Volume 69 oct/nov/dec 2020
oh Man meeting mick gender mash boys back in town men of war rock on
men issues oct/nov/dec 2020
The Yak Magazine Sophie Digby, Nigel Simmonds, Agustina Ardie Creative Director Stuart Sullivan Sales & Marketing Amik Suhartin Production Manager Istiana Graphic Designers Irawan Zuhri, Ida Bagus Adi Accounting Julia Rulianti Distribution Made Marjana, Kadek Eri Publisher PT. L.I.P Licence AHU/47558/AH/01/01/2011 Advertising Enquiries Tel: (+62 361) 766 539, 0851 0043 1804, 0851 0043 1805, 0851 0043 1796 firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com Snail Mail & Walk Ins The Yak Magazine, Kompleks Perkantoran Simpang Siur Square, Jl. Setia Budi, Kuta, Bali 80361, Indonesia Magazine printed by Gramedia Outdoor assets by Supaprint
on the Cover: Mr Jagger by MY WARHOL.
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15 minutes Unmoved Like Jagger
interwho Jonny Cota
culture vulture Made Wianta
people Toynee Alistair
Interview Iskandar Widjaja
people Lee Stone
sounds around Michael Franti
people Mauricio Alfizar
people Sam Branson
profile Mark Baker
people Kobby Abberton
Interview Mishka Piaf
people Ronald Akili
Interview Carlos Ferrandiz
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'Pak' mick - still a friend to many in some quarters of bali.
unmoved like jagger Tony Stanton encounters rock royalty in Ubud.
It’s not everyday one encounters the ultra famous, and certainly not in a relative backwater – on this occasion Ubud, laid-back frontier of love and self-exclusion par excellence in the early ’90s. I’d retreated there, like many others before me, after bailing from a corporate job in Singapore. It was a time to escape and to reflect, twin pursuits I undertook at The Beggar’s Bush bar, a once renowned centre of escapism run by the inimitable Englishman, Victor Mason – himself something of an escape artist having worked for the biggest hongs in Hong Kong in the ’70s flogging booze and lingerie. After a time he’d decamped to the hills of Bali and opened a particularly British style pub amongst the greenery. Darts and ring the bull, with draft Bintang on tap and a terrifyingly lethal cocktail of nutmeg-blended arak. It was my local watering hole in paradise, and a very enjoyable place too – filled with drifters and fellow escapists, an ivory tower removed. A place where I was confident – having been the editor of a high society magazine in my previous life – that I would never meet
anyone famous ever again. How wrong I was. I can’t remember the name of the girl I was dining with at the time, but she was engaging, in a Scandinavian way. At some point she leaned over my cap cay and whispered the immortal words: "Don’t look now, but I think Mick Jagger is sitting behind you". Of course I looked. And sure enough there he was – the familiar craggy face of a performing artist I’d seen at least twice on stage and a thousand times in magazines. Mick Jagger. He too was sitting with a pretty young girl, but it occurred to me relatively quickly that she was too young to be anything but his offspring. Jade? It didn’t matter. My first impression was: here’s a father in Ubud having lunch with his daughter. Respect. I left them alone, as anyone human would, and returned to my friend and my fried vegetables. Shortly thereafter the landscape changed. I’d heard tales of Victor’s relationship with The Stones – he’d sometimes talked about how they’d visited The Bush back in the day; how Keef had been a ‘nice young chap’ who’d been interested in his vintage vinyl collection; how Mick
was a friend who’d befriended some Balinese chums and seen them right in England, taking them backstage and looking after them in so many ways. I left it at that – who cared? Then I heard Mick say behind me to a waiter: "Is Vic around? "To which the young Balinese waiter replied. "Sure, Pak Mick, saya check dulu." And off he scampered to look for Victor, who as usual was down in his den typing away on his ancient Contessa Adler typewriter. Presently the waiter came back: "Sorry Pak Mick," he said, "but Pak Victor is busy right now. He says maybe he see you later." It didn’t seem like a snub to me at the time, just a reminder that, ultimately, we’re all the same. And that Victor was old enough to be Mick’s father. In these days of celebrity worship, when it’s all about the money and talentless reality shows, it sometimes helps to realise we’re all on the same planet, that we’re all equal, and that we all deserve to be treated with some healthy disrespect from time to time. I guess Mick got that.
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Christina Iskandar embroiders a p o r t r a i t o f J o n n y C o ta , t h e c r e at i v e f o r c e b e h i n d fa s h i o n b r a n d s k i n g r a f t. photo by anthony dodds.
Jonny, you're originally from San Francisco Bay – what brings you to Bali’s shores? My spaceship crash landed in Bali about six years ago. What started out as an innocent adventure soon turned into a creative endeavour. I was mesmerized by all the craftsmanship of the island and decided to start producing garments and accessories here . . . and six years later here I am continuing on this creative path. You are a former travelling circus performer . . . tell us more. After university I ran away with the circus for a few years as a stilt walker and fire performer. We travelled all over the west coast of America and even performed across the pond in Ireland and Italy. I learned a great amount of skills in the circus including costume design and the basic fundamentals of sewing. After my circus years I found my calling as a fashion designer using skills I learned on tour. A lot of those performers and beautiful freaks that were part of the circus have also found their way to Bali to pursue creative interests. Judging by all the social media hype Skingraft is really going places – tell us how it all started for you. Skingraft started with just two freaky performer boys and a rusty sewing machine trying to create some weird alien clothes. We struggled to make ends meet for years but we were constantly evolving the brand, our aesthetic and our commitment to quality craftsmanship. Everything from designing, sewing, patterning, website creation and sales was all done by us. I feel fortunate that Skingraft made it through those years and has matured into a really exciting and stable creative project. With a store in New York City now, was it a dream of yours? We opened our first Skingraft store in L.A. five years ago and last year opened Skingraft NYC. I think it is every young American designer's dream to open a store in NYC but for us it just felt like the next logical step. It happened very organically and we hope to continue to open more stores over the next few years. My dream is to bring Skingraft to Japan within the next few years. Skingraft was recently named Logo’s NewNowNext Fashion Honoree in menswear, this is kind of a huge deal and one you must be so proud of? To be 100 per cent honest, I work so much that I often forget to savour the moments of recognition or accomplishment. Winning awards, or opening a store or showing at New York Fashion Week, the next morning I wake up just thinking about the next collection and how urgently I need to get back to work. We have been very fortunate over the years but my main focus is on the clothes and the rest is just fantasy. You have a huge celebrity following from Rihanna, Tyson Chandler, Adam Lambert and Justin Bieber. How does it feel to have your brand associated with people who have such a strong connection to fashion? And who would you love to dress or work with? I always love to see celebrities wearing my designs. It is definitely a thrill
to see one's designs in such a public way but I get a similar thrill seeing any random kid on the street wearing Skingraft. I do believe that all the celebrity support Skingraft has received has definitely advanced the visibility of our brand over the years but isn't celebrity culture so funny? It kind of weirds me out most of the time. I would love to dress Grace Jones or Tilda Swinton. Your amazing collection at New York fashion Week – most designers only ever dream about it – the lead-up to the collection must have been surrounded by so much hype, how did the end result make you feel? I was thrilled with our show at New York Fashion Week in February. It really does take a fashion army to produce a show like that and one of the most rewarding aspects of showing at fashion week is to be able to look around at all these talented behind-the-scenes people busting their asses to help manifest your vision. As nerve wracking and stressful as it is, it was very humbling. Is anyone else in your family as creative as you are? Skingraft has grown into a family business. My business partner who handles all the business matters of the company is my brother and my sister recently joined the Skingraft L.A. team. My parents have been sitting front row at every fashion show I have ever done (even the old-school ones that were held in dirty, sketchy warehouses). They are definitely Skingraft's number one fans. Where do you call home? Home is where my fiancée and my pit bull are. I used to call L.A. home but Bali is becoming more and more my home each year. Name a place you haven’t been to yet but would love to get to someday? The moon. Who or what is your biggest inspiration to date and why? I have always been fascinated with death. As far back as I can remember I have always romanticised death and the idea of an afterlife. To me it isn't dark, it is more like a shade of bright light we don't fully understand What can we look forward to with Skingraft in the near future? Expanding the collection into shoes, perfumes, sunglasses and furniture. I really love creating the Skingraft retail experience so I hope opening a few more stores is in our future. Jonny's Top Five: Greatest love? Family. Fashion prediction? Radical self-expression overcomes the monotony of the fashion industry. Favourite artist? Matthew Barney. What are you most passionate about? Art and design. Lover or fighter? Lover. www.skingraftdesigns.com
AYUNDARI GUNANSYACH TALKS WITH MADE WIANTA ABOUT ART, FAMILY, FREEDOM, AND THE BENEFIT OF GARLIC. PHOTO: STEPHANE SENSEY.
MEETING Made Wianta – one of Indonesia’s most respected artists – at his Seputih Gallery, which is a studio, gallery, and his house, I didn’t know that the conversation would go on for hours. Dressed casually and serving me tea and cake Made talks of his life as freedom: “You shouldn’t make a big deal of life, it's very laid back. I have no reason behind my works, I don’t know how to explain that when I’m being asked, my only answer to that is no other than because I love doing it.” His works make people wonder. He works with unusual media – blood, razors, nails, to name but a few of the unusual materials he has used in his work. Made doesn’t like to categorise himself in an artistic sense. “Art is a freedom, so why limit yourself?” he asks. To whit, Made’s expression includes painting, installation, dance and choreography performances, photography and sculpture. Born in Apuan village, Tabanan, Bali, the youngest of a family with 10 children, his father was a priest. In 1974, he graduated from Akademi Seni Rupa Indonesia in Yogyakarta, where he met his wife, Intan – granddaughter of Ki Hajar Dewantara, Indonesia’s education hero. One of his projects that piqued my interest was his solo exhibition titled Dream Land that went on show in 2003 after the Bali bombings in 2002. The terrorist attack – in which much blood was spilled, Bali declared unclean by the Balinese Hindu hierarchy and far too many innocent people died – inspired the contemplation that was a combination of art installation and a performance piece played by Made Wianta himself. He took an array of pictures from the bombing site and printed them on canvas splattered with freshly slaughtered cow’s blood. Horrible, horrifying, and controversial, Dream Land laid bare the nature of senseless violence for all to see. When talking about Dream Land, one can see the pain of those times return to Made’s face. Our conversation kept going until after sunset and Made kept spoiling me with food, serving chicken satay for dinner – garnished with raw garlic. He says this habit has been keeping the flu at bay throughout his life. “This luckily works for me and my wife, there is no guarantee that the same treatment will work for you or other people,” he says. “I don’t want to restrict my kids, I let them fly free like a bird to (achieve) their dreams, because the most important thing for me is their happiness,” he smiles. He is expecting his first grandchild soon – his youngest daughter, Sanjiwani, is a mother-to-be, and Made can’t hide his excitement. Talking about freedom is his second-favorite topic. It fits well with his newest exhibition titled Freedom, held in Gaya Gallery, Ubud since December 2014. He didn’t stop with creating the art himself – as he often does, he brought in other artists to collaborate and interact in an art space. In Freedom a bird is the emblematic centrality. And plays the main role in the painting, installation, and art performances. Talking with Made Wianta makes me see him as more than an exquisitely talented artist with crazy ideas designed to make people think. He is also is a husband who adores his wife, a father who gives his daughters the freedom to achieve happiness, and a man who contemplates no boundaries.
talk to the hand.
Luiz Sanchez meets sam branson to find out what makes this scion tick. IMage: oscar Munar.
sam the man.
Most of us dream of changing the world, but so few of us are set up to make lasting global change. Often it’s money that holds us back, other times it’s a sense of insignificance in the grander scheme of things. But every once in a while someone will emerge with many of the boxes ticked – and they rise to the occasion. Sam Branson, son of the famous entrepreneur and now philanthropist Richard Branson, moved to Bali in 2018 to pursue his passions. “We came out here to spend quality time as a family,” he said [he is married to the actress Isabella Calthrope]. “We wanted to create a space for peace, a place to grow and to learn. I have never been anywhere with such a strong sense of community and present living. It’s liberating and inspiring.” Sam’s move to Bali coincided with a shift in his focus towards wellbeing, spirituality, and an upand-coming music career. “We came initially for a two-week holiday and a yoga retreat,” he said, “and we ended up staying five months. In the end we kept extending our stay, as we felt this place gave us so many of the things we were looking for. Ubud is unlike any place in the world. It’s a city that grows out of an ancient jungle; it’s bohemian, has incredible food, yoga, meditation and arts.” To date, Sam Branson has been involved in a variety of worlds, many based around the idea of change. Education has been a running theme. In 2010 he founded Big Change along with six friends including sister Holly and Princess Beatrice. The charity connects and supports organisations that help to create positive change for young people. “Big Change collaborates with a bunch of organizations on a campaign called Reimagining Education,” Sam says. “We held a summit last year where we brought in leading thinkers on education. We are doing a ton of research but our main takeaway is that until we remove standardized testing, we will never change the system.” His involvement was partly motivated by his own experience. He didn’t thrive in a traditional learning environment, and didn’t believe in his own abilities until discovering his own passions later in life. This in turn gave him empathy towards those that are not having their potential unlocked in traditional education.
“Passion is where you find that effort is effortless because you find inspiration,” he says. But the modern western mindset he says often pushes people to self-actualize through future events. “If I get these grades, if I attend that university, or once I get this job then I will be fulfilled. Most people will follow that carrot throughout their lives. We need to create a system wherein we honor and respect where young people are at in their lives, and give them the license to find themselves.” Awareness and climate change have been another running theme. When he was 23, he embarked on a three-month arctic dogsled, which he describes as life changing. “It was so brutal, but amazing,” he said. “Especially at that stage in my life. I was a young man, soul-searching on this internal and external journey. It really solidified my passion for the climate and the world.” Sam also grew up loving documentaries. “I educated myself through them,” he explained. “I had this love for documentaries and a growing passion for the world, so I wanted to create a company that specifically created films that inspired and educated people but didn’t just preach to the converted.” The result was Sundog Pictures, with a remit to produce quality factual content that starts conversations about the world around us. And then there’s the music, unsurprisingly perhaps given his father’s background with Virgin. “It was always something I wanted to pursue,’ he said, “but it’s not uncommon to be afraid of doing that which you love the most. I guess part of my reluctance was because of my father’s history in the industry, but in the end I knew that if I didn’t pursue this it would be a source of deep regret.” Richard Branson’s success no doubt casts a long shadow. Many people with successful parents often feel suffocated by powerful legacies, often remembered as the child of that person. Sam speaks fondly of his father, and has carved his own way in life in such a way that comparisons would be unjustified. “We are really close,” he says, “like best mates. Luckily my family is really tight. We have a place in the Caribbean which we go to every year for a few months.”
It’s a space that has allowed his family to spend quality time together, away from prying eyes and exhaustive public appearances. “It wasn’t so much fatherly advice as it was being a great role model that influenced me the most,” Sam explained. “He has got such an amazing enthusiasm for life and puts people above anything. To him a business is just a name and it’s the people working in it that matter. Making money is just a byproduct of creating amazing things and that is a wonderful way to live. Who he is as a person rubbed off on my approach to life.” It’s an approach that hasn’t always worked. “I went through quite a difficult journey in the past few years,” Sam explained. “I was running my production company, doing the Strive Challenge to raise money for Big Change, was doing a public speaking tour, and on the surface it all seemed great. But one day I hit a point where I was on stage giving a talk I had done a million times before and just froze. I thought to myself, I have nothing more to say and walked off stage. What I was doing was trying to be all things to all people without being someone for myself. Because I was deeply passionate about the world and had the opportunity, I spread myself too thin. I wasn’t living in sustainability with myself.” So music it is, for now, that inspires and centres him. His baby is Love Mafia, which aims to become an artist collective, although he is certainly at the core of it. “I am very narrative-driven,” he says, “and the music I make always tells a story. Our aim is to build a brand that really celebrates collaboration and diversity because in my experience, the only way to create empathy and compassion for other human beings is by understanding their story,” he says. “The problem is that people retreat further into their own confirmation biases, which further feeds the divide. Underneath all that bullshit we all share the same feelings: fear, love, hate, compassion. We are all unified over these common experiences of emotion … and I am all for common stories in music, art, and creativity that bridges that divide.” Instagram @bransonsam, @lovemafiamusic Twitter - @sambranson Sundogpictures.co.uk
Design Dope SITS down with L.A.-based celebrity jeweller Michael David – A.K.A Mishka Piaf. photo: lukas vrtilek.
mishka, please tell us about yourself. Michael David Wilson is my full name and Mishka is the nickname my mum and my grandmother used to call me as a baby when I was still living in Warsaw. Piaf is inspired by the French singer, Edith Piaf, because I have always been fascinated by her story and the struggles that she faced before stardom. Padam Padam is the song I love the most. It is haunting, empowering and sad all at once and I think that sadness can be inspiring at times – it is a state of mind and it can be very temperamental state of mind. What is your current state of mind? This is a time of adjustment. I have just arrived from Shanghai, before that I was in Los Angeles working in my home-manufacturing space. I have been working and travelling a lot this year and adjusting from a high paced Western lifestyle to the relaxing aesthetics of Bali . . . which is definitely a state of mind. When did you become Mishka Piaf? I suppose growing up I was always very social, I did a lot of partying in L.A. as a child. I was kind of a rebel for the longest time and I was always very self-expressive as far as what I wore, what I liked . . . I developed a very distinguished taste from an early age. It is funny really; as a child I was into riding horses. I was an equestrian and that is what I originally thought I wanted to do with my life. I rode for about nine years and I actually qualified for the junior Olympics. Design Dope met you a year ago at the notorious Diva luncheons, was that your first time to Bali? No, I had been to Bali the year before that. I try come once a year for about two or three months for inspiration. What inspires you? History. And I love culture. I draw a lot of inspiration from tragic moments in history. The great depression for example and I have also been very inspired by the aesthetics of Germany . . . military glamour. I am also inspired by Eastern culture and more and more by the Chinese and Indonesian culture. The ceremonial processions that take place in Bali are so beautiful. Almost surreal – the contrast to Western civilisation is enormous. We get the feeling that you grew up with a lot of story telling and unusual experiences. Tell us more about your childhood. Yes there was a lot of story telling. Polish stories told by my mum. I was always very fascinated by them and still am. My father . . . well if you want stories then he has the craziest of them all. One I will never forget is when he was building our house in California: The same person who actually shot Gianni Versace stole my dad’s car and drove it to Miami. Ironically enough, as a child, I was very fond of Versace – I still am very fond of the whole gold thing. It was a very special time in my life and then the recession hit, businesses were shutting down and we kind of lost everything. It was struggle and total wake up call at the same time. That is when I start creating. You are creating for quite a few well-known people – Naomi Campbell, Nicki Minaj and Britney Spears are just a few of the celebrities who adore your jewellery. Tell us your most memorable moment with any of them. I suppose that the most memorable would be the Britney project. I had just
finished a necklace and sent a photo to my friend. He emails me back with nothing but an address and tells me “bring the necklace now and whatever else you have”. I think to myself “why not?” and jump in the car. I pull up to this beautiful house in the hills and there is a U-Haul truck outside the house filled with the most amazing couture and at least half a dozen assistants running around. Britney is having her make up done inside the house while I have all of these people rummaging through my jewels, pulling everything together. That is when I realised that they were shooting her new video clip that day. It was madness! Wow! So what do you think of the fashion and social scene in Bali? That depends on whose fashion. I believe that it is a very expressive place – I am tempted to say that Bali is very similar to Dubai in some ways . . . Las Vegas almost. All the new building . . . I have friends that have lived here since the 1980s – they used to produce sarongs for their stores in Hawaii here back in the day. They told me that you were not able to build places that were higher than a coconut tree. I loved that idea – so fascinating. As I said, I don’t know if the change is good, because I am kind of an old soul sometimes . . . I didn’t answer your question at all did I? What can we expect from you upcoming collection? Well I can’t reveal that just yet, but before leaving for Shanghai and Bali I was working on something back in California, which I am very passionate about. I was pulling all-nighters. Three days in a row drinking my coffee, smoking my cigarettes all while wearing my favorite fur coat! Although I have no formal training, I do everything myself, I make everything. I love being in my creative bubble; it is where I find my freedom and when I start I don’t stop. Can we expect to see an Indonesian influence in the Mishka Piaf jewellery in the near future? Of course, absolutely! I love it here . . . it is fabulous. mishka's top ten Favourite historical figure/person: Mata Hari, Cleopatra and Elizabeth Taylor – all great and powerful women. Favorite Fashion Era: I feel as if I need a time machine because I’m dissatisfied with this one. It would have to be the ‘20s and the 1950s. Greatest Love: I feel like I am in love with everybody. The last three persons you called or texted: Angie Anggoro, my mum and Kyoung Kim. Tell us something you haven’t told anyone before: I have terrible social anxiety. Fashion prediction: Lady Gaga will be creative director for Versace. What word(s) do you tend to overuse most in conversation: Glamour, glamour glamour . . . and blasé. What album are you listening to on repeat at the moment: Artpop by Lady Gaga. Nickname: Ha ha ha . . . Princess! What are you most passionate about: Helping my mum with her healthcare and focusing on non-profit organisation in California.
jewel in the crown.
people Senegalese fashionista Badara Ndiaye is nearly seven feet tall with a heart and outlook to match. photo: oscar munar.
from basketball court to catwalk: badara official.
Badara, you were born in Senegal? What was early life like for you? Yes, I was born in Kaolack, Senegal. I was just the shy, quiet kid who wanted to stay away from the spotlight due to my popular parents, especially my father who is an actor and a women`s rights activist. In my early teenage years, I became taller than most people around me; my friends, my teachers, my parents . . . like most teens who happen to be tall, I felt a bit out of place because I found myself mixing more with adults than with other teens, something I learned to appreciate later on in life. You stand at two meters 11cm … all we can say is, wow! But being so tall must have had its downs and well as ups? Anything and everything has its ups and downs. I won’t even mention the ups because we can imagine what they are, but one of the main disadvantages is that nothing is made for people of my size. This may sound unfair to some people, but sometimes you enter a place that is not 'tall proof' . . . which automatically puts me or anyone else in my circumstances at a handicap. Growing up, I was considered different and at the same time I was just like the other kids. I played most sports, even gymnastics . . . I had many friends, but also was made fun of due to my height. In many cultures and societies, people make fun of anything which is different. I was called names like 'stretch' and more, but luckily for me I had a supportive family. For other parents out there, be kind to your children because the rest of the world may not be. When did you leave Senegal, and how did that happen? I started basketball very late, at the age of 17. The main reason was that all my friends started playing basketball, and I found myself without a single friend to go play other sports with. I was left with no choice other than to start the game. On my first day on the court, the head coach of the Senegalese basketball team happened to be around, and boy was I in trouble. He wouldn't leave me alone. The fact that he was friends with my parents didn’t help. Somehow he convinced me that I should be practicing twice a day: early morning and evening. Thanks to that, I attended a few international basketball camps with some NBA players and coaches, and some division one college coaches as well. It quickly turned into me being recruited to go play basketball in the USA at the age of 21. What was it first like arriving in America, and how did you spend your time there? My first experience was certainly challenging because there I was in a new land with new customs and new social codes that I had to process and incorporate into my new life. I couldn’t even speak English at all in 2005, so go figure how my interaction was with the people around me. I quickly started taking ESL classes . . . English as a Second Language. My time was mostly spent between my studies, basketball and travels. Your life took a turn after you were injured … were you ‘discovered’ by the fashion world, or was it something that you always had in mind to do? I had micro fracture knee surgery during my senior year, after which I had to forget this "on court" dream. Then I met the late fashion photographer Prescott McDonald at a party and he invited me to do a test shoot at his studio. That was my first glimpse into the fashion world. Later on in the year 2012, I met a friend who introduced me to the world of social media through his online magazine where I was helping out as a contributor for men’s fashion. That’s how BADARAOFFICIAL was born. You’re very active on Instagram, with a strong profile. Do you consider yourself a model or a social media influencer? Thank you! I actually consider myself a Creative/Artistic Director. Almost 90 percent of content on my platform is conceptualized and directed by myself. I also do creative consulting for some of the brands that I work with. I found myself enjoying that more and more over the past two years, and I can’t wait to expand and do more all over the world.
