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Ulu Roots

Ulu Roots
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    First of all somebody who was an artist, somebody who was close to me and listened whenever I was singing...
    ...He said: 'I think you have talent to sing.' That there was a glimpse there.
    So yeah, I kind of started when...
    I already talked about the community here, called banjar where everybody in the village comes together for cultural activities.
    You've got that in all the villages here?
    Yeah, we've got organization for the youth and when they're married they jump to another level, but still in the same community.
    So in this community they have gamelan: Balinese instruments.
    Also when I was in the youth organization we had anniversaries every year where we celebrated.
    We normally had a band playing and I was like I wish I was on that stage, how can I get there?
    One day the leader of the youth community at that time asked me, came to me and said: 'I think you should sing.'
    Yeah that was my first time singing.
    Only a few years after that when I was in high school, I studied in Denpasar.
    I had a roommate who came from east-Bali. He had a guitar.
    I didn't dare to ask him, can I try or something.
    It was a school holiday. I was still part of the community so I went back to my village, to Uluwatu whenever I had holidays.
    I met my friend that played with me that night, he was blind. He studied but the government paid for his studies.
    There were facilities for him, so he also had a guitar.
    I came to him, because I knew him so I could ask. I dared to ask: 'can you teach me to play the guitar?'
    Then he started teaching me, I came to his house and he started teaching me. But he was a blind man you know?
    He positioned my fingers and he said: 'this is D.' And I drew it to remember the position of my fingers.
    Then he asked me to strum. 'No no, you should push harder,' And he pressed my hand, my finger, like this.
    'And now you play.' That's how I started, with the blind guy. Since then, I went back to study, I could ask my friend: 'Can I try?'
    It was so strong you know, this thing that was pulling me was so strong. I kept it in my mind and everywhere I went I met musicians.
    Or people who were also learning, who could afford to buy instruments. And the nature answered me, connected me to those people.
    In university the same, I started college and there was this extra days on fridays when students could play music.
    So I went there. First I just started singing and then I started playing the guitar, and percussion.
    And another guy who had a keyboard became close to me. We became friends. I went to his house and learned to play keyboard.
    And then we set up a band for the first time. We played reggae. It was called Uprising, and we went to a festival and stuff.
    Yeah so we reached... his mom is super cool because.. I don't know, this is also a life lesson.
    She said, the mom said to me: 'Armi you know, when my son became friends with you he got better.
    Before he knew me he went out, never came back home, was drunk. He was a mess.
    Maybe he had the same road as me in a way that he just loved music too much. He didn't have someone to help him.
    But then I met him and we were just like brothers. I slept at my friends house all the time.
    One day his mom came to me and said: 'We should buy the whole set up: instruments, mixer, box, everything!' She bought it!
    And then we started playing in a bar. His mom, again, said: 'I think you guys need an outfit.' She bought us an outfit! Super cool!
    The name of Ulu Roots is from... I wrote everything in the bio of Ulu Roots on the facebook page but I can explain it now.
    Geographically we take the name of Uluwatu to remind people this is where we're from.
    So I added the name Ulu, which in Balinese means head. Roots, you know roots is English.
    And then the philosophy is... It is connected, the name of my band and Balinese philosophy.
    The highest consciousness in Bali is like the circle. When the head, the top meets the roots the circle is round.
    So there is no level, like you forget about who you are. It's like unification, equality and unity.
    So that's the concept. And why I chose two languages: I expect the exchange.
    I learned a lot from the western world, and the western world learned a lot from Bali. It's always like that.
    Look at now, when I started meeting people through this homestay and I talked to travelers, asked what they searched for.
    This woke me up, I felt like...those travelers knocked on my door: 'Man, I wanna see your house.' 'Your house is so beautiful.' I heard it.
    It's also like... it made me look again at what we have culturally.
    It makes me more aware about, about Balinese, I mean what we should keep as a Balinese identity.
    And I started thinking to build this place. (Ulu Garden) In relation to... to make my vision real. To get this exchange.
    This is the start but I already feel this is coming. Through you also.
    Hopefully soon this is more real. That people really come and share.
    My mission is to get this exchange.
    On my first album are more Indonesian songs but now I focus on English, even though my English is super limited but still I try.
    I want to put as much as I can, to put Balinese philosophy or something in my songs.
    And next, as I told you, I'm open for anyone to support us, to help us writing lyrics.
    I can give a clue or if anybody has ideas, but of course I will choose which one is our color.
    Of course, it has to fit with the band. But that's really nice, that you're involving other people in your band that way.
    Yeah because... music taught me about life. music taught me, music as in having a band taught me
    To play the way we have this music and band really taught me a lot.
    How to control ego, emotion, what is your vision, what you want to do in life. I get it through this you know.
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