Easy A, An Interview With Ariel Nayaka

Tanpa perlu menjual kontroversi kacangan dan komentar-komentar miring, rapper muda Ariel Nayaka menunjukkan kelasnya sendiri sebagai bintang baru layak simak di skena Hip-Hop lokal just like a Straight-A student.

Setelah seakan mati suri sekian lama dari radar mainstream, dengan semakin banyaknya nama rapper dan beatmaker lokal yang naik ke permukaan, releasing their tapes, doing gigs here and there, dan crowd yang semakin apresiatif, I think it’s safe to say our local Hip Hop scene is on the rise again and Ariel Nayaka is proud to be part of it. Menghabiskan masa pubernya di Houston, Texas, cowok 22 tahun ini mengaku sudah terekspos pada kultur Hip Hop sejak dini, namun album 50 Cent lah yang menjadi awal dari segalanya. “Basically gue lagi road trip sama keluarga dan stuck di mobil selama 12 jam lebih. Sepanjang perjalanan, hiburan gue cuma album 50 Cent yang Get Rich or Die Tryin’. That was also the first time I ever listened to Gangsta Rap and I was hooked on it immediately. Album itu yang membuka pintu buat gue untuk eskplor Hip Hop, tapi album yang benar-benar mendorong gue untuk mulai nulis lirik adalah album Eminem yang The Eminem Show,” ceritanya.

Sempat main di genre metal dan post-hardcore emo, minatnya pada Hip Hop bangkit lagi saat ia kembali ke Jakarta. Secara otodidak dari video YouTube, ia mulai mempelajari proses rekaman dan menulis lirik sendiri di atas free beats yang ia dapat di internet lalu mengunggahnya ke SoundCloud. After some singles, videos, and one mixtape, tahun ini dengan bangga Nayaka mempersembahkan mixtape anyar berjudul Curriculum Vitae. Seperti yang disugestikan oleh judulnya, album berisi 12 track ini adalah rangkuman dari skill yang dimilikinya. Berkolaborasi dengan beberapa rapper dan beatmaker sebayanya seperti Ben Utomo, Scamy, dan Greybox, Nayaka menunjukkan bermacam warna Hip Hop dan tema lirik, mulai dari old school, new school, R&B, hingga trap, yang semuanya dikemas dengan lafal Inggris yang fasih, wordplay yang asik, dan produksi yang rapi.

To complete this exciting year, single terbarunya bersama produser Emir Hermono yang bertajuk “3Am In Jakarta” dengan video yang ia rekam sendiri menjadi topik viral, menarik respons positif, dan mengantarkan namanya ke pendengar yang lebih luas tak hanya di Indonesia tapi juga di Malaysia dengan tampil di Good Vibes Festival, di Kuala Lumpur beberapa bulan lalu. Not stopping for rest and relax, he’s already got so much more to show and we can’t wait for it.

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So, what are the musical influences for you?

 

Kalau musik secara general, gue akan sebut Michael Jackson. Gue ingat nonton live performance dia bawain “Smooth Criminal” when I was 3, straight up from Laser Discs. Tapi kalau Hip Hop, pasti berubah setiap minggu, haha. Usually I’ll listen to the “new age hip hop” era in the States seperti Lil Yachty, Lil Uzi Vert, Playboi Carti. But then again there are also those moments where I feel like I need me some Bryson Tiller, Partynextdoor, Drake vibes as well. And those melodic sappy ones have been influencing me HEAVY lately.

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Tell me about Curriculum Vitae, apa konsep utama dari album ini?

 

Jadi Curriculum Vitae ini dibuat dengan konsep “This is my CV into the music industry”, that’s why I’ve got a couple different type of “Hip Hop Styles” in one body of work to show my diversity and overall sounds that I am capable of. Lagu pertama yang gue bikin yang eventually masuk ke album direkam sekitar April 2015.

