Images Rizki Maulana
Heartbreak has always been — and will continue to be — the fundamental creative fuel for any artiste who longs for catharsis. It was the main inspiration of a previous Detonate featured talent, new waver Leo Ari, and it is the same for Cyberjaya-based Indonesian producer Emir Hermono. Although Leo Ari is ostensibly still recovering from the wounds obtained from the demise of his long-term relationship, fortunately for Emir, the search for his one-true girl has come to a delightful end as it has led to engagement.
Even when he finds himself in a jovial mood, the 24-year-old principal lecturer at Limkokwing University said that he produces best when he’s in misery. For instance, when asked if the tone of the follow-up to his joint mix with electronica musician Dae Kim – Songs About </3?! – would be a more uplifting one as implied by both artistes’ current relationship status, he waved the preposterous notion away. “No, no, no, I’ll dig for something. Sadness brings out more emotions,” he told JUICE. The label ‘sadboy’ was mentioned as a response to his sentiment, to which he laughed and sheepishly agreed. The well of his maudlin tendencies is inexhaustible, it seemed.
Emir’s love life has been documented and congealed in an unintentional yet perfectly written narrative where the story began on a sombre tone with Beats and Breakups where he revealed his then emotional state, “It started with a breakup last year. I think I was really broken at that time, it really broke me down like crazy.” Nevertheless, he cleverly utilised the pain and dejection into making a beat tape that had two objectives; to seek attention as well as a way to promote his production abilities, which had veered into the r’n’b sonic territory of Soulection than his previous predilection for Too Phat (Emir had joined Malique’s rap school and his mentor was producer D’Navigator). And who you’d ask is the main artistic influence he had wished to emulate for the beat tape? Well, it was the similarly sentimental beatmaker Ta-ku, of course. Emir divulged that it was his New Year’s resolution to produce beats that are of the Soulection family of artistes, such as the aforementioned Aussie producer and most notably the lovelorn Mura Masa – “They are my gods,” praised Emir.
To this day, Emir still regarded Beats and Breakups – as a project – to be his proudest work as it was an honest and vivid reflection of his emotions, which is something he was not ashamed to share on such a public platform despite his friends’ inquisition. Being emotionally vulnerable is commendable, but to reveal intimate details of a relationship is daring. The beat tape included two skits – one named ‘Summer’ and the other ‘ Autumn’ – an homage to his ex-girlfriend’s favourite film, 500 Days of Summer. Autumn – in the film and IRL – represented change, a new relationship, and Emir followed suit with a recording of Mariah Carey’s ‘We Belong Together’ (a song that both he and the ex used to listen together), which was played on the track until a (new) girl called him on the phone, demonstrating that he was moving on.
“I make sure that anyone who has made an impact in my life; I would pen it down or go produce something.” There was the heartbreak of the first beat tape, then Songs About Her was a two-week project that attempted at wooing a girl, and forthcoming Karma Kisses will complete the full-circle arc of his love life on a happy note. He had always wanted to complete this trilogy, and now, he can give his gratitude towards the happy karma that has led to his upcoming output. While he’d always known that he wanted to create Karma Kisses, resorting to his imagination rather than sourcing from his true-life experiences was not an option for him. Naturally, he beamed at the thought that his triptych had fallen into place with such grace, albeit it all being accidental and unplanned. “It’s a happy ending in a way, but with a different girl,” he offered before summarising his projects concisely, “[It’s] three albums, three different girls.”
Keeping to his goal of the Soulection-orientated sound, it is evidenced in his three releases off the forthcoming album; the downbeat ‘SUMDIMSUM’, the pop-informed ‘SUM12LUV’ (no, the choice of spelling is not recurrent in the rest of the tracklisting), and ‘Buna’ — a song soundtracked to that ineffable honeymoon period of a relationship. The album will feature a number of talents from HOAX, namely Afaro, Naufal, Dai-Kan, Akhyla member Shelhiel, and unsurprisingly, Leo Ari. To properly cap off his three-part narrative, the album cover echoes Beats and Breakups’ where instead of the dreary depressive grey beachside, the sky is aglow with tender pink and with no girl in sight, because Emir has finally found his love.
Karma Kisses will be released some time in January ’16. Emir Hermono will be making his Malaysian debut as a performer at Raising the Bar Festival ’16, which is set to go down on Saturday 9 January ’16.