Deby Sucha

LAIR and Monica Hapsari join forces on arcane psych funk rug cutter “Setan Dolbon”

LAIR (pronounced “lahir”) are a Panturan-soul/funk outfit based in Jatiwangi, West Java, Indonesia. The final song leading up to the group’s new record Ngélar – out this Friday via Guruguru Brain (preorder here) – is called “Setan Dolbon”, and it features singer-songwriter Monica Hapsari on lead vocals.

The song is an absolute hoot with its spooky surf rock cadence, which manages to sound utterly original due to LAIR’s insistence on playing on instruments made from terracotta (!). This choice isn’t just out of random frivolous fun: Jatiwangi is the world’s largest producer of terracotta-based products.

“Setan Dolbon” tells the unruly folk tale of the Dolbon Demon, which is the kind of urban legend Mulder and Scully ought to be investigating. What makes this particular demon worthy of song and dance, you may ask? Well, it has taken a, uhm, liking for doing number two in public. The band explain the story at length:

“Originating from a true story around the year 2013 in a village in Jatiwangi, a troubling phenomenon occurred that instilled fear, suspicion, and mutual accusations among the local residents. At that time, there were repeated discoveries of objects suspected to be human feces in the areas surrounding the residents’ housing and even in public spaces. Rumours spread, giving rise to speculations regarding the cause of these findings, ranging from animal mischief, actions of mentally ill patients, to suspicions of black magic rituals for wealth. This unrest peaked within the community, forcing the local police to intervene and participate in the residents’ night patrols.

“Medical personnel from the Jatiwangi Health Center also took part in investigating the suspected feces. Alarmingly, medical laboratory test results reported that the feces contained both human baby feces and animal feces.

“The situation became even stranger when there were rumours of the simultaneous disappearance of the Yellow Bamboo Ruyuk plants/bushes at all the crime scenes. The local residents believed the Yellow Bamboo Ruyuk to be a plant that wards off black magic. The anxiety almost turned into chaos when accusations began to fly among the residents, especially towards those who suddenly appeared to have excess wealth. The police, village officials, and local religious figures eventually agreed to advise the residents to seek refuge in God and religion, and not to let the slander escalate. To this day, this sensational case has never been resolved, leading residents to always seek refuge in God and Religion when recalling the case, which eventually became known as the legend of the DOLBON DEMON.”

Watch the video for “Setan Dolbon” below.

Follow LAIR on Instagram, Twitter and Bandcamp.