Cannonball and Dominic C shoot for success:
how an Indonesian band went to #1 on the indie charts in Indonesia

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Summer 2007

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Take a French music producer and two well-known Indonesian music personalities and load. What results is a hot bullet that shoots up the charts in a region that was hungry for new takes on solid pop. Producer Dominic C oversaw the young group’s rise to early fame on radio and television, and is gearing now to cement the early success with follow-up projects for his pop music discovery, "Cannonball." The Empress is wowed to bring you the story of a unique band that will continue to ignite the Indonesian indie scene, and beyond, with excitement.


Kiki Marino (drums, bass guitar) and Siska Salman (lead vocals, guitar) are Cannonball, the #1 indie band in Indonesia.

Q: Briefly comment on how you, a French musician and music producer, came to recognize and believe in the Indonesian group Cannonball.

Dominic C: I'm French indeed and have been living in Indonesia for 10 years. I'm first of all a photographer, but I have also worked in the music industry (The Silencers, Astonvilla) when I was living in Paris.

Music, along with photography, has always been a passion of mine, and this is why I've always kept an eye on Indonesian artists, some of them being very interesting and unique. I then co-produced Nextofkin’s debut album in 2006, and also made it possible for them to be hired as a support act on Astonvilla's Indonesia tour the same year. On this tour, I met with Kiki Marino (ex-Esnanas), a drummer hired by Nextofkin for these gigs, who talked about his new band project, Cannonball.

Astonished by his drumming technique (I’m myself a drummer apprentice) and his personality, I later decided to executively produce Cannonball’s debut EP, which is due for formal release in June 2007, featuring the song "Why He, Why Me", my very first attempt in songwriting.

Q: Was their steady-paced rise to fame a surprise to you, or something you knew would come from the work and talent of the group?

Dominic C: Well, Cannonball’s debut EP has not been released yet (at the time of this interview), but two of their tracks have already been aired by some major Indonesian radio stations. "Why He, Why Me" off the forthcoming EP was # 1 for three consecutive weeks last April, on eight Prambors FM stations, one of the biggest networks in Indonesia. So, yeah, it came like quite a surprise to us, because we didn’t expect such success that so soon. Actually, I decided to produce Cannonball because I believe in them and their talent, so I feel excited that many people already like their music. That helps the band to get more and larger venue gigs contracts; it’s important for Cannonball to perform live on a regular basis, since that’s what they love the most. They’re also conscious that nowadays a band can survive only by performing as often as possible, especially in Indonesia, where piracy is everywhere. At the same time, however, we want to stay humble because we know that we haven’t achieved anything in terms of industry recognition yet… Our idea then is to "let’s perform as much as possible first, wait for the release of the album, and if sales are reasonably ok we’ll be able to look back at all that we did together since the end of last year and make our next moves from there. But believe that we won’t rest ~ we’ll quickly work on a second album ~ Cannonball is a gathering of passionate people, and they live for with music "24-7"....

Kiki (this time on bass guitar) and Siska stylin’ the groove.

Q: With Cannonball now the number 1 indie band in Indonesia, do you think they’ll become more commercial or remain true to the style of music fans have come to love?

Dominic C: Once again, let’s wait until the official release of the album, but I don’t think being commercial is a problem. Cannonball intends to find the right balance between "money" and "spirit". That’s not easy, indeed, but I believe Siska Salman and Kiki Marino, the two people who are the frontrunners of Cannonball, are smart, humble and pragmatic enough to arrange a successful and long musical career for themselves.

Q: Describe how you helped develop the band’s sound and musical approach. Which bands and other musicians in the band’s formative years influenced their present day music?

Dominic C: I’m 40 years old, and I’ve been very much influenced by the sound of the 80’s (my favourite band has always been Ultravox). Siska and Kiki are quite younger than me, and they moreso have been influenced by 90s music. I believe that the forthcoming album will be a mix of both influences. We did fully agree on many points, though; the tracks, for example, had to be melodic and guitar oriented.

Q: Has TV and increased radio exposure in Indonesia increased the band’s popularity more than you expected? In what ways?

Dominic C: At the time of this interview, TV and radio exposure is excellent, and it has definitely helped the band more easily get contracts for several gigs in the near future. I believe foremost that this exposure has increased Cannonball’s popularity among professionals in the music business. We and those professionals both will see how large the fan base has grown when the album is released.

Kiki and Siska performing live earlier in 2007 with other band members.

Q: You must be very proud of the success of the song you wrote, "Why He, Why Me" on Cannonball’s January 2007 debut EP. Please comment on how and why you came to write the song.