What’s important to you in life, and what code do you live by? Integrity and respect are two codes I live by. They are simply fundamental because selfrespect and self-love dictate everything else around one’s life. How did you come to see Bali, and what has struck you about the island? I came to Bali for the first time in February 2018, and I have been back every few weeks since. I am about to complete my fourth trip to Bali in a couple of weeks. I first came to Bali to visit a hotel that is being built on Nusa Penida and fell in love with the bubbly energy and landscape that exists here. I found Bali to be a land of opportunities, based on what I have seen and the experiences I have had. The place is a creative paradise, and those who appreciate creativity in all senses will find themselves in heaven in Bali. I think almost anyone who has visited the island would agree with me. I’d love to do more work in Bali or in Indonesia in general as the “Tall Model” , and as a creative director. People say the USA is the land of opportunity, but I think that Bali is another land of opportunity with its never ending growth in hospitality, art, fashion … the list goes on. If you’re not here, where do you spend your time? Mostly between Miami, Paris, and Ligueux. How do you find clothes to fit you? I find clothes anywhere even though I am tall. My issue is that often I can’t find the right length. That has pushed me to make some of my own clothes, and I was able to develop that aspect with a sartorial design company as a design consultant. Ok here’s one for you … you’re out in the desert in a canyon late at night. It’s four hours back to the nearest town. There’s a large injured animal blocking the road …. what do you do? I know this answer is expected, but I want to believe that most people are good and would do the following: If I can transport the animal without hurting him or her, then I would. In the case that I can’t, I would call for help. What is your idea of perfect happiness? My idea of perfect happiness is that life starts with yourself. Start it within yourself and then spread it around. Which living person do you most admire? I admire anyone who strives in life. People who you look at and see that they are hard working people. That’s who I admire. On what occasion do you lie? Only if I know the truth will cause a cardiac arrest. If not, I’d say: say it like it is. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? Hmmm. There are definitely things we, as people, constantly need to work on. Mine would be wanting to do everything. You just can’t do everything, and this is something I am working on. Badara, stay perfect and many thanks for your time! Thank you to The Yak team. @badaraofficial
PROFILE Salvador Bali meets a young fashion designer going places. photo: spencer hansen.
Tell it like it is. Alexander Blomgren, I’m 18 years old, born in Sweden, moved to Moscow straight away. My mother is from Moscow and dad is from Sweden. I lived in Moscow for 10 years, then moved to Sweden for six years. My parents separated and my mother moved to Bali. A couple of years later I moved here as well. What was your schooling like? Well that’s where I get a bit shy. I dropped out of school the first year in high school, basically I did the normal up to high school in Sweden and that’s pretty much it, and then it’s all experiences in Bali. You’re definitely the youngest designer I’ve come across to date – you’re 18 now and started to design clothes at 17 . . . how did that come about with no formal education in the field? That’s actually a pretty funny story. I moved to Bali two-and-a-half years ago. The first year was kind of rough – nothing but the blues. After a year I was okay and thinking I have to start doing something. So I started working in Oazia SpaVodka, my mother’s place. That worked out for a while, but it really wasn’t my calling and then all of a sudden I started thinking about fashion, and there was the fact that I had nothing to wear and not a single good shop in Bali where I could find some normal clothes to go out in. So I started doing some designs and two months later I had my workshop running and producing my first collection. Of course with your mother’s blessings and back up . . . Yes, of course (laughs). Where did the passion come from that you are obviously projecting? It all came from looking on the Internet and looking at some designers, and then I started drawing. You never drew before, it just came? No, never, it just came.
A natural talent, so it seems. Yeah, it kind of worked in my favour. What’s the name of your company? Alexander Blomgren. Is that strictly men’s wear? No, women’s wear as well and jewellery designs, which will be coming soon. So it’s been two years in the making? No, only about eight months. I did my first collection and jumped back into Oazia Lobster Bar, which was a new venture by my mother, helping out . . . now that it’s finally running I’m back to doing my designs again. I understand the desire to make men’s designs, but women? The women’s side was more from my mother, because she was actually having the same thoughts as me – that she had nothing to wear. She came up with some designs that she liked . . . I started drawing them out and making models. Have you had any fashion shows yet? No, I was planning on doing it on my birthday, which is in November. So I’m pushing my collection to meet that date. How would you describe your collection? What I’m going for is very stylish, slim-fit, moderate, not too many colours, evening wear, dress shirts, formal, suits and trousers. For the ladies, silk dresses, tops, pants and shirts. Being in Bali and at your age, you’re not inclined to do surfer clothes and such? No, that’s not really my part here in Bali. Are you planning to open up shops here? Yes, I’ve started to look around and I have a friend in Amsterdam, so I’m starting to outsource a bit over in Europe. So you’re going international as well, do you have a website? Yes, which will be open with the new collections,
and with on-line shopping. What has been the response so far? Very good actually, a lot of my friends are now picking up my shirts, seeing a lot of nice photos in magainzes like this one. Much of it has been from friends, so I’m getting a lot of good and bad comments on what they would like as well. Do you see this business as your future? I don't know yet if it's my calling. I’m gonna do it until I feel I’ve done it. Life’s lessons – they can go on and on . . . Yes of course. What are some of the obstacles you’ve faced so far? Bali is one of the smallest islands in the world in terms of its expatriate community, so it’s hard getting a new product out here, but also there’s a flipside to it, which is the creative side. Is everything manufactured here? Yes, I have my workshop where I do my shirts and dresses, and now I’m starting to do jeans and T-shirts and trousers in the factory. Do you work with anyone, for quality control etc? No, it’s all done by me. Whenever there's a problem I have to be there, 24/7. I want to see every bit of the sewing, every little stitch, all the details. So designing is the easy part? Yeah, the hard part is doing the production; you have to check every little thing to make it work. Do you have a philosophy of life? That’s easy . . . just to live as you want, and in the end it will work out for you.
alexander: "live as you want."
tai, shot by spencer hansen.
Tai Graham first set foot on a surfboard aged three and has been visiting Bali since he was seven. Now he’s managing one of the coolest bars on the island, at one of the most iconic surf spots on the planet. Robert Wolf hangs with him and talks passion, purpose, and philanthropy. Tai Graham has the well-baked look of a man who spends serious amounts of time outdoors, doubtless aided by his Polynesian blood (his father comes from New Zealand). His ready smile and ultra-laidback attitude suggest to me that he’s probably spent so much time riding waves that most of daily life seems like a breeze in comparison with the adrenaline rush of catching a big tube. Despite having spent years holidaying in Bali, Tai tells me that he never anticipated living here. He never even really thought surfing would become such a touchstone for him. As a kid, his game was rugby league. It wasn’t until his teens that he swapped the egg-shaped ball for the board, and never looked back. He’s good (he recently won the open-to-all-comers Put Up or Shut Up challenge at G-Land in Java), but not good enough to make a living through surf alone. For a while, he did water patrol and lifeguarding at big contests, but when a friend and mentor asked him, "are you happy?" he was forced to admit that it was all becoming a bit stale. So began the Bali years. For a while Tai traded on his years of experience as both a holidaymaker and a surfer in Bali, providing accommodation and offering himself as a guide to the best breaks and eats on the island. Tai’s hotel and Sherpa services took off quickly, and soon he was playing host to multitudes of pros and photographers. That era served a valuable purpose, he tells me, grounding him in Bali and becoming a stepping stone to greater things. He gave it up though, he remarks with a grin, when "it turned into a babysitting service". He put in a shift with the ISC (Indonesian Surfing Championships), both as a commentator and a wise old(er) hand guiding the young Indonesian guns. Then the opportunity to team up with his good friend Tipi Jabrik and turn an old batik factory into a bar beckoned, and Black Dog was born. Open only on Fridays, Black Dog was the perfect way of expressing Tai’s gregarious nature and love of music without taking away too much of his surf time. He describes it as “a surfer’s bar, but it was full of everyone – artists, musicians … it felt like a house party, but every week". Tai says of Bali that "it’s a lot harder to just get a job here, you kind of have to create something of your own". As he relates his own story to me, it becomes apparent just how true that is of his experience. His life has gone through a steady evolution in the six years since he moved here, and yet, with hindsight, each project looks like a natural step from the previous one. What do you think he did when Black Dog had run its course and he was ready to move on? Why, he combined his passion for surfing with his growing experience running venues, of course. Initially reticent about the idea of a bar in Uluwatu, his objections were overcome when local surfing legend Madé Kasim took him to the spot that’s now home to Single Fin and asked him: "What do you want to do with it?"
Tai knew what he didn’t want to do. He didn’t want to create a fine dining concept restaurant that was out of step with the vibe of Uluwatu and the local community. Single Fin, he says, is a place where "anyone can come and have a good time", where "the ocean is the feature". The furniture is all made of old boat wood, and the name itself is a homage to the first crazy souls who clutched their single fin boards, took what was then a 10-hour journey from Kuta to the Bukit back in the 1970s, and stumbled across what has become one of the most iconic breaks in surfing lore. Unlike Black Dog, Single Fin is open every night of the week, and "people come from all over the island" to chill, take pictures of the sunset, and of course ride the breaks. The Sunday sessions, in particular, often go off, although the bar closes at midnight out of respect for the local community. Despite the responsibilities of running a business (Single Fin in Uluwatu consists of a café, bar, and surf shop, and there’s another shop in Seminyak), Tai’s main ambition still seems to be to catch as many waves as he can. The day before meeting me, he tells me, he went down to the bar for a staff meeting, "noticed the waves were firing," and grabbed the opportunity for a quick surf before the bar filled up for the evening. As brand ambassador for O’Neill in Indonesia, Tai also gets to put together community projects that introduce youngsters to their surfing heroes. Sage Erickson, one of the top female riders in the world, passed through Bali recently. Tai organised a competition that allowed one 11-year-old Indonesian girl to spend a day surfing with her idol. Witnessing her excitement, he says, was "a real goosebump moment". With "the best of the best" passing through Bali, he’s also keen to establish a training centre, both to provide world-class surfers with needed facilities and to inspire local surfers with a sense of what’s possible. He’d love to see one of the locals break through and make it on the pro tour, forever altering perceptions of what’s possible for an Indonesian surfer. As he says: "It only takes one." In the end, "everything revolves around surfing. It’s what I know, it’s what I breathe". Building a life around the things he most enjoys seems to be working out okay for him. He shares his life with "a beautiful girlfriend and three annoying dogs", and he gets to spend hours in the water. As his mentor, Dave, said to him, "if money is the driving force, it’ll never work. You’ve gotta do what you love and follow your passion". He and I both know people back in our respective home countries who are tied to jobs they dislike, and yet who continue to moan about them rather than make changes. One thing that’s clear to me from chatting with Tai is that he makes a habit of living his values, and giving back to the communities of which he’s a part. What’s left for him to accomplish now that he’s got Single Fin, the O’Neill ambassadorship, and the training centre in the pipeline? "Well, I don’t want to be that busy guy that doesn’t surf anymore … I just want to be on every big swell that comes through." "I look at my old man," he says. "My dad’s a big inspiration … he was a football coach for, like, 20 years, he’s 58, and he acts like a 25-year-old. He’s just a big kid … he’s having fun, because he hangs around with the youth every day." Tai follows his example, spending time mentoring young surfers, finding inspiration in the innovative places they’re taking the sport, and staying young himself in the process. Does he still see himself surfing when he’s 40 or 50? "Oh yeah, if I can still be surfing when I’m 80 I’ll be stoked."
Alex Tsuk meets the inimitable Iceman, Wim Hof.
the other hof.
There are surely few more extraordinary men than Wim Hof. Known as 'The Iceman', this Dutch father of six is famous for pioneering a groundbreaking breathing technique that allows him – and his disciples – to withstand intense cold. And by intense, we mean intense. The man has broken 26 world records – including one for the longest ice bath. In 2007 he climbed almost to the top of Mount Everest wearing nothing but shorts and shoes, failing only due to a recurring foot injury. A year later he broke his previous world record by staying immersed in ice for one hour and 13 minutes. He’s also climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in only shorts, completed a marathon above the Arctic Circle in Finland in temperatures of -20 degrees and in 2011 broke his endurance record once again by sitting in ice for almost two hours. It’s hardly surprising the world considered him nothing more than a rather eccentric ‘extreme athlete’ for 25 years, but today he is the subject of international recognition for his breathing techniques which he says teach people to live a life free from fear.
rapid pace thirty times. Hof says that this form of hyperventilation may lead to tingling sensations or light-headedness. After completion of the 30 cycles of controlled hyperventilation, take another deep breath in, and let it out completely. Hold the breath for as long as possible. When strong urges to breathe occur, take a full deep breath in. Hold the breath for around 15-20 seconds and let it go. The body may experience a normal head-rush sensation. These three phases may be repeated for three consecutive rounds. Going into an ice bath could seem uncomfortable but for Wim, the goal is the exact opposite: “We are not seeking discomfort but finding real comfort, comfort of the mind. Out of the comfort zone, there is real comfort with yourself.” “The real control of the mind is learning to let go and have your feelings augmented, past the narrowed consciousness, the way we were told.”
Not only that but he believes his methods can alleviate symptoms of many auto-immune illnesses including multiple sclerosis, arthritis, diabetes, depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and cancer. “With a simple breathing technique,” he says, “we have now changed the science books. We can win the war against cardiovascular disease and allow people to access their autonomic nervous system. They said it was not possible, but it is.”
Scientists say only 15 to 20 percent of our brain is in our wishful control. “We learn a lot of stuff in our schools, all this unnecessary useless data in our brain that takes a lot of space. We go to work and then one day we ask ourselves: why am I here? War is all over the news and the world is always on the edge of collapsing. But it is not who we are: innocent, nice, good people. We can return to innocence, be the way Mother Nature made us.”
Teaching breathing and cold exposure here in Bali, I decided to go to Poland and join the Wim Hof winter expedition, where participants get to immerse themselves in an ice bath and frozen rivers, climb a mountain in their shorts and get to connect and learn with the man himself.
“Control of the mind is making yourself go inwards, consciously tapping into the subconscious part of the brain, the reptilian brain. The grey atmosphere. Reconnecting with yourself, your health and your strength gives you the key to open the door and unlock the power of your own mind.”
It’s an intense experience that attracts a curious band of people, all of whom have travelled out of their comfort zone to learn from Wim Hof, who believes that we are able to regulate every part of our body with our brain and our breath, enabling us to withstand extreme cold. “When you go into an ice bath,” he says, “you feel the cold but the cold is just the trigger: it activates your soul!”
And once you know how to access the control room, you can go anywhere. Wim Hof continues: “It is a revolution in mental healthcare – a new way to treat depression, PTSD, bipolar, anxiety, sleep issues. We can now face all our demons, make friends with them, treat them like babies.”
And this is really what the Wim Hof method is all about. He offers a practical toolkit to reconnect at a cellular level with ourselves, to feel into our bodies, to be present and aware of what is happening inside our brains. “We have found the direct link between nature and our soul,” he says. There are many variations of the Wim Hof Method, but the basic version consists of three phases: controlled hyperventilation, exhalation and breath retention. The first phase involves 30 cycles of breathing. Each cycle goes as follows: take a powerful breath in, fully filling the lungs. Breathe out by passively releasing the breath, but not actively exhaling. Repeat this cycle at a steady
“We live in a society driven by fear and when we operate from an unpleasant emotion base, we cannot access true happiness. Fear comes when we are not fully in control of what is happening in our own brain. Most people who don’t know about it are like babies. Nothing wrong with their legs – they just don’t know how to walk yet. You can learn how to walk.” That’s when the breathing becomes a tool for deeper clarity: “What was complicated is going to be simple, what was heavy is going to be light.” Alex Tsuk is leading breathing and cold exposure workshops inspired by the Wim Hof method and other pranayama techniques. www.breathingcold.com
ISKANDAR A Franciscus Geissenhof Violin from 1783 . . . Who is this YOUNG guy playing that kind of an instrument? violinist IskaNdar Widjaja TALKS TO SALVADOR BALI ABOUT HIS PASSION FOR PLAYING . . . FROM OF A LIFE WRIT LARGE.
BEGIN at the beginning . . . My name is Iskandar Widjaja. Which is an Indonesian name, but I was born in Berlin, Germany, age 25, my home base is in Berlin, but I travel 50 percent of the year, What is your parental mix? My dad is Arabian-Dutch, from Maluku, my mom is from Chinese origin, also from Indonesia, and I speak English, German and Indonesian. Schooling background? Normal high school, but I was accepted in college at age 11. Stop the music, Age 11? I need more of that . . . I was studying violin at that time, alongside adult students, my mom thought it would be good to get support as soon as possible.
At what age did you start playing violin? I was four years old. What brought that on? I was actually asking my mom to buy me a violin. At four years old? It’s not unusual, my family is full of artists – my mom is a pianist; my uncle is a conductor; and my grandfather, Udin Widjaja, in the Soeharto era, was a famous composer; my aunt a ballet dancer. So, totally encompassed with music, I thought it was normal. By the time I was 11, I was already sure I wanted to pursue a musical career. Not even a concert pianist, I wanted to be a soloist. I was already designing my own CD covers. That’s quite a passion for a child.
When my mother was pregnant she would be practicing Chopin all day – genetic, who knows? For sure, osmosis . . . I started off with a method from Japan called the Suzuki method: the point being to learn the music intuitively, like a mother tongue, so you don’t learn with the notes, but learn from hearing. When driving in the car with my mom, she would play the music and afterwards I would try it on my violin, without even knowing the notes. It’s a very good method for children. You said you went to college on a scholarship? In Germany there’s lots of support for the arts, and it's not very expensive to learn an instrument. When and where was your
it's berlin and bali for iskanDar.
top of the world ma!
first performance? At age seven, in Italy, I played a Vivaldi Concerto. That was my first performance and the mayor of the city, after my solo, came and shook my hand. I was so proud. From there? The feeling of being on stage, especially as a youngster, makes you kind of high. I knew then that’s what I wanted to do as a career. Are you saying that you feel like another person on stage? I try to be just a tool for the music. I try to get rid of my personality and let the music speak for me, and it’s the most wonderful feeling. And so the progression? There’s a supportive program for highly gifted children – the Unistand Institute – where they organize concert tours in Europe. I was accepted for that and rubbed shoulders with other gifted students my age. I graduated one-and-a-half years ago from the University of Arts, Berlin. Before that what were some of your accomplishments? Don’t be shy . . . The Gold Medal of the first International Violin Competition; first prize in the German national competion, Jugend Musizert; best Bach and best Beethoven sonatas in the XXI Concorso Violistico Internazionale Postacchini; Julios Junior – Young Talent category, awarded by Berlin’s mayor; scholarship from the Deutsche Stiftung Musikleben; performing with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, the Dubrovnik Symphony
Orchestra, the Sinfonieorchester Berlin, the Orchestra de la Suisse Romandi and others. Festivals, Kissinger Summer, Valdes Sommersymfoni, Festival de Saint Prex, Music Phnom Penn and Kesher Eilon; also conducted master classes at the Pelita Harapan University in Jakarta. What brought you to Indonesia? I came here six years ago because it was my parents' home country and I had a unique experience in my musical endeavors – instantly showing that the music reached the Indonesian people; they would immediately applaud during the pieces which you can’t expect in Europe. I was surprised by that – a new experience. Europeans are very silent and attentive; they applaud after the piece but Indonesians are more relaxed. Five years on, I tried to reestablish a career in Europe – the base of classical music. Through that I established a tour of South East Asia. There’s huge interest here (in my music), especially in the younger generation. Recently I had a big concert in Medan – 3,000 people, full house, the Sky Convention Hall. What brought you to Bali? My dad is friends with Tom, the owner of JP’s Warung and he asked me if I would like to have some fun in Bali – come over, relax, nothing serious and jam in the club. I gave it a go and really enjoyed it. The classical concerts can be quite stressful with all the rules. Being 25, I presume that you are influenced by all the
other music that’s going on, do you enjoy everything, and do you play everything? My main focus is classical, but I love to sing a lot, and now there are many articles saying, oh this classical artist, blah, blah. I’m not this uptight classical artist, I’m having fun. Backing up a bit: you said you wanted to be number one, did you accomplish that? There are competitions in Germany, and yes I won (laughs), but then again, music is not like sports, you can’t really measure it, you can’t say he’s the fastest or the best. It’s taste as well, if you have reached technical perfection there’s many more things to judge, so there’s no such thing as number one in music. I’ve come second and third all the time, judges have different tastes or they have their own students and like them better. In the end it comes across to the audience what you do. What about America? I performed in the Chicago area where I received a scholarship when I was 16, at the time I considered my musical base in New York. But Europe has so much tradition and it’s kind of sacred. I was born in Berlin, which is kind of the Mecca for classical music. I stayed and never regretted it. Is there one place that you would like to play in? Yeah, Carnegie Hall in New York. I had a chance to play there twice, but I couldn’t make the schedule, but that’s my dream. Also a dream come true was the Berlin Philharmonic, that was
a Christmas concert last year, to play there is incredibly hard, they only invite international artists. Being born there and accepted – overwhelming. So now where do you go? I don’t make plans, I believe there’s a plan already in order, I just try to be as flexible as possible for the energy to guide me to the places life wants me to go. So I’m happy that life has guided me to this point, I have no objection. Future plans for Bali? Actually I fell in love with the energy here in Bali, so my secret feeling is in about five or six years to buy a place here and make it my second base. Berlin for half the time – it has cool energy – but the east and Bali is so easy in a way. In Germany there’s the structure and order, Bali is easy and I love that, also to combine these two worlds into my playing. What about recording? My recording company, Oehms Classics, is available in Indonesia, but I don’t want to make a big project out of this. I have plans for Indonesia that is easy listening, accessible to the Indonesian audience. I talked to many people about this and the recording companies are all in agreement. Your philosophy on life? Let it happen and believe the believeness [sic] of it. To your fans? I appreciate all the love; it’s not about me, but giving me the energy to work hard.
