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Secret Meadow is Shy Guy Shoegaze for Laid-Back Weekend Hangs

"Same Old Fear" is five tracks of jangly pop songs about all the stuff that keeps us up at night.
Photo courtesy the band

Secret Meadow's melancholy indie is sorta poppy, sorta chill, and probably the perfect soundtrack to chilling at home. Which makes sense since the band recorded its debut EP Same Old Fear at singer and lead guitarist Ricardo Taufano's house. The five-song EP is now building a fair bit of hype in Indonesia… not bad for a band described as Ricardo as four "shy guys" on stage.

VICE Indonesia's Marcel Thee spoke with Ricardo about the band's early days as record store clerks and the difficulties of being an introverted dude on stage.

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VICE Indonesia: So you guys all met at work right?
Ricardo Taufano: We first met each other when we all worked at the Monka Magic Store, around 2014, but Vigry and I were already friends from back in our university days. We had the idea of forming a band like, a long time ago, but we couldn't do it because we didn't have enough free time to spend together. We were working retail, so, you know, when one of us was off, the other one was on. Then, right when I resigned, I spontaneously asked the other three guys if they were serious about starting a band. So we're pretty new. We formed around early 2016.

People say Secret Meadow sounds a bit like shoegaze bands like My Bloody Valentine or goth bands like The Cure. 
The initial idea was to play something poppy like Slowdive or The Cure, but we ended up sounding pretty different. I recorded some of the demos and we just went from there.

What was it like to record at home?
The hard part was all the technical things. The options are pretty limited when you are recording in a house. When we wanted certain things to sound like this or that, we just didn't have the gear to make it happen. It's kind of frustrating, actually. We don't have enough money to record in a proper studio, but the funny thing is that we had more time to figure out nice licks for the tracks right in the middle of recording because we did it ourselves. We could even just pause the session if we weren't feeling it. We had instances where we had to stop recording vocals because my dogs wouldn't stop barking.

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Where did you come up with your name? Why a meadow? Why is it secret?
We took it from the Swedish band Simian Ghost. Arief and I were listening to their album "The Veil," and it has a song called "Secret Meadow." We thought it would make for a nice band name since it has no negative or positive meanings itself. There is no real philosophical meaning behind the name. Jaro wanted to call the band Barthoff, but that, of course, triggered a lot of objections.

Your song titles are all very poetic sounding.  
I'm the one in charge of coming up with these tiles and lyrics. I'm inspired by things that disturb me. "Vexation" is about someone who is drenched in the rain after a long day of work. It really sucks. "Followed by the Voice," is about being shy and socially awkward. I wrote this song because I am not really good at being social like Arief "Same Old Fear" is about my fear over my own future—a cliche that questions what I will be when I grow up. I wrote "Endings" because environmental issues concern me, and the ignorance and irresponsibility of human beings is a fascinating topic. "Water in the Flowing River," is about time, and how it disturbs me.

A lot of younger bands are focused on EPs these days. Is it a trend?
I don't know why that trend is happening, but for us, releasing an EP means less responsibility, and it's a good way to introduce us into the scene. Besides, we don't want to record a full album at home, and we don't have the money to record it in a studio either.

What can we expect live?
We have some shows coming up, but we can only get on the stage during the weekends. I don't know how to describe the way we rock. I think we're just four shy guys when we're on stage.