Indonesian artist makes name designing Filipino indie records
by rick olivares
Bambam Sickos’ art has adorned many a Filipino independent album release. His highly-detailed, visceral, and provocative style is distinctive and has caught on with many local bands.
Yet incredibly, Bambam isn’t Filipino but Indonesian. “Sickos” is his nom de guerre. Like English graffiti artist Banksy. And this artist has made the Philippines his second home. “I worked in a call center for about five years before I quit because of health issues,” said Bambam. “But I have been living in Manila for the past seven years. I practically live in two countries – Indonesia and the Philippines.”
He has since moved on to another line of work but one thing that has kept him busy is something close to his heart – music and album art.
The Indonesian has drawn artwork for several Filipino independent bands (Eyes of Fire, Istukas Over Disneyland, Malicious Existence, and Gangrene to name a few) and labels who have released their music on vinyl, compact disc, or cassette. “I also do designs for their merchandise,” he added.
“My biggest influences are Pushead (aka Brian Schroeder who is not only an artist but also performs in a band, is a record label owner, and a writer) and Sugi (the legendary Japanese artist),” recounted Bambam. “I draw inspiration from their style to create something that is my own. I also draw inspirations from bands that I work with. I have made provided artwork a lot of Filipino bands.”
Among the independent labels whose logos he has designed are Mutilated Noise Records (Biofeedback and Ex-Senadors as well as Feud jointly with Still Ill Records to name a few) and the Pampanga-based Love from Hate Records (collaborative releases for Monthly Red, Value Lasts, and Random Violence among others).
“He’s got a style that you will really look at,” said Mutilated Noise’s Noel Francia. “And sometimes, that is what you want – for the art to grab you so it will entice you to try out the music.”
Bambam also does a lot of the poster art and merchandise for the events of the Manila-based Delusion of Terror Records (joint releases by Veils and Random Violence among others).
Said Delusion of Terror’s Emmanuel Jasmin, “The art of H.R. Giger is something that Filipinos are attracted to for its frightening beauty. I think that Bambam is in that vein.”
“I don’t have favorite,” admitted Bambam of his work with Filipino bands. “I like all of them. My very first art for a local band was a t-shirt for VEX, so that one is quite special for me.”
However, the Indonesian’s art isn’t only in demand locally and in Indonesia but also Stateside as well. “Yes, I did create some cover arts for bands from the other part of the globe. My favorite is for ROÄC, a metallic crust band from Denver, CO. That one is quite special because it is my first vinyl cover art and released by Profane Existence. I will also release an album by Tree of Woe that is also out of Colorado Springs.
As mentioned earlier, the artist has also become heavily involved as a record label. Running his label, Sickos Records, out of Facebook, Bambam releases albums from not only Filipino bands but also Southeast Asian outfits. “I have a distro (distribution) label that makes music available and affordable to music fans who dig punk, hardcore, and metal music. Doing the distro also allows me to collect music without spending too much money. And through my distro, I have met and made many friends especially around the Philippines.”
Summed up the artist, “Through my love for art and music, I get to be involved in related activities -- organizing gigs and tours, listening and collecting music, hanging out with friends, and traveling with my small family. This makes me happy and they keep my sanity intact.”