“I am hopeful for the future, but I hope the future gets here quick”
From his hip-hop beginnings with Beatniks and Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy, to 12 years of free Power to the Peaceful concerts in San Francisco; from playing the streets in war-torn Palestine to moving crowds at the biggest festivals around the world; from raising funds for Soles 4 Souls to supporting Bumi Sehat natural birthing clinic in Bali, Michael Franti has been a political and humanitarian activist, promoter of peace, and a voice of the people. On the tail-end of his US tour following the release of All People – Spearhead’s 10th album – Michael Franti took time out to speak with The Yak about life off the stage, the things that really matter, his inaugural Soulshine Festival in Ubud, and his love for Bali. Hi Michael, thank you for taking time out during your tour for this interview with The Yak. Nice to meet you and thanks for inviting me. How would you describe yourself? Well, I'm a father, a musician, and I believe in the power of positivity and I love to make people laugh. I am a human being and, just like everyone else, I experience the full depth of human emotion and I try to put that into my work. I believe that music opens the window to the soul and allows those emotions to breathe and have space to exist out in the world. Please tell me about your latest album, All People, and is it a shift in style from your past records, less political perhaps? I've always been inspired by all types of music even though I've been recently known for doing reggae and rock. I also love dance music, acoustic music, I love story telling . . . in this record I do all those things but I don't find it less political. I feel that my politics have evolved and I believe in finding ways to reach people that doesn't just hit them over the head with a slogan, but allows them to think about the world in a new way, and to see the possibilities of their future in a new light. And if you can make people dance and enjoy the music while doing all those things, then you are really working on a high level. Where do you prefer to be, to play and where do feel you make the most difference to/for people? I love playing music wherever there are people to play for. It could be 50-thousand people at a festival or a couple friends in my living room. To me, music is something to be shared and it doesn't matter what country you are in. Music is universal. Bali has been a long-loved spot of yours – please tell us when your connection with the Island first started? I first came to Bali abaout six years ago for a vacation after a tour in Australia. I've been to many beautiful places in the world, I've seen beaches, and I’ve seen mountains, volcanoes, islands. But what sets Bali apart is the people. Balinese culture is spiritual, artistic, and about community, and I feel like I can learn a lot from it. I think Balinese people and their philosophy of life is one that the whole world can learn from. We hear that you are vegan, please tell me since when and why you became vegan . . . Well I am not vegan, but 98 per cent of my diet is plant-based, every now and then I eat fish. I believe that eating majority green vegetables is best for my health and best for the health of the world, but I still love an occasional frozen yoghurt. Since 2000 you have decided to go barefoot (whenever possible), please explain ... I started traveling to a lot of places in the world where people couldn’t afford to buy shoes. I would start to play soccer with the kids but my feet were too tender and couldn't walk more than a few steps. So I decided to go home to San Francisco and go barefoot for three days. It then turned into a week, then a month and then a year. At 10 years I started working for an organisation called Soles 4 Souls that collects shoes for people around the world who need them. The only time I wear shoes is if I am going
through an airport or going into a restaurant that requires footwear. And I love Bali because most restaurants invite you to take your shoes off. Tell us about the movie I Know I'm Not Alone - what inspired it? In 2004 I took a trip to Iran, Israel and Palestine to play music on the streets for people. I spoke to them about their lives in war and I made a film about their stories. I spoke to both soldiers as well as civilians on all sides. And in the end I realised that it didn't matter if people were soldiers or civilians, or what country they came from. I met people who wanted peace and who were working each day to achieve it. I am not on the side of one nation or another. I am on the side the peacemakers whichever country they come from. What do you think about the state of the planet, the environment, global warming? I think the planet is on the edge of man-made disasters, the likes of which we have never seen before in the history of humankind. But I also see there is more awareness and more people who are working to make positive change than ever before. And so I am hopeful for the future, but I hope the future gets here quick. How are you engaged in projects, campaigns, and in assisting change? I work with a lot of organisations to spread the word about the importance of climate change. Recently my partner, Sara Agah, and I have started the Do It For The Love Foundation to bring people with advanced stages of life-threatening illnesses, children with various challenges, and wounded veterans to live concerts. I believe in the power of music to effect change. When did you find out that you were adopted? And, how did that affect you? I've always known I was adopted. I am different colour from my family and as a kid I always felt like I was an outsider, even in the family I was raised in. So I have always had an affinity with others who felt left out. And I have dedicated much of my work to giving voice to people who don't feel like they fit in. I've seen life in many perspectives and I believe in the beauty and power of diversity, and that every single life on this planet is significant. I understand that your father passed away in 2003, how was that for you and did it influence your music or your outlook on life? Four years before my dad passed away, he had a stroke. And as he came back during his recovery he became a very kind person, loving and stopped drinking. We had four years together where we were very close which we never had before during my childhood. His transformation made me believe that it is possible for anyone to change. Please tell me about Soulshine and what inspired you to build it? Soulshine is a place in Ubud where people can come and practice yoga and recharge and get back to being themselves. Through Soulshine we put on a number of events each year to support the Ubud community. This year we are putting on a two-day festival to support the Bumi Sehat birthing clinic and the Green School. You’ve performed in Bali on New Year’s Eve quite a few times over the past years, what is in stall for Bali for this NYE? After the Soulshine Festival we will have completed a full year of touring in America and ending it in Bali, so I will probably sleep my way into the New Year. What are your aspirations for the next year? My aspiration is to continue the work that we do 365 days a year. We try and reach as many people as we can through music and the Do It For The Love Foundation, Soulshine and many other organisations we work with. My biggest goal is to see people smile, dance and continue to be moved by the music. Five pearls of wisdom for our readers . . . Be your best. Serve the greater good. Rock out wherever you are! Don't make assumptions. And laugh every day.
PROFILE "There was no schooling. My job at the circus was publicity."
Mark Baker went from the wrong end of the street to the top of the new york nightlife pile, writes salvador bali. photo: spencerhansen.net.
Show time . . . Mark Baker, 50 years old and born in Brighton, England. Let’s get a bit of your background. When I was eight I started travelling with Chipperfields Circus. I did that for two-and-a-half years. For a young boy, it was filled with wonderful and terrible things – it was an insane and unusual upbringing. What happened to your schooling? There was no schooling. My job at the circus was publicity. They dressed me as a clown, sat me on the roof of a van with a loud speaker and drove around the towns we played at. My father died when I was very young, along with most of my relatives. My mother had a nervous breakdown, so there was no one really to stop me . . . What about the authorities? Well the circus is a place where people sort of hide and I met all kinds. There was a murder in a town the show was at, and police came to question everyone. When it came to my turn I was immediately sent home, but a week later I was back. I got the travel bug very young and learned to take care of myself quickly by becoming street-smart. How about the academic side? There was a wonderful Russian trapeze artist with the show who tutored me occasionally, and as time went by I became self-taught. I did go to primary school, which was a horrible experience. Mrs Brockway, a freaking monster, totally took advantage of me. . . . I had one of those too, a Mrs Prescott. I think we’ve all had one of those. With all that’s happened in my life, I have forgiven everyone, but Mrs Brockway, never. The way she singled me out and tortured me was unforgivable – there was no one to protect me. Eventually my mother managed to get me into one of the most prestigious schools in England. I was a charity case – two a year and I was one of them. I was light years ahead of the other boys because of my experiences. I was way ahead of my classmates and got expelled for sleeping with one of the Portuguese kitchen workers. I was 12. Twelve? She was hot, what can I tell you! And I fell madly in love with her. She was 17. I did my share of fighting as well, so I was classified as an undesirable. That was for nine months and the end of my illustrious career in school.
Then what, pray tell? From that I went back to Brighton and started skateboarding. I was 14, then at 15 I met up with the Dog Town Boys from Venice Beach, California, who were leading the whole skateboarding movement. I started to go on tour with them around the world doing shows, and I became one of the top three skaters in the world . . . definitely the top skater in Europe. . . I was called Mad Mark Baker. A name that stuck . . . At that point I had no idea what to do with my life. I started inventing stuff on the skateboard in pools and pipes and so forth, and so there was lots of publicity – magazines, television and movies. It ended when I was 19, and I found myself back in Brighton with no education, in a tough town filled with queers, peers and racketeers. I had no money left so I worked selling insurance for six months – the most torturous time of my life. Horrible. Okay, so by this time you’re in your 20s? I was in Greece and ran into some New York guys who invited me to come and visit them, and I loved that idea. I had an old Porsche at the time, so I shipped that with me and headed for the Big Apple, where I found out there was a demand for grey-market cars. So I started importing Jaguars, Rolls Royces . . . the works. But I still had no money. I was importing these flash cars but had no money for gas. We had to do the siphoning trick. I remember coming into New York City the first night . . . there was this rumbling of energy that I will never forget, under the tunnel straight to Manhattan, then to this nightclub called Area. It was the craziest, wildest freak show I’d ever seen – a thousand people standing outside waiting to get in. I looked up and saw Jules, one of my skateboard buddies running the door. I shouted at him, and we were whisked in by the security guys. That was the turning point of my life, entering that club. I said to myself, this is my town and I’m never going to leave it. I stayed for 30 years and made that my business. And now comes the nitty-gritty of this interview . . . For a living, at the beginning as I said, was importing cars and eventually everything got smashed up by my partner, so we went into the furniture business. I was delivering into the worst neighbourhoods in the Tri State area and really getting to know New York. Back then when it came to the Bronx, man, it was like going into a war zone, and I became the repo man. Eventually it became too dangerous, too many crazy crack heads shooting
at us . . . end of that story. I was hanging out at this super cool restaurant on the Upper East Side called Café Pacifico. Mick Jagger, David Bowie and the like were there. This was the beginning of the ‘80s and I still had the Rolls Royce and I went to the lady who owned the place – Gloria De Mann, a notorious New York nightlife icon – and I asked her for a job. She let me join the team and I started working as a waiter and became friends with the staff who were going to all the after-hour clubs in New York. Then one night I spied this 300-pound guy having the time of his life surrounded by models. His name was Frankie Scinlaro and he was putting on model shows with all these top girls. Man, I wanted his job. I started to build a network of friends who knew people and started to do parties with models who knew models and it started to blow up. During that time I had built up my finances and became the general manager of Café Pacifico and then bought into the place as a partner, and so it began. At what point did Bali come into the picture? Every year I used to take two, three months off and travel around Asia – Thailand and surrounds – I was also training kick boxing with my travel partner, Alan . . . it was a way to keep healthy and fit. Bali was always a dream for me and I knew one day I would get there, and when I did I fell in love. I knew I would one day return to Bali and stay. Always had love and respect for the island and its people. So now we’re back in New York? During that time span I had built up the hottest club in New York called Metro C.C. on 17th Street. Again with the hottest models, celebrities, you name it, and the whole supermodel thing was just blowing up . . . so it was a question of the right place right time. Then disaster hit, I had a terrible motorbike accident, laid up for nearly a year – physically and mentally broken. During that time there was a big crackdown on the nightlife scene due to a big fire in one of the illegal clubs in the Bronx . . . a hell of a lot of people died at an illegal underground club. With all the hullabaloo and press, my place was a prime target – that was in ‘95. My place was shut down, then the crash. I came back to Bali to heal and fell in love with it even more. That led to the Millennium event you did here in 2000? Yes, I’m a workaholic and I had been promoting events all over the world – opening clubs during Grand Prix, film festivals, fashion weeks, so I thought to myself, why not bring something to Bali where my crowd could share the festivities. There were enough people here then, so why not? The event lasted for 10 days . . . dinners, spiritual happenings, parties. I had 1,000 people come down for the millennium paying good money and most were quite demanding, so I wanted to give them the best. Before the party we enlisted the help of all the local priests – our rain insurance – that was one non-stop party. It nearly broke me. I didn’t sleep for a week. In any case, it was a rude awakening getting things done in Bali. At 11.55 on New Year’s eve with a big production of DJs, 30 twenty-foot papier mâché ogoh-ogoh figures, seating on the beach,
fireworks and floats, helicopters and sailing ships, with the priests chanting . . . and just at that moment the electricity went out. Freaking out, five minutes to go on the millennium and all you could hear was the bells and smells of the incense and chanting of the priests. I have goose bumps telling you this – it was the most magical moment of my life. You could see thunderstorms all around us, and lightning and not a drop of rain came on us. At the same time our competitors’ parties got washed away, and at exactly 12 midnight the electricity came on. Fireworks, DJs, everybody just lost it, unbelievable. I presume this gave you a shot in the arm, so to speak? Absolutely. Back in New York for the next 10 years I started owning and operating some of the most well known venues in nightlife: Lotus, The Mansion, Double Seven, Life, Buddha Bar, Metro, Flowers and the Bowery Bar . . . on and on. Then I ended up opening the meatpacking district as it was the last stand of nightlife. You’re at the top of the pops, the Godfather of NY nightlife, then you stopped . . . why? I just started to burn out . . . it took a toll on my personal life. I had just got married and had a honeymoon in 2005 in Ubud. I was still wild and working in New York. And my marriage wasn’t working out. I took a year off and re-evaluated my whole life. The main thing was how to continue in this business in a healthy way . . . it’s brutal physically and mentally; relationships and so on. What do I do? I don’t know anything else, I know the club business and marketing, that’s what I know. So after much deliberation I came to the conclusion to dive back into the business, make myself very healthy, cut all the bad habits out and spend the next five years climbing my way back to the top again. So this led to us making moves in Asia and ending up in Bali. You’re setting up an exclusive entertainment venue here . . . Well it’s not so large so it will be somewhat selective, it’s a lounge but not a disco, and we create amazing cocktails, and, of course, the energy level goes up as the night goes on. People can jump up on the tables and dance, but they can also sit down and have a cocktail, and even hear each other talking, it’s hopefully the next level – somewhat sophisticated but fun and sexy . . . Do you have a name for the place? Yes, the Town House. I think Bali is in need of an upscale lounge and restaurant, and a gourmet cafe and juice place as well. Any other projects? Construction is about to start with an amazing beachfront restaurant, deck and spa on the Bukit, next to the Karma Kandara. That will start sometime this summer. Again it will be about quality, not quantity . . . upscale. Also working on producing festivals and events in a responsible way without upsetting the authorities. We have great relationships, not only here, but with people in Jakarta and throughout the region. Mark, good luck to you . . .
Stephanie Mee talks to Potato Head honcho Ronald Akili about the PTT Familyâ€™s new hotel, Katamama, restaurant MoVida, and centre of mixology, Akademi.
Since you opened Potato Head in Jakarta in 2009, you and PTT Family have gone on to open successful institutions including Potato Head Beach Club here in Bali and Potato Head Folk in Singapore. What is it about PTT Family projects that make them stand out from the rest? Simply put, we invest a huge amount of thought and passion into all our projects and work with the best people in their fields on everything from the architecture to the overall look and feel to every single dish and cocktail we produce. When we create our concepts, we always strive to create something that hasn’t been done before, while always keeping a timeless quality. We also tailor each project to its surroundings and make them truly sitespecific and unique. You’re no stranger to the hospitality scene, but Katamama is PTT Family’s first hotel. What made you want to open a hotel? Katamama allows us to express our creativity on another level and in a different way from the rest of PTT Family. It’s a different and bigger canvas for us to show our creativity and our vision. We want to showcase our own definition of bespoke luxury through the design, cultural programming and service, and to be a contemporary interpretation of the Indonesian culture. When you and architect Andra Matin first started coming up with the plans for Katamama, what was the inspiration behind the architecture and design? We were inspired by Indonesia’s rich culture and we wanted a way to best show the finest aspects through our contemporary context. We combined beautiful aspects of Indonesian culture with a timeless innovative design and the result is Katamama, a completely unique hotel and experience in Bali. Your website says that every aspect of the hotel has been personally designed, and then crafted by Indonesia’s finest craftsmen. Can you give us some examples? It’s going to be hard to narrow it down to just a few examples as nearly everything was bespoke and made by hand in Indonesia. Starting with our timber and wood furniture, we worked with a Surabaya-based carpenter and used only Indonesian Grade-A teak, sourced from certified forests. Our team was very involved in the development, from timber selection to prototyping to extensive quality control to final installation. From south of Gianyar, Tarum textiles created Katamama’s carpets, bed throws and bathrobes. Tarum is a textile workshop that specialises in natural-dye manufacturing as well as hand-weaving their own fabrics. One of Katamama’s visual themes is indigo and ombre dying and a lot of it that you will see at the hotel is the work of Tjok Agung Indigo, a husband and wife team, who run a workshop on the outskirts of Ubud. They specialise in the traditional method of dying and stamping fabrics. They created the table runners, ‘fukoshiki’ wrapping textile in the snack boxes and an impressive art piece in the penthouse. Then there are the more than one million bricks handmade in Bali that we used to build the hotel. This traditional product was then used in our modern geometric design, unexpected and so beautiful. I could continue all day pointing out all of the great Indonesian-made products at Katamama…
We sampled some amazing cocktails at Akademi, Katamama’s ‘centre of mixology’. Can you tell us a bit about the unique concept behind Akademi? Created by the award-winning Dre Masso, Akademi is so much more than just a cocktail bar. As a centre for the craft, it focuses on the exploration of Bali’s indigenous ingredients. Every month will be dedicated to a new Indonesian ingredient and Akademi’s mixologists will study, experiment and create with it. Akademi will also invite the world’s best mixologists to experiment with Indonesian ingredients and to pass on their knowledge to other bartenders. We’ve already sampled the innovative Spanish cuisine at MoVida in Australia. How does the MoVida at Katamama differ from its Australian ventures? MoVida at Katamama is the brand’s first international outlet and a really unique collaboration between MoVida and us. The menu takes inspiration from its new island location and climate, whilst still retaining the authentic Spanish flavour that MoVida is known for in Australia. On the menu you can find MoVida signature dishes recreated with local ingredients, lighter options that reflect the island atmosphere, and a variety of goods imported directly from Spain. What’s also impressive is that MoVida co-founder Frank Camorra and MoVida Bali head chef Jimmy Parker worked with local island producers to develop the menu in Bali and currently even have local farmers growing ingredients native to Spain especially for the restaurant. The new restaurant definitely has surprises in store for both MoVida fans and Bali diners. In addition to Akademi and MoVida, Katamama has built up a tight community of like-minded establishments with whom you work closely, like Potato Head Beach Club, lifestyle boutique Escalier, and Alchemy, Bali’s first 100% raw food restaurant. What’s the common thread that ties you all together? The common thread in the neighbourhood, which is our informal name for the grouping, is the high quality of their work and their dedication to bringing people the best of the best, whether it be food, drinks or design. Every business has a strong creative ethos like us and we enjoy being surrounded by like-minded people. We are working with amazing people like One Fifteenth coffee, for example. What other exciting plans does the PTT Family have for the future? For our existing establishments, we always have exciting plans and ongoing projects. To continue being a leader, you always have to adapt and innovate so we never rest on our past achievements, instead we’re inspired by the need to always stay ahead and break new ground. We regularly collaborate with local and international groups from the realms of architecture, design, music, fashion, art and craftsmanship, so there is something exciting always happening at PTT Family. In addition to our hotels, we are busy preparing a brand-new Potato Head outpost for Hong Kong, and we plan to introduce Kaum, a revolutionary Indonesian culinary concept. Kaum will take undiscovered or not-often-used native ingredients and not-often-used cooking methods, such as fire pit or bamboo and coconut husk smoking, to create innovative takes on Indonesian cuisine. We have further businesses coming up in Jakarta, Bali and globally, so watch this space! www.pttfamily.com
interwho Stephanie Mee tunes up with Aussie muso Athron. photo: Dean Hammer.
Athron, let’s start singing. Well, I’m Australian and from the first time I picked up a guitar I was really into it. At 17 I left home to join a band . . . as you do . . . and since then I’ve been working and making music constantly. I’ve been in Bali for five years, and for three of those years I’ve just been focused on making music. How would you describe your music? Acoustic, bluesy, folksy, and a bit of rock. Can you tell us about your latest project? I knew for a long time that I wanted to make another album, but I just didn’t have the funds. One day I was talking to my cousin, who is a really close friend of mine, and he said “mate, you’ve got to do crowd funding”. At first, I wasn’t sure about it. You know, it’s a bit strange to just ask people to get involved, especially financially. But eventually, I went for it and set up a campaign on Indiegogo. How did that work out for you? It was really tough on the ego at first, because I don’t usually like to ask people for things. I really only expected to reach half my goal of $10,000 AUD, but I was blown away by the support. It’s been absolutely amazing – I made the goal and then some. I think when you do it like this, people can really get involved, and you can share not just the finished product, but also the whole journey. It also inspires you to do a better job, because you feel like you’ve got so many people invested in your success. So how long have you been working on the album now? My band and I started recording in Antida Studios in Sanur in December of last year, but we really started going hard at it about two or three months ago. I’m so grateful to have such talented musicians to work with. We’ve got Deny Surya on drums, Edi Kurniawan on bass, Ian Stevenson on electric guitar, and me on acoustic guitar and vocals. Ian is also a producer, so he has really helped forge the album forward. What’s the story behind how you met your band mates? I used to come to Bali a lot on holiday, and I attended Rock Fest one year and heard this band doing some really cool Radiohead-type stuff. I got talking to the singer, Ian, and thought that I would really love to work with a guy like that one day. Later I was at a Single Fin event and I turned around and there he was. Ian and I became great mates over the years, and now he’s been truly instrumental in making the album what it is. Sounds like you’ve been rocking the music scene in Bali for a while. In your opinion, how has the scene changed or progressed over the years? The live music scene in Bali was really stuck for a while. There were so many DJs and clubs, but not a lot of musicians doing original stuff. Over the past few years there has been a huge influx of young expats and fashionistas, plus a new swell of musicians who are activating the scene and pushing it forward. That’s why we’re seeing more places like Deus, Single Fin, Old Man’s and Pyramid promoting live bands, and more people are appreciating the amazing local and expat bands that are out there. The scene is really changing, and we need that. What can we expect from your album? Will there be any Balinese
influences? You know, I used to live in Seminyak, but it really got to me, so I made the move to Ungasan and just spent a lot of time by myself writing songs. So you might hear some of the songs and think, “wow, that guy has spent a LOT of time alone”. But it’s great to just be surrounded by local people and have that space to be creative. So in that way Bali has influenced the music, but in terms of the sound it’s pretty Western. Do you have any advice for other musicians keen to make an album? First of all, get to know your songs inside and out before you go to the studio. Really know what you want. Then record yourself and demo your music to see how it sounds. Once you’re confident with what you’ve got, find someone to produce it and get their advice. I was lucky to have Anom Darsana at Antida Studios and Ian to give me input, which helped me immensely. It’s so important to get someone else’s perspective. What does the future hold for you? Well, we’re about six weeks away from releasing the album, so that’s exciting. It’s called Escape Into Fiction, and it will be available in hard copy and downloadable formats. And of course, we’ll have an album launch party here in Bali . . . something fun. In addition, I’m really trying to work on getting the band over to Australia. We have many events like the Sydney Festival where people have a lot of appreciation for bands doing their own thing, especially multi-cultural bands. I think it would be good for people to see that collaboration between Indonesia and Australia, especially considering how sensitive the situation has been between the two countries lately. As for myself, I’m thinking about checking out New York City or San Francisco in the not-so-distant future. I really want to put myself in that big city space again and see where the music scenes are going there. But I know I’ll always be tied to Bali, so even if I go somewhere else, I’ll always come back. www.athron.net
Helmut he’s yak man of the year. what else could a man want? tony stanton meets azul’s helmut roessler. photo: ted Van der hulst. Helmut, could you tell us a little about where you are from and how you grew up? I was born and raised in Austria, in a small little town called Saalfelden near Salzburg. I grew up as all Austrians do, with a lot of snow and skiing! Had a super childhood and lots of good memories. What did your parents teach you? To be positive. My mother always made a lot of jokes and I would always have a big laugh with her, but discipline was also a thing. I could get anything from her as long as I followed the rules, like coming home on time. My family values honesty as well, and this upbringing has helped me a lot in my career. Another phrase I remember well was ‘be honest and work hard - if you don’t work hard nothing will come to you!’ I was by no means spoiled. Was there one episode in your early life that changed the way you viewed the world? There isn’t one particular moment that I can remember now, but my older sister had lot of influence on me. She was very supportive of me in many things and it taught me to be supportive of other people. How did you get started in the hotel and restaurant game? I think this all came from my mother. She always said “If you want to see the world you have to work in the hotel industry.” I was six years old when I first stepped foot into a four star hotel as a guest and I still remember it to this day. I was blown away. Everyone was so friendly, nicely dressed, looked cool and spoke many languages. I knew it right away that this was what I wanted to do in my life. What’s the most important thing about running a venue, would you say? Passion. Love what you do. I really have to say my hobby is my job. I love to be able to interact with people, deliver cool service and put a smile on everyone’s face! I don’t know why but I have a feeling I was born to be in this industry. I can’t imagine myself doing anything else. By the way, soon I am proud to say I will be running two venues ;) Someone told us you were a trained mixologist … how do you train for that? Is it all about foraging in the woods and mixing what you find with Belvedere? Ha ha! I wonder who told you that. I am indeed well trained in standing in front of the bar with Mr Belvedere. Seriously though … I was trained during my apprenticeship in a hotel. I gained an interest in the Bar area. After getting my diploma, I went straight to work for several top cocktail bars around the world. Spain, Miami ... then when I was 22 I was made Head Mixologist at M1NT Shanghai. I worked there together with the best in the industry. A year later I won second place out of 3,500 bartenders at China’s biggest cocktail competition, Monin Cup 2012. That year we also won Best Cocktail, Best Service and Best Bar. I’m proud to say it was an amazing few years in China. What’s the worst customer nightmare you have ever experienced? Ha! I still remember it, it was that good. It was my first time ever carrying a tray. I had a cup of coffee and a jar of milk on it. As I went to serve the guest, BOOM! I dropped the entire tray on him. Completely soaked him. I apologized before going back to bring him a fresh coffee. …and then dropped everything on him again! So I apologized a second
time … and again went back for more. By this time I was sweating. The third service went like a charm … except for the milk, which I spilled on him again. He was furious, got up and left the restaurant. I’m laughing while I’m writing this, but I still have nightmares about it. Tell us about the ideas behind Azul Beach Club. When I joined the PT Mandira Group in August 2016 my first assignment was Azul Beach Club. I was blown away the first time I walked into the venue … here was this cool bamboo structure complete with great interior detailing. I felt a very laid-back casual beach club vibe like no other on the island, and after researching a lot about the Bali market and venues, I was surprised to find out there wasn’t yet a true island bar here! So that was how the idea was born to open Bali’s first Tiki Bar, with the island’s most extensive rum collection. What’s the best thing about Bali in your mind? You can have a city life and an island life all at once.... You can live the city in Seminyak and when you need a break, you can drive 20 minutes out on the bike and enjoy Bali’s true nature, quiet and peaceful. What’s the worst? The rubbish on the streets and in the rivers ... this has to stop! I wish that people were more aware of this, there needs to be better education. This year it was really bad... I had just come back from a bike tour through Bali and was really shocked to see how often people would just throw rubbish into the rivers and streets. I say this out of love for the island and its nature, too. What would be your ideal meal? Forty eight French oysters and a bottle of Veuve Clicquot! Which restaurants do you rate highly in Bali? There are too many to choose. I love small warung as well as high-end restaurants. If I had to pick the best it would have to be between Merah Putih and Barbacoa. What’s the next F&B trend going to be here, do you think? I do have some ideas as I follow the market trend worldwide, but…I want to keep this one for myself ;) What have you got planned for us in Bali over the coming months? Something absolutely amazing! Soon we will open a modern lifestyle restaurant and a stunning club complete with lounge and VIP balconies in the heart of Seminyak. This venue is very special and I really can’t wait to open its doors to showcase what we have worked on. I don’t want to say more at this stage but stay tuned! OK here’s one for you. What’s your superpower, or what’s your spirit animal? If I could, I would turn water into Champagne. When you are 60, and you look back on your life, what would you like to see? I want to see great memories. And now of course to the important question … what does it feel like to have been voted Yak Man of The Year Award at our recent bash? Of course it feels very good ... I am very happy that people in Bali have given me so much love. It will be a very special year for me. Thanks again to The Yak Magazine. Helmut, thanks for your time and enthusiasm. Stay cool!
front of house.
