They sound just like a certain British band. Just don't tell them that
We're no copycats
SOUNDING like Coldplay's Indonesian twin is a double-edged sword for Indonesian band Nidji.
On the one hand, it makes it stand out in an arena where dangdut, rock and pop rule.
But on the other hand, Nidji has been accused of being a copycat.
It doesn't help that its 23-year-old lead singer Giring Ganesha sounds almost exactly like Chris Martin.
One Jakarta Post reviewer observed that Giring is 'consummately copying Chris Martin's earnest delivery'.
It's an opinion that Giring is not happy to hear.
He said: 'We are not Coldplay. We are very influenced by Brit pop but we have our own sound. We don't want to copy them.'
The band released its debut album Breakthru' early last year. It went double platinum in Jakarta by October.
Giring and his bandmates - bassist Andro Regantoro, keyboardist Randy Danistha, drummer Adri Prakarsa, guitarist Ariel Harsya - were in town to catch British pop trio Muse in concert last week.
They were enjoying a brief holiday from their Indonesian tour.
The sixth member, rhythm guitarist Ramadhista Akbar, known as Rama, was back in Jakarta finishing up an exam.
The rest of Nidji were also university students.
Except for Rama, the boys took leave of absence from their respective universities to pursue their pop dreams.
Said Giring: 'It was hard for all of us to do university and tour at the same time. We wanted to take this opportunity. It has always been our dream.'
Nidji originates from a Japanese word 'niji' which means rainbow.
Ariel, 22, who was responsible for coming up with the band's moniker, explained that it reflects their various musical influences, from jazz, funk and, of course, Brit pop.
Bands like Keane, Muse, Interpol and Coldplay were listed as favourites.
'We just added the 'D' to give it an Indonesian flavour. I don't think it means anything in Bahasa Indonesia,' he said.
Nidji first got together in 2002. It recorded a demo tape and tried to independently market it, receiving some airplay on Indonesian radio stations.
But it was not until a gig at a mall in Jakarta that Nidji finally secured a recording deal with Musika Studio, Peterpan's recording label.
Musika released an English version of Breakthru' in the Philippines, Thailand and Korea two months ago.
After its tour of Indonesia, Nidji will go back to the studio to prepare for its second album.
Like most Indonesian bands, it hopes to make it internationally.
But, more than anything, the band members hope to become like Indonesian band, Slank.
Said Giring: 'They have so many fanatical fans. If they ran for president of Indonesia, they would definitely win.
'We want to be like them. Icons.'