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Speaker First – The Ruby Lounge, Manchester: 8th May 2018

Louise Swift

published on
May 13, 2018


I didn’t have to wait long for my first taste of Indonesian rock n roll. All the way from Bandung, Indonesia as Speaker First took to the stage. A burst of rapid fire drumming then their set got underway with Angels Robe, Devils Cape and a twin guitar attack, literally, from twins Beny and Bony with Mahattir on lead vocals and bass guitar. Despite my best endeavours I haven’t been able to find out the drummer’s name so can only refer to him as ‘The Drummer’ and as he often stood up to beat those skins I think he went to the Slim Jim Phantom school of drumming!

After the first song Mahattir announced ‘We are Speaker First from Indonesia. Thank you for coming. Long live rock n roll’ and they rocked and rolled through a short but sweet set. I picked up a Quireboys This is Rock n Roll vibe with one of the twins was using a slide. The Anthem reminded me of Muse’s Knights of CydoniaBreak My Soul reminiscent of Woman by Wolfmother. When Mahattir said ‘Let me see your hands in the air’ we were clapping along. With hard hitting drums, and the band covering the stage well, Bony coming forward to use Mahattir’s microphone for backing vocals at times, it was an entertaining set. Near the end the band thanked us for coming out and then the main set finished with a drum roll, and Mahattir kneeling before the drummer pushed the bass drum over. Those of us who were there shouted for more and the band obliged coming back for two encore songs. The last one going out to all the Manchester rock n rollers.

Before today I knew Bandung more for it’s coffee than it’s rock n roll. I now know it has also produced another fine blend in Speaker First and yes it was worth missing yoga for! I may well tie in a trip to one of Indonesia’s yoga retreats to tie in with a trip to see Speaker First in their home country! It is a shame there weren’t more people there, but I first heard of Speaker First only two weeks before the show and asking around friends none of them seem to have heard of them. I shall spread the word and hope they see many more friendly faces next time they venture over to the UK.

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Hailing from the highlands of West Java, Indonesia, Speaker First was founded by twin brothers Beni and Boni with the goal of putting the soul back into rock music. Inspred by acts from the golden age of rock (and equally disturbed by the state of the Indonesian music scene), the guitar slinging siblings hooked up with vocalist/nassist Mahattir Alkatiry and Speaker First was born.

Defined by their raucous, straightforward and uncompromising sound featuring massive drum riffs and ballsy vocals, Speaker first creates their own unique, invigorating brand of rock & roll in the vein of such luminaries as Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Kings of Leon, Wolfmother and Led Zeppelin.

Their single "The Anthem", earned airplay in the U.S., Germany, Ireland, China, South Africa, Sweden, Australia, India and other countries. They have returned with the follow up "Break My Soul" after showcasing in Los Angeles and being a part of the Passport Approved West Coast radio tour, which included stops in San Diego, Los Angeles, Portland, Seattle and other cities.



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Speaker First join Woodstock Festival Poland line-up


The first Indonesian rock'n'roll band to have their song aired at US radios will be taking the Second Stage at Woodstock Festival Poland this summer !

From the highlands of West Java Indonesia. From the city of exceptional minds and talents. From the unforgiving scene of ingenuity. From Bandung with pride. Here comes Speaker First, the 3 piece rock n roll band with singer Mahattir Alkatiry, and twin brothers Beny Barnady and Bony Barnaby as guitarist, highly unexpected - probably underestimated, storms the states with their raucous, straight and no compromise sounds, coupled with a thunderous drum bangs and ballsy vocals influenced by bands like QOTSA, Wolfmother, and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. Their first international single ‘The Anthem’ has already garnered a significant airplay from over 20 major radio stations across

Their first international single ‘The Anthem’ has already garnered a significant airplay from over 20 major radio stations across the US. Followed by their recent radio show tour ‘PASSPORT APPROVED LIVE’ initialized by Passport Approved , an independent internationally syndicated tastemaker import radio show, on March 2017 across 7 cities on West Coast US, which is San Diego, Orange County, Los Angeles, Fresno, Napa, Portland and Seattle, Speaker First has successfully gain attention and mark their presence in the hearts and minds of the Americans.

Against all odds, as a band from a distant country to name a few, Speaker First will try hard to make history for themselves at least, as the first Indonesian rock n roll band to gain success in the global music scene.

rock nyc gigs review

Alyson Camus

published on
February 27, 2017


Finalist on The Voice Australia, Ben Hazlewood, was part of the Passport Approved lineup at the Viper Room on Sunday night, and none of the artists seemed to care about the fact that an Oscar night has to be one of the tougher nights for performers.

Passport Approved, which was created by British-born/Los Angeles-based DJ Sat Bisla, is an independent internationally syndicated tastemaker import radio show that airs on many stations across the U.S. and around the world, including KROQ here in Los Angeles. The show has launched hundreds of international artists such as Lorde, Kongos, Tove Lo, Bastille, John Newman, Frank Turner, Lily Allen, Gin Wigmore, The Temper Trap, Gotye, LMFAO, Wolfmother, San Cisco, The Ting Tings,… and even Adele, so you may easily understand the appeal.

New Zealand native Ben Hazlewood was playing just after Madyx, from North America, and before Finland-artist Katéa, and finally Speaker First from Indonesia, so it was a unique occasion to check out bands from all over the world.

Madyx was a young ball of fire with a cute blonde mohawks, and I can see why she has said she got her inspiration from Pink, Katy Perry, Melissa Etheridge and Brody Perry to write her pop song, she covered Awolnation, was absolutely restless on stage and her howls were more than convincing.