PEOPLE Dirk Goetz is the man behind Malamadre Motorcycles.
He spoke to Tony Stanton about bikes, custom builds and being a romantic at heart.
Photo: Anthony Dodds
Hi Dirk. Can you tell us a little about where you’re from and how you grew up? I was born in Spain, in a rainy, industrial city in the north called Bilbao, capital of the Basque Country. Things changed when the Guggenheim was built – it turned into a beautiful place with amazing food and stunning landscapes, although I have to say it still rained. My father was an engineer and we travelled a lot: Portugal, Argentina, Mexico, USA, and finally in 1985 back to Spain, Madrid. I remember having a really happy childhood. It was an enormous privilege to experience so many different cultures at such an early age. When did your love affair with motorcycles begin? It began in my teenage years when my friends and I discovered scooters … we all had 50cc Piaggio Vespinos. My parents wouldn’t let me have one so I kept mine at a friend’s house nearby. Even back then we modified the bikes … boring out the engines, changing exhausts, anything to get more power. We’d get to 100km/h on those things. On Sundays we’d watch the Motorcycle World Championships, the 500cc races with Kevin Schwantz, Wayne Rainey, Randy Mamola and the like … wow! That blew our minds. Soon enough we graduated to 125s, the Yamaha TZR and the Honda NSR, real bikes and so much fun. And then one day I saw my basketball teammate die in a crash on his NSR, and that touched me deeply. I forgot about motorcycles for 25 years. What made you move to Bali? I studied acting and then business administration at university, and after that I joined the car industry, working for 20 years for Ford and then Volkswagen in various management positions around the world. Finally I got tired of the corporate bull and decided to move on with my life. I met and fell in love with my fiancée in April 2014 while she was taking a year off from her job at an airline company. Her plan was to spend some time in Bali, so I quit my job and moved here with her the following August. Tell us a bit about Malamadre Motorcycles and what you do there … Malamadre means “bad/mad mother” in Spanish. It’s not that my mother is mad or bad … hahaha … she’s the best. The name actually comes from a character in a Spanish movie called Celda 211. MM is a prisoner, a badass who scares the shit out of everyone. And so Malamadre Motorcycles became our brand – it’s a 100% motorcycle company that makes dreams come true. We create authentic, unique, elegant, high quality and reliable custom motorcycles affordable to anyone. I love designing, repairing and building bikes, and that is what I do there. I also advise customers who want to build their own bikes. Most of my time is spent building the brand and thinking about how to improve quality and reliability. My (now) wife Elo helps me out with all the merchandising stuff, like helmets, t-shirts, hats and leather wallets. She has an amazing taste for everything (except possibly in men, lol). We have a brilliant staff: Adi (head mechanic and welding), Komang (welding and painting) and Made, my partner. They are masters at what they do and lovely people. Without them MM would be nothing. What is it with Canggu and modified bikes … it seems like quite the centre for it these days? I guess it’s Bali in general … on this island, everything invites you to ride a bike: the weather, landscapes, the traffic … we’re newcomers, of course, and Deus Ex Machina
really built Canggu as it is today. They have made some beautiful machines, and they’re brilliant at marketing their brand. They have created a desire in people to own one of their products, and many local builders have copied their designs. It’s admirable to watch. In addition there a local builders like Smoked, Island, Treasure and Backyard that have done amazing builds. Have you had any big wipe-outs? In life, yes, many … but, as they say, it is not about falling, it’s about how many times you get up. With passion, confidence and self-belief you can achieve anything. What do you do when you’re not riding or modifying bikes? You know it … same as you … I play golf! Or surf. I also love to walk with our six dogs along the beach. Tell us about your wife and how you met. Elo is the most amazing woman I have ever met, and I have met a few. She’s smart, fun, crazy, authentic … beautiful inside and out. She was a stewardess and a purser on the flight that brought me back from Paris where I was playing a golf tournament. She asked me for an M&M (the chocolate, not our brand, but what a coincidence), I said yes, and the rest is history. Was it hard to persuade her to live the dream with you? Quite the opposite. She was the one who inspired me … OK, here’s one for you. You’re riding your bike and the road is blocked by a large wounded animal of some kind. You can’t get around it – and it’s hours back to the nearest town. What do you do? I love all kinds of animals … especially dogs, cats and orangutans. I would try to rescue that animal. That would be priority number one for me at that time. The rest can wait. I can see why she married you. If you had to drive a car in Bali, what would it be? Something small and automatic. Two wheels good, four wheels bad. Discuss. That’s a mean question. I spent half my life working in the four-wheel industry. So there’s a time for four wheels and another time for two wheels. But I guess if I had to choose, I would say … two wheels always good. And if you had to choose between art and money, which would it be? Art, in all its forms. www.malamadremotorcycles.com
PEOPLE Alistair, can you tell us a bit about your background? Where are you from and how did you spend your formative years? I was born on the Northern Beaches in Sydney in1971 then moved to Vancouver, Canada, at three years old with the family and was raised as a Canuck. I moved back to Sydney at 21 and spent 20 years back there. How did you end up in the luxury bottle game? By fluke really – I worked at a well-known retail liquor store on the Northern Beaches, became interested in wine and general business with premium beverages. I had a very good grounding of business from the owners of the outlet which you can’t learn in any normal schooling. After three years in retail I was fortunate to land a job with a group distributing Louis Roederer … that’s when the fun began. Möet Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMH) is a prestigious French company with over 70 high-end houses focusing on everything from wine and spirits to fashion, perfumes, watches and jewellery. What’s it like working for a world leader in luxury? Well … it’s like having the best job in the world! It’s an amazing company filled with very talented people across the globe, all different from each other. I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to travel to incredible places, enjoy excellent wines, Champagne and restaurants and gain knowledge from inspiring people. What’s your favourite part of the job? That’s a hard question, there are quite a few. Of course the world travel, and the events and perks … a generous wine allowance is always handy – and there always seems to be a bottle of Belvedere in my freezer! But it’s the people I’ve worked with over the 12 years at the group who have been the most inspiring. I also enjoy great relationships with our trading partners, our customers, most of whom I would call friends. My success comes from our customers who are custodians of our very special brands, and I’m very grateful to be able to work with such amazing venues and their teams. You worked for LVMH for 10 years in Sydney before moving to Bali. What brought about the move? I’d been travelling to Bali since 2003 for holidays about three times a year and could always see opportunity for our brands. I began adding it to my yearly review under the title “Three-To-Five Year Plan”. One day someone read it and before I knew it I was on a plane … Lotto! So here’s some very good advice … dream big. What were your first impressions of Bali in terms of both work and the social scene? At first I found the social scene here never-ending. Every night is Saturday night, you need to be careful not to get trapped in the vortex of Bali nightlife because it’s a feast of amazing restaurants, nightclubs, bars and new people … all my favourites. As for work life, you need to go with the flow, it’s challenging at times if not highly frustrating – internet speed, language barriers and general day-today business … it takes time to adjust.
How does the drinking scene here differ from Australia? It’s much more relaxed here in Bali than Australia – bottle service is big here which is almost non-existent in Australia. Wine and Champagne consumption is increasing here with people wanting more choice and high-end service. Taxation is high on alcohol for various reasons, which can be tricky. It will be interesting in the coming years to see how it’s managed. Have the recent hikes in alcohol tax affected business here? Yes indeed – as I mentioned above – it’s not being made easy. I have my own feelings on this but at the end of the day … this is Indonesia, and rules are rules. Where do you see the biggest growth on the island? Night trade is pumping with our brands, late night especially. There is fast growth in luxury villas and hotels, which is no surprise. Nusa Lembongan, Lombok and surrounding islands are also growing as people look outside Bali for holiday fun. When you’re not getting down to the bottle business, we can find you getting down at …? I do love an organized dinner with friends at either a villa or restaurant. I have been known to enjoy a night at Jenja as well. If you were throwing a party, what bottles would you definitely want on hand? Belvedere in the freezer, Clicquot in the fridge and Terrazas Malbec on the table. Can you let us in on some of your favourite food and wine (or spirits) pairings? Beef Rendang and red wine … can’t get enough of it! Belvedere and local coconut water with mint – very fresh. Where can we find LVMH products in Bali? In quite a few places really, we have partnerships with leading venues from Kuta to Canngu and beyond – Metis, Sarong, Mama San, Jenja, Mirror, W Hotel, St Regis, Sky Garden, Old Man’s … I’d hate to leave anyone out. We’re all over. Is LVMH planning any exciting events or collaborations that we should know about? Moet Ice will be in Bali soon – quite a bit of buzz on this product. Our new partnership with Honda McLaren and Chandon should see some exciting things in the near future. Finally, how do you see the future unfolding for you? Will you become a familiar face in the long-term Bali expat scene? I will be here for some time – I am just over a year in and there is a lot of opportunity to capture. So … see you around.
stephanie mee meets baliâ€™s man with the brands when it comes to top shelf liquor. photo: mark carolan.
alistair toyne: he juggles luxe liquor.
secrets in stone
Lou Nietunz meets lee stone from secret bali life â€“ a man on a mission to give local muscians a better platform. image: Nic
So Lee, you somehow found your way to Bali through a friend’s recommendation? Yes, that’s true. I had known for many years my calling was to set up in SE Asia and after many recce’s and exploring of various openings I decided on a project in Vietnam helping to set up a project to teach the children about traditional Vietnamese opera and all the music around that. Because of all the turmoil and war they had endured for decades a lot of these beautiful instruments and traditions hadn’t been passed down. I agreed to spearhead this project for some very influential people in return for support and permissions required in putting on music events and festivals. I was just about to sign on the dotted line when I got a call from one of my closest friends who had been in Bali for many years who said to not do anything until I had checked out the island. At the same time a couple of problems arose with the project in Vietnam so I flew over to Bali to scope it out, it blew my mind and the rest is history! Any first impressions of Bali that you’ll never forget? Possibly not my first impression but definitely the most lasting was discovering the incredible people and talent on the local music and art scenes. Every week I try and venture out to truly underground and local events and happenings on the island and they very rarely disappoint. This island, as well as Indonesia as a whole, is just full of incredible creative talent. My goal in the long run is to help, through my experience and expertise, to join the dots and bring this beautiful underground world to the surface. Growing up – were you always involved with music or events? Pretty much, yes. Initially it was just as a kid going to parties in London, where I was born and bred. I was very fortunate to be witness to the birth and rise of the Jungle or Drum&Bass scene and went on to be part of that musical movement. And the magic of those days inspired me so much that I knew then this was my chosen path in life. When I was 18 or 19 I moved to Manchester because of the incredible music scene up there and started deejaying and throwing parties and from an early stage great things started to happen for me. I’ve never looked back since. Do you remember the first concert you went to? Wow … I struggle to remember the last concert I went to! I think the first live music event was Michael Jackson with my Mum and Dad which was a pretty good start. I am fortunate to have very young parents with good musical taste so I was always listening to really cool stuff while my school friends were listening to garbage – like NOW THAT’S WHAT I CALL MUSIC VOLUME 857! In fact, the first music I can remember was stuff like Kraftwerk, Velvet Underground, Hendrix, Gary Numan, Donna Summer, Ian Dury and The Blockheads. Pretty good stuff. Among other landmark music events you were involved with The Warehouse Project in Manchester. What did you learn the most from that experience? That was an incredible chapter in my life. I was the head promoter from its conception for six years and it taught me so much as a promoter. I went from doing some really cool underground parties to suddenly being involved with arguably one of the biggest and best things to happen on the non-commercial scene anywhere in the world. I think the thing I learned the most from those days was how important it is to have a cohesive team of like-minded people pulling together. With some imagination and a lot of hard work, and then a lot more hard work, you can pull off what is widely considered impossible. They also taught me how to make money in an industry where it is becoming increasingly difficult to do so.
In a pretty quick whirlwind of a year you have started to connect the dots here on Bali’s underground music and art scenes – what have you found or discovered so far? This year has been one of the most incredible of my life, hands down. When I came here I expected to be working predominately with the DJ side of things but the more gigs and shows I went to the more I discovered that despite some truly incredible DJbased events here the real magic for me in Bali and Indonesia is on the live scene. The people involved in this sub culture are all so friendly, positive and open. Some of them really need some guidance in how to promote themselves better and this is where I want to try and play my part, through putting on really innovative and carefully curated events and happenings, helping to bring these wonderful people to as many ears and eyes as possible. Secret Bali Life, which is my baby (other than my dogs Ska and Roots), has done a very successful job of promoting the very best non-commercial music events on Bali. Due to the nature of my clients on that project however, these have been on the whole deejay-based events. However with SBL I always strive to evolve and improve what we do, and this year we will be focusing on giving the live music scene a lot more exposure. How do you see the music industry these days – both as a means of personal escape and public work? The music industry has changed a lot over the years. I’m not going to say it’s better or worse because it’s neither, it’s just different. The electronic music scene has definitely crossed over into the mainstream now, even the cooler genres like techno. People use the term ‘underground’ way too freely now – most events are better classed as non commercial. But if you know where to look and put the effort in to find them, there are some incredible parties going on with incredible crowds. On a personal level, music and good parties will always play an important part in my life. There is something very spiritual and tribal about like-minded people dancing collectively to a beat, both creating and immersing themselves in the positive energy that the best events manage to do. Equally – just listening to music can change my mood so dramatically in whatever direction I want it to. Music is the most beautiful and powerful thing in the world, it is a universal language that can bring people together and make a difference to all our lives. What’s the biggest challenge you find these days in your line of work? The biggest challenge in my life without a doubt is going to meetings or events with full knowledge that my beautiful Bali dogs Ska and Roots are probably eating my belongings or pieces of the villa in my absence! They’re becoming quite well known on Bali. I get so much love and energy from them when they are with me. What’s your dream? My dream is to make history not money. If, long after I am gone, people talk about the crazy bule who helped give many local artists and musicians a better platform to do what they do then my mission will be complete. www.secretbali.life
Mauricio Alpizar, when and how did you arrive on planet earth? I believe I’m from heaven so I guess I came from there! My first destination in this world was the country of Costa Rica where 45 years ago I had the very great privilege to meet my amazing mother, Señora Elsie Alpizar. How did you grow up, and what were your parents like? I come from a very large family of tailors and farmers. My grandmother had 16 children including my mum, and as a typical Latin-American family we all lived in the same suburb and city, so you can imagine the Latino drama and fabulous parties! I wouldn’t have had it any other way. My mother was both a mother and a father to me. I’m all about my mother. When you were a teenager, was there one event that changed the way you thought about life? I went to a boys’ school where I was bullied a lot for being in touch with my feminine side. I was ‘different’, as they say these days. Somehow I found the strength to face those boys and teach them a lesson that they will never forget. I managed to make them listen to the pain they were putting me through, and they did. From then on, everything changed. I felt no shame or fear any more, and from then on I knew I belonged in this world like everybody else. I started loving and respecting myself more. Who is the most important person in your life, and why? This a very complex question as so many people are important to me for different reasons, but at this moment I’m the happiest I have ever been. I married an amazing man that I call my hero, Danny, and he makes me feel safe and loved. On the other hand my son Santiago makes me feel the proudest and happiest father in this world. In which country have you spent the most time, and why? Funny I was thinking today about this and I realized I have spent half of my life in Costa Rica and half in Australia, where I now call home. What does style mean to you? Like my mother always says, you’re born with it – you can’t buy it. What brought you to Bali? I believe it had to do with destiny. In the beginning I was looking for a place where I could do charity work and I found an amazing orphanage called YKPA that looks after the street kids here. I got the opportunity to organize fashion events in Australia to raise money for their programs and that has been very successful. As a fashion designer right now I don’t
believe there is a better place to be. When I am here somehow I get more inspired. I have wonderful friends that are like family. I love Bali. When did you get into clothes? I grew up with and was surrounded by my family’s very successful tailoring business in Costa Rica, then around 20 years ago I moved to Australia. I first arrived in Perth, full of passion and ready to further an already successful career in dance and choreography, which I did until five years ago when I went back to my roots in fashion. How would you define your designs, and what inspires you? I toured many countries for work as a dancer and choreographer and I think it is because of this and various cultural experiences that I possess a mix of creative flare and functional design that flows through all my work. My artistic background is evident in each garment I create; a fusion of my passion for culture, movement and art. As my drive towards multiculturalism has grown over the years, I have been inspired to work with the Aboriginal communities of Australia. This journey led to a collection called Australia based on Rebekah Treacy’s art work (an Aboriginal artist based in the Kimberly, W.A) and was showcased in New York Fashion week 2015 with the collaboration of the Dream Time Project. This project has been a major success within the fashion industry and has drawn interest on both an international and local level. What do you do when you’re not designing. I love to cook. For me it’s like having sex ¬– you need to do it with love and passion. Every moment counts when you are cooking. From the music to the ingredients and of course the company. I love to entertain; it’s a big part of who I am. I also love a good shot of tequila. What’s next for Mauricio Alpizar? I want to reach a wider audience. Increase PR and marketing through social media and continue with an international online presence that showcases my designs through parades and trunk shows in order to gain the attention of high-end retail department stores and investors. Then I want to open dedicated retail spaces and showrooms in Australia and other fashion capitals, including Bali. I’m also looking to expand into a men’s line and secure a place as one of Australia’s leading designers. Time to get busy. Mauricio, we wish you all the very best of luck. www.mauricioalpizar.com.au
Legendary Bra Boy koby abberton has forged a life worth living from the fire of a turbulent youth. He spoke to Sarah Douglas about his past, his beautiful present and how he helps brothers less fortunate. photographs: Saskia Koerner.
together in arms: koby abberton and son makua.
The LORD said to Cain, “Where is Abel, your brother?” He said, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?” Genesis 4:9 Koby Abberton has spent his life looking over his shoulder; for the next blow, the next big wave or the flashing blue lights that signal trouble again. The father, partner, brother, world-renowned big wave surfer, gang leader, Bra Boy and son, gained fame in the documentary penned by his oldest brother, Sunny, and narrated by actor Russell Crowe, Bra Boys: Blood is Thicker Than Water.
“The reason why it’s not happening at Maroubra is because of the Bra Boys. Girls go to Cronulla, Bondi, everywhere else in Sydney and get harassed, but they come to Maroubra and nothing happens to them. I read all this stuff about kids getting harassed because they want to have a surf and I say ‘are you kidding?’ The beach should be for Aussie kids. But if you want to go to beaches and act tough in groups you better be able to back it up. If these fellas come out to Maroubra and start something they know it’s going to be on, so they stay away,” he famously told newspaper reporters following the riots.
Much of his life is tattooed onto his skin and most famous of all his tatts is the one imprinted around his neck: My Brother’s Keeper. The story of Cain and Abel was retold to Koby Abberton by a friend who spent time in solitary confinement in Sydney’s notorious Long Bay prison, a shadow on the now famous beach suburb of Maroubra where Koby and his brothers grew up.
Where he draws the line is hard drugs and despite all he saw growing up he found himself addicted to prescription painkillers after breaking both legs diving off a cliff.
Cain’s refusal to give up his brother to the Lord resonated with a young Koby who claimed it and had it printed on his skin. He believes it is the first chain of command tattoo ever, designed to inspire a gang of young men to take up the call and become what we now know as the Bra Boys, the infamous surfer gang, the brotherhood.
His dark days are well documented, growing up rough, finding the waves, attracting sponsors, riding high and then finding himself in court accused of having knowledge of a murder committed by his second brother, Jai.
Maroubra is a beach, it’s a call to arms for a legion of young boys who grew up in broken homes, wracked by violence, drugs and poverty. With little to call home they gravitated to the surf. It became their friend, their nemesis, their stage. Perched on a cliff overlooking the waves of Bali’s Bingin Beach, today’s Koby Abberton seems a world away from the wild boy he was. With a beautiful partner, Olya, and a baby boy, Makua, at his side, he still tells harrowing tales … but the worst of them are no longer his own. “I get messages every day from kids in trouble. They reach out to me and if I can, I’ll drag them off the ledge. I could convince kids to do anything and these days the thing I’m most proud of is the work I do with suicide prevention,” he explains. Koby Abberton understands those boys better than most. He was that boy who could have died trying to make sense of growing up with a drug addicted mother, a string of violent boyfriends, friends and brothers who were always on the wrong side of the law, with little hope of a future or redemption. “I just tell them if you’re willing to die anyway, then go out and do shit. It may not be right, maybe it’s fucked up, but I get them to go out and try things, put that energy into something else.” He has no idea how many he has helped but through his mate’s organization … thousands have been pulled away from the edge. The Bra Boys have forged a reputation for standing up for each other and keeping all threats out, including the police and local drug dealers. The Cronulla race riots first saw Koby Abberton and his brother’s hit the TV screens when they met with rival gang leaders and forged an agreement to keep gang wars away from the beaches and out of Maroubra following violent riots on nearby Cronulla Beach.
“You think you know better but sometimes shit creeps up on you and before you know it, you’re where you said you’d never be,” he confesses.
“Yeah, he got off on self-defense and I got a suspended sentence for not seeing him. He was there but it was dark and I knew something was up, so I threw him out. But hey, I didn’t see him, and that really pissed off the coppers, they threw everything at getting a conviction and they got nothing in the end.” What am I, my brother’s keeper? The film documents a lifetime of wrongs that may yet turn out right. Koby plays with the big boys, many of his closest friends are famous surfers, businessmen, sports stars and just as many are ordinary boys suffering the same kind of wrecked life that he himself endured. He first came to Bali when he was 14. He hated it. Was ripped off by a taxi driver on his way from the airport and hoofed it to Sumbawa where he found near perfect waves and a generation of surfers who showed him the way. By the time he was 16 he was coming regularly to Indonesia to make surf movies, they made 10 in all and the Indo life got into his veins. Fear has never played large in the life of Koby Abberton, at one time the world’s most famous big wave rider. He never had a lot to lose. Growing up in a home broken by drugs and violence, he was one of four brothers who lived on their wits and found solace in the waves that crashed on their local beach. The question of who’s going to save you was answered for Koby at a young age; “stick together and we’ve got a chance”. Along with his two older brothers, Sunny the eldest and Jai next in line, they never knew their fathers and Mum was in such deep shit, she probably couldn’t help them. Left to their own devices they took to the streets, which led to the endless beach where their futures were savaged and finally saved. Meeting Koby Abberton today, it’s hard to believe all the stories, nor his dark past. He’s unfailingly polite, soft spoken and despite the tattoos and scars that cover his body,
he’s open, generous and sweet. He wants to cook for you, would give you his last shirt. He’s a saviour and perhaps his greatest challenge now is saving himself from his tattered reputation.
