City News talks to Indonesian service band 3PM about their latest album.
Contributed By GJ Gonzales
Following the triumphant launch of 3PM’s first album Unto You in May 2010 comes a fresher, more dynamic and smashing lineup of contemporary gospel songs in their latest album, Holdin’ On. Over the special weekend services with Steve Munsey on Dec. 3 and 4 at Suntec Singapore, the City Harvest Church Indonesian band led the English congregation in worship.
The band takes on its name from their previous accustomed Sunday service timing at the Jurong West premises of CHC—3 p.m. Overseen by executive pastor Aries Zulkarnain, the group seeks to bring forth a heavenly message through music that touches and transforms lives. Producer Charles Halim, remarks, “Pastor Aries always reminds us that ‘If there is a revival, there must be a sound and you must become that sound’ and that’s what we want to do.”
While Unto You had a theme of worshiping and giving the glory to God, Holdin’ On seeks to proclaim the goodness and greatness of God. Songs like “Holdin’ On,” “Allah Kemenangan” (“Triumph of God”), “Ku Takkan Pernah Takut” (“Never Fear”), “The Greatest Love Of All” and “Hallelujah” relay such messages.
Drummer JJ Simkoputera shares, “We want to share the journey we’ve been through. Even for our personal lives, we keep on believing in God’s promises. In our tough times, the Word of God will become our strength to overcome the obstacles.”
All 13 songs of the album, six of which are in English, were shortlisted from 30 entries submitted by the band members. Co-producer Raymond Sigarlaki reveals, “It was a tough decision to make because they were all good.” Sigarlaki sees the members maturing in many ways and he notes that the recent compositions carry a deeper revelation of who God is in their lives.
It took the band about a year of preparation, since the launch of their first album, to produce the second album. To them, they have stepped up a level higher and Holdin’ On is deemed as better, more personalized and heartfelt than the first, with the band members having gone through many trials along the way.
The versatile 3PM band members are not all professional musicians. In fact, only three out of 14 are full-time musicians. The rest are working in the area of finance and banking, information technology, real estate, fashion and graphic design.
Distance was one challenge they had to grapple with. Five of them are based in Indonesia so most of the communication and musical arrangements were done over cyberspace. The only time they got together as a group since the first album’s launch was during the actual recording of the second album over two weeks in Jakarta.
About half of the band members are married and four have children. It is really by the grace of God that the team has pulled it through. Sigarlaki comments, “We give credit to our wives. It’s not easy for them to let us go. During the second recording, I had to leave my wife alone for two weeks to look after our newborn baby.”
Unto You won the prestigious Album Of The Year 2010, awarded by the Indonesian Gospel Music Awards. Thus far, their music has been well received in various churches in Indonesia. Keyboardist Tulus Tobing narrates, “When they heard the songs, they were so blessed by it and asked us when we would be having a concert in Indonesia so that they could attend.”
In March 2012, they are scheduled to tour the USA for a series of performances. Simkoputera comments, “We just can’t stop at two albums because we want to continue being a blessing to many.” Sigarlaki affirms, “If that dream is from the Lord, we will see Him move.”
The CHC Indonesian service praise and worship band moves up another notch in their craft with this sophomore release titled Holdin’ On. Wholly composed by the band’s own members including Ishak Budiman, Charles Halim and Jules Rusli, the 13-track album contains six English songs and seven in Bahasa Indonesia.
Holdin’ On speaks of perseverance and a “never give up” outlook. Instant favorites include “Ku Takkan Pernah Takut” (“I Will Never Fear”), which features lyrics about dogged determination in the face of life’s trials set to a fast-paced rhythm, “All The Praise,” which speaks of the saving grace of Jesus Christ, and “Hallelujah,” a song of thanksgiving and exultation set to distinctive, beautifully melodic refrains. Singer-songwriter Caroline Tjen rounds up the set with a bonus number, “Kupercaya” (“I Believe”). On it, she offers a touching confession of faith and remembrance to God—The world cannot guarantee my future | Only You are willing to back me up.
Some tracks are sterling, others more raw but if you’re feeling overwhelmed by the storms of life or discouraged by challenges that do not seem to abet, Holdin’ On will undoubtedly lift your spirits and get you to turn your eyes from your circumstances to God’s ever-present help, grace and love. ~ Yong Yung Shin