Katéa, a new (to me) songstress from Finland, brought a Lana Del Rey vibe to the room, while her deep voice with a rawer edge was beautifully serving her experimental guitar-synth pop, while adding a lot of sex appeal and sultriness. Her single from her ‘Louder’ EP reached the Top 50 most viral songs in Finland, while the catchy and swelling orchestrated ‘That Ain’t Love’ has received tens of thousands of streams on Spotify.. With such a start, she is probably bound for international success.

You would probably not expect to get such a thunderous rock blues sound from a distant country like Indonesia,… but why not after all? Speaker First’s singer couldn’t travel because of a visa problem, probably due to our current insane government, but it didn’t stop the band, ‘The show must go on,’ they said, and they gave us a terrific and raucous set, as the matter of fact, they rocked so hard and so loud that the Sunset strip wouldn’t certainly have disowned them. They sounded like the Indonesian Led Zeppelin/the Who/ Motorhead, with guitar riffs piling at the top of each other and some cool rock arena moves.

If you followed the Voice in Australia, you have heard of talented independent singer-songwriter Ben Hazlewood, he was a finalist in 2012 with Ricky Martin, Kylie Minogue occupying the coaches’ chairs, and you will understand why when you hear him live: As soon as he starts, his powerhouse takes the stage in full force, with synth-pop songs and a stadium rock potential.

Wearing a large fur coat during the first songs, as a gangster rapper would do, he revealed himself as extremely passionate in his delivery, and with his dramatic stage presence, he obviously had a rock star envy. But why wouldn’t he? His song ‘Wanted’, that he sings with a light R&B touch in his angst-driven lush vocals, got more than a million hits on Spotify!

The set was a series of high-energy howls, sang at the top his lungs over hard-hitting drums and poppy hooks, and his expressive pop songs were going from dark synth to giant soulful rock anthems. Surrounded by a back up singer and musicians on guitar, synth and drums, the mood was emotive and forceful all set long, as if Ben Hazlewood was using all the power he could to be able to go through the pain and the heartbreak.

As the son of a singer, he started writing music when he was just a young teenager, and after a debut album, ‘Loveless’ released in 2013, he dropped ‘Vanta’ last year, which includes many radio-ready pop-rock songs

He even sang his latest and not-yet-released single, ‘Sail Away’, which he describes as ‘a journey of letting go’ and did tear down the place with a last song ‘Stay Tonight’, sung with the same mix of confidence and passion, pouring so much emotion in the vocals, that I understood one thing: Ben Hazlewood’s delivery is so poignant that he undoubtedly wants you to deeply connect with his music, that he wants you to sing his songs at the top of your voice.

vents magazine interview

RJ Frometa

published on
February 1, 2017

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “The Anthem”?

The song is about our struggle as a band, our blood sweat and tears. the song is talking about the blues, about the pain, and suffer, about the emptiness and loneliness, that kind of “Blues” situation in life, but we still believe that God Knows what best for us, andas long as we doin our best in life, its all about time God will show the way to a better situation. All you need is persistence, hard work, hope, and faith.

Did any event in particular inspired you to write this song?

The Anthem basically is the story of speaker first. Every event whether it is sad or happy inspired us to write this song, Hopefully this song will be “the anthem” for those who share the same difficulties and obstacles like us, so they can fight and do their very best,  And we can inspire them with this song as well.

Any plans to release a video for the single?

We have a plan to release a video of course. Hopefully it would be soon enough.

How was the recording and writing process?

The recording process was a blast. We got the chance to do it at air studios one of the legendary studio in London, It was a proud moments for us to be able to follow the steps of our heroes such oasis, the police, etc.

What role does West Java plays in your music?

West Java especially Bandung as our hometown plays a great role for our music. It is a tough place to be an artist with its unforgiving scene for ingenuity and exceptional minds and talents. You have to give all your best to survive here.

How has your upbringing have influence you as an artist?

We all came from different backgrounds (except for the twins Beni and Boni). Attir with his street and rebellious style, Beni and Boni with their smooth, suave, and calm attitude. All of those influenced and colorized our style as an artist.

How has Led Zeppelin and Kings of Leon have influence your writing?

We really look up to those bands. We always look for the ‘roots’ in our music. Not just some instant one hit wonder type of an artist. Because it would make us last longer if not everlasting. If you master the roots you can always adapt to a new kind of music and how you can incorporate it to your songs so the possibility in the creative process would be limitless.

Does the new single mean we can expect a new material – how’s that coming along? Any tentative release date or title in mind?

Hopefully we can get a label soon so, more people willlisten to our music.

Any plans to hit the road?

We are going to do ‘The Anthem Tour’ West Coast USA on 23 Feb – 7 Mar 2017. This is a radio and showcase tour to promote our singles. Hopefully we can come across to your hometown.

What else is happening next in Speaker First’s world?

Please check for updates on our web and social media. The next single is ready and will be released soon enough.
We are still keep making music, doing the gigs and exploring the new sound and the tunes as well for our next title.

rara's farm music blog



published on
January 25, 2017


The Anthem – Our Rock Song of the Day

Speaker First - The Anthem
Happy Hump Day – we have a first for you here at Rarasfarm; our first featured song from Indonesia.  “The Anthem” from Speaker First is a hard-driving, invigorating track with a distinctly “American rock” vibe to it.  The band offers up a handful of influences, and two of them strike close to home, as their raucous sound comfortably reminds me of Wolfmother and BRMC.

The song starts out with raging drums and a raw guitar riff – throw in some gritty vocals and you’ve got a damn good rock song. I could easily picture this band opening up on one of the side stages at a festival like Welcome To Rockville.