“I want him to have a backyard, grass to run around on and yes, some help around the house.
He is and will always be a keeper of the brothers, although these days the bra Boys have new mentors and the suburb is in the throws of gentrification as rents in Sydney soar. His future is far from certain as he opens a new chapter in a salt-encrusted book but so far, despite all that’s been thrown at him, he remains surprisingly optimistic. He’s riding a wave of his own right now but the surf is never far behind. He’s at home here and friends with most of the best surfers in Indonesia and the world, he laughs at the idea of the locals heading out to compete on the world stage.
“Australia is too hard and I like this way of life. I also see a lost generation emerging in Australia with the ice epidemic and I do all I can to spread the word,” he explains.
“I don’t see it, it’s too good here, the waves, the lifestyle, the help, they don’t like it when they leave and some of them are the best I’ve ever seen, but fat chance they are leaving here,” he laughs.
“Normal kids grow up looking up to the Bra Boys and we protect the kids from the local drug dealers, in our community at home we kick their asses and we kick them out. It isn’t nice but that’s what we do.”
If you can’t beat them, join them and save the ones you can, it’s all part of the reason he’s here in the first place and maybe, why he survived when so many didn’t. The next chapter in the story of the most famous Bra Boy is still unwritten – but he’s scratched a few sentences in the sand and Koby believes the rest will write itself.
His son is his greatest inspiration now. He wants him to grow up with all he never had.
When his friends started a suicide prevention movement, Koby jumped on the wagon and rode it on television, through fundraisers and used his celebrity and tough reputation to reach a generation of lost boys, some of whom he has literally plucked from the jaws of death and brought to Bali.
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interview drew corridore talks to Spanish philanthropist Carlos Ferrandiz about the meaning of love and striving for global equity. photo: spencer hansen.
Hi Carlos, can you tell us a bit about your background before you came to Indonesia. Before arriving in Indonesia I was a lawyer in Spain and I was working in a large law firm for seven years. I had the professional career I had always aimed for, now I would say it was a career that many would envy. Since I was a child my parents taught me the difficulties of life and how important is to be prepared and strong in whatever you do. My parents always tried to give the best to us. I worked very hard in my life to achieve where I was and I felt I was happy when my life changed on arrival to Indonesia. I learnt there what was the most important thing is in this life, love. What inspired you to make the move to Indonesia? Since I was a child my parents instilled in me the importance of helping others. They took me from when I was six years old to help with humanitarian work . . . my main work there was in hospitals for the physically and mentally disabled. I think I owe this humanitarian mission in large part to my parents, Carlos and Maria Jose, and to my sister, Laura, as they have taught me since I was a really small child to appreciate what really matters in life like love, health, friendship, happiness, appreciating what you have, taking advantage of knowing the tough times and dealing with them as much as possible with a huge smile. What was it about Sumbawa that led you to create Harapan Project? I was approached by a child seven years ago on my first trip to Sumbawa. He tried to communicate with me but was speaking in Indonesian – a language I couldn’t speak at all, so I couldn’t understand and I asked him if he spoke English. He said no, he only spoke a few words. This surprised me greatly because it is the only language locals could communicate with to the little amount of tourists that came to the island. I told him the next day I was going to teach him English and that he should tell his friends to also come to my class. The next day I went to the meeting place I had agreed with that child . . . I had a blackboard that I had borrowed from one of the few hotels that exist in the area and my books to learn Indonesian from English (I was planning to use the books in the opposite direction). To my surprise I found the whole population of the closest village had turned up – about 150 people, among whom were children, parents and even grandparents. Dazzled by these people’s desire to learn, I decided that my life should change to help these people. At that point Harapan Project was born. What does the project seek to achieve? The Harapan project consists of an eco-sustainable development centre with the aim of improving the living conditions of the local population, strengthening the Indonesian teachers’ training and improving the educational, working and incoming opportunities for the local population of Hu'u. The real goal is to teach the local people how to manage the centre so that they can manage it alone in some years. This project belongs to the local people and the most important thing is to show them how to make it sustainable, how to fundraise for it, and how to create income that, in turn, creates social businesses that will fund the whole project. In this way it is not always necessary to rely on external help.
Where do you see the main social disconnects existing in Indonesia . . . especially with regard to Sumbawa, but maybe you can extrapolate to other areas. The social imbalance in Indonesia is very big. The imbalance between islands is amazing. When people arrive for the first time to Sumbawa they usually say things like, “this is like Bali 20 years ago”. This is what I am talking about; the economic and social development level is totally different between the islands. It is very sad but as in the rest of the world the opportunities in life depend totally on where you are born. How does Harapan Project go about achieving its goals? The economic situation of the project has been very difficult since the beginning. I started the project from zero and without any economic help. Little by little we have achieved every project aim that we could afford. So far we have achieved amazing things. We have saved many lives and taught many children to read and write – English and geography. We still have a long way to go, even further when we are talking about education. Now the most important thing is to keep fighting every single day. I truly believe that if you work for something good at the end the doors you need will be opened. What kind of personal fulfillment does the project bring you? Since the first time I arrived to Sumbawa I felt that this was my place, the place that I was born to live, that these my people. What is more important is that I found the real way of my life. The love that everyday these people – and more the children – give to me is the most beautiful thing I ever felt. It’s what gives sense to all this dedication and fight. There is nothing in this world more beautiful. This is the most pure love I have ever felt in my life. You left a lot behind you in Spain – is it worth the loss? Is it a loss? I left many important things in Spain including my family, my friends and my old life. I think it’s always difficult to move out of your comfort zone. I mean there are many difficult moments when you wish to be with your loved ones but I know this is my dream in life and this is the cost of following my dream. It’s important to help these people have better lives because they really deserve it. My rewards from living here more than compensate for any losses. Do you have any regrets? Surely I miss many important things. For me it is very important to have my loved ones close. It is very hard to miss the first steps of my nephews and to be far from my loved ones when they need me and vice versa but what I am doing here is also very important to me. In a “perfect” world what would the social structure resemble? In a “perfect” world every person would be equal. They would have the same opportunities in their lives no matter where they are born. Your philosophy on life? In this life I believe it is very important to do what makes you happy, to do what you believe and to follow your dreams, no matter how hard it is and no matter what you leave behind. It is important to live without fear. www.proyectoharapan.org
One man’s (or gal’s) trash can end-up another man’s thing of beauty, thanks to acclaimed fashion designer Christian Graciel Mbumbet, who is inspired enough to transform old shells and wood salvaged in Indonesia into high quality, luxury jewellery, bags and accessories, looking about as far removed from rubbish as one can get. Christian’s limited collection of artisan products retail exclusively in a select tally of upscale boutiques, which have included some of New York, London and Paris’ finest; currently the likes of Namu, Jungle Fish and AMAN in Indonesia, although many orders are bespoke. Amazingly, this beautifully groomed, cultured designer enjoys personally scavenging through dumpsters (albeit helped by a dedicated posse sourcing and collecting natural rubbish across the archipelago); coming from an impoverished background, however, Christian never forgets his African roots, finding it both a necessity and inspiring to trawl through the bins. Refreshingly down to earth, Christian finds beauty in everything: “I get inspired by everything that’s old, everything that has already had a life. I recover wood scraps, even old roots, to transform into bags,” he enthuses. “Look around you, open your eyes, see what you can find, even the imperfect is unique!” This ‘second life for trash’ element is intertwined with Christian’s own second chance of life; pronounced dead as a newborn in 1970, he was unceremoniously bundled in a hospital backroom before being miraculously revived by a sharp-eyed medical student. Perhaps one reason Christian is passionate about giving the discarded a second life. Christian had already tasted success before discovering Indonesia, but it was once here that he was able to unleash his signature recycled designs. Leaving his native Cameroon for Paris aged just 17, he sought a better life for himself and his family: “Africa was not made for me. I had a duty to look elsewhere for what, spiritually and materially, I didn’t have.” After training as a designer and pattern maker, he scored an internship at Balmain fashion house, followed by a decade working as freelance fashion designer in the creative workshops of major fashion brands in Paris, including Zara and H&M. But as an ‘artist of the soul’ and yearning for more creative freedom, Christian launched his own fashion accessories brand, CG Christian Graciel, in 2003 in Paris, his adopted home city. As if the stars aligned, Christian was introduced to Indonesia by a resident friend, French furniture designer, Jerome Abel Seguin. On his first trip in 2002, this surprisingly humble, somewhat shy designer was struck by Indonesia’s natural beauty, and strolling along a white beach in Sumbawa, he saw a mass of white sea snail shells, tossed aside by locals after eating the juicy mollusc inhabitants – and he had his Oprah Moment. “I picked up a shell devoured by the sea, put it on my finger and suddenly felt compelled to give it a second life and turn it into a ring! “ Christian recalls.
Inspired by nature’s jewels, assisted by local artisans, Christian began creating chunky shell rings from Sumbawa’s shells, scrupulously cleaned, chiselled and polished to a glossy sheen. Soon after, his stunning boxed set of Indonesian shell rings won him the prestigious Prix Découvertes at Maison et Objet 2003, an international design and lifestyle trade fair held annually in Paris; recognition that helped propel the newly launched CG Christian Graciel brand. This Sumbawan shell range has since expanded to earrings, pendants and napkin holders; he also works with shimmering Mother of Pearl, farmed in Lombok; the shells cut and shaped into two large pieces joined together with genuine leather and, like the shell rings, silver or gold plate, creating a clam-like effect for elegant clutch bags. Other equally exquisite creations cover jewellery pieces, belt buckles and more. Christian’s fabulous signature collection of contemporary wooden hand-bags are again, magically transformed, this time from discarded wood sourced in Java, Bali, Lombok and Sumbawa, from dumpsters, rubbish and building sites, designer and sculptor’s wood cast-offs and so on. These 100 percent old, recycled or repurposed woods – mainly teak, burl, rosewood and soar wood – are cut, polished and melded together with leather as hard cases. Striking wooden accessories cover unisex necklaces, belt buckles and tribal-style cuff bracelets – even the brand’s business cards are made from recycled wood. “I like working with raw, natural materials, they enable me to get up-close to nature,” Christian enthuses. “Natural objects, with their uniqueness and soul, inspire me. Old wood has so much character. Whatever part of a tree you use, each piece is individual and their veining magnificent.” His luxurious, quality products are all naturally and ecologically made without any chemicals or artificial properties. No mass or workshop production here; rather a small-scale enterprise, each oneof-a- kind product lovingly hand-made by craftsmen in Bali, whom Christian has personally selected and works closely with, during months spent on the island. Indonesia’s repurposed woods even end-up as contemporarystyle wooden accessories in the sales offices, airport check-in counters and in-flight for ECAir (Equatorial Congo Airlines), part of a longrunning design collaboration. Continually inspired, Christian’s other projects include a joint design collaboration producing brightly coloured “One Letter” tote bags from recycled plastic waste and his distinctive clothing line, exceptionally hand-made with organic cottons and natural fibres. “My goal is to show these bags can be as beautiful as buying something new.” www.christiangraciel.com
second chance Katie Truman meets christian Graciel Mbumbet, a designer who’s passion is finding beauty in “everything that’s old, everything that has already had a life.” photo by dasha.
sounds around Neil Mclellan took Liam Gallagher to his first museum ... and produced
Firestarter by The Prodigy. so thereâ€™s that. words: tony stanton. IMage: Oscar Munar.
prodigal son mclellan.
Name, rank and serial number please. Neil McLellan. Record Producer. Mixer Extreme. Synth Master. Neil, how did you start out in the music business? It’s all my brother’s fault. After 100 percent refusals through normal channels, it took a mad night out at The Park Nightclub to clinch the deal. Paul Oakenfold used to throw early acid house events there. My brother took me and out of the smoke and a single strobe light a guy said: “Your Stu’s kid brother. Go see this guy at The Strongroom Studios and he will help you.” I did just that and got a two-week trial, which was basically to see if I could make copious amounts of tea for everyone without messing up. I failed. However the studio owner Richard Boote took a shine to me I think and kept me on – unpaid. I was in. What skills do you need to make it in your line of work? We take it it’s not all about twiddling knobs … I would divide it into: 1. Psychology. This plays a huge part in what I do. Understanding that making music is, above all, about emotion, I believe that promoting the right head space and focus for my artists is paramount. One needs to make sure that the mental runway is completely clear, so my job is to make sure that during my sessions (pre and post studio) the artist always feels like they are in a place where they can push their own boundaries, remove doubt and be positive. 2. Confidence. In the studio it’s vital to have confidence and to keep an even keel in all situations. There is always a lot of gossip and chat in the studio – pay no attention to that, don’t get caught in what is invariably a highly emotional space, people will vent good and bad, don’t get caught in that just keep the session rocking. 3. Golden Ears. Although it sounds obvious, I spent years training my ears. As the tea boy I would listen to music in the big studios for hours and hours in my down time. I was also trained by the best engineers in the world – what to listen for, how the music made on my speaker system translates to every single speaker system in the world … from laptop to concert PA … and still kick. 4. Organisation is key. Keeping track of all the moving parts around the session, even the most basic things, is vital. Every little detail must be accounted for. Good organisation creates a smooth session giving sanctuary for the artist to be able to create to their best potential. You produced The Prodigy’s Firestarter, which has recently been voted one of the most influential tracks of the ’90s … what’s the story behind that? After the success of Music For The Jilted Generation, I was
called to work on The Fat Of The Land. We were all in Studio 2 at The Strongroom in East London and Liam [Howlett] said we needed a singer for this song. Keef [Keith Flint] at that point had never sung or written any lyrics before. Liam scribbled some words down, Keef took one look at them then picked up a hand held mic I had in the room and literally just shouted: “I’m the Fire Starter!” Unexpected … but what a buzz! Fifteen minutes later the vocals were done and in three hours we had the track as you know it in the bag. Later that night Keef performed the song for the first time ever in front of 5,000 folks in a venue in Essex. It’s a feeling I will never forget. I knew it was special and things were going to change. And then you were involved with Oasis as well? Yes. I was involved with Oasis - Falling Down (The Prodigy Remix) and Shoot Down (featuring Noel Gallagher and Liam Gallagher). Liam Howlett is a good mate of Liam G’s and so he was often about in the studio. We had some awesome times together … censored lol. We love a Liam Gallagher rock star story … can you give us an anecdote? New York Met Museum. I had been invited by my good friend George Bisacca, Senior Conservator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, for a private viewing of the museum – a real treat! George and I met in the crazy times of the Meat Packing District of NYC. He managed to get the Bueno Vista Social club to play in his large apartment, and later we became firm friends. He invited Liam and his then wife Nik to come to the museum, and on arrival I was hanging up my coat and as I turned round I saw Liam Gallagher, hands outstretched, moving towards a priceless six foot urn. As he got closer to it an army of stewards and George were – as if in slow motion – moving to not let him touch it. They just made it. I remember saying to Liam, “mate you can’t touch this stuff, it’s not allowed.” And he replied: “Sorry, I’ve never been to a museum before.” I think that day blew his mind. Who else have you worked with in the biz? I have had the pleasure to work in many genres of music so here’s is a small selection! The Prodigy, Erasure, Madonna, Archive, Oasis, Nine Inch Nails, Orbital, Eric Kupper, Carl Cox, Kevin Saunderson, Sasha, Senser, Telepopmusik, Hinda Hicks, Manu Chao, Brother Brown, Terrorvision, U.N.K.L.E , Paul Oakenfold, Sandra Bernhard … What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given, musically? Michael Rosenblatt, Head of A&R Warners, once told me: “It’s Called Show Business not Show Friends. Anything with ‘business’ in it … watch out!”
How has your industry changed in the last 20 years, and is it for the better? It’s more about the publishing now than ever before. Streaming music is the way that people listen to music, so getting decent royalties from this has become the biggest battle that musicians and artists face. The upside … it’s possible to run and own your own label and music publishing company so you can retain control and not have the overheads to recoup of signing to a label. You can sign later once you’re successful and get a better deal. What are you up to in Bali, and how has the island been treating you? I love it here, the island has been good to me. I am able to write great music here and after 16 years in NYC and LA I think I have earned a nice break! Famous person walks into your studio. He/she is big in the business, but they have a rep for being difficult. What’s the first thing you do before working with them? Listen, listen, listen. Ignore any previous reputation. In my experience all this stuff is often overblown. Sit down, have a decent cup of tea and have a chat. Make people feel at home with you. If you get a diva, never play up to it, always be polite and be two steps ahead without being cocky. Even divas appreciate it! Top three punk rock bands of all time? Rage Against The Machine The Clash Nirvana - Dave Grohl Must mention Rick Ruben as he is I think the most influencial record maker of our time! We’re going to make you a T-shirt. What should we write on it? Big Nose. When I grow up I’m going to be … Capt. Kirk. Do you have any pets? Amy the pit bull. Oh and 12 new puppies – yikes! What does 2018 hold for Neil McLellan? Awesome new music with Zatua from Bali, Carl Cox in the autumn, more prods in November! Bali allows me to experiment musically and to finally relax after being at full throttle for a very long time.
run and gun filmmaker justin hall talks to The yak about his mission ... letâ€™s just say it ... to save the world.
OK, Justin Hall … describe yourself in three words. Let’s go with optimistic, principled and unconventional. If given a fourth, I’d add fallible… We’ve seen you on the TV, haven’t we? But you’re not a traditional kind of journo, are you... I often get called quirky. In the simplest sense, I run on instinct rather than rule books and follow my heart when confronted with a challenge. As a storyteller, it’s my nature to try and inspire the best in contributors and garner the most out of each encounter. In my experience, often the easiest way to achieve this is by going back to basics; whether meeting with a government official or hanging with gangsters, kicking back with guntoting pirates or talking with tribal chiefs. We are all fundamentally just people and a smile and good intention goes a long way to breaking the ice in tough company. How many countries have you visited in the last, let’s say, two years? Being part of the Nat Geo Explorer team has been amazing. As correspondents, we feed in stories to the New York office with only the most dramatic and telling making the grade. It’s fast paced, and you get used to being thrown in at the deep end … but I guess that’s part of the skillset. So, these last years I have been busy dodging land mines in Laos, saving bears in Armenia and searching for lost cities in the jungles of Colombia. I’ve hung out with gorillas in the mist in the DRC and swapped stories with child warriors in the Congo … I’ve drifted across bubbling volcanic lakes in Rwanda, visited Jane Goodall’s chimpanzees in Tanzania while in search of the origins of spirituality. For one of my favorite NG stories entitled ‘Cocaine of the Sea’ I went undercover in the markets of Hong Kong. It was a hair-raising experience. Following the money led us to the Sea of Cortez in Mexico, where aboard the Sea Shepherd I joined the team as they hunted poachers with mil-spec drones and night vison. It’s been a trip; an intense learning curve and I feel profoundly fortunate to have been a part of it. What’s the most dangerous experience you’ve ever had? The earlier thrill-seeking version of me took a lot of unmeasured risks. I’ve been shot at by marauding Thai gangsters, held up with a Glock for a slice of pizza in New York; I’ve had a knife pulled on me in the Arab sector of the old city of Jerusalem, befriended factions of the Chinese Triads, the mobsters of London, the Mafia of Moscow, Thailand and New York; witnessed stabbings, shootings, riots and catastrophes; infiltrated a forgery ring in Cairo; narrowly avoided being blown up by terrorists in Israel, Sri Lanka and again in Guatemala. I’ve been attacked by rabid mountain dogs in the foothills of the Himalayas; chased by a rhino in India’s forest of Thacadi; and thrown down a waterfall by howler monkeys on the coast of Costa Rica. I’ve survived a near-death experience in a jungle river cave close to warring guerrillas on the border of Belize, done barrel rolls in a rusting Soviet jetfighter as we punched through the clouds. I’ve ridden with rebels in Libya and pirates in Somalia. In the Amazon, in an early effort to get closer to nature, I strapped myself to the wing of a biplane and buzzed the jungle canopy. I’ve even suited up in a James Bond jet-pack and headed to the launch pad … but for all these things, many of them thrill-seeking, by far the most tangible fear I have felt in life was recently in the company of the child warriors of the Congo’s Mia Mia. These are kids born of the darkest kind of trauma, banded together around the gun, living a feral existence on the border of the now famous Virunga National Park. With nothing to lose, the cocktail of adolescents, alcohol and AK47’s proved highly volatile. There is a clip on Nat Geo’s Explorer website for any that wish to see.
