On The Records: Josef Salvat

JosefLondon-based, Australian singer-songwriter Josef Salvat is ready to hunt the crown of crooner.

After all these times pop music being dominated by the feisty divas and pop princess, we saw the raising reign of the prominent male soloists and singer-songwriters, geared with soulful vocal and crooning ballads. Names like James Blake, Sam Smith, Mikky Ekko, Gotye already has their place in music industry, and now its time for Josef Salvat to claim his. Hailing from Sydney and based in London, this 26 year old singer-songwriter getting noticed after releasing early singles like “This Life” and “Hustler”, showcasing his haunting vocal, killer piano , and overall promising career ahead. I talk about him via email regarding his music and the upcoming release.

Hello Josef, how are you? Where are you right now and what were you doing before answering this email?
I’m well thank you. I’m currently sitting on my own in a cafe in central London waiting for my lunch. Before coming here I was around the corner at a screening of a friend’s short film that is part of the Raindance Film festival.

Please tell me a bit about your background and what really prompted you to make music?
I was born and raised in Australia. I loved singing as a kid and we had a piano in the house but I never had the patience to learn it properly so I started making my own things up on it. Quickly it become my way of processing things I couldn’t talk about. I went and studied law after school because I was worried I couldn’t make a living with the music I made. But it became clear towards the end of my degree that if I wanted to be happy it wasn’t really a choice. So here I am.

The early press articles describe you as the mix between Morrissey & Lana Del Rey, how do you feel about that? Who were your musical influences that really shapes your music right now?
It’s very flattering – they’re both wonderful artists. My influences range from Bjork, Nina Simone, Eurythmics, Art of Noise, Nirvana – so my parents record collection and teenage discoveries – to Drake, Nas, Katy Perry/Dr Luke, Florence and the Machine, Amy Winehouse etc.

How would you describe your own music?
I generally don’t, but if pushed I usually just say it’s ‘pop’. Self-categorization and creative freedom aren’t often friends in my experience.

After your early singles “This Life” & “Hustler” last year, you seems to take your time and not rushing to release anything until now, tell us what were you busy doing during that period?
I got signed and then started making an album. I spent some thinking/writing time in Spain and couple of months in LA and then came back to London and went into the studio to record everything.

Its seems like we’re kinda have the rise of soulful male vocalists, how do you see yourself in the music industry nowadays?
Ah. The sands are always shifting.

Tell me about your latest single, “Shoot & Run”, I always feel slightly dark tones on your songs but this single is actually darker, so what is the song tell about lyrically and musically?
Lyrically it’s about that realization you have when you see the world for what it is. When you realize no one really knows what they’re doing, that there is no ‘grand narrative’. A lot of my friends went through a very nihilistic and self-destructive phase whilst they were coming to terms with this. But they were joyful in their recklessness. Musically I wanted to create a type of dystopia that was beautiful and full of color but kind of cold and empty at the same time.

Would you mind to talk about the upcoming In Your Prime EP? How many songs on this EP will be? Are you still working with Rich Cooper for the new materials?
I’ve done everything with Rich yeah. We’ve worked together for 3 years now and it’s a beautiful relationship. There are 4 tracks on the EP, one of which is a cover of “Diamonds” by Rihanna. It’s the first time I’ve shown the other side of the music I write, the more hopeful side. It’s a small proposal of how I experience the world; there is contrast.

What is your plan for the full album?
It’s actually almost done and will be coming some time next year. Apart from that I’m not really sure.

What else you did enjoy beside music?
People mainly. But also I try to read books, travel when I can and recently I’ve started bouldering (climbing, but without ropes), which is brilliant.

What’s the next plan for you?
The next plans on the horizon are shooting the video for “Open Season” and a few live shows.


