By UK/Indonesia 2016-18 team

30 October 2018 - 17:57

The most noticeable element about seeing a live performance by The Fish Police is their palpable love for playing music. You could absolutely feel the electrifying energy emanating from the stage, and this was most evident during the foursome’s set at the Kick-Off Gig for UK/ID Festival. Closing an event can be a daunting task for most performers, but not for the group, who got the job done with impressive ease and aplomb. 

Hailing from London, the Fish Police, which consists Dean Rodney (vocal), Matthew Howe (guitar), Charles Stuart (bass) and Andrew Mclean (drums), was formed at Heart n Soul, one of the city’s leading and longest standing creative organisations for disabled people. Since their debut in 2013, the band has constantly redefined the conventions of pop, rock and electronic music as well as the possibilities of being disabled musicians, effectively coining the term “neurodiverse punk”. 

“Our music is a mixture of J-pop, J-rock, electronic, jazz, hip-hop and heavy metal,” said Dean. “There’s a lot of influences. Each of us brings something a little different,” added Charles. He noted, however, that Dean makes the most lyrical contribution to the group. Culling inspiration from “the things I think about when I see a picture or hear words and phrases”, “I bring it to the band and start to work on it,” explained the frontman, while admitting that he is also heavily influenced by Japanese culture and music. 

Suffice to say, the band’s overarching spirit and philosophy is perfectly aligned with this year’s theme for UK/ID Festival.

“To us, the term ‘Breaking Boundaries’ means that we are trying to just make good music and not let anything get in the way of it,” asserted Dean. “We’re pushing boundaries away by expressing our personality and our lives as musicians.”

Charles Stuart (bass)

To Charles, it’s also about paying it forward. “The organisation that brought us together, Heart n Soul, has been breaking boundaries for the past 30 years in creating a sustainable learning culture for disabled people. Since we met there and started this journey together, we have come this far and even performed at South by Southwest Festival earlier this year. So we’re just going to continue doing this.”

Aside from the Kick-Off Gig, the band also performed another set at Festival Bebas Batas, coincidentally the first ever festival of its kind in Indonesia that showcases arts made by disabled people. As first time visitors in Indonesia, Charles said that the band’s UK/ID experience has been interesting. “We’re excited to be here and looking forward to visiting other parts of Indonesia,” he concluded. ©

Sofar Sounds Jakarta