The group started in 1997 when keyboardist Andika (Andika Naliputra Wirahardja) formed a school band called Topi in Bandung, together with guitarist Uki (Mohammad Kautsar Hikmat), vocalist Ariel (Nazril Irham), bass player Abel and drummer Ari. They mainly played Brit Alternative until Ari withdrew from the group and marked the end of Topi.
Andika started to regroup the former members of Topi in 2000. The drummer was replaced by Reza (Ilsyah Ryan Reza), a college student from Palu. Loekman (Loekman Hakim), Indra’s elder brother’s friend, also joined them as their lead guitarist, which added a sense of matureness and enriched the melody in their songs to complete the band.
Andika then suggested Peterpan as the name for the band, Peter Pan referring to the character first created by author J.M. Barrie which according to Andika was their first choice among others such as Mickey Mouse, Spiderman, X-Men etc. After the name was chosen, Peterpan was formally founded on September 1st 2000.
On 2001, Peterpan played their music on Bandung streets, from one cafe to another with a vision of becoming a home band in one of Bandung’s famous cafes. Peterpan often played top 40 songs, rock songs (Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Coldplay, U2, Creed, etc) at O’Hara and Sapu Lidi (Indonesian for broomstick) cafe. It was in Sapu Lidi Cafe that the band was spotted by Noey, a producer who planned to release a compilation album.
Subsequently, Peterpan sent 3 demo songs: Sahabat (Best Friend), Mimpi yang Sempurna (A Perfect Dream), and Taman Langit (Sky Garden). Mimpi yang Sempurna was chosen as one of the songs to be included in a compilation album titled Kisah 2002 Malam (The Story of 2002 Nights). The album was commercially successful and surprisingly it was Mimpi yang Sempurna that came out as the best song in this album boosting the sales up too 150,000 copies. It is a considerable achievement for a compilation album in Indonesia. Mimpi yang Sempurna was given heavy rotation on Indonesian Radio and became well known, making the song frequently performed by street musicians.
Musica, Indonesian top major label offered a contract to Peterpan and in June 2003 their Debut album titled ‘Taman Langit’ was released. The band members’ individual taste in music is evident in the lyrics and music. Ariel’s vocal strength and Peterpan’s simple lyrics were noted as Peterpan’s main musical strengths.
Afterwards, Peterpan released their 2nd album titled ‘Bintang Di Surga’ (A Star in Heaven) in August 2004. In its second week of release, Bintang di Surga reached 350,000 sales. From this point, Peterpan achieved commercial success.
On Bintang di Surga Peterpan made big improvements in their music which can be felt in each of the songs. Ariel’s vocal character was stronger, Loekman and Uki’s guitars meshed better, Reza gave more colour to each song, Andika showed more creativity in arranging the album tracks, and Indra’s bass groove added flavour to the album. By the end of 2005, the second album sales had reached 2.7 million copies, a fantastic number in Indonesia’s recently slow economy.
Recognising their success in the music industry, Peterpan received three SCTV awards, one in 2004 and two in 2005. They also received MTV Asia Awards for Indonesian Favourite Artist in Bangkok on May 9th 2005. In the Indonesian AMI awards 2005, Peterpan received the award of “Best Pop Alternative Band” with the song Kukatakan Dengan Indah(I Say It Beautifully).
After the second album, on September 18th, 2005 Peterpan released an album as the original soundtrack for the Rexinema movie, Alexandria. The album was titled Menunggu Pagi (Waiting for Dawn) and the formal release was covered simultaneously by Indonesia’s 6 top National TV stations. The soundtrack album includes five new songs for the film and renditions of five of their old songs from Bintang Di Surga.
Peterpan also collaborated with Chrisye in the song Menunggumu (Waiting For You). The song was then used as the theme song for the Indonesian Soap Opera “Liontin”, series 1 and 2.
On November 4th, 2006, Peterpan held a conference to formally announce the exit of two of their members, Andika Naliputra Wirahardja and Indra. Both left Peterpan due to a musical differences. According to Ariel, there were problems since the making of their first album, Taman Langit. The break up came at a difficult time for Indra as he had lost his child just before the break up. Both Andika and Indra claimed that they have settled the royalty matter with Peterpan and have officially left Peterpan since October 8th, 2006. Now, Andika and Indra are members of a new band, named The Titans. The band is recording under EMI Music Indonesia, an international record company. With their brand new self-titled album ,and first single Rasa Ini (This Feeling), The Titans have established themselves in Indonesia’s music scene.
In early 2008 it was announced that Peterpan will be changing their name. Their last album, Sebuah Nama Sebuah Cerita, is stated to be their last studio album using the name Peterpan. The album itself is comprised mostly of popular hits from their eight years as Peterpan but includes three new songs; Walau Habis Terang, Kisah Cintaku and Dilema Besar. A last concert was also held on the 20th of October 2008 to celebrate both their last Peterpan album and their last official use of the name.
Ariel married Sarah Amelia. The couple has a daughter named Allea Ananta.
They divorced in 2008 and Ariel is allegedly dating Luna Maya, an Indonesian model and actress who Ariel dated before news of Sarah’s pregnancy broke.
Making a record
Amidst their tight schedule in 2003-2004, which climaxed on July 18, 2004, Peterpan planned a seemingly impossible mission of performing in six different cities in Indonesia just a period of 24 hours. The concerts were titled Konser Breaking Record and listed in Museum Rekor Indonesia (MURI, Indonesian Museum of Record), includes concerts in 2 Indonesian major islands: Sumatra and Java. The concerts started on July 18 in Medan North Sumatra Province, Padang, Pekanbaru, Lampung, Semarang Central Java Province, and finally ended at Surabaya Eastern Java Province.
The band’s popular song Tak Bisakah was allegedly plagiarised by the Indian music director Pritam for the movie Woh Lamhe to be used in the song Kya Mujhe Pyaar Hai. The song went on to become a major hit in 2006 in India, and it soon surfaced that the tune of the song was partly copied from Peterpan’s original Tak Bisakah. Although there have been many claims of plagiarism by many musicians and fans of Peterpan, and that Peterpan had made the original version, the controversy did not become a headline-grabber, and it is still not clear whether Peterpan was compensated, or whether Pritam bought the song off. Both songs was eventually sung by Peterpan and Abhijeet sequentially in the first Asian Idol in 2007.
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