their new songs in a better studio with better equipment. Each of them would collect a little money for the new recordngs. They all had to utilise their time very well, and work out songs faster and more efficiently. As they could not afford to many recording sessions at the new studio. the personnel at the time have become four. is Catur who encounter at the first time when No Man’s Land played in some gig, then didit offered him to join.
after the master tape was completed,. They took it to a studio which was commonly used to record/press traditional and folk songs. They made 200 copies and distributed them all friend to friend . In a true DIY punk/Oi way. It was extremely rare and unusual for a band to record and distribute their tapes without a label at that time in Indonesia. Some was merch or music from other punk distro’s etc, from other countries.
No Man’s Land formed many good friendships/relationships, in other areas of Indonesia and abroad aswell. Didit corresponded with many friends and fans. Usually writing in the letters, first by introducing his band No Man’s Land. Didit was very diligent with correspondance and keeping up with his fans letters. On average the letters would take about 2 weeks to be delivered upon receivership etc. He was diligent because letter writing was still a main source of communication. As the internet, and internet access for the common people, was still fairly rare at the time. he did it also to make sure , No Man’s Land was given some attention by other scenes, by introducing it to people around the world. And wanted people to know, there was a good and growing punk and Oi scene coming from out of Indonesia.
In 1997, a label from Malaysia offered to make a split tape album with No Man’s Land and a punk band called Karatz from Malaysia. The album was produced in Malaysia, and then distributed to various countries.For the Indonesian market , No Man’s Land would be given royalties.After the sale of 200 copies of the album. The label sent 200 printed covers of the album to No Man’s Land. Then they would make copies of the tapes in a DIY way, and then sell those copies themselves.
In 1998, No Man’s Land recorded their new album. The studio was better and more proffessional than what they had been used to before. The LP ” Grow Away From The Society ” was recorded all in a live session. In this new album they had a faster and more aggressive sound and more intense lyrics, the lyrics were alot to do with social and racial unrest at the time, commenting about riots etc. The album was released by local label, Confuse records. They took no royalties from album sales, but instead passed on the finances to friends who would later construct a record label-distro, and so develop and build it up. To later pay the recording cost of the next album. The distro serves to distribute stuffs such as tapes-cds-t shirts-button pins etc. Which would be made available for anyone to buy, also became a place for the boys to hang out, and socialise etc.
A year after that, No Man’s Land recorded for a new album once again.Called ” All Together Now “. In that album, there was alot of lyrics about the local scene in Malang. The scene was growing bigger at the time, many more punks and skins seemed to be coming up in the scene. No Man’s Land played and average of weekly gigs, but never left town. Due to work commitments, No Man’s Land only played in Malang for a while, but their merch and lp’s were sold all over by friends distro and DIY.
And then in 2001, Didit got married and so did Ferry and Didik. Didit got work out of town. Times changed, the scene seemed to slow down, and No Man’s Land were only playing on average a gig/show a month. Didits mates rarely went to see shows after a time. And Didit barely had time to go see a punk show himself anymore. His work was that full time, that he only got back to home to Malang once a week. But inbetween his and their hectic shedules, they still found a little time to get some band practice in and hang out together.
In 2005, Didit resigned from his out of town work, and started and built up a business with his wife. So then he had plenty of time to get together with his mates again. Then in 2008, No Mans Land went to record some new material after a fair hiatus, of just jamming and prac and no recording. Lyrically and musically they felt they had improved, and seemed they had improved on their sound quality. They were kind of veterans in their scene by now. They took 3 tracks from and old lp, to record on the new material. They didn’t change their sound too drastically, kept it much the same. But just made some subtle adjustments and improvements. The latest lp is scheduled to be released on a European label, and will be out at the end of 2011. No Man’s Land’s expectations for the new album will be realised against the feedback and sales from the current international skinhead scene. Didit and the boys have faith that old fans of No Man’s Land will not be dissapointed, as No Man’s Land has kept true to its lyrical and musical roots, pure , straight up Indonesian Oi!. And at the end of the day, No Mans Land are just happy to play the music they love, and have a laugh and a say. And happy that the Skins/Punks scene is still alive and kicking.
No Mans Land are :
Didit - guitar | vocal
Ferry - guitar
Didik - drums
Catur - bass