Dominic C: Basically, the lyrics of "Why He, Why Me" are about my deep love for a perfect woman, and also about fortune and luck. The concepts were: Why am I so fortunate as to have fallen in love with the perfect woman, while others are not so lucky? Why can't lovers consummate their feelings for each other, or a family becomes separated, for external reasons or a twist of fate such as an earthquake or tsunami for instance? This song is a question to God, indeed. Indonesia has been struck by so many natural, economic or political disasters in recent years that this question seems legitimate. Okay, flashback: last September my love for that "perfect woman" had grown so high that I wanted to display it in an original way. If I dedicated a song to her, I believed it would make her fall for me, once and for all. I then started to work on the lyrics, and Siska Salman (Cannonball’s vocalist & guitarist) came out with such a moving vocal melody that it strengthened my motivation in songwriting, my first experience ever. Cannonball and I further worked on arranging the song in a quite Ultravox way, and the final result was so appealing that I instantly decided to produce Cannonball’s debut EP. As Cannonball liked the song very much too, we then wanted to include the track in the forthcoming EP, re-arranging it in a more acoustic way to fit the main mood of the album. When we got into the recording studio, two months later, we were still so in love with our Ultravox-sounding version of "Why He, Why Me" that we finally decided to include it as a bonus track.

Q: Briefly comment on upcoming projects, music CDs, etc., in the works with Cannonball.

Dominic C: I of course will follow up with Cannonball in the coming months, as their album will be released soon. I will probably work again with them on a second album, but I’m also planning to produce a young and very talented female pop singer, who’s also got great potential. I like her voice and personality a lot. I really believe in my feelings and my ear when it’s about music. When I decide to produce an artist, I need to like his/her work of course, but also him/her, too, as a human being. It’s the same way I need to feel when I shoot a model. If they don’t have skill and personality, there’s no life in their talent.


Music producer DOMINIC C’s current press release for CANNONBALL:

Being pigeon-holed into a certain genre is maybe every band’s resentment. Nothing is more irritating to this new rocking-duo, Cannonball, than when coming across people who instantly say after hearing about the band, "Hey, you are two people, so you’re a White-Stripes wannabee, huh? Or Roxette maybe!" The band has a reply to those kinds of uninformed judgments. "You can’t do that! Well, can you believe that? I mean how many zillions of four-piece or five-piece bands have there been? They’ve never even heard our tracks in the first place. We haven’t released our record, yet," rasps singer & guitarist Siska Salman.

The duo was formed in September 2006 in Yogyakarta, and is rounded out first by Siska Salman on vocals and guitar. She was runner-up of last year’s fabricated-rockstar-finder-competition-program, "Reinkarnasi" – a program on one of Indonesia’s leading national TV networks which was an inevitably failed attempt to copy Star World’s "Rockstar Supernova" program. Kiki Marino is featured on drums and percussion.

Kiki and Siska in a feature interview on Indonesian television.

After the Reinkarnasi show, it is said that this duo is probably the most anticipated band of Siska Salman’s. "Well, it could be true, because lots of Siska’s fans, people who supported her during the program, must have been wondering what she would do after having been titled as the runner-up," Marino of the duo confirms. "My former band (Esnanas, BMG Indonesia) was disbanded last year, and our sophomore effort "Hello, Japan!!" was not getting any attention from the label. So, it wouldn’t take a genius to predict that we would have joined forces to form this duo."

"Our first gig was in a roof-top party at Rebel Stars showroom last September. And that was the only gig we’d done so far at that time," says Marino, laughing. "We had to enter the studio right after to finish this EP, and can’t wait to play on stage again." [Dominic C’s note: Rebel Stars is an apparel store owned by Eross Candra {Sheila on 7,} and Kiki Marino.]

Rocking and abusing the stage is certainly nothing new to this duo. "The vibe and energy of our music will be delivered much better on stage, in front of amped-up kids. So we’re anxious to fast forward to that. Kiki and I have always been live-stage-musicians," explains Siska Salman.
They both have toured with their own previous bands and their paths almost crossed earlier. Kiki was the drummer of post-punk alternative band Esnanas (disbanded), and Siska was the lead singer of rock & roll act deSisters. They also toured separately for Sheila on 7 ( -- Kiki was Sheila’s substitute drummer back in 2002, and Siska was the backing-singer for the band in 2004.

For a band who hates being pigeon-holed, this duo would like to tag their music as ‘Alternative-Soundtrack-Rock’, with up-tempo singles like ‘Kemarin’, ‘Seperti Kau dan Aku’, and an alternative-ballad titled ‘Tolong Dengarkan.

Cannonball’s self-titled debut EP (Supreme Records), consists of 5 biting tracks, mostly guitar-driven, and 1 bonus track, will finally come out in March 2007, promo edition), executively produced by French producer, Dominic C. (Astonvilla,, and Next of Kin).
What brought the duo and the French producer together was the tour Kiki Marino did with Next of Kin, an ethnic-psychedelic-rock band. "When I did a show in Singapore with the band, one of the members told me that Dominic might also want to produce another band," says Marino. "So, I thought why don’t I give it a shot by giving Cannonball’s material to the guy. It happened somehow that some deals were made, and the EP produced."