Style Study: Haryono Setiadi

Adi Setiadi

Di antara deretan label top Australia yang berkiprah di Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week (MBFW) Australia tahun ini, terselip satu nama yang terdengar Indonesia, yaitu Haryono Setiadi. Well, it turns out Haryono ‘Adi’ Setiadi sang empunya nama memang seorang desainer Indonesia yang berbasis di Sydney. Dalam gelaran pekan mode tersebut, Adi menampilkan koleksi S/S 13 bertajuk “Visceral” yang terdiri dari luxury sportswear berupa bomber jacket, crop top, dan oversized silhouettes berhiaskan digital print yang terinspirasi dari atom dan molekul. Sleek dan modern, koleksi ini berhasil menarik perhatian editor Vogue yang memasukkannya dalam highlight MBFW musim ini dan beberapa koleksinya pun dipakai Emma Watson di film terbaru Sofia Coppola, The Bling Ring. Ditambah berbagai penghargaan yang telah ia terima dalam kariernya yang masih terbilang baru, he’s definitely one to watch.


            “Pada dasarnya saya suka berkarya dengan menggunakan warna dan komposisi, dan saya menggunakan fashion sebagai kanvas untuk berkarya dan menyalurkan kreativitas saya,” ungkap Adi tentang alasannya menekuni fashion. Penyandang gelar Bachelor of Commerce ini awalnya sempat bekerja sebagai finance analyst sebelum kecintaannya kepada warna dan desain mendorongnya untuk terjun ke fashion dengan bekerja langsung pada seorang desainer Jepang, Akira Isogawa. Di bawah asuhan Isogawa, Adi mengembangkan estetika desainnya sendiri untuk akhirnya membuat label pribadinya dengan nama awal An Ode to No One, sebelum berinkarnasi menjadi Haryono Setiadi di tahun 2012. “Saya sangat tertarik dengan teknik membuat baju, konstruksi baju, dan penggunaaan bahan-bahan tertentu untuk menciptakan ‘feeling’ baju tersebut. Inspirasi desain saya selalu berdasarkan evolusi dari koleksi sebelumnya. Walaupun itu sesuatu yang bisa saya improve atau kesalahan-kesalahan yang pernah saya buat. Setiap koleksi, saya selalu berusaha untuk berkembang, menciptakan sesuatu yang baru dan modern, dengan kualitas yang setinggi atau lebih tinggi dari koleksi sebelumnya.”


            Selain main line Haryono Setiadi yang bersifat high end dengan fokus ke tailoring, fabric treatment, dan signature digital/hand craft artwork, Adi juga melansir diffusion line bernama A.D. by Haryono Setiadi untuk pangsa anak muda dengan desain ready-to-wear yang lebih affordable. Saat disinggung apakah ia memiliki rencana untuk membuat menswear, Adi menjawab jika itu adalah salah satu harapannya dan kini ia masih mempelajari teknik-teknik pakaian pria di sela-sela kesibukannya menyiapkan koleksi Autumn/Winter terbaru dan menulis musik di waktu senggangnya (ia sempat menjadi vokalis band di Aussie.) Lebih dari satu dekade meninggalkan Tanah Air, Adi tak lantas melupakan identitasnya. Merepresentasikan Indonesia di kancah internasional menjadi hal yang dibanggakannya dan ia pun membersitkan harapan untuk bisa menggelar show di sini. Melihat kemahiran sartorial dan visinya untuk terus berkembang, I think it’s only a matter of time for him to fly even further.

Haryono setiadi backstage

Backstage photos by Jake Terrey for Vogue Australia

On The Records: Karina Utomo

The first time I heard about Karina Utomo on 2007, she was the frontwoman of Australian post-hardcore band, Young & Restless. Thanks to her powerful vocal and stage charm, the band was hyped as one of the Aussie’s most potential band after releasing their debut album. Unfortunately, this Canberra-based band announced their breakup on their Myspace page on 17 August 2009 a few weeks after the release of their new single, which left the fans with the same vague feeling when you heard that your favorite tv shows are cancelled for the next season. I always know, it’s not gonna be the end for Karina’s talent, and she prove it right when she post a video of her new band called High Tension on her Facebook page. After listen and watch the video, I know, it’s gonna be something great.