Where does this lust for adventure come from? As a kid my mum gave me a book called Runaway Ralph! Ralph was a mouse who lived under the stairs and, like most mice, dreamed of cheese and not much else. Life changes for Ralph when he finds a toy motorbike and heads off into the unknown. For sure, Ralph’s spirit of adventure and longing to go elsewhere, see more, be more, has played a part. I guess, as a result, I set off early in life; armed with a smile, good intention and not much else, I spent much of my teens and early twenties jumping from place to place, hunting experience. At 15, I spent a year in India, trekked across the desert on a camel train, explored Sri Lanka and Nepal. From hauling sacks of coconuts on the docks of Israel’s Taba port, aged 15, to running clubs and restaurants in New York … I sucked up life, acted on instinct and moved forward. A real turning point came when I hit 30 and was living in Los Angeles. At a dinner party, fortune had me bump into a character called Jean-Pierre Detulluex, a safari suit-wearing kind of guy who held court around the table and told stories of remote tribes and his efforts to save the rainforest. It was a genuine eureka moment … so I harassed him to give me a job. Which he did, and through him I developed a passion for ethnography, learnt the process of film making and started to plan my own style of journeys. What’s Runningman all about? You wear the wooden image around your neck. It’s a talisman of sorts that has hung around my neck for the past 25 years. I’ve been through hell and high water with this little carved wooden character … in Zambia, while rafting on the Zambezi, he was torn from my neck as our boat overturned in the rapids. Amazingly he survived a solo swim down river past angry hippos only to be found later on the shoreline as we made camp! Always facing towards my heart. In the simplest sense it is a constant reminder that we should take active steps in the direction our hearts would have us go. I named my first production company after this ethos. So, he has led me as much as I have carried him. One thing’s for certain, we are a team. You’re a Fellow of the UK’s Royal Geographical Society, which has such alumni as Charles Darwin and David Livingstone. How did that come about and what does it mean to you? I’ve been a Fellow for almost 20 years now. Wonderfully, I was nominated for my earlier works with Amazonian tribes. Simply put, the RGS is an extraordinary organization that for the last 180 years has been a driving force of global exploration, nurturing intrepid spirit by supporting those brave, bold or foolish enough to risk their lives and push the boundaries in an effort to communicate a better understanding of the world around us. To be recognized as a part of this endeavour is without doubt my proudest achievement. To me, the challenge of exploration in the 21st Century is an urgent one … it’s no longer about planting flags or egocentric feats of endurance. It’s about exploring the issues of a world well known, about examining the relationship between Man and Nature, cultures and commerce, land and its governance, about the science of change and the quest for solutions. Your Nat Geo bio says you specialize in hi-tech digital storytelling technologies. Explain please! I’ve always loved tech and in a sense been ahead of the curve, looking for ways to use new tools to tell stories. Back in 2000, exploring this idea, I led a three-month expedition
through the tribal territories of eight amazon forest communities. It was my first major expedition and although the objectives where quite simple – i.e. review the forces affecting habitat, resource, nature and people – the idea of using the web to communicate each step of the journey in real-time was somewhat pioneering. Arming myself with almost 500 kilos of hi-tech kit including military laptops, solar panels and satellite communicators, we set about offering the remote tribes of the interior a digital platform from which to voice their hopes and fears. Via satellite, we relayed their stories directly from source, initiating discussions between like-minded groups and NGOs, subtly introducing the idea of digitally mapping the narrative, law and land rights claims of the indigenous and tribal communities we met. The results were encouraging. With the web still in its infancy, 1.4 million people joined us online. Collectively, school kids, scholars and a new breed of armchair traveler spent thousands of hours viewing our work and, in some cases, getting involved. There are exploited and under siege peoples and species all over the planet, with increasing population pressures that don’t look like helping with any of the issues we see in the environment or communities. Doesn’t it all just get you down? Sure, I see smoke on the horizon but to me it’s a call to action rather than a sign of impending doom. I’ve been lucky in doing what I do to have come alongside some extraordinary characters involved in projects set against the greatest of odds; whether dodging bullets to save lives or railing against injustice, standing alone in defense of nature or tinkering with cells to find a way … it turns out that having hope is by far the most important mind set. It is a defining quality that enables the best of us to push past the naysayers and fear of failure to prove by example. As history has so often proved, we are capable of much more than we might at times imagine … and that’s how I choose to see the future. The immediacy of our comms and the power that rests in each of our hands is hard to overstate. Striking but true, a standard iPhone runs well over 120,000,000 times faster than the computer that guided the Apollo spacecraft to the Moon! If brave men, women and clever scientists can aim for the stars and achieve the seemingly impossible with a fraction of the computational power we all have to hand, then I’m certain we can do more than take selfies and click flip and swipe our way through the day. You’ve visited many remote tribes over the years. Are there universal traits that you notice about all people in their natural state? I’m not one to paint idyllic pictures of tribal, indigenous or forest peoples being ‘at one with nature’ as, in reality, most suffer complex forces bearing down on them. However, as anyone who has wandered alone through a forest, looked out from a mountaintop or 66
stared in silence at a sunset, will likely have felt, there is something undeniably powerful, humbling and potent about being close to nature. It seems the more reliant on it you are, the stronger these feelings become. When you scale down from complex mega cities of millions to chiefdoms and tribal settlements of just a few hundred, you naturally find an intensified sense of community. Sure, they suffer the same soap opera of petty jealousies, varied attitudes and actions, but underpinning it all is a deepened sense of place and common purpose … having an intimate understanding that your existence is bound to and reliant on nature forges a reality that, for the most, we in cities dismiss as redundant. Namely, that we are all in it together, partners with nature, governed by it, reliant on it and should work collectively at all costs to ensure its continued wellbeing. Again, to me this is something that is inherently obvious to those who live close to nature. Your higher power has given you three wishes to change our future, what are they? Ok, let’s start with an instantaneous global epiphany! A profound realization by people and governance that priority should be placed on funding science that addresses primary environmental issues … as a starting point climate, food, water, the defense and perpetuation of cultural and environmental diversity and threatened enclaves … broad stroke, of course, and it isn’t just science. Obviously, it’s attitude and individual action that need to change. However, I reason that applied minds can and have achieved the seemingly impossible before … given the urgency and implications, I’d first wave my wand at this one. Next up … universal education and healthcare! Given that nearly 70 million children of primary education age are not in school and nearly 800 million adults around the world remain illiterate, it seems obvious that young minds, all minds, need nurturing and would benefit immeasurably from the passage of lessons learnt and higher reasoning. Knowledge is power, for certain, but in the simplest sense it also affords us a seat at the table, allows us to understand and actively participate in the decision-making process that governs our lives. This is never more apparent nor more important than for developing nations and its peoples who, once acknowledged, heard and allowed to speak on their own behalf, can exercise their right to self-determination re healthcare, redressing the balance and reducing suffering where possible … it’s a no brainer. Less worthy, and admittedly a bit selfish perhaps, my last wish would be to bring to life some of the expeditions and projects and meet the like-minded characters that will be needed to make them happen. @explorerjustinhall firstname.lastname@example.org
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Irvine thanks for taking the time to talk with us. I wanted to start with a passage I read from a Guardian interview with you last year by Simon Hattenstone, who wrote: “It’s a nasty, brutish world he creates. In Filth, his protagonist is the filthiest of police officers; Marabou Stork Nightmares is about a man in a coma who was sexually abused by his uncle; A Decent Ride features an oversexed cabbie; Bedroom Secrets Of The Masterchefs is about a hard-drinking football hooligan; and on it goes. Welsh returns again and again to the same themes of corrupt, destructive masculinity: drinking, scoring, snorting, raving, shagging, bragging, betraying and destroying.” Yet when I listened to a podcast of you with James O’Brien I was shocked to find out that you’re actually a very sweet bloke. What’s going on there? Well, I tend to write about the human existential crisis that is bound up with the end of industrial society and our untethering to traditional elements supported by it; capitalism, socialism, the wage economy, imperialism and the patriarchy. Of course this is all a crisis for traditional masculinity but it’s broader than that. Because I write about a declining narcissistic culture and I’m fascinated about its foibles, vanities and abuses, doesn’t mean I’m in a position of advocacy (or condemnation) of that culture. I was also brought up to be polite. You were still young in 1993 when you wrote Trainspotting, which was voted – I read somewhere – the 10th greatest book of the 20th century. How did you manage that at such a youthful age? I started it when I was 28 but I felt I was very old then. I’ve never ever felt as old in my life as I did when I was 28. I think it’s about not doing what you want with your life. Writing Trainspotting for me had an element of desperation: it was about fashioning an escape and freedom, not from heroin addiction but from the crushing bourgeois nine to five life I’d embraced to replace it. I saw an excellent portrait of you wearing a T-shirt with a slogan that said “The book was better.” Do you think Trainspotting the book was better than John Hodge’s screenplay for the movie, and how involved were you in the film?
They are very different animals. Obviously without the book there is no film so on that basic level it’s obviously better. But the more I get into screenwriting the more I appreciate John’s genius in adaptation. What’s your process for writing, and has it changed over the years? Do you have a set time that you sit down etc? Can you talk us through the creative process as you experience it? No, it changes all the time. One of the best things about every new book is that you can impose a different regime on yourself and mix things up. Most writers I talk to are creatures of habit, they find a place and a regime that suits them and stick with that. I prefer to shake it up to get out my comfort zone. Did you know all the traits of each character before you start putting words to them? Again, each project is different. Sometimes you have the story or the characters well worked out in your head before you commit to page, other times you try and find them through the writing. The entire gang came back to life in T2 Trainspotting, the brilliant sequel based on your novel Porno. How gratifying was it to have Danny Boyle back in the director’s chair for that, and what did you think of the movie? Well, you can’t go wrong with Danny. It’s a joy working with him and John, you become like a bunch of enthusiastic kids setting out for college, planning to change the world. When you’re around that energy and attitude you know that something special will come out of it. There’s no cynicism in the air at all; though more than enough wry skepticism. You’re coming for UWRF next month (October). Is this your first trip to Bali? What are you expecting? Heard great things about it. Friend who visits regularly reckons the Balinese are the most chilled out people in the world. You’re living in Miami currently? Doing Pilates, I heard. Do you ever revisit Scotland and wonder how you managed to escape that world of Edinburgh in Thatcher’s Britain – the drugs, the violence, the filth . . . I’m back in Scotland at the moment. I’m always here and have kind of relocated. I’m bouncing
between Edinburgh, Barcelona, London and Marseilles these days. I don’t really try to avoid or seek out anything. I just hang out and let what happens unfold. Life is a big drama, just enjoy it and when it gets too much, go away and relax and then write about it. What are you working on at the moment? Do you like to stay busy as a writer, or are you tempted by other paths these days? We’re shooting Creation Stories and have two other films ready to go and are working on several TV projects. I also have a big music project and a new book. I’m tempted by everything. What would you say to your 18-year-old self today, and what advice do you have for anyone of that age who is involved in the creative field? It’s such a different creative world to the one I started out in that I have literally no relevant advice to offer anyone younger than myself. Basically they know much more about it than I do. I’m always asking young people “what do you think I should be doing about this?” You just did a DJ spot at Glastonbury, how did that go? The great thing about DJing – especially if you’re playing you’re own music – is that you get an instant reaction in a way you don’t with a book or even a movie or stage show. I love the immediate buzz. Glastonbury was the best one ever. The weather was great and I hooked up with a ton of old pals who were determined to have it. Describe yourself in five words. I have zero self awareness. When were you last happy? I’m very, very, very happy right now as I tend to be every morning and I hope it carries on into the rest of the day! Irvine Welsh thanks for your time. Irvine Welsh will be appearing in an in-conversation event as part of the main program at the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival, which runs from October 23-27. He is also a headline DJ for the closing night party at Blanco Renaissance Museum (free for UWRF ticket holders, there will be a charge for the public). For more info on UWRF 2019 go to www.ubudwritersfestival.com
He smashed it with Trainspotting, then followed it up with a number of iconoclastic books that blew the socks off established publishing standards . . . and now he's heading for Bali. Tony Stanton spoke to the erudite author ahead of his appearance at UWRF.
skateboard pioneer steve olson is still breaking the rules. words: luiz sanchez. photo: jason reposar at gate 88.
the pool guy.
Skateboarding played a formative experience in my life. Granted I couldn’t drop in a vert to save my life, and my greatest claim to fame was nearly landing a kickflip one time, but the better half of my teenage years were spent cruising up and down Rotterdam with my friends. We would skate tunnels and train stations, running from the cops whenever our antics caught their ire. We would get drunk, high, occasionally tag buildings and explore the city in search of new places to skate. There was something primal about skateboarding, something rebellious. There still is. In a world full of rules and responsibilities, skateboarding allowed us tiny moments of freedom. When I was given the chance to interview Steve Olson I nearly lost my shit. The Steve Olson? The dude who married the punk scene to skateboarding? THE guy that has definitely seen it all? Hell yeah. I knew Steve’s story, it's been written and rewritten dozens of times. Growing up in California Steve was a prolific surfer before ever setting foot on a skateboard. By age 16 he was already established as a competitive skater. Growing up in California in the '70s meant getting creative, as skateparks weren't a thing and youngsters like Steve would scour the suburbs looking for construction sites and empty swimming pools to skate. I met him at Beach Garden – In the Raw in Canggu, as the sun neared its zenith. As we sat down for the interview he got a call and took a moment before the meeting. “Sorry about that,” he said hanging up. “We filmed a skateboarding short in Paris in July.” A friend had invited him to Paris to paint with him. “I was there painting and skating and trying to immerse myself in Paris to get the vibe of the city. When I was there I met some good dudes and had an idea. We all have phones, let’s shoot a short on them. It's just a basic idea but basic ideas are powerful. The Pusher is Steve’s attempt to catch the essence of skateboarding. “It’s a passing of the torch from an older guy to a younger kid.” It's an apt motif. Having met and been friends with virtually every legendary skater from the '70s onwards, Steve has consistently been at the frontline of skateboarding. He's seen the sport grow from sidewalk surfing and pool skating to the modern-day mainstream meganaut it has become. He has seen the equipment evolve from surfboard analogues with clay wheels to contemporary variants.
“I was born in the early '60s,” he says. “I was influenced by longboarding and surfing. In the mid-60s a lot of the skaters were surfers and it was huge. Skating became extremely popular in a very trendy sort of way . . . like the hoola hoop.” Despite its popularity, skating took a dive in ’66 as moral panic sought to restrict the burgeoning sport until ’72, when polyurethane wheels were introduced. “It was groundbreaking,” Steve explained. “The polyurethane wheels gave you a smoother ride, it was quieter, definitely had a faster roll and gave you much more traction when turning.” “In the late '70s they had a pool competition called the Hester Series and it kind of seemed at that point to provide a proving ground for anyone who wanted to compete. It was the first of its kind and we thought let’s go, it’s on. I knew how to compete and did extremely well. In the competitive scene you had to do tricks. You were trying to up your competitors and I could do that, we could skate. The crazy thing is there were new generations happening within six months of each other. Not every five years or every year, it was happening so fast. Tricks and wheels were getting better, boards got wider, then Bobby Valdez did an invert in 1978 and everything caught on fire. I had to learn airs or I’d have fallen behind. “This kid from Florida, Alvan Galvin, came in after the first competitions and showed us what the ollie was [now a basic skateboard jump] and that was mind blowing, totally,” Steve recounted. “I mean, watch this little alien pop, and he had a really cool, funky, bizarre style from the other guys, it was wow, this is getting really wild.” In 1979 Steve was awarded Skateboarder of the Year by Skateboarder Magazine. "I remember I wore leather pants, a white blazer, some ridiculous polka dot tie and shoes that were way too tight but too cool not to be seen, and I remember they get to the top 10 and I heard the names of my friends and I remember thinking wow, I didn’t even make it to the top 10. Tony Alva had won the year before and he came in second place. He was pissed and threw his trophy in the trash, which I thought was fantastic. Then they said the Skateboarder of the Year is . . . Steve Olson. I was totally blown away but at the same time I had been drinking and thought all these people didn’t understand the scene happening in my world.”
“I remember them saying speech speech speech and I thought whatever,” Steve says. “I remember spitting at the camera, picking my nose, flicking boogers at them and giving them the finger. And it wasn’t to the kids into skateboarding, it was against the industry and the squares. Go fuck yourselves. They said these two guys were the worst representation of skateboarding but the kids just totally understood. They were like oh, what do you mean? These guys were saying fuck yourselves, they were skateboarding for the matter and the kids jumped on our side and it was fantastic. And then it died.” At the height of skateboarding’s popularity, the US economy hit a downturn. The recession, coupled with lawsuits, resulted in the closure of most skateparks across the country. Skateboard magazines began to fold or morph into general sports magazines to attract wider audiences. But while skateboarding never truly went away, the opportunity to make a living out of it certainly shrank. “We kept skateboarding because it wasn’t about that it was more about digging it,” Steve explained. “A lot of us kept skating . . . but the business died. A couple of companies survived but so many companies closed. Alright now what do you do? One year you’re on top of everything and the next year they’re sayin’ . . . now what are you gonna do with your life? Fuck I don’t know, I was blown away by the sport,” he said. "I still am." This is Steve’s second trip to Bali. The first time he was here was back in the late '80s, on the eve of Bali’s transition to a major tourist destination. “I brought a skateboard, dunno why, there was only one road in Kuta that was freshly paved and well done,” he recalled. I remember I came and put my shit away at the hotel and looked for my friend Mark Baker. So I’m skating down this street in Kuta and these little kids were tripping so I was like here try it. They were having such a good time I told them to keep the board. I love Bali. It’s been 30 years, it’s changed but I just love Bali. One of the best things is to hop on your scooter and just go. You have to be on guard and paying attention but it’s amazing, just throw your surfboard on the rack and go.” “I’m all about supporting the skate scene here,” Steve says. “They see a different style of skateboarding when I skate, because it’s still surfing for me. I don’t really care about tricks, I care about power, and turning, slashing and grinding.”
Could Paul Ropp be considered one of the original disruptors? I walk into his office to find out the answer to this and a few others ponderings that have been floating around in my head all these years. And, so as to get grounded in the moment and the man, I ask a few interview-style questions to see if these lead to the past being brought into the present: Paul, what was the earliest life lesson you learnt? If it feels good do it. What was the hardest life lesson you learnt? Not practicing what I learnt was wasteful and painful. Who gave you the best advice and what was it? My art teacher. She said to me: "Don’t paint in the corner of the canvas, go for the feeling. Don’t worry about painting over the edge of the canvas. Go for the feeling." What is the best advice you give yourself? Better today than yesterday, better tomorrow than today, better and better in every way. Any daily mantras? That was it! If you met a 20-year-old person what would you say to him or her? Enjoy five years of being lost. Anything in your life you would have done differently? [Huge pause] Yeah, not getting in trouble with the law as a teenager… A realization that learning was not as important to me as practicing what I had already learnt. Any famous quotes that you live by… (some people do, some people don’t). Well . . . one of mine. 'If you ever have a panic attack at night go outside, look at the stars and realise that intergalactically your problem is insignificant, don't worry about it.' If you hosted a dinner party, who (alive or dead) would you invite? The people who have helped me attain the stature I have today and get to enjoy; the people who make me laugh the most, and the ones that asked nothing and gave everything.
A couple of Russians (with shops in Russia, Ibiza and beyond, are looking to “Paul Ropp” their retail spaces) flit in and out with questions about fabric, orders and deliveries. Noting that we aren’t nearly finishing our conversation the magic word of 'lunch' rings out around the showroom. A cue for the Russians to depart stage left and for us to move to Métis, Paul’s goto place for lunch, it’s either here or Frangipani Café at The Oberoi Bali. PR is all about the lifestyle, quality and service. We sit and order, and move into the past: an unfortunate childhood with irresponsible parents. At some point he was placed into care. Too young and on the street he did not favour school, and in fact throughout his life he found that whilst learning was secondary in his book, education was key and as a young man he went to as many seminars, services, talks and symposiums as possible to hear some of the original disruptors: Osho, Mukthananda, even Scientology . . . always looking to extrapolate as much as possible. Here he mentions, “Perception is good, but only if you put it into projection”. I muse . . . see and create, or see to create? He continues on with education and expectations. “Don’t go where they tell you to go, go where you want to go. Go where you want to be, something and someone will find you.” Moving on up into adult years: after amassing a fortune by single-handedly cornering a huge percentage of the rolling paper market, he took five years off and whilst he got lost, he also lost his fortune. Living the high life, literally. Bali brought the disruptor slightly back onto the rails and after meeting Susanna Perinni, who then went on to found Bali’s beloved Biasa, he settled down and had a family. He himself started Paul Ropp – "fashion for people who’d prefer to be naked” . . . disrupting the norm yet again. Moving on through our meal we come to dessert, and I find he no longer disrupts quite as much … he has mellowed, has nothing to prove and in fact now advocates and mediates with his “resolved, dissolved” philosophy. He has become a problem auditor. “Humanity likes to make things complicated, I like to help people find a compromise and then a resolution.” A little social revolution happening right there.
As we wind up the meal, all frightfully healthy as I am on detox and Paul has to mind what he eats, he once again seemingly flips the bird to health and doctor's orders as the Métis staff place a portion of chocolate profiteroles in front of him. A Do you ever repair the delicate, overworn PR garments? new, beautifully crafted, chocolate fondant dessert that the One of the greatest editors that I ever had the pleasure of working with, fashion icon Diana Veerland, think (Harper’s Bazaar manager has asked him to try also appears. If approved it goes on the menu. “Don’t wait for life,” he says, “Go create and Vogue magazine) and her quote which I really value is: “Who expects fashion to last forever?” But yes, clients do come your own story. Express yourself,” he says, tucking in. in with an occasional Paul Ropp garment and get this or that seam or collar repaired, and of course we mend it at no cost. www.paulropp.com
the yak SITS DOWN WITH BALI ICON PAUL ROPP TO TALK LIFE, LEGACIES AND LETTING GO. Image: Robert Rosen.
fashion father ropp.
people nz rugby legend byron kelleher talked to tony stanton about life post all blacks and what it meant to pull on the famous jersey. photo: jason reposar.
boy from the black stuff.
Byron, what was it like pulling on the All Blacks jersey for the very first time? It's a privilege to represent your country in any sport, of course. A real honour. But in New Zealand, rugby and the All Blacks are a national religion. It’s what every boy and girl aspires to. So my first experience was a special one, made more so by the fact I was standing next to Jonah Lomu, the biggest legend in the game. I was so proud I never wanted to take it off. What was the road to that moment like for you? How did you grow up? It was about working hard to get results and to get ahead in life. I had to make so many sacrifices to stay on top and wear the jersey week in, week out. It was all about doing extra work to be better than my opponents. Growing up was tough but I had loving family that supported me through the journey. When did you first learn to do the Haka, and how important is Maori culture to rugby in New Zealand? In New Zealand as soon as you can stand up as a child you're taught to do the Haka. It is sacred and religious and historical – it's who we are. You used to room with Jonah, what was that like? He was a mentor to me but the early years I had to prove myself in the team, so I had to carry and do little jobs for him whenever he asked. You couldn't say no to Jonah Lomu. A very nice and humble person. Of course I have many more stories but I don’t think we should discuss those here! RIP my friend Jonah. What was a typical day like during the season? Early mornings with two to three trainings a day except match day and the day before. Regular media interviews during the week, signing sessions with the public, dinners with the major sponsors and living in hotels... and then travel by plane or bus to more training. There were the occasional beers in the changing rooms with the team after winning ... a guitar and good singalong. What was the hardest thing about being an All Black? Public expectation. And winning of course.
You travelled the world and were celebrated for the game ... who was the most interesting person you met? We met a lot of very famous people ... royalty, actors, musicians and other athletes. But the one that sticks in my mind was talking to Nelson Mandela. What would you consider the pinnacle of your rugby career while wearing the All Black shirt? I played in three rugby world cups but I really enjoyed playing against the British Lions during their tour to New Zealand and winning all three test matches – a very proud moment. Why is New Zealand so passionate about rugby? It’s our national sport and we have been the number one team in the world for 125 years. As soon as you are born in New Zealand, boy or girl, you’re given a rugby ball or an All Black jersey. We love the game. You moved to France after leaving the New Zealand squad, how did you adapt to life there? I had to learn another culture and another language so it was difficult at the beginning but I won two national French championships and was named player of the year. We also went on to win a European championship as well so it could not have been better. Toulouse was passionate and mad about rugby too. What have you been doing since retiring from the sport in 2012? I do Ambassador work for Airbus and Capgemini, some French commentating for rugby on the radio and I owned a sports bar. I lived in Monaco for about four years then decided to travel back to good old New Zealand. I love Asia too. How did Bali become part of your life? It’s a beautiful part of the world and not too far away to escape to from New Zealand during winters. I also do promotional work in Asia, so having the rugby world cup on next year in Japan I need an Asian base. Bali just ticks all the boxes. Byron, thanks for your time! @ByronKelleher
john, you've had a colourful life – tell us first how you transitioned from music mogul to property agent . . . In the early eighties I was an agent and manager for Bananarama, Culture Club, Eurythmics and various other bands. After about four years I got burnt out and went to live with my mother, who at that time was in Tenerife. There I met a man who’d just started a property sales company and he said, “You’re bored as bat shit, why don't you help me sell some property?” I started off at the bottom of the food chain but I loved it. I worked with him from '84 to '93, and we built one of the biggest businesses of its kind in Europe. How did beer and girls in bikinis inspire Karma’s creation? In 1993 I went to Goa to speak at a conference and I was amazed by the opportunity there. I mean there were pristine beaches, land was cheap to buy and construction costs were low. You could see there was a middle class emerging, the Indian consumer had been brought up on Bollywood movies and they loved the idea of a western style holiday, with beaches and beer and girls in bikinis, so Goa was a natural magnet for them. In 1994 I was told about Bali, I arrived and we set up a small joint venture. We developed our first resort in Candidasa; we now have seven properties across Indonesia. What attributes are required to create this level of success? I love what I do and view it as a hobby – so I’m blessed to actually make money out of my hobby. I think I’ve been very successful at being able to compartmentalize, not thinking too much, but at the same time thinking a lot: which is a juggling act. I believe immensely in motivation, so a lot of what I do is about motivating people, which is why I spend time giving speeches and opening resorts, or doing PR. I have a sense of humour and don't take myself too seriously, and I probably drink too much good wine, which certainly helps! Where did your passion for teaching come from? If you’d asked me prior to 2013, “Would I be a teacher?” I would have laughed and said, “Of course not!”
After I received the first fellowship at Yale University I was headhunted – so to speak – by UCLA and then by the University of Pennsylvania to teach similar classes, and here I am again with Yale, so this is my fourth assignment. I enjoy teaching a lot and I probably learn as much from the students as they learn from me. There’s a certain parallel with what I do in business anyway. Educating people and teaching for me is not a hard thing, it’s what I have been doing for most of my working life.
Why does philanthropy form a big part of Karma’s philosophy? I use the word Karma loosely because any Buddhist or Hindu would slap me in the face and say, ‘You're not using it correctly’, but essentially, you get the love that you give to the universe, which bounces back to you. I think there’s too much arrogance with foreign companies in the world who come to another country and make money and don't give back to the community and wonder why they run into problems.
Why did Yale University appoint you ‘Distinguished Visiting Professor’ for the second time? Yale University has an annual fellowship, which is endowed by a gentleman called Edward P Bass who is a billionaire oil magnet in the States. I was appointed Distinguished Visiting Professor of Architectural Design for the second time because although the students are taught by the best, they don’t really understand how it works in the real world. So the purpose of this particular fellowship is to bring on board, for a semester, a non-academic developer to join the teaching team of academics. Because I dropped out of university and instead went to London to be a guitarist and a music agent, it was a huge honour to be involved in the Yale system. The first time was in 2013, and now I have been awarded the fellowship a second time and we are conducting a building study at my hotel on the island of Gili Meno, Lombok.