The band can also be proud with their song "Why He Why Me". It sits at the top of the Nubuzz indie chart at eight radio stations all over Indonesia (including Jakarta, Bandung, and Yogyakarta) during March-April 2007.

Says Siska Salman,"The EP will be distributed independently, through bootleg-retailers, youth apparel stores, records store, etc. And we’ll see if any A&R guy from some label will pick up our beacon. Who knows what comes right after that. Right now is the time to do the hard work, and get as many gigs as possible." Continues Kiki, "Anyway, we’re just a duo coming from obscurity. While it’s common when you’re starting to get ubiquitous, it will inevitably foster some resentment and suspicion in the bands-scene. We’ve been so fed up with that in the past. So let’s just work hard now, and see at what level we’re standing at."

Booking & Contact Cannonball: Kiki Marino +62 81578854434, +62 81578946492
Read more press about Cannonball at, or,, LOUD music magazine,, and MJ Magz

Interview with i-Tunes (Equinox DMD, Digital Music Distribution)
courtesy of Dominic C, Cannonball’s producer
Broadcasted all over the world
Conducted: March 5, 2007

Q: You guys have only been together for a year. How did you start out?
A: Well, we met when my band just disbanded, and Siska was just nominated as a 2nd runner up of an Indonesian national-tv-rockstar-finder-program, similar to the one on Star World channel. We did one show in September (that was in Rebel Stars Showroom) before deciding to start writing and recording in October.

Q: You have both been in bands before. How is your music different now?
A: Not quite different because my former band, signed to BMG was into rock, and Siska’s former band was totally into rock & roll. And we kinda fuse that, and we create what we call as alternative-soundtrack-rock.

Q: You are distributing your cd on an indie label. Does that make distribution any easier?
A: Easier, nope, but controllable for sure. We try different approach, though we try to be more strategic in distribution. We try to aim straight to our market, --let’s say teenagers/kids who listen to the kind of music we play-- by trying to distribute our CDs in outlets where these kids usually come to buy records, --with considerably cheaper price -- which, sadly to admit, are the bootleg retailers (retailers who sell pirated CDs/Videos), selling it at our concert, youth apparel stores or skate-shops, and of course at records stores.

Q: Are you also coming out with a cassette? Do kids still listen to cassettes in Yogya?
A: Nope, and we don’t plan to. Instead, we just made a music video for one of our singles, and we plan to include that when we do a reprint.

Q: How many indie bands would you say are in Yogya?
A: Plenty, hundreds, maybe...but don’t count us in.

Q: Why?
A: Because none of them think and move like we do. Well, they have this sort of movement defining that a band shouldn’t call themselves indie if they play/write mainstream music. We consider ourselves a non-major mainstream band with independent, "d.i.y" movement. We’re trying to beat all odds. We’re trying to open doors, or huge heavy gates, which are usually closed to non-major bands like us. [So it takes] lots of hard work, lots of eating ramen noodles.

Q: Is there a distinct sound coming out of Yogya compared to Bandung or Jakarta?
A: Umm..what defines distinct here? Is there any certain genre that comes out of Bandung or Jakarta? I am curious if there’s any. Or is it all just a revamp and re-arranging riffs or sounds or music structures, and it depends on who’s been listening to what. Well, you know, once this guy/girl/band from jakarta/bandung comes out with, let’s say, a poor attempt of copying Tanya Donnely of Echobelly from her 1995 era album, or the Verve, then everybody says this band comes out with a distinct sound, —just because not many people remembers or even knows about Echobelly or the Verve anymore. And if they get popular, and new bands start to get influenced by them, start writing music and creating similar sounds, is it fair to call it a distinct sound? Back to the question, yes definitely there’s a distinct sound that ever comes out of Yogya, is its gamelan. (traditional Javanese instruments)

Q: How did you come up with the name Cannonball?
A: In fact, we created that in a hurry, on our last rehearsal before we did our 1st show in September last year. We drew its moniker from a game called Tradewinds. But if it should mean anything, then it means we want to aim at the right target, with a big blast. Our cannons are aiming at you!

Q: Who are your major influences?
A: (Kiki) Baby Face, Kay Hanley from Letters to Cleo (Siska) Sheryl Crow.

Q: Will you be touring to support the CD?
A: Definitely. We’re working on proposals to get sponsors, and set to start getting on the road by mid-April.

Q: What's your next project in 2007?
A: Basically to do plenty of gigs, and get high-profile-shows, do a High School tour, get some more slots to do promo on national TV(we get a chance to do one this evening at Indosiar), and to get a deal as opening act for one major national band on national tour. We are currently working on lobbying that.

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