It was Indonesia's TV7 2004 ‘The Dream Band' competition that set this band on the road to fame and fortune. At that event, vocalist Julia Angelia Lepar (aka Pare), guitarist Mario Marcella (aka Cella), drummer Haposan Haryanto Tobing (aka Posan) and bassist Prinzes Amanda (aka Icez) impressed the talent-spotting panel to scoop the competition prize. Following on from their success, not to mention the widespread exposure on the popular TV show, the so-called ‘dream band' began working on their debut album. This was eponymously titled Kotak and was released by Warner Music Indonesia in 2005.
There are 10 songs on this album, which capture the band's trademark sound of pop-orientated rock music, or rock-tinged pop, depending on which side of the musical spectrum you happen to be on!
As appears to be the case for a great number of rock bands, phenomenal chart success and fan acclaim was balanced with some turbulent internal politics. The line-up of the band seldom remained stable for any lengthy period of time. Pare and Icez departed in 2007, with the vacant lead vocalist spot being assumed by Tantri Syalindri (aka Tantri), and the bass guitar role going to Swasti Sabdastantri (aka Chua). Shortly afterwards drummer Posan took his sticks elsewhere.
The follow-up to the acclaimed first album was released in 2008 and entitled Kodak Kedua. A sample from this album, ‘Energi: Tendangan Dari Langit' or ‘Energy: kicks from the sky', was converted into a ring-back tone. As of 2013 this musical snippet has been downloaded in excess of one million times.
Two years later their third album, Energi, was followed by Energi Repackage. Prolific songwriters and recording artists, Kotak followed this with a further two albums over 2012 and 2013: Terbaik and KFC Adu Bintang.
Amongst the many accolades earned by the band was the title of ‘Favorite Breakthrough Artist' at the MTV (Indonesia) awards in 2009. Their vocalist, Tantri, accepted Best Rock Band/Group and Best Rock Album awards at AMI the same year. Kotak were also voted ‘Best Newcomer Group' by Anugerah Planet Music.
As well as being appreciated in their native Indonesia, the band has spread their wings, playing in Singapore after being personally invited there to perform at Muzik FM. This concert was arranged by Superstar and Legends, in conjunction with Raistar Entertainment.
There are many reasons for the enduring success of this young band. Having a strong female vocalist is always a plus in the rock world. Tantri can certainly belt out a rock song, coping well with being heard above the shrieking rock guitar and thunderous rhythm section. If you want to get an excellent idea of what Kotak are capable of, there are many exciting links available on YouTube. One of these is entitled ‘The Biggest Indonesian Rock Concert Performance by Kotak'. This shows a full-blooded clip of the band playing before thousands of adoring fans. The stage-set projects into the audience, allowing Tantri to strut across the stage, then march right into the crowd. You sense that the adoring fans closest to the front are more than delighted to receive such a fabulous ring-side view of their heroes – well, hero and heroines!