Maliq & D’Essentials: Organic Souls

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source: Organic Records

Image Organic Records

Before you ask, yes, there’s no one called Maliq in the band. Maliq is actually an acronym for music and live instruments quality, which is as accurate as you can get when succinctly describing the band’s music. Influenced by the nu soul movement of the late 90s and early 00s, the band makes genre-undefined music that pays homage to both modern and outmoded (yet vintage chic) black music. They’d prefer you to call their music “organic” though, for they make music which comes naturally from their hearts. Current members Angga, Indah, Ifa, Javafinger (aka Jawa), Lale and Amar are still holding the fort strong despite having to let go a few members throughout their 9 years strong career. JUICE gets a one-on-one with the band before their much deserved first concert in Malaysia this 16 December…

What’s essential in music?

Soul is admittedly not that widespread in this region. What is the secret to sustaining for so long when doing a genre that is quite niche?
We always feel challenged to make something beyond and outside of our comfort zone every time we had to make an album. Maybe that’s why no one can really guess and keep on questioning what we are going to do next with all of our albums.

Any information to share about future Maliq & D’Essentials releases?
We will release a single from our label’s compilation album, and it will only be available on that album. While our 5th album will be released somewhere around next year.

It’s been 9 years since you guys first appeared in the music scene, how has the band’s sound matured throughout the years?
We feel much freer to do anything that we want on our sounds and song arrangements, we do various kinds of sounds throughout all of our music, it’s like getting a little bit of every genre into every song in our current album and the future albums.

What is it like to have performed together as a singular entity for that long? Has the band dynamics changed?
Yes, we changed positively and it feels awesome. The improved band dynamics make music making much more natural and funner than ever.

Do you miss performing with Dimi and Satrio? Do you guys still keep in contact with each other?
We missed them. And of course we keep on contacting each other!

Before you guys made it big, the band performed at cafes and lounges. What was it like to transition from those small venues to the big stage?
We love playing at big stages, it’s much more exciting. But to be honest since we were born from small stages, we miss those small intimate performances where you can interact with the audience freely. Sometimes it feels more ‘humane’ and you get the warmth feeling around you. It’s like coming into a place where everybody knows each other.

The band has songs in both Bahasa Indonesia and English. In which language do you prefer to write in and why?
Well it depends on the need of the song itself. If it sounds and feels better in English, we would write it that way, and vice versa.

The band’s songs tend to be fixated towards romance. Who’s the biggest romantic in the band?
I think it’s the band’s crews, haha.

Being well known not only in Indonesia, but Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei as well, you guys bridge the gap between these 4 countries. Does the band see itself as an ambassador of goodwill among these countries that don’t always get along?
We never thought of ourselves being as far as an ambassador, it sounded somehow so political, haha, but it feels great and we’re happy if our music made a positive impact between those countries. After all, it’s what music was supposed to do, right? Unite the world through a universal language.

A lot of Malaysians are familiar with current Indonesian bands, but what it’s like there? Are you guys fans of bands from here?
We also listen to bands from Malaysia. We love Najwa, Atilia, Estrella, Hujan, the legendary Amy from Search and the ever beautiful Sheila Majid. We also did a collaboration with Atilia back in 2009 and Widi Puradiredja, our drummer, produced Najwa’s first album in 2010. She has an awesome voice.

What’s new with The One Management & Organic Records?
Organic Records & The One Management recently released the second album of Twentyfirst Night (released in August) as well as a record by our newest member in the label – the folk comedy soloist, Sir Dandy, who is also the vocalist of a rock’n’roll band named Teenage Death Star (released in May). There was also a new release by the new soul female singer, Jemima (released in June). And next year we will release a couple of new albums from some of the coolest bands from Indonesia!

What’s it like from being an artist signed by a record label to running your own record label?
We are now exposed to the music industry as a ‘player’. We have a perspective on the industry business-wise and not only just as an artist. We get to know how the industry really works and running a company in this specific field. It’s learning by doing, it’s not easy, but it sure is fun.

Anyone particular from the record label you’d like to recommend us?
All of them! Haha! But the second album from Twentyfirst Night is a must.

What can we expect from your upcoming concert here? Do you have anything to say to your fans here?
A lot of fun, and we hope that all of our fans there are as excited as we are. So see you all soon!

Maliq & D’Essentials will have their first concert in Malaysia at KL Live on 16 December 2011 thanks to Splendid Media. Find out what’s essential in music at

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