Nidji are a bit of an enigma for an Indonesian band, difficult to pin down or pigeon-hole. On the one hand, their name isn't even Indonesian – it actually comes from ‘niji' which means rainbow in Japanese. Their music has had all sorts of labels thrown at it, from pop punk to out-and-out rock, to Britpop (a style of guitar-driven pop originating in the UK in the 1990s, inspired by much earlier bands like The Beatles but more exemplified by the likes of Oasis and Blur). A clue to where Nidji see themselves is in the range of influences they cite themselves, including The Killers and Coldplay. This would tend to place them firmly in the alternative rock camp.
The band originated in Jakarta, on the north-west coast of Java, in 2002. At that time there was a definite resurgence in a guitar-driven pop music. A lot of this originated in America, where bands like The Strokes and Interpol were giving a modern twist on older garage or post punk sounds. The former were often likened to classic 70s pop/rock exponents Blondie, while the latter owed much of their material to the intense riffs but subtle melodies of Velvet Underground-inspired English rockers Joy Division.
Both The Killers and Coldplay certainly came to prominence at the start of that decade, and it's no wonder that news of their dynamic modern take on classic rock vibes made its way across the Pacific to Jakarta, via the radio waves and, of course, MTV.
The musicians who grouped together to form Nidji were vocalist Giring Ganesha, keyboard player Run-D, guitarists Rama and Ariel, bassist Andro and drummer Adri. So far they have released six acclaimed singles: ‘Child', ‘Sudah', ‘Hapus Aku', ‘Kau dan Aku', ‘Disco Lazy Time' and ‘Biarlah'.
One of the aspects that has really propelled Nidji's music into the public eye is the fact that two of their singles were chosen for inclusion in the soundtrack of Heroes, an American science fiction drama that ran for four seasons from 2006 to 2010. In addition, they have also supplied background music for the Indonesian movie Laskar Pelangi (The Rainbow Troops), director Riri Riza's acclaimed study of ten schoolboys and their two inspirational teachers struggling against the odds in a farming community.
Their debut album, released in 2006, was entitled Breakthru. And English version of the album came out the following year. This was followed by a further three albums over the next five years, entitled To Up in 2007, Let's Play in 2009, and their most recent Liberty in 2011.
Nidji tapped into a whole new and potentially vast audience when their track ‘Liberty and Victory' was adopted for a club anthem by English Premiership football giants Manchester United. The so-called ‘red devils' of Manchester are the club with the largest support base anywhere on the planet.
Naturally, all this popularity has been well recognised when it comes to awards. MTV Indonesia declared them Best New Artist of 2006. That same year, MTV awarded them with the prize for Best Group Band / Duo.