Our involvement is not just remote – as in writing a cheque once a month – when we do Camp Royal in India we shut the resort for a week, give the staff time off, and invite 900 children to come and have a holiday. It’s so popular there’s a waiting list consisting of our clients who volunteer as staff and enjoy looking after them.
Why is Karma Reef the perfect educational test site? We looked at various sites and decided it would be good to use one of our real sites because Gili Meno was damaged badly by the recent earthquake. The challenge for the Yale students is to take this piece of land in an earthquake-prone part of the world and design a resort that is esthetically pleasing, sustainable, and commercially viable. It’s up to them to come back with concepts and ideas, and on a weekly basis we review their work, suggest changes and jointly discuss the solution. Sustainability is a very in vogue issue and, in my opinion, the younger generation is more conscious and more caring about sustainability than the older generation.
How did Karma Sanctum begin, and when is it coming to Bali? The idea behind Sanctum is quite humourous. Bruce Dickinson the lead singer of Iron Maiden got annoyed because they changed the licensing laws in Soho, London, so you couldn't drink after 1o’clock in the morning. Someone gave him the cunning idea, “If you had a hotel you could have a 24-hour bar license”, so he opened Sanctum in Warwick Street. When he realised he had a hotel to be run they came to me and we took it over, and it's now Karma Sanctum. We own a site in Bali and plan to create a hotel here for clientele who own a Harley or two, and listen to Iron Maiden on their headphones. John Spence, rock on and thanks so much for your time. www.karmagroup.com
university drop out john spence managed culture club, built a proprety empire and is now a visiting professor at yale. karen donald meets the man. image: oscar munar.
unapologetically JOHN SPENCE.
people It's all gone right for mr wrong. mark baker caught up with the ultimate house selector. image: oscar munar.
All right then … so I’m here with my longtime friend Mr Pete Tong. Pete, welcome back to Bali mate and congratulations! What a gig, wow. Tell us about how you felt it went on at Omnia. I have to say it was almost like a perfect scenario. I loved playing on that cusp of day into night. Initially I thought it was maybe going to be a bit early, but it was absolutely perfect, I didn’t want to stop. It’s an amazing set up there on the cliff top, stunning view, amazing kind of layout production, perfect DJ booth, so I am very happy. The response I got from everybody was just unbelievable, everybody loved the gig. Are you little surprised to see a venue like that in Bali? I mean you’ve played many gigs here in Bali over the years… Fifteen plus years … I did Double Six back in the day. What’s year was that? Must have been early 2000, and then I did Ku De Ta just straight after that as well. Were you surprised to see something like Omnia here? It’s like a full on Western venue. I mean I know a lot about it, when I saw you in December-January. I was meant to shoot up there, but I never made it. But I felt like I knew it already, I’d heard so much about it from the Vegas crew, but I was still a little surprised, it’s very cool. And you just came off a big gig at Blue Marlin in Ibiza last week right? And you have a big summer-long gig running there this summer … Yes. I’m back there for the third season, they let me curate the whole summer this year, which is a lot of fun. It’s the third year but the previous two years I just did eight parties spread throughout the summer. It’s a bit tricky now because I live in LA, so we’re kind of back and forth. But I have to say coming to Bali … it wasn’t a step backwards, it was really good. I wish in some ways we had a venue like Omnia in Ibiza. Well I definitely agree. I was thinking with all the hype and hoopla over Ibiza and Europe, Asia is coming on strong now, a lot of the big groups and brands are coming into Asia. Give me your immediate thoughts of Asian partying, as opposed to Europe. I think obviously there’s just that heritage and history in Ibiza, it’s been there for so long and the crowds have got quite sophisticated. The most common worry now is that the prices are rising so fast that it’s pricing out the kids on the dance floor. Everyone is hyper sensitive to that. It’s not going to be great if the club is just full of tables and bottles, so that’s why you want people dancing. Ibiza has always been about that balance, from the ‘80s and ‘90s, but currently it’s just that the cost of going to Ibiza is making it more of a weekender place. Plus it’s much easier to get in and out of the island than it used to be.
So, people start to arrive on Thursday and Friday and leave on Monday or Tuesday, and then go multiple times during the season rather than the old days where you would come for two or three weeks or in some cases the whole summer. Do you find yourself, with the explosion of festivals these past years, playing clubs as much? I mean clubs can’t pay fees like the festivals can … Yes and no. Yes, because I love playing in clubs. But you are absolutely right, particularly in a country like America for instance, where it’s an event-based business, and certainly in cities like Los Angeles and New York, it’s becoming more and more challenging to run a regular club. The crowds there, they get to see so much, they’re almost spoiled, they go out for those big one off options in Brooklyn or Queens. Running a regular club – as you know better than anyone in New York – is more and more of a challenge. You saw an amazing club like Output close last year, because the scene, particularly in Brooklyn venues, is perceived to be a one-off kind of thing. But for me, playing clubs is always important, because it’s less kind of show case, it’s more of a place for experimentation. So, I will always be looking to play clubs. Coming back to Bali, I think for a long time now the island has been talked about like the Ibiza of the East, but what I have noticed this past year is that it’s really starting to come to fruition. The number of venues, the improving infrastructure means that Djs from all over the world are coming here on a consistent basis. Bali definitely leans more towards day clubs and day experiences because people want to get up and be healthy in the morning. Absolutely. You see with the consistency of something like Potato Head over the years, also Mrs Sippy and all of the clubs around Canggu and Seminyak who consistently book cooler and cooler people. I’m also not getting younger! I love playing a day gig. It’s always a joy to see you play, you are timeless. You just keep going and going… I think when you play a place like Omnia on a Sunday, you want to keep going. I love doing those kind of shows. How would you even describe the set you played the other night? I never seen you play that kind of music. I think it’s kind of morphed over the years. I’m a purist, and my set still has its roots in house and techno, and now maybe it’s a bit more mystical with a kind of deeper Bedouin vibe … And that gels more with that sunset thing. Are you producing your own music at the moment? Yes, still making a lot of music. The big thing I’ve been working on this past year is with George Buckley and the heritage orchestra.
The next question is this, I was thinking about our age and the generation of music ravers that have grown up with you over the past 20-25 years. The heritage, what’s that all about? It looks incredible, and the Albert Hall is insane … I got invited to do show at the Albert Hall for the proms. The Proms have always been this very kind a po-faced, classical music festival and they wanted to do something a little more contemporary. So, in conjunction with Radio 1 I got to create this concert that was a celebration of Ibiza, kind of ‘heritage’ music. There were so many house and trance and techno tunes back in the day that had real string, well fake string, parts, and we got to reperform with an orchestra, it was an amazing day and night. Fortunately it went properly viral, because the BBC filmed it so beautifully, and there was this huge ground swell of demand globally to do it again. So we eventually made an album, we started going on tour this year, we’re back next month in the UK doing a series of shows at four race courses, and then we’re back for the big arena tour in December which culminates with two nights at the O2, and we got the album coming in November or December this year as well. It looked unbelievable, I mean the crowd was certainly loving it. It’s a real transformative experience. We literally take people back to Ibiza. How do keep yourself in shape? You’re looking pretty good. How do you that, when you are touring so much? A good wife and family. I think just knowing that when you get to our age, you just can’t go crazy all the time, so I think living in California helps. I’m doing a lot of road biking and the lifestyle is good out there, getting out of a city like London and New York helps. What’s your favorite food or your favorite restaurant? And you are eating healthy these days obviously… All of kinds of Asian Food. Me and my wife tend to go to traditional places that don’t just revolve around food, knowing the owners and friends there… Does Caroline travel with you everywhere? No, not anymore, but on a big trip like this, sure. I know she loves Bali too and has spent a lot of time here - she speaks Bahasa! Yes, definitely. She has deeper roots than me here, she used to live in Bali as well. Ok, so thank you! It’s been great, we loved having you. It was an awesome gig; we hope you come back soon. For sure! soundcloud.com/petetong
interview jim larkin was there at the birth of jazz, singing with some of the greats. martial arts beckoned, then bali.
LET the music begin. Ok, Jim Larkin, born in 1936 in the ghetto of San Francisco, California, USA. Seventy five, really, that’s starting off with a bang... I started singing at a very young age – I’m from a family of musicians; my uncle had a big band in the early ‘40s playing with Josephine Baker. A classic of show business . . . Yes, in that time in San Francisco there was a street called Fillmore; Fillmore Street was jazz in San Francisco. Bill Gram, the hippie movement shot up from there. Bill Gram (laughs) was a hippie in the late ‘50s, he was working for a black guy named Sullivan, who had a place called Primalon Ballroom. On Friday and Saturday nights the artists there were the likes of Billy Holiday, Fats Domino . . . oh hell, all of those people. Primarily black artists? Yes, that’s when black music was defined as rhythm and blues, soul, etcetera. There were rhythm and blues stations and there were white stations. Pat Boone and east is east and west is west and the twain meets on twack twee . . . Yeah, like that, so coming from that background I started singing, vocal groups at the age of 12. The groups in those days were the Mills Brothers, the Orioles. Acapella group days? Yes, the groups were quartets and 80
quintets. I recorded on a record label called Town Records and ended up running away from home and went on tour with that company, got burnt and came sniveling back home. Time passed and there I was again in the scene with Etta James. She was like the Aretha Franklin of her time wasn’t she? More so. (But) by the time I reached 26-years-old I was spent and burnt out from the music circuit, especially touring Japan singing rhythm and blues. And then I got into jazz – sharing with Oscar Peterson and other heavyweight people. History in the making. That’s what it was, the creators of jazz. Then I went on tour with the Harlem Globe Trotters. Ha, that’s somebody to look up to. You’re absolutely right, I came up to their shoulders and when walking the streets of Japan, Japanese people would look at me and then up, and up, like the Empire State Building (laughs). I had a great time in Japan. It was a lucky situation, I was being treated lavishly but I didn’t have a business head then. When I came back to America it was a complete turnaround – every nightclub would only allow one black in a band and so on. That was in the ‘50s. Being disenchanted and while being in Japan beforehand, I had become involved and trained in the martial arts – for a short time in Japan and
then continued in San Francisco, eventually to a point where I opened up my own school, Larkin Buked Kai Karatedo. Stepping away from the music business during the redevelopment period of the San Francisco ghetto areas, there was this forty four thousand square-foot building that the community had taken over from the government for one dollar a year. I was asked to come in and manage the building, which in essence was a cultural center. So with my background, I ran the facility for nine years, during that stretch I wrote grants to the national endowment of the Arts for Gifted Children; trained kids how to perform on stage – technicalities, sound, lighting, staging; made a few into stars . . . lot’s (of them) working in Vegas and the like. It’s all about preparation, dedication, desire. To me talent is a stepping stone towards success. I pulled a lot of people out of the ghetto kind of situation. So doing both martial arts and the school, at 70-years-old, I decided to do another turn around. You’re 75 now, seems like you had a midlife crisis. Yeah, my kids were telling me they can teach the karate and the techniques in the school, so I felt not needed and all used up. Here comes Bali . . . My wife is friends with Michael Franti who travels Indonesia and he says
to me, you should go to Bali, they don’t have anybody with your singing power, so coming in 2009, having dinner with friends and listening to someone singing blues, I said I can do better than that. I was asked to go on stage and started to sing jazz – no, they wanted blues, so I became a blues singer, that’s how it happened. How is it going so far? I find it difficult, in the respect that local clubs can’t afford to pay musicians. I mean, I don’t get it – it cost me $4,000 to get here, another $2,000 to get a kitas, I can’t make the money back, and it’s difficult. What to do? I have to make Bali my base and hit Singapore, Thailand and so forth. I have to tour again but they don’t have agents here – only for DJs. I wear two hats: booking agent and musician, difficult to represent yourself. So there’s the long and short of the story. What’s on your mind to say to the fans out there? Book me! Philosophy? Whatever that power is, God or whatever name you want to give it, that’s the creator, and part of that creativity is your ability to create, so what I’ve learnt in life, what we see, what we believe, we can achieve. The power is in your imagination.
"The power is in your imagination." â€“jim larkin
now you see him, now you don't. jean blake travels the world making magic wherever he goes. PHOTO BY ryerson anselmo for costes portrait,
jack the lad.
Jean what does magic mean to you? Magic is that special moment that the artist creates, when something that previously seemed impossible becomes a reality. But more than that for me magic is to travel, to see new cultures and enjoy life. How did you grow up and when did you decide you wanted to be a performer and an illusionist? I grew up in Caracas, Venezuela, and I have loved magic ever since I was a kid. I had my first big show when I was in my second year of high school, where I wasn’t shy at all. Magic has been a part of my life for 20 years and my first real job ever was in a magic store. Five years ago I decided to do magic for living. What did it take to get to where you are today with your craft? A lot of time dedicated to learning and mastering different skills, a lot of practice and thousands of people! It also took a lot of courage for me to fly to other countries where I didn’t know anyone, to start from scratch again and again, having faith in my abilities to allow me to travel the world. What helped me most with this, as well as with not seeing my family for many years, was a positive mindset. Why is it that people know ‘magic’ is a trick but they are still amazed by it? Because the "trick" is only 15% of the effect in its entirety, there is no magic without an artist, the people enjoy the moment, the atmosphere, the character, the presentation, the show, and all of that affects the impact of the illusion.
What’s the biggest trick you have ever done? I have appeared many times on the television in South America, and in one of these appearances I took a piercing piece and swallowed it. After swallowing it I then took it out of my body – from my eye. It was my craziest trick yet, but unfortunately I dont have the video for this trick. I'm ready to do it again. Who are the best working magicians in the world today? David Copperfield, Juan Tamariz . . . and me of course! When was the last time you saw a trick from another magician and had no idea how it was done? I used to work in Uruguay with Daniel K, the best Uruguayan magician. He had a dictionary in his hands, and asked everyone to think of a word. He then threw a ball of paper into the audience, where the person who caught the paper ball threw it again, making it a totally random choice of person in the audience. The woman was told to think of a word, and then Daniel K asked her to join him to the stage. He gave her the dictionary, and asked her to look for the word, but the page with that word was missing . . . imagine . . . then when she opened the ball of paper she found the missing dictionary's page, with her word circled. Mind blowing.
Are you ever tempted to use your card skills at the casino? Everyone asks me that question, but I don't really like casinos, and my magic makes money on its own.
There are plenty of magicians in the world today, what makes you stand out? I travel around the world doing magic, so I keep my skillset fresh with new illusions and new skills. I also genuinely enjoy sharing my illusions, which I think rubs off on the audience. Plus I'm cute as hell lol! No really I live by this quote from Rene Lavand. "The people can forgive you if a trick goes wrong, but they never will forgive you if they get bored."
Can anyone become a magician? I think it's possible for anyone to learn some basic magic tricks, but in my opinion magicians are born with a love for magic, as well as the desire to create impossible moments.
What’s the difference between magic, mentalism and illusion? Everything is an illusion, as an artist you are creating illusions, but mentalism is to play with the spectator's mind, like mind reading, mind control, predictions, that kind of thing.
What do you think about magicians who reveal how they do their tricks? I think that maybe they just do it to get attention. While these magicians can destroy the mystery a little, they can't destroy a good show.
Where would be your dream gig, and what would you do there? To do magic at all events staged by The Yak! I also love to travel so it would be to do big stage shows, touring all over the world.
What’s the best reaction you hope for from an audience? That the audience feels various emotions when they witness my magic. Sometimes the audience applauds, sometimes they scream and other times they can’t even speak . . . that's when I know it's working.
If we gave you one hundred dollars would you show us how you did that? With more than 20 years of practice, acquired knowledge, mentors, travel and experience . . . it would need to be much more than a hundred bucks. www.jeanblake.com @soyblake
Yann, I almost fell off my chair when I read you are a BMX biker! Tell us more. I started at 10 years old, and the adrenaline was so unreal that I fell in love with this hobby and started to take part in competitions every weekend travelling all over the country with dudes and trainer (French contests, European contests etc). I finished third place in my category at the French Championships 2000. First memories of passion? Doing big dirty jumps in the middle of nature with my mates. First memories of pain? Massive fall on the skate park with no helmet (ha, ha). Who was the first person to cut your hair? My grandma, when she saw my messy blondish white curly hair, she took her kitchen scissors and cut it until it looked decent again. In your mind, does competing in BMX have anything to do with hairstyling? Yes, it does. Both are challenging, competitive, and somehow both BMX and hairstyling requires you to use your craft and creativity to stand out from the crowd. What was Paris like for a 19 year old? Any stand out moments? Fun! Funky parties . . . sex, drugs, and rock & roll. Name your mentor and any memories you have of them. Nicolas Jurnjack for being such an inspiring man in the fashion and hair world. You styled for Timberlake, Westwood and Gaultier. Which one was the most diva and why? Gaultier! Because of his ultimate flair of making people look outstanding. He has his own great style and to me the clothes he makes stand out from the rest with a big touch of femininity. Worst hair disaster ever? This young lady from Brisbane moved to Singapore a year ago, called me over the phone and exclaimed, “I’ve just had the worst haircut in my life, I look like a mullet! Can you help me fix it?” We arranged an appointment, she came over to have her hair fixed. After couple of hours she finally felt beautiful, confident and trendy again. Latest award? Women’s Weekly Hair Awards 2017 – Best Haircut in town, and Best In-Salon Treatment. Golden Scissors Award 2017 – Best salon design.
You live in Singapore. Name your top three bars, your top two restaurants and your one guilty pleasure. Top three bars – Manhattan Bar, Atlas, Operation Dagger. Top two restaurants – L’atelier de Joel Robuchon and Beni. Guilty Pleasure – Lemon tarts @ Laurent Bernard. You joined Vidal Sasoon. Tell us a bit more about those formative years in London Town. It was an unforgettable experience. Every single day during and after staff training I perfected my skills and learned something new about hair, suitability, bone structure, shapes … working with amazing individuals in the fashion industry. What was the tipping point that made you move to Asia? Stepping out of my comfort zone. Learning something new. Challenging myself on a new continent. Learn and play. You own a totally fabulous, minimalist, uber-sexy salon in Wisma Atria in Singapore – who designed it? I did the design myself since architecture and interior design inspired me a lot, even in hair and shapes. If I wasn’t a hairdresser, I would be an architect. Out of all the famous people you have preened and primed, was there any great advice you got from any of them? Work hard but always remember to play hard as well. Lastly, is there any amazing advice you can give to us, (follicle or otherwise)? Don’t be afraid of change. Hair is your best expression and personality and your best accessory. Break the boundaries, hair grows… go wow or go home. “ The joy of hair is an art. Thank you for your time Yann! www.yannbeyrie.com
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people Carby Tuckwell is creative designer at deus ex machina, which is probably all you need to know about him. words: ano mac photo: anthony dodds
on a mission from god.
Carby Tuckwell isn’t a name most would have heard, yet anyone who's familiar with the brand Deus Ex Machina has seen his work. He’s the man behind the graphics that have propelled the company to worldwide prominence. Already well known in design circles before he took a leap of faith to start and build Deus in 2006, Carby used to be creative director for Moon Design, responsible for the branding and livery of Jetstar, Qantas’ low-cost carrier. Isn’t it every guy's dream to paint a plane? The company also had a lot of runs on the board in the retail and apparel design sectors, so he wasn’t coming into this fashion thing blind. Moon Design was transitioning and Carby was looking for something to take him to the next step. He’d known Dare Jennings since Dare’s Mambo days and the two had been having an ongoing conversion about the idea of a fusion. So when Dare popped up to say he’d found the right property in Camperdown, Sydney’s Inner West, there really wasn’t any reason other than to say yes. Two guys in a shed, a very large shed apparently, started out with a vision, and no doubt a healthy dose of doubt. “The good thing about a large shed though,” said Carby, “is that there is the impetus to fill it.” Carby grew up in northern New South Wales. He’s what, these days, a lot would be quick to label a nerd. Meaning that his shock of curly black hair sculpted into a mohawk, medium stature, glasses, prodigious intellect and hyper-sharp tongue were the perfect recipe in rural Australia in the late 70’s to get him into a pickle. And when you are attending Lismore High School, which was at the time arguably one of the more brutal schools in NSW, he should have been prone to the odd lunchtime pounding if he hadn't enjoyed the protection of a local indigenous student who called him Fonzi. Apparently all due to the mohawk and a customised Billabong cord jacket he owned. Providence intervened though and the state built a new high school at Alstonville, a town close to him, and so it’s to there he went. With a new school, there are new teachers, and one of them, Sadiskersky, a big Czechoslovakian bloke who was apparently rather sharp of mind himself, as well as being something of a bon vivant, came to town to teach art. He is the man Carby credits with setting alight his interest in art and design. In one exchange he remembers Sadiskersky booming, “Tuckwell, you will never get anywhere in life if you continue to put a black line around things!” There’s no recollection of what he was drawing at the time, but he singled out this moment as the one that turned him down the path to the iconic simplified line drawings he does. They’re drawings he’s done of motorcycles, cars, skateboards and other beautiful objects and he’s been doing them since before the beginning. It’s a style which has become identifiable to anyone who has cared to have a look at his - and of course Deus’s - art. Inspiration he had in spades. He was a country kid. Out there they’re riding dirt bikes, driving cars and tractors, riding bicycles to school and of course, skateboarding. So, it’s not hard to imagine that after the kick in the mental pants he’d gotten from Sadiskersky, Carby began developing and refining his new style. And over the years he’d been building up a backlog of art and graphics and finally, when he jumped into the driver’s seat of Deus, he found a vehicle in which to use them.
Deus was a very different beast to anything that Carby had working before. Dare was on his path with a pocket full of big ideas and Carby was coming at it from his angle, the aesthetic and design side, putting pieces together, taking a little bit from over there and a little bit from over here and mixing together a cocktail of styles; drawing, print, photography, watercolours and other media. “The hard part is making sure it didn’t come across as some weird whacky hybrid or a knockoff.” In recent years there has been criticism from some of the more rigid custom builders that Deus has lost its way. That it is no longer a custom bike builder but rather it had commercialised itself, globalised and become an apparel company. When you ask Carby about it he’s very matter of fact. “Deus Ex Machina never set out to be a motorcycle company. Sure that’s what they were most enthusiastic and passionate about at that time when they started.” The fact is Deus has done art, design and of course apparel from the word go. The bikes were a great vehicle for expression, art and logos and since that point, they’ve done a lot of things. Cars, bicycles, skateboards, skis, and snowboards, you name it, if they are enjoying them, then you’re likely to see it in the next season's range. Earlier this year, Carby answered this very criticism by saying “…from the beginning both Dare and I had very eclectic ambitions for the Deus experience, driven by a desire to get as far away as possible from the fundamentalist religions that the surf and moto industries had become.” For those first five or six years, Carby was a happy camper. He sat at a desk pushing out a phenomenal amount of work. But he’s no slouch and being rather versatile, not to mention something of a renaissance man, he set about using his words to lure some likeminded to the bash. Carby has always been a fan of “bringing more people into the tent” as he so articulately put it. Even for Instagram, he had an eye out to discover people doing stuff that interested and excited him. Remember Tumblr? Back then it was the place where you could peruse images and make connections. Carby did. Then there were the introductions. Gary Inman from Sideburn Magazine gets a massive nod from Carby for introducing his London posse to the brand. Sideburn started a couple of years after Deus and half a world away but shares some of the same space. Among those Gary introduced were Stevie G, Ornamental Conifer and De-Spray, all of whom have been on the collaborative hit list. Carby professes one of the better emails he shot out into the dark was to a couple of lads from Austin Texas, the LAND boys, Caleb Owen Everitt and Ryan Rhodes. He’d seen the work they had done for Van’s, their first job as ‘LAND’ and loved what he saw and how it fit his perception of what and where Deus should be. I met them in Bali a couple of years into their collaboration with Deus and when asked they laughed and said that while they had never met him, “Carby gives great email!” “What we do graphically and artistically with the brand collaborations is in a broad brand sense, ‘what happened here?’ The original seed was planted from Camperdown with the ingredients but then with these guys it’s like it’s in totally different soil and the plant grows and it’s got totally different enthusiasms but it’s still the same plant, it comes from the same genus. It still says Deus Ex Machina. With an artist whose work is so extraordinarily different from what we’ve done, it’s not a handbrake. People are so used to us by now that they go, ‘Oh, I get it’.”
luiz sanchez meets Sayan Gulino, CEO of Waterbom, to talk about the making of his recently released documentary highlighting bali's water plight. photo by dasha.
