Sehat Effectors Interview
SEHAT EFFECTORS is the name of a pedal company based in Sleman Indonesia. If you are pedal lover and are unaware of Sehat Effectors and the man behind it Putro Sumatrono, dear reader you are in for a treat. Putro runs a small truly DIY operation and it’s a true labor of love. He has one of the BEST Instagram accounts going ( Sheat_Effectors ). His personality and love for all things music and life is infectious. As you read this keep in mind English is not Putro’s native language regardless his spirt shines through. Enjoy.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and where you live?
My name is Putro, im a founder of Sehat Effectors, im teaching in high school for 8 years, lecture in state University for 7 years. I play guitar and singing in punk rock band name The Frankenstone. Im living in small town Sleman, Yogyakarta, Indonesia.
Can you remember your first musical experience? The first time you heard a song that made you stop what you were doing and just listen? what song was it? How old were you?
I still remember when my dad playing The Beatles every morning, always woke up with Beatles song. But first song made me stop and listen is “Have You Ever Seen the Rain” by CCR, I was 2 or 3 years old, I sitting next to my dad and he playing that song on his huge homemade stereo,hahah..i just sitting and listen, I don’t know the meaning of the lyrics but that song so good. My dad is big fans of The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Santana, The Ventures, Uriah Heep and other classic rock band. My dad is electronics wizard, he build 300watt pirate radio with tube power,hahahhaa..he also build me my first guitar amp from radio,hahaha..
How old were you when you got your first guitar? What kind of guitar was it?
When I was a kid I am really wild kid, never stop running, throwing everything, just like other kids, but one day my dad took me to visit his friend. I’m running around that house and I stop, watching something sitting on the room. My dad running because he think im fainted because I’m running and crash on something. But I’m just sitting saw guitar on that room, and my dad just pick that guitar play some chords, and that is the moment. From that day I always thinking about guitar, I want a guitar. My parent don’t take it seriously my interested in guitar, after a year my dad save some money, and buy me acoustic guitar on book store, it was 4 grade in primary school. My first acoustic guitar. Since that day my life just about music and guitar, and when im graduate from primary school my dad buy me my first electric guitar, it was Samick Stratocaster and build he me guitar amp from radio,hahaha..
Who were your favorite bands as a kid and who do you like today?
I said before, my dad is classic rock fans, we don’t listen Indonesian music much, my first love is CCR. Until I found Nirvana and Rancid in Junior High School. Back days it’s hard to find international punk band records in Indonesia. Usually we just record on cassette tape from friend, and saw band picture on album cover. You know using double deck tape recorder,hahahha…no internet in my hometown back days, its around 1999. Bad Religion, Circle Jerks, Operation Ivy, Ramones, The Cramps, I listen to that band until now. When im getting older, open my dad collections, you know when I was teenagers I don’t wanna listen to my dad music, its oldies,hahahaa..in few years I listen to Santana, Brian Setzers Orchestra, Bo Didley, B.B King, ZZ Top, AC/DC, The Ventures and other cassette tape from my dad collections.
You played in bands too? What bands did you play in? How would you describe the music?
My band name is The Frankenstone, Frankenstein the tone,ahahhaha…its punk rock band, we release 4 albums, doing Asian tour in 2012 and broke up in 2014,ahahhaa…we records our song with our money from working, release by our own record label name “For The Dummies Records”, we book our tour, get paid or not we don’t care, we just wanna play and have fun,aahhahhaa..our music is kind of punk band like Rancid, Dropkick Murphys, The Muffs, also we love some indie rock like Dinosaur Jr, The Dead Milkmen, and many more. I also play in Ska band name The Playbois back days, ska band like The Specials. I also released solo album playing punk rock with acoustic guitar
What’s the music scene like in Indonesia?
Indonesian scene is great, metal, punk, hardcore, ska, indie pop, all here. So many Indonesian band album release by international records label. Biggest scene is metal and punk, its huge scene here. But im not really “into the scene”, since I was a teenager I kind a guy who don’t really like join into community, I love being free, hanging out with anybody, get drunk, going to the gigs and just don’t care,ahahahha..
Can you tell us how you came to create SEHAT?
After my band broke, I wanna keep playing music, my solo project not working, all my friend have day job and don’t playing music anymore. I get married and divorce, now my older son with his mom, kind a fucked up life. During my recovery from divorce just wanna making music and collect lot of fuzz pedals. It’s around 2016. And someday I meet my friend name Keket, now he become my partner in Sehat. He is younger than me, and he start making pedals, and we learn together. Still remember back days i said to Keket, “I wanna making pedal sound like destroyed speaker with cranked amp!” and I show him my collection of Devi Ever Pedals. And he said “is that really the sound? How we can sell it?” and I said, “Fuck that, the important thing is my taste, the important thing is im having fun, I don’t care we sell this pedal or not, fuck the pedal market, I don’t wanna follow market, I will make my own market, and other market will willow me!”ahahhaha…. After a year we doing pedals, prototype, failed, blown the amp, one day Matt from Electrofoods Pedals buy our pedal. He just saw im playing guitar on instaram, he ask did you sell the pedal, and I said, yes but we don’t know how to do it,ahahhaa….We don’t know if people from US will buy my pedal, we live far away half globe, we don’t sold any pedal in our own country. We don’t know how to transfer money, and we learn how to making Pay Pall, how to doing international shipping, after Matt buy our pedal, I change my Instagram account name with SEHAT EFFECTORS. We just lucky guy,ahahhaa…
What does Sehat mean or stand for?
