Interview: Aprilia Apsari

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We’ve always been interested in multi-disciplined artists, so when we heard that Aprilia Apsari, front woman of premiere retro influenced Indonesian band White Shoes & The Couples Company, was taking part in the last Jakarta Biennale, we had to drop her an email with to pick her brains a little bit.

Aprilia Apsari - Jakarta Bienalle 2015
Aprilia Apsari, front woman of White Shoes & The Couples Company, working on her mural.

Hi Sari, Happy New Year 2016 and thank you for doing this interview with us.
Happy New Year 2016 to you guys, hope you all are well!


First of all, you’re widely known as a singer/songwriter for White Shoes & the Couples Company, and some of them don’t know that you’re also an illustrator. Can you let us know how did you get involved with the art scene? And what made you chose it (influence)?
I studied art by the year 1999 in Jakarta Institute of The Arts, my major was Visual Comunication Design, that’s how I have special interest in illustrasions. I finished my study by the year of 2004 and since then I constantly worked as graphic designer and illustrator.


How do you juggle between your busy band schedule and your other professional commitments? I’m sure it takes a lot of time in terms of preparing for an exhibition and you have to stay focus on one thing at a time and at the same time your band is invited to play shows almost every month and everything requires a great commitment.
It’s not very easy, but anyhow I love it.


You’re one of the participants at Jakarta Biennale 2015. How many exhibitions have you been participated since you’ve graduated or even before you graduated? And when was your first solo exhibition? And when is your next exhibition?
Not much, only few collective exhibitions here and there. My first and one and only solo exhibition was in 2008.


The title of your work for this biennale is ‘Pergelutan‘ (loosely translated as ‘Struggle’). In what way this work is related/connected to the theme “Maju Kena, Mundur Kena: Bertindak Sekarang”?
“Maju Kena Mundur Kena” is an idiom in Bahasa Indonesia, it means you’re STUCK. Jakarta Biennale 2015 challenged me to made a mural in Marunda. Marunda is far away from the central of the city, it is near the harbor, industrial transit area by the sea. The people there mostly work as fishermen, or work at the harbor for industrial purpose. In Marunda it self lays one legendary site called “Rumah si Pitung”. Pitung was a legendary hero, some equate him to the ‘Robin Hood’ of Jakarta. So I can only pictured this hero struggling the wave, you may say by the sea or struggling the floods, since Jakarta always having floods over the city every year if the rainy seasons come, I never care much about the theme.


What is the process like in making a mural? Are you going to apply the same method that you use in your musical writing process? Are they even related? From what I can see, in both situations, you’re making an artwork.
It’s totally different, in music I work as a team. With my mural, I work alone. You have to be physically fit doing the mural, you have to climb three levels of scaffolding everyday, mixing the colors, paints and so on until it’s done.


If you were to choose between one of these, what would you choose, music or visual
Both are amazing and means a lot to me, they help me survive, truly I can not choose.


Any updates with White Shoes & the Couples Company? Do you have any upcoming release since the last one “Menyanyikan Lagu2 Daerah” EP in 2013? And when it’ll be released?
No not yet. This year we recording new album, it will be released in 2017.


If yes, in what format? EP? Single? Full album?
Album, guess it’s gonna be available in CD’s and cassete tapes.


That’s all, Sari. As always, we wish you all the best!
Thank you The Wknd. All the best for you guys too!

Interviewed and transcribed by Arif Ramly