Weird Genius: Creating stories one track at a time

Weird Genius is an Indonesian electronic music supergroup hailing from Jakarta that has been making waves since their conception in 2016. Reza Oktovian, Billy Taner and Eka Gustiwana have brought their signature sound to the international stage by using traditional Indonesian instruments and combining them with electronic elements. Their first international debut release “Dreams” put them on the music industry map in 2018, released on Yellow Claw’s Barong Family record label. Their following single “Irukandji” was a festival favourite and soon enough were playing gigs for Yellow Claw’s Indonesian Tour and regular gigs at local clubs. We caught up with the trio to delve into their meteoric rise in fame and what’s to come. They play LXXY Wednesday, April 10, 2019.

Hey lads! How’s it going? What are you guys doing this weekend?
We are doing really well, thank you so much for asking! We have a show that we’re going to do this weekend in Pekanbaru and we are super excited! Next week, Bali!

Talk to us about how Weird Genius all started.
The idea of making a dance music DJ group first came from Eka and Reza, who were both already influential on the internet (Reza in the gaming scene and Eka on the music scene) and have a hidden passion of dance music. Wanting to make that a reality, they came up with a plan to make a musical movement. I (Billy here!) was still a solo DJ who was performing around Jakarta before the three of us met, but on one fateful day I met Reza for the first (and second time) and got invited to join the group as the DJ. The three of us met for the first time at a bar near Tanjung Duren (it’s a neighborhood in our hometown of West Jakarta) and we discussed a lot of things from our musical influences and musical style, the type of music we want to make, and a name. We decided on “Weird Genius”.

Your DJ set up incorporates live instruments. Can you walk us through that?
Yes! In our live setup, we combine the conventional DJ set (CDJs and mixer) with a keyboard and launchpad (sometimes a drum pad and cymbals). On each song we play (edited tracks), there will be added sounds and musical effects that Eka plays while we perform. Therefore there is a “live” feeling on the set we play, adding more flavor to the performance.

What kind of Indonesian instruments do you use for your tracks and which tracks can we hear them in?
We have this one particular song that incorporates traditional Indonesian instrument, the song is titled DPS. We made the song three years ago and it is actually the first song that we made! Sweet Scar also contains the sound of Suling.

You guys appear to have a close affinity with Bali? What are some of your favourite clubs on the island?
Every time we go back to Bali to perform or to make music, it always feels like home. Bali is a magical place for us and coming back is always a pleasure. Fave clubs? All of them.

Have you got any exciting projects/collaborations/releases coming up?
We’re going to have two collaborations in the near future. Just wait and see!

How would you guys describe your sound?
Melodic, Orgasmic, to the point and weird.

What are some of your career goals? Where do you want to be in five years?
We hope that in the next five years we will still be able to create stories through our music, inspire people to create and feel music, to bring the local EDM industry to the international stage, and of course, be a game changer.

Last, if you were to be stranded on an island with an iPod and 3 tracks, what would they be?
This is a hard question because we love LOTS AND LOTS of different music. But if we were stranded in an island and can only have three tracks on our iPod, those songs would be:
a. Jon Bellion – Simple and Sweet
b. Porter Robinson – Sad Machine
c. Air Supply – All out of Love

Thanks guys! Hope to see you at LXXY next week, Wednesday April 10.


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