Sehat means “Healthy”,ahahaha…Sehat is not my real name, its my nick name, given by my friend in high school. Back days I always drunk on high school, always sleeping in class. Teachers and friend always think I’m sick or something, so they just gave me nick name “Sehat”, the hope that nick name will keep me healthy and that’s what they pray to God,ahahahha
Do you remember the first pedal you ever bought? What was it?
Yes, Boss Ds-1 Distortion. Only Boss pedals available in music store back days. My friend recommend Boss Metal Zone, but I don’t like it, it sounds like Megadeth,
You build amazing fuzz pedals. What is your favorite fuzz pedal ?
Big Muff is my favorite, because when I buy it new, there is battery inside of it with Mike Mattews picture on it,ahahhahha…seriously, its effect on my mind, it feels like Mike Mattews himself delivered the pedal to me when I saw his picture. EHX product never disappoint me, and Mike Mattews is true rock and roll, that’s important, ahahahhaa…I also love pedals from Devi Ever FX, simple, unique and it’s all character.
Do you remember your first build? Did it come easy to you ?
My very first build is “one note oscillation generator” way back days before I meet Keket and making Sehat Effectors.ahahahhaa…everything never easy at first, my dad teach me using soldering iron when I was a kid, but ignore him, you know kid like me don’t wanna follow my dad,ahahahhaha..
At some point you decided to sell your builds how did that come about?
Its like a snow ball, after Matt from Electrofoods buy my pedals, people start asking my pedals on Instagram. Only selling by Instagram back days. We tried to sell our pedals on Reverb.com but our credit card banned 3 times, I don’t know why, so we just ahhhggggrrrrr fuck it. At first time we build a pedal from recycled enclosure we found on flea market, ols phone, old electronics and more, maybe people interested on it.
You recently started building these beautiful handmade enclosures. What prompted you to do that?
Just because we wanna be different,ahahaa…at the other way sometimes its hard to find standard enclosure and when we import enclosure it took a month to arrive, so we kind a ahhhh damn we have to make our own enclosure. Back days we making pedal from recycle enclosure we found on flea market and we meet Mr.Yanto. Mr.Yanto have small antique shop on flea market and he made sign from sand casting aluminum. I ask him to make our enclosure, and then he help me to make those enclosure. He is true artist, he make art from wood carve and aluminium artwork.
Is it difficult to make these enclosures? How many do you make at a time?
Yes it took time,ahahhaa…first we make the good mold, I have to right thickness, if it too thin its not gonna work, if its too thick the component not fit, if its to sharp also not working, usually have to make 3 mold to find good one,ahahhaha….Mr.Yanto help me, after mold finish, sand casting begin, usually we can only making 20 enclosure a week. After sand casting it have to grind and cut, to make final product.
Your Instagram page is amazing … your videos are wild. You really come across as someone who loves music and what your doing. You seem to really love what you are doing. Was it always like this?
Thank you Rick! Im trying do my best,..music is the important thing, I always remember read Lemmy from Motorhead interview, he have prostate cancer and he said fuck that, he wanna die on stage while playing with Motorhead. He did that until he died in 70 years old, Well that’s rock n roll attitude,ahahahha….for me music supposed to be fun, music is my refuge place, have to make me feel comfort.
You recently made the announcement that you were going to leave the security of a full time job to focus on Sehat. How hard was that? Why did you do it?
Im a highschool teacher since 2008, and university lecture also radio announcer/DJ,ahahhaa..Greg Graffin from Bad Religion is true inspiration for me, he play in punk band but also professor and teach in UCLA. So I decide to learn Indonesian langue and culture on my master degree. Playing in punk band and teach in university, that’s punk!ahahahah…working 8 to 5 really took my time, I wanna have more time with my son, don’t wanna getting old and bored, I decide to quit, you inspire me Rick! I read interview on Voyage MIA, ahahhaha…but university still need me to teach in some majors, so I still teach few hours a week, to make my life balance,ahahha,..but no more 8 to 5 day job.
You have a young son and you show him in a lot of your videos. Your obviously a great dad. Do you think he will follow in your footsteps?
No, he will become whatever he want,ahahhaa…I just introduce him to music, he really love Brian Setzers Orchestra, always listen when he going to sleep. I just wanna give him best education, best school, and save some money to his collage. I will not teach him to play guitar until someday he ask me. He really love my screwdriver, he bring it everywhere to destroy his toy and kitchen,ahahahaha….
You recently started a YouTube channel which focuses on what it’s like living your life with your family in Indonesia. What is the series called and what is it about?
The channel name is “Mister Sehat Himself”. It’s documentation for my life, you know when we save the file on computer and someday its broken,aaahhhh….and its fun to watch our life few years back. I make for my son, someday when I die, he can watch our video, ahahhaa…
What advice would you give to someone who’s thinking of starting their own business / pedal company?
We are living in internet era, nothing imposible, we can find anything on internet, but don’t trust internet 100%, we have to trust our ear, its journey, I still learning everyday. Pedals and gear only tools, I just make what make me happy.
Is there anything you would like to share with us?
No, I already share anything, ahahahhaa…