Friday Q&A with a Bali resident

This week DJ and co-founder of Hatch in Uluwatu, Muska.

Where are you from?
I’m originally from Perth, Western Australia, but I consider Melbourne my home since I’ve lived there for most of my life.

How old are you?
Old enough to be djn for 20 years haha

How long have you been in Bali?
I’ve been in Bali on and off for about four years now. It’s become a significant part of my journey.

How did you first get into electronic music? Like, was there a certain moment it all made sense?
As a teenager, I felt a bit lost. Everyone around me seemed to have a clear path, but I didn’t. School and my parents pressured me to choose a career, but I had no clue what I wanted. I wasn’t the happiest young adult, grappling with personal issues. But everything changed when I went to my first rave. I knew instantly that this was it. It gave me purpose and direction. That was the beginning of a path that, for the first time, made sense to me. Collecting and playing records became an obsession – That and my spirituality are the only two things that carried me forward through life.

What do you think makes electronic music so good?

Electronic music is like a universal language. It’s a blend of creativity, technology, and raw emotion. It can make you feel connected. It’s the perfect canvas for expressing the complexities of life and it’s so intriguing considering its frequency, music with very few if any words – the simplicity but complexity of it is pure joy. Most importantly it brings people together.

Do you produce music?
Yes, I produce. I always strive to create something that truly represents me as an artist. My music doesn’t fit neatly into one genre, but if I had to label it, I’d call it bushtechno. It’s a psychedelic yet filthy sound inspired by my experiences at Australian bush doof festivals.

How long have you been a DJ and how would you describe the music you make or play?
I’ve been a DJ for 20 years this year. I play Mutant House in nightclubs, and Bushtechno at festivals, and I also have a downtempo chill sound under the alias Muska Jen. I also play Drum & Bass and recently started a duo called Outlaws Overtones with DJ B455 – I also have another duo in Australia with a best friend Lawrence – His DJ name is Le’Bruh I am Muska so together we are Le’Bruska and we play fun Indi nu disco, electro and party slammers.

Tell me about Hatch. You started that venue in Uluwatu in 2019, right? How did that come about? Was it something that was brewing for some time?
It wasn’t so much brewing it was an idea that aligned and just fell into place. It felt like fate, the right time, right place, right people it came together. Two friends, Eliot (Strawberry Group) and Chia, and I shared a vision for creating a venue that was the opposite of exclusive. We wanted a down-to-earth, festival vibe where everyone felt welcome. Our goal was to craft a space that was both inclusive and community-driven, blending the relaxed atmosphere of a festival with a beer garden – pub food vibe. We wanted people to feel at ease, without the pressure of a minimum spend. The true magic of our aesthetic, however, comes from the vibrant colours and paintings that have become a defining feature of Hatch, bringing our vision to life in a way that truly captures the spirit we aimed to create. But all of this would have not been possible without our good friends at BCentrum and our partner- Polly.

Has it turned out the way you thought it would?
I try not to have fixed expectations because the industry teaches you to be adaptable. If you cling too tightly to specific outcomes, you can miss out on unexpected opportunities. Staying inspired and open to change is key.

I see the Hip Hop shows are really strong at Hatch. And the salsa night. Why is that and what do you think is happening with house and underground music nowadays?
It goes back to that adapting and being inspired by the culture around us. Bali is brimming with talented artists, dancers, and creatives, and the crowds are incredible in the hip-hop, salsa and Rageton scenes. I think it’s really strong because it’s built on local relationships, friendships and talent. I’ve always been one for local music even in Australia I would put more energy into local artists than international. It was the same here, I found a really talented DJ, B455 (Read his Q&A here) – I shared my experience with him and we grew a community around the music at the venue together. It’s amazing when you meet other artists that share the same passion and drive for music as you. Together you grow and have awesome experiences whilst sharing friendship and art.

“Even house and underground music today is like a global game of Monopoly.”

With the house music stuff, it’s interesting because everything is commercial music now. Even house and underground music today is like a global game of Monopoly. It doesn’t matter what area you are in. The big players have figured out how to cash in, causing a huge shift in the scene. The commercialization has absorbed many communities, leaving smaller DJs, producers, and local scenes to rebuild from scratch. It’s a tough gig that needs the energy and passion of the younger generation to rebuild. Post-pandemic, it’s become even tougher. The resilience and creativity of the local community are key. It’s a universal story—rebuilding grassroots music culture is never easy but essential for keeping the soul of the underground scene alive. It requires collective effort, perseverance, and a lot of love for the music, but it takes a very long time. The true essence of underground music still thrives in smaller, passionate communities. You can see it in pockets all around the world. It’s not about chasing trends but fostering genuine connections through music. People need to explore different parts of the scene beyond where everyone is going. And they do, eventually. Sometimes, it just takes a bit of boredom with the same old stuff to spark curiosity. When they discover a cool, fresh crew doing the right underground events with the right intentions, great music, and friends around them, that’s when those communities start to grow again.

In saying that, it is also about balance; crews fall apart when they rinse or party the community too hard. I think all collectives need to nurture the people around them and look out for each other; genuine connection is important. Music for me is about improving lives, not destroying them. Otherwise, it just becomes an energy-sucking leech monster. I know because I’ve experienced both sides and I am all about elevating together, not sinking the boat.

“Music for me is all about improving lives, not destroying them. Otherwise, it just becomes an energy-sucking leech monster”

The power of music in the community is great when the collective works together outside of the dance floor to find ways to improve the world around us. If we get lost in the party, I think we miss the point of music and coming together. If you have that intention, the place you share the love of music, be it in Australia, Bali, or anywhere in the world, will have purpose and meaning. That’s all that matters.

What’s your favourite area in Bali to hang out (day-time)?
Bingin Beach is how I fell in love with Uluwatu. Mana in Uluwatu – for chilling, eating, swimming and cocktails for sure.

What’s your favourite place in Bali at night (where you don’t work)?
I like Vault, They are just simply a great crew super talented and good vibes.

What do you do in your spare time? Any other interests?
Spare time sounds nice. Haha – but I do  have drum machines – it’s kind of still working. But I love it.

Where are you a resident, or regular DJ?
I’m a resident of Hatch and regularly play at Australian festivals. I have played a few times at Red Ruby which was fun.
I am thrilled to be playing at Suara Festival in Nuana City, which looks amazing. Being added to the lineup is incredibly exciting! I attended the Locus event there and was blown away by the experience. The venue is set to become the hottest spot in Bali, perfectly aligning with my love for festival-like atmospheres. They seem to have the right intentions, I can’t wait to be a part of it and contribute to the incredible energy that Suara Festival & Nuana City is creating. As for other gigs I am so up for bringing my unique style and energy to different venues, not just limited to my residency. By expanding my reach, I hope to collaborate with other creatives and venues. So, if you’re looking for someone to get the crowd moving. Let’s make some magic happen together!

@michaelmuska

Facebook
Twitter

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recent Stories

Editorial. This week in Bali.

We are now deep into July. That means we are closing in fast on the Bali High Season. That’s...

Read More

Editorial. This week in Bali.

I’ve noticed that many DJs, clubs and collectives around the island don’t promote themselves online with a music background...

Read More

W PRESENTS, a Live Electronic Music Series with JOPLYN

W Bali – Seminyak have announced they will host a new live electronic music series from W Hotels –...

Read More

Editorial. This week in Bali.

While in the past week I haven’t been out too much, still recovering from the week before, I’ve been...

Read More