027: The Infectious Hidden Gems of MUNIR

Updated: Jun 26, 2021

BANDUNG


Today we feel honored to shine some light on one of the hidden gems of dance music: the Bandung bred DJ, producer, graphic designer and record label head honcho, Harry Septiandry, who goes under the moniker Munir or Midnight Runners depending on the project. Munir’s infectious grooves continue to make their way to ears, bodies and spirits well beyond the dancefloors and shorelines of his native Indonesia.


Harry has spent a lifetime digging through some of South East Asia’s most obscure records along with material from around the world, which he swirls together in a boiling cauldron of sound. He credits the gift of “Positive Force - We Got the Funk” and the encouragement from his Uncle before he passed for turning him onto vinyl and his musical way of life. Well praise the Lord for his Uncle.


Since 2012 Munir has run the Midnight Runners outfit as the home to some of the best exotic dancefloor grooves on the planet. MR started as a platform for his rotating musician friends to play, sample and make music with each other from their common influences of hip hop, boogie and funk - to now being a record label of the same name and the framework for a vibrant scene in his hometown of Bandung. Ever since the Darker Than Wax crew, based out of Singapore, released his first vinyl as Midnight Runners, his solo productions have taken off.


Harry continued to throw parties in Bandung, put out music under his solo moniker and continued to expand the Midnight Runners influence. Whether it’s his DJ sets, productions or jams, Munir’s sound harkens back to the Nusantra period - a style of discoing in Indonesia and South East Asia in the 70’s & 80’s defined by live band performances. Munir is a natural heir to the new era of Nusantra disco, breathing life back into a period of time and music that was global in its influences but native in its sensibilities. The Nusantra instrumentation and vocals are authentically sultry, funky and tropical; they push dance floors into a South Asian fever pitch.


Nusantra style serves as direct inspiration for Munir's original productions. As an editor, Munir reconfigures Nusantra records for the modern dancefloor. Edits stir up controversy for good reason, given their complicated relationship with the original artist and music, but its hard to argue with Harry's approach which is an evolution rather than a revival or imitation. Munir’s edits keep the track fresh - adding or subtracting elements without making the track into a caricature of itself. Munir is certainly not limited to South Asian music, but the influence of Nusantra seems to manifest itself in whatever he touches. Just peep a cut from his solo album below which was released on Chicago’s Star Creature Universal Vibrations in 2019.


For good reason, Munir has become a sought after artist as of late, with Mixmag Asia delivering some features on his work and other large outlets. While there are sure to be suitors for him to make a full time move overseas, he seems set on maintaining his roots in Bandung Indonesia and expanding the boundaries of the party scene away from the traditional hubs of Jakarta and Bali. He’s taken a tour across Japan, but he appears to be firmly rooted in his hometown where he makes the magic happen and attempts to live and create music sustainably in his home environment. Munir’s Indonesia City Pop compilation is due out soon on Cultures of Soul.



We’re thrilled to have Munir on our series. Munir honors his artistic and musical roots by diving into an hour+ of straight South Asian disco and boogie heat. Put away your Shazam - you’re unlikely to find anything that pops up in his set for OVER&OVER PRESENTS, so its better to just lose yourself in the intoxicating grooves. This one burns down the house.


INTERVIEW

Munir, thank you for joining our series! We are so excited to have you on and share your amazing talent with our growing community of friends.


First off, how is life in Bandung? How are you doing in these surreal times?


All good, I constantly make music scenes which want to appreciate art and music as well. I’m doing screenprint studio and graphic design as well which help me out for works and getting money beside DJ-ing in this uncertain times.


Tell us about your digging. You find material that no one seems to have. And you’re a great musician with a disco sensibility. How did you get into this world of music?


First off, i talked here about good music, no matter language its carried or singing, it think is need to bring up good music to listener around the world thats keypoint for me as DJ.


Have there been any particular vinyl finds that blew your mind? Where have they come from?


I think it is from Indonesia as well, it's called “Harry Roesli - Walking the Dog” you can listen to the first track on my mix, its on cassette but now already reissued on vinyl records. Its from my hometown, Bandung.


In your mind, what is the key to a good edit?


I make edits for DJs, so naturally long blends for each track when mixing, to make it easier to DJ. You know that OCD feeling!!


How is the scene in your hometown? Is it developing?


Yes, It's developing. In era of Information, teenage here or young people trying to find alternative of music which they like!


What are the highlights from your catalog of music?

I think is my 3rd LP with 1Asia Record in Jinhua, China. I can’t believe its already sold out on first pre-order. In Asia, This is such improvement than 10 years ago. My LP called “World Tour” which is reflection of character each country music to dance music.


You talk about “sustainable” living and production. Can you tell us a bit more? What does this mean to you?


I mean, it talks about ‘Recycling’ . I don’t mind if my original song is edited or if someone makes something new from it as long labels don't care. Its good for learning and improving skills. Also, keep it keeps all the music sustain and timeless.


Can you tell us about your new Cultures of Soul comp?


Yes! I’ve collected Indonesian since Junior High School. A few people laughed at me because they didn’t this music was cool at all! I want to express this is good music from whatever language boundaries are.


The Cultures Of Soul comp is good to show people that Indonesia also had good music back in the day but even in Indonesia its become forgotten. It’s also a collaboration between my own Listening bar in Bandung, Indonesia with the world. The Listening bar is called Peels Records and Bar. Its a cocktail bar but we also will be releasing some records and tapes also in the future. We sell records too! Check us out!


Finally, what’s the story with your OVER&OVER PRESENTS mix? How was it recorded? What should we expect?


The basic idea is to communicate where I’m from. I strive to know and master the places where I live such - the cultures and music, especially. This mix is an extension of that. This mix represents Asian music but I also played some International releases from outside of Asia to add some flavor.


The mix was recorded at my Listening Bar in Bandung, Indonesia. It’s there because I want more people to appreciate the music - thats all! I hope you enjoy it.


Thank you so much for sharing your time, energy and talents with us Munir. We will stay connected and will continue to share your excellent music!


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