Waktu itu gue sebetulnya belum berencana rilis mixtape/album karena di Januari 2015 gue baru ngerilis mixtape yang judulnya To Each His Own. Tapi pas summer 2015, gue ke Jerman selama setengah tahun dan gue bawa recording equipment gue ke sana. I travelled around Europe with my friends, and along the way I took in influences from my surroundings and applied them to my music.

Sekitar 70% rekaman vokal di album ini gue kerjain di Eropa. And as for the album cover, it was a picture of a piece of the Berlin Wall in the East Side Gallery that simply said “Curriculum Vitae”. Itu foto gue literally snapped with my iPhone, sent it to my sister to edit a little, and BOOM! That’s the album cover, haha.

Gimana biasanya proses songwriting berlangsung buat lo dari awal sampai jadi?

I always get confused everytime anyone asks me this question, because its always different every single time. Sometimes someone would send me a beat and I’ll just write lyrics to that beat and I’ll record. But some other times I could just be anywhere and I’d get ideas and I would write them down in my Notes app on my phone. Just rhymes and/or random topics. You’d be surprised to see how much idea I have just laying there on my Notes app lol. Then when I do have the time, I would try to use those ideas and mash it together with an instrumental that flows well with the lyrics. To me, the process of songwriting cannot be stuck in just one method of formula. You have to constantly experiment with new sounds/topics. Getting out of your comfort zone is very important, because at the end of the day YOU HAVE to sound different than your peers.

Apa opini lo soal skena Hip-Hop lokal saat ini?

 

The Hip Hop scene in Indonesia is GROWING FASTER AND FASTER! The culture is moving really fast and I see it growing faster than it did with EDM back around 2010-ish. Banyak banget rapper baru yang muncul setiap bulannya and that’s awesome! Sekarang juga ada beberapa Hip Hop events di Jakarta di mana lo bisa ngeliat producer, rapper, DJ hanging out in one place as friends and vibing with one another. Cul De Sac is a collective of very talented young producers and DJs who make events as well. You can probably say that these guys are the ones that are running the underground Hip Hop scene in these weekly parties.

 

What’s the career highlight so far? Yang gue tau tahun ini lo ikut perform di Good Vibes Malaysia, how was it?

 

YES actually so far, performing in Good Vibes alongside Emir Hermono was a really crazy experience. Gue bikin lagu “3AM In Jakarta” bareng dia beberapa bulan lalu dan ternyata lagu ini lumayan booming di Kuala Lumpur, to the point that it actually got radio airplay. Lucunya, pas kita bawain lagu itu di Good Vibes, there were actually people singing and rapping along to the EXACT lyrics. Itu momen yang gila buat gue karena kalau dipikir, gue nulis lirik lagu itu di rumah gue di Jakarta, tapi gue bawainnya di negara lain dan orang-orang nyanyiin liriknya. That feeling right there is what I’ll always crave and that’s the reason that I make music now.

 

Selain musik, apa aja kegiatan sehari-hari lo?

MASIH KULIAH MAN! I mean it’s my last semester but I need to get this out the way first so I can focus on this music 100%. On a daily basis I usually just wake up, go to the gym, go back home and usually the homies would want to hang at my place. My place is where I do all of my recordings and usually we would all just hang out eventually come up with ideas for music.

What’s your dream collaboration?

 

Yo! If could choose anyone, I would want to have a song with Travis Scott on the hook, me doing 2 verses, Drake doing the last verse, and the overall production by Kanye West and Metro Boomin. Terus have DJ Khaled promote it HAHAHA! If I could get that done, I would die happily LOL.

Apa rencana selanjutnya?

Sekarang gue lagi ngerjain beberapa tracks bareng beberapa producers. Bantuin Emir Hermono di album barunya. I’m doing a joint EP with some very talented producers that I can’t tell u about right now and overall I’m just dropping music here and there. Just keep up on my social media accounts cause every announcement I make will go through there.

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Foto oleh: Willie William.

https://soundcloud.com/ariel-nayaka

IG: @ArielNayaka

Twitter: @ArielNayaka

YouTube: youtube.com.arielnayaka

Snapchat: arielnayaka

 

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