Label Interview: Haum Entertainment

Posted: by The Editor

Here at The Alternative we try to keep our eyes on the global emo community, and much of the best emo in the world has been coming from the Asian continent. The Indonesian label Haum Entertainment has been an integral player, putting out incredible emo, shoegaze, post-hardcore, and general indie rock for the past decade. We caught up with founder Vino Sungepet and publicist Alfan Rahadi to discuss the label’s history and some of their key releases.

How did Haum begin?

Vino: Haum Entertainment started in 2014, when I visited the first annual records store day in Malang. There are many independent record stores there which are dominated by the genres of hardcore punk, metal, grindcore, and used releases. Because of this, I thought about the other music genre in Malang should also be released. Haum, which was previously an online radio that played local Malang music, changed its concept to a record label and started with releases about pop punk, emo and indie rock.

What are some albums you think are really consequential in the scheme of Haum’s existence?

Vino: Around the initial releases with bands that weren’t widely known, such as Write the Future – Bury My Trace Someone Will Take My Place, Beeswax – First Step, Much – Closest Things I Can Relate To, Shewn – At Home, Drowning, Folkapolka – First Journey, etc. I think that caused an uproar because it turned out there was music like that in this small town of Malang.

Alfan: These two albums below came out when I joined Haum and one of my proudest moments because it proved Haum could also sell more diverse materials other than their more widely known roster. It was a moment when I felt I finally served a purpose in Haum’s existence as a marketing and publicist. It’s also a moment when Haum is proven could be significantly active in bandcamp relating to those two being the most sold records during the 2022-2023 era of Haum: Innocence by Closure and Bluest Year by Girl and Her Bad Mood. These five albums below I think are the scene defining albums, the albums that caught the National Media attention that put Malang and Haum on the music map more firmly than ever. Especially when it comes with “emo revival” in Indonesia, there’s always name like Write the Future, Much, Beeswax, and Shewn coming up in the search bar: HAUM006, At Home, Drowning by Shewn; HAUM003, First Step EP by Beeswax; HAUM007, First Journey by Folkapolka; HAUM001, Bury My Trace Someone Will Take My Place EP by Write the Future; and HAUM004, Closest Things I Can Relate To by Much.

You have a really sonically diverse roster. How do you decide who to sign, and what do you look for in a band?

Vino: Initially we only focused on releases from local bands from Malang or East Java, with genres other than metal, hardcore punk, grindcore. However, as time went by, we started to expand and chose to look for bands with potential and in whose area there was no record label. Lastly we released a band from Padang, West Sumatra, namely Quaint., and from Sragen, Central Java, in D.O.S.A.

Alfan: The final decision of course is at the hands of Vino, but I sometimes suggest some bands that really could walk in line with the vibe Haum has always been known for, a sonically diverse record label. First, I always look for a unique value that a band has, such as the language they sang. I care more about the bands that are brave enough to show their vernacular side. However, English is fine if a band can convey their message detailed in their lyrics, not just google translate it. Third, their music style that could reflect some kind of aura like, “Oh that band is very Haum Entertainment” (mostly relating to the emo and pop punk revival sound, or indie rock sound).

A lot of the bands you sign, as you’ve mentioned, are in the punk or emo realm. I’m curious if there are any bands you think have been a significant influence to a lot of Haum’s artists, Indonesian or otherwise?

Vino: I think at that time bands like The Story So Far, Basement, Being as an Ocean, Knuckle Puck, American Football, Mock Orange, and others were all hype over the world and even in Indonesia itself.

Alfan: as far as can see since the day that we signed Write the Future, Beeswax (first EP), Shewn, VVACHRI and Hulica. Many of the class of 2014 bands such as Story So Far, Knuckle Puck, Citizen, Basement, Into It Over It, Balance and Composure, Being as an Ocean and even the old ones such Braid, American Football and Mock Orange have been a big influence to our bands. You can hear them in the early releases such Beeswax’s first EP, Write the Future’s Bury My Trace Someone Will Take My Place EP and Shewn’s At Home, Drowning. We also fond of the late ’80s youth crew sound like the one we released Four Fingers Down. For our newest roster, Girl and Her Bad Mood and Closure, 2010s Dunedin Sound of New Zealand and Australian and Russian post punk played great influence in them such as Motorama, Brandenburg, The Church and Fazerdaze. 

What other bands (not on your label) should readers of The Alternative be following?

Vino: For local Indonesian bands, especially East Java, you should listen to Timeless, Humidumi, and Brunobauer from Surabaya. Also, we often listen to Settle and Milledenials from Bali. Also check from Malang there is Still Broken.

Alfan: I think I have to recommend more Indonesian bands such as Farah Rud (Malang), Hallam Foe (Malang, Fiore (Jombang), Grup Musik Hari Libur (Jakarta), The Waving’s (Malang), Costive (Malang), Ritus or Ritus Kvlt in Spotify (Malang), Eastcape (Malang/Blitar), Mati Di Saturnus (Malang), Pillh’s Castle (Malang), The Jeblogs (Magelang), Rabu (Yogyakarta) and The Polar Bears (Malang).

What do you think makes Haum different from other labels?

Vino: I think Haum is just the same as any other labels in Indonesia. But we’re from a small city called Malang, and not many people know of any potential bands from the small city in East Java, Malang. That’s why in my opinion it makes Haum different from other labels.

Alfan:I don’t think that we have any difference from other labels, we’re only applying the ”think locally, act globally” ethics just like the rest of the labels in Indonesia.

What is Haum working on for 2024?

Vino: In 2024 we still don’t have a mature plan, but there is a desire to expand into the world of YouTube by having our own programs such as video clips, podcasts, gig reports and so on. Also continuing to release bands that you don’t know yet and also merchandise to make it more complete.

Zac Djamoos | @gr8whitebison

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