Hi Karina, how are you? what are you doing before answering this email?

Hi Alex, I am really well thanks, hope you too! I just finished band practice as we have our first show with High Tension in a couple of weeks. So far we almost have enough songs to play an entire set… haha!

 I’m not quite aware about the disbandment of Young & Restless, would you mind to share a tidbits?

It was sad that we had to end the band when we did. Lots of reasons accumulated and pushed it to end…. I won’t go into specific details as that’s not important. The important thing was that we had an amazing time and didn’t expect to have all the opportunities that we did with the band.

 What are you doing during that time?

It was definitely a good opportunity to breathe and spend more time doing the things I wish I had time to do. I also got to focus a little bit more on my work for a few years, I always worked throughout Y&R, so suddenly just having to focus on one thing was refreshing and felt like a bit of a holiday! I also explored collaborating with friends on different kinds of music; I pursued dark industrial EBM type music with a good friend who is very talented but only went as far as demos. I think during this time I discovered that (as cliché as this may sound) my heart lay in (very) heavy music.

 What it feels like to start it all over again with your new band?

It’s like having a new crush! Also, lots of scheming and planning to how we want to do things, which is part of the fun.

 So, what sparked you to form High Tension?

Ash (the guitarist) and I had been writing music since we were in SMP, we have grown up together pursuing different bands (Y&R and now High Tension). The beauty with Ash is he knows exactly what I like in terms of riffs, and can easily translate my ideas for guitar riffs and make it better. It makes the process of songwriting more organic, we are not over-thinking what we are doing, it’s more direct. We stayed close friends when he left Y&R and kept writing music. The hardest part was finding like minded members who wanted to be in a heavy band, had the time and a degree of commitment. It is kind of a big ask when you think about it, you sink in your energy, time and money for the love of it. You have to really, really love it.

We pretty much found that with Matt Weston (our bass player who is also in one of my favourite bands The Nation Blue). Matt is pretty much a dream person to have in your band! It helps that we like the same kind of bands, have a similar aesthetic to what we wanted to create.

Damian Coward, our drummer, is a bit of a hero to me as well. He used to run a record label called Building Records and pretty much played in my favourite bands, or toured my favourite bands or put out records of my favourite bands. He was an important aspect to this kind of music in Australia and an amazing curator. He has lots of stories up his sleeve so we have to make sure he’s not telling them when he’s setting up his drum kit haha. For me, it’s the perfect line up and we’re a good team!

Do you ask Nugie (her younger brother, who was the drummer of Young & Restless)  again to join this band too?

I would have loved for Nugie to be in the band. He was an important part of Y&R, especially being my brother, it meant that he could be very honest and open with his opinion; and this was invaluable to me. I couldn’t ask Nugie to be in High Tension as he lives in a different city to us, and would defeat the purpose of pursuing a band at our leisure (Matt, Ash and I are pretty much neighbours, and Damian lives 15 minutes away), we need ease to practice, come together etc, and having a drummer in a different city is logistically impossible at this stage.

What’s the story behind the band’s name?

Matt came up with the name and we all spent quite a long time coming up with something that was not already taken. We wanted a name that translated well with the music.

What’s the main differences between High Tension and your earlier bands? Do you have specific aim/influences for this band?

High Tension is a lot more direct. We don’t have specific influences in terms of bands so much… it’s more about creating a feeling for the audience. It’s sleazy and pushes you right up against a wall, we want to get into people’s personal space and create a good kind of discomfort.

 How is the recording process for your upcoming release?

The songwriting was really organic. We wrote everything in the rehearsal room, or started with riffs that we played around with over pizza. We asked Tom Larkin who recorded the Young & Restless album as he is just the perfect person to work with and he brings out the best in you, so it was a no-brainer to work with him again.

What’s the next plan for High Tension?

Keeping it brutal and fun.