“It’s taken us more time than it should have to produce a 30-minute documentary,” Sayan begins when we sat down to talk about the making of Balancing The Waters, a documentary highlighting Bali's water plight. “We had this team based in New York who came to Bali to try and film it, but because of their lack of connection to the island they saw everything through the lens of a tourist. It lacked a certain depth and realness to it. We showcased it to a bunch of people and I felt they weren’t getting it or feeling it, so we scrapped the majority of what they put together and using the same footage we re-edited it to tell a better story. Finally, with a lot of hustle and finding the right people to fill the right gaps we persevered. Now it is finally put together and serves its purpose.” And that purpose, as Sayan puts it, is to “start a conversation. Waterbom has a responsibility, being rated the number one water park in Asia five years in a row. When others see we are getting this level of attention they will start listening.” The truth is that sustainability in recent years has become trendy in large part because it has been shown to be profitable. As saving the environment begins to correlate with increased profits, more and more companies and governments will stand behind sustainable practices, and for Sayan the motivation is not what matters as much as the outcome. “This documentary is targeted at individuals as well as businesses,” he said. “Whatever their intentions, sustainability can drive down costs. From a marketability standpoint sustainability raises the awareness and reputation of your brand. If you genuinely care about the issue then being sustainable allows you to coexist with the planet we call home. Not everyone cares about the environment, but they care about money.” The documentary hones in on the subak, a Balinese irrigation system dating back to the 9th century. The subak forms a central part of traditional Balinese life philosophy known as the tri hita karana. “We wanted to highlight how ancient systems worked in harmony between humans, nature, and spirits,” Sayan explained. The tri hita karana “was the stepping stone to try to get Waterbom sustainable. Tri hita karana is so real, it is not just a daydream. It has been voiced in various economic forums around the
world and if it is getting that amount of attention its because people are realizing that such a key component has been overlooked.” “Harmony among people, god and nature, that is it, that is where we live,” Sayan continued. “It’s so realistic and I believe the ethos. You need to work with your peers, the spirits and nature and if you don’t work with any of those three components you will fail.” Many of the people that have worked with Sayan to make Waterbom carbon neutral and on this documentary are expats who grew up on the island. “In terms of expats, we are lost children,” Sayan explained. “We don’t biologically belong here, but it is our home and what we saw was a paradise. Then we saw a paradise in front of our eyes just degrade. If you have no soul then maybe you will let it pass you by, but if you have a soul it touches you. Some people may only be upset but it affects you. We grew up without gadgets, playing in the grass, rivers, and ocean. That was our escape; our playground before Waterbom, before iPads. We have such a strong bond and connection with nature that we feel so loyal to it and we don’t want to see this paradise destroyed.” This is likely to be Sayan’s only foray into documentary film making for now, as he focuses on continuing to improve Waterbom and expanding his own portfolio. “I wanted to be that guy with the power to raise awareness,” he said. “The next step for me is to ensure if I ever engage in future businesses that people know this is my mantra, my ethos, and that I will only be engaging with sustainable businesses.” So what can we learn from Bali’s experience and relationship with water? Beyond the tri hita karana, Bali functions as a test case for other parts of the world. “If you went to Paris or New York 10 years ago you would have seen one or two new shops or building being built, but Bali has been undergoing rapid growth and development,” Sayan explained. “Bali is the mistake that we can all learn from.” Balancing The Waters has been submitted to film festivals around the world.
Mark Copeland and satellite enthusiast adrian reed are committed to a new initiative designed to save the planet. not all heroes wear capes, writes ondy sweeting. images: lukas vrtilek.
duoview. mark (left) and Adrian.
Mark Copeland, the unstoppable force behind the SmartMinds programme that swept Bali in a wave of outlandish positivity, has unleashed his unique ability to shift values with the aim of correcting climate change. Earth Ledger is the latest innovation engineered by Mark. The software platform uses Blockchain technology to make verified connections in order to change global values and shift the economy to a sustainable, common-good model. His aim is to change the mindset of the planet by incentivising environmentally positive actions with Earth Ledger as the platform to help reverse climate change and create profits for members. People will come together and use it to network and workshop challenges and develop solutions, create inventions, and bring educational awareness around resolving the UN’s 17 sustainable global goals. The entire platform's efforts are fueled by the first ever sustainable goods marketplace that’s subsidised to encourage consumers to start thinking green in their everyday lives. “Earth Ledger is a values driven model with the initiative to influence the individuals and members using the platform. There is a piece of self development planted within it that will create a shift in thinking. Every person within the platform is biologically verified as a real person and not a self interested company,” says Mark. Along with satellite enthusiast Adrian Reed – the restaurateur behind Bali’s Da Maria, Tropicola and Motel Mexicola empire, who is a long time collaborator with Mark through SmartMinds – will go to Nairobi to address the UN’s largest environmentally-focused conference in 2019. This month (December) the duo will attend SLUSH.org – the world’s largest geek beat where about 20,000 tech talents and top tier investors commune. “This is so huge and no one will see it coming. Earth Ledger can and will change the world to be a better and healthier place for everybody. There is no end to the good it will bring to everything from climate change to poverty and global education,” says Adrian. The platform aims to address the United Nation’s 17 sustainable goals, which include eradicating poverty, ensuring good health and equitable education, climate change, clean water and affordable energy. There are 198 subcategories to each of the 17 goals and Earth Ledger aims to address them all. All of the issues that need to change will be pulled into the platform. For example, in Bali, it would start at the level of the local banjar and elevate all the way to Indonesia’s President. At the moment, the country’s obstacles include endless rules and regulations, departments seeking funding and resources and the handling and implementation of technology. Earth Ledger provides an ecosystem for its users to solve all of these initiatives, globally, while having the capability to receive, access, and deploy funds in one platform. “Imagine it as the world’s largest charity. We are open for everyone in the world, from a café to a corporation, to donate in one single transparent space. Funds become algorithmically dispersed with little need for administration; a model that will eradicate self-interest at its foundation,” Mark says. In fact, Mark has been busy talking his way around the world with the wildly ambitious project that aims to not only reverse climate change but empower every individual in the planet to switch to their common-good model.
After addressing world leaders, academics and visionaries at The United Nation’s Environmental Assembly’s Innovative Solutions for Environmental Challenges and Sustainable Consumption and Production conference recently in Estonia, Mark was shoulder tapped for a private round table discussion and invitation only dinner. “The UN is a unique beast in terms of how controlled everything is. At a high level dinner I was put on the table with Estonia’s Minister for the Environment, Siim Kiisler and spent the entire evening talking to him,” Mark says. “I was surprised that he still really believed the solution to climate change was in policy.” “I told him straight that in the last 30 years we have had more policies than ever before and more problems than ever before. I drew a parallel that had yet to be considered. I think I opened his mind. People are the challenge and the way we interact and way we behave is the challenge,” he says. Earth Ledger ensures that everyone who uses it is accountable through Blockchain technology, which makes every interaction on the system clear and transparent. All information published is verified and cannot be manipulated or altered. So inspiring is Earth Ledger that it has caught the attention of one of the world’s finest entrepreneurs and original thinkers, Sir Richard Branson. In October, Earth Ledger was named among the world’s Top 25 start ups at Sir Richard Branson’s annual Extreme Tech Challenge (XTC) on Necker Island in the British Virgin Islands. Mark has again been shoulder tapped to provide more details about his operation to the XTC for consideration in the 2019 competition and will soon hear if Earth Ledger has advanced to the Top 10 slot. From there, 10 companies are reviewed and whittled down to the final three startups that visit the island to pitch their projects. Earth Ledger is a profit making enterprise but Mark has turned down $100 million in funding from companies that demanded too many conditions and control. “I’ve been told that the climate change is not a vertical – as an asset! Climate is not something like gas. People are so asleep. We have literally just slept through the destruction of the planet – and I’ve met the Chief Scientist of the environment for the UN who believes our climate has 10 years at a maximum remaining fit for humans.” At a time when leading social networks are bigger than the GDP’s of many countries, Earth Ledger aims to build a sustainable economy within a socialnetwork style base. “Social networks are an intangible or ‘invisible’ economy. My goal is to bring down the price of sustainable, green and natural products so they will be affordable for people. Right now we have this ‘pay to win’ and ‘price on demand’ attitude that is only good for the big corporations. Through Earth Ledger, as demand goes up, prices go down. The public is no longer exploited, as they are now.” With the positive responses he’s received from the various other powerhouses in his industry, it seems a ledger of Earth’s challenges and solutions may be the best way forward. www.smartminds.io
Words: John Stephens. Image: Saskia Koerner.
92 Destined to be a chef, Helios Hedar had other ideas. Today he runs Pro Tuner motorcycles, building custom dreambikes for enthusiasts around the world.
So what’s the story, Helios? How did you become one of the island’s best motorcycle mechanics? Well … I met my partner when I was a teenager. He opened the shop in 2001. He’s from Yogyakarta, but his father is Balinese, so he brought him here. I joined the shop in 2009, but my parents weren’t very happy about it because they had to pull some strings to get me into Culinary School in Sydney. I didn’t graduate high school because of my dyslexia, so I dropped out and went to Sydney at the age of 15 and all the students were like, what’s wrong with this kid? He’s too young! Yeah, I spent six years there, came back, helped my brother with his restaurant, REPUBLIK, then realised it wasn’t for me. But it started before that. I got on my first bike when I was seven. It was a Yamaha DT65cc motocross bike. Then when I was around eleven or so, I got into the art of bikes, like clay models and stuff. I built my first bike when I was 13. I like making things and being creative. So in 2013, I told my family that I was involved in the shop, am passionate about it, and wanted to pursue it full-time. Was there ever a moment when you felt like giving up? Every day! This isn’t a magic show. Steel isn’t the easiest thing to negotiate. People come in, sometimes with a lot of money, and say this is what I want, do what I say. Then I say get the f@#* out! I know I need to make a living. We all need money and I’m kind of wild. But my priority is building good bikes. Bikes that will last. So I build them to my standard, ride them, and if I like them, sell them. Quality not quantity. How do you come up with this stuff? What inspires your designs? The design goes through stages between my partner and me. We sit down, do a sketch together, then an AutoCAD 3D with design students from Udayana University. It depends. We sit down with the customer and say look, it might not be exactly like this … it might be better. We start with the design and see where it takes us. We build bikes that not only look nice, but run well too. We have to combine design with engineering. Where we hide our cables. Where we put our sockets. And then it has to be an everyday bike as well. You know what mean? Who are your influences? I grew up watching Orange County Choppers, so I love Paul Senior’s work. He’s a genius. His bikes are so cool. Everything is perfect on them. Then there’s Arlen Ness. I love Harley Davidsons. He is the man when it comes to Harleys. His designs are amazing. He is a huge influence. For riders, there’s Travis Pastrana, a motocross, supercross rider for Suzuki. You name it, he rides it. I wanted to ride like him when I was younger. I still do. And of course, Valentino Rossi. I mean, who doesn’t love him? He’s the fastest. If you could build a custom bike for anyone, who would it be and why? I’m working on that bike right now! For Sarjono Sutrisno, Pak Stro. He always pushes me. He’s a famous producer from Jakarta. He owns Stro World Productions, but I’ve known him forever. We’re working on a bike for an upcoming superhero movie of his. I was chilling on the beach with his friend and he called me and asked if I could build a Morgan threewheeler. I was like, why are you pushing me to the max? He said, c’mon, you know you can do it. So then I had to think about the geometry and the positioning. Where we were going to put the engine. How we are going to transmit the gear shifting. Yeah, he likes to push me like this. It’s going to have a Harley twin cam Soft Tail engine in it and it’s going to be sick. What are people in Bali going to be riding 10 years from now? Nmax. Hah! Well, custom bikes will only take you so far. Hybrid bikes are the future. A cross between street and off-road. Next week, I’m testing this prototype for … never mind. Don’t put that in there! A lot of it depends on the laws here in Bali. It’s already difficult
to get certain bikes. A new Ducati will cost you around 50 grand Australian. Dealers are bound by their quotas. It’s way cheaper to get a custom bike built. For example, my friend bought a used Ducati in Australia and he’s going to send it here to be customized. It won’t necessarily be road legal, it won’t have a bluebook, but c’mon, it’s better than spending 400 juta on a new one. Okay man, ready? Tell us about your worst crash. Hmm … it was 2012. I was riding down Legian on a Honda Vario without a helmet. I was hammered. It was raining. I was eating a kebab in my left hand, and then I hit the front brake with my right hand. Ate s#@* and wound up in the hospital with the kebab still in my mouth. It was a total nightmare. Surgery. Broken collarbone. Fractured skull. A big mistake. I still feel the pain. It hurts right now. Be careful kids. Ouch! So what are your hobbies? I just bought a boat. I’m kind into that right now. I also like to box. It keeps me fit and allows me to vent my frustrations. Painting. I like to paint. Not just bikes, canvases and stuff. And riding of course. Riding is the best. Touring and off-road. My favourite route is up north through Singaraja and Kintamani. Those are good roads. It’s beautiful. I once rode to Medan, Sumatra with my friends. It took five days. We were going slow. It was pretty rough. So many trucks. So much traffic. I want to ride through Papua one day. I want to do that ride with you, Helios. Is there anything that happened in your life that changed the way you view the world? My parent’s divorce. It’s okay. I want it to be mentioned. I was 12. It sucked, but it made me realize that life isn’t always great, and that I should appreciate what I have. I lived with my mother. My older brother, Jonathan helped me out a lot. He was there for me through the tough times. Things are better now, but yeah, it affected me then. What about for the newbies coming up in the industry? Any advice for them? Be flexible with your clients, but don’t take any s@#*. Be creative and get used to rejection. Have you ever been busted for speeding? Heaps! What kind of person buys your bikes? There are two types of people who buy my bikes. There are the ones who understand the motorcycle world, visionaries who want to do something different with their bikes to bring about some self-satisfaction. Then there are the rich collectors who just want to have one. They might not understand that much, but they’re keen and have good taste. They might not ride them, so there’s less of a risk of the bike being broken, or them being broken. How do you plan to stay ahead of the competition? I don’t. I mean I don’t see them as competition. I see them as friends and family. We support one another, the way it should be. Like Keduk Garage in Denpasar. I love his bikes. They’re very old school. He’s an inspiration. Okay, so any shout-outs? Anyone you would like to thank? I’d like to give a shoutout to Joe Hamil from Bali Bike Monkeys. He is good friend of mine. Very supportive. Thanks Helios. Let me know if you need a wingman for the Papua tour. www.facebook.com/helios.hedar
people Hamish, you’re well known among the Indonesian TV viewing public. For the wider world, tell us a bit about who you are and how you grew up. I grew up in Bali and Sumba, where my father [the respected waterman David Wyllie] lived, so it was back and forth between the two. I finished my high school in Australia at the age of 15, then university. When I came back I worked in the furniture industry, then the surf industry, then in architecture … then when I was 30 I had a bad accident. It changed the way I looked at everything, and after that I had a very gung-ho attitude. I didn’t want to waste any time at all. It was a wakeup call for me, and I felt driven.
It sounds like you’re focused on sustainable development, when did you launch your architectural firm saka.id and why? Growing up in Bali I witnessed the over-development of the island first hand and decided to create aesthetically interesting housing options to get involved. My family produced furniture and I found myself making chairs as a teenager, as a result I learned about the manufacturing industry. So after my business degree I asked an existing architectural firm to join forces with me and I have been working with them hand in hand for over 15 years now.
I wanted to get into conservation, and I spoke to a few people who told me the only way to really make a difference was to get a name for myself first. That’s when I started to get involved in the entertainment industry, and after a few projects I became known by the public. That enabled me to start an NGO [Indonesian Ocean Pride], which is now making a difference, and I’m excited about the collaborations I’ve made so far.
Can you tell us how Indonesian Ocean Pride started? In 2015, I was on a research trip in Papua tagging and researching leatherback turtles and whale sharks with an elite team of marine environmentalists, such as Doctor Mark Erdmann, Sarah Lewis and Shawn Heinrichs. Then I stepped back and realised nobody here in Indonesia knew anything about these projects, so we got together and collaborated and made a movement to get the nation involved and connect people back to the ocean again. Since then, thanks to efforts during our first campaign, West Papua has become the World’s First Conservation Province.
Tell us about your father … and what it was like with him. My dad was an adventurer, and the most knowledgeable man about the ocean I have ever met, to this day. From the age of three years old I was always going on expeditions with him on boats with his team and friends. I was always that kid who was brought along for the ride. I went all over the country on boats like that until I was maybe 10 years old. My dad was always trying to find uncharted territories … his life was a search, like a dream to most people.
Do you have memories of interacting with marine life as a child? Growing up in Sumba, I swam with manta rays and sharks. I remember being in the ocean trying to catch dinner amongst 40 southern right wales while a pod of orcas was attacking them. That's how I remember the ocean as a kid. There was so much sea life back then, different sized tiger sharks saying ‘hello’ in the water. Now I am helping to preserve marine species and I will do whatever I can to enable my kid to see this kind of sea life when she gets older.
Tell us about your new TV show, Indonesian Authentic Places. I wanted to give Indonesian viewers an educational platform. With Indonesian Authentic Places on MNCTV, I have an opportunity to showcase the country and its heritage to a large audience. Our tag line is “Eksplor Dan Jaga Indonesia” which means “Explore and Conserve Indonesia”. I’ve been pushing this message a long time, and it’s good to see people beginning to take action by not using single-use straws and plastic bags. I am excited to see how Indonesia connected with nature again.
What are the biggest challenges with ocean conservation in Indonesia? Patrolling waters is so hard in a country that spans across 17,500 islands, each one like a different country, with the widest arc of marine life. It’s almost impossible to patrol the waters but maritime forces do. Our nation has been losing an estimated 20 billion dollars a year – over 10 thousand illegal fishing vessels have been operating every single day. Can you imagine the devastation that has taken place? Now with the maritime patrols and the hard work from KKP and Ibu Susu Pudjiastuti it’s coming to an abrupt end.
What are the most effective ways to get the message out about ocean pollution? As Indonesians, we have gone through a cultural shift and detached ourselves from the ocean, forgetting that we are a maritime ocean people. Now supermarkets deliver food to people and they don’t understand where food comes from any more – the number of hunters and gatherers with respect for nature has fallen dramatically. The message about ocean pollution can be spread not only by educating the next generation, but also through every individual making a difference, even a small change. We are ocean people and Indonesian Ocean Pride's mission is to connect Indonesian people back to the sea again. How have you seen the perception of the ocean change in Bali over the past decade? For me the focus on environmental awareness shifted with surfers: as they don't want to be swimming in rubbish. Surfers have helped to bring awareness to the oceans as they’re so connected to the seas. Now I see surfers are giving back to Bali too and not just coming for the waves. It sends a positive message to the community to be responsible and look after mother earth. What advice would you give young people who want to get involved in eco-activism? It’s not difficult to make a change. Avoid single use plastics and shift to reusable straws and tote bags as part of your every day lifestyle without preaching or telling people what to do, and you’ll find it’s contagious. So first lead by example, then you can consider other NGOs: whatever suits you. Our goal is to give collaborators a spotlight through our network, to empower people, keep the fire burning. The time is now . . . we don't have time to wait for the next generation: if we understand that, we can all make a difference. Congratulations on becoming a father. What are your plans for 2020? My number one priority is my wife and daughter followed by several projects tied to marine conservation. I’m going to be on this earth for 40 more years and I want to leave a positive footprint. My drive is my daughter, her name is ‘Zalina’, Zali means ‘Strength from the Sea”. It fits. Because I don't want be part of a generation that has ruined things for my kid. www.indonesianoceanpride.org
Hamish Daud, founder of Indonesian Ocean Pride, architect and TV personality is passionate about conservation in Indonesia. he spoke to karen donald.
outstanding in his field.
outstanding in his field.
landscape designer and horticulturalist anton clark brings balance and feeling to gardens all over the island. he spoke to stephanie mee. photo: arno santosa
Hi Anton, can you tell us a little bit about where you’re from and how you ended up in Bali? I grew up in Perth, Western Australia, but I’m a farmer’s son, so I suppose the land and horticulture are in my genes. I was living in Margaret River landscaping winery gardens when the 2004 tsunami hit, so I left on a two-year volunteering stint to Aceh to help with rebuilding efforts. This led to other projects in Indonesia including building 650 houses in Jogya after the 2006 earthquake. Two years quickly led to three years, and before I knew it I had forgotten to go home. In 2008 I landed in Bali to start landscaping and the rest is Instagram history. Did you always have a green thumb and an eye for design? I wanted to be a chef, but then I realised the hours were anti-social and I would be stuck inside. My hobby and passion was gardening, so I chose to study horticulture and this naturally led to design. I love an ordered chaos, I love a random garden that has a hidden balance and position to it and I love the placement of all the plants that make a garden. What’s special about your work here? I love that fact that the “Bali landscape dream” is an ideal so many people all over the world want for their garden. I’m part of a creative and inspired team of Indonesian landscape architects and designers and it makes me proud that our ideas and designs are sought after. What I’ve learned is that the main challenge is not climate related as you might expect, because a Bali concept garden can be created nearly anywhere. Rather it’s the challenge of working with landscapers and trades in other countries. I was in Sri Lanka recently trying to explain that Javanese Sukabumi stone can in fact stick to the walls of a pool and it has been done before and it is possible! We are lucky to have so many amazingly skilled people in Bali who can work with so many different materials. How did the Bali Landscape Company (BLC) come about? BLC started from my passion for landscape architecture. Prior to BLC I was in a partnership with a friend – the famous landscape designer Anto Kusnanto – and I wanted to move more into landscape design rather than only landscape construction. The detail of gardens and the ideas that begin in the sketch and drawing stage of the design have a special place in my heart, so this is why I founded BLC. We’ve been to some of the properties you’ve worked on and they’re pretty impressive. It must take a small army to create what you do. Can you tell us a bit about your team and how you work? We are a team of 50 including nursery people, landscape constructors, landscape architects and support staff. Most of my team have been with me for over eight years, so I think they like what they do. Currently we have teams in Batam making a spa garden, in Bintan working on a site nursery on an island resort, in Lombok clearing an island for a new island landscape and additional teams in Uluwatu, Bedugul, Canggu and Seminyak. The design team is also working on projects in Malaysia, Dubai, Sri Lanka, Bali and Lombok. Where does your inspiration come from? The land speaks to me in terms of contour, natural features, or elements that can be exploited to make the landscape interesting. Speaking with the client and what they want from the garden also inspires me.
One idea and a creative discussion can lead to a snowball of ideas that grows to form a new concept. In your opinion, what makes for great landscape design? Landscape to me is about plants and trees; the perfect form of an old frangipani trunk, a perfectly cut lawn, the smell of fresh compost. Designers often forget plants and replace them with structure. A great landscape has balance, form and aesthetic, and it invites the user to want to enter and see the green. If a garden has balance and feeling, it will be great, even if it’s a small garden. Are there any properties on Bali that you think stand out for their exceptional design? I love big old gardens like at The Oberoi and The Legian with their spacious lawns, trees and botanicals. One favourite that’s new on the list is Suarga, in Padang Padang. I love the philosophy of the resort. Every part – not only the garden – is environmentally focused from water harvesting to the waste water gardens, recycled wood and of course the garden, which only uses drought tolerant plants and species sympathetic to the resort philosophy. What are some of the biggest mistakes people make when designing properties here? I’m a horticulturist before a landscape designer, so the mistake I see regularly is the wrong plant in the wrong place. For example, plants that will not grow in shade, trees that will be too big in the position they are planted or unsuitable plants by the coast. The other big mistake is proportion. If the scale of the garden is wrong then the whole feel of the garden is not right. Even in ordered chaos the garden still must have harmony and scale. Are you working on any exciting projects at the moment? That’s a hard one as each and every project is exciting. Currently we’re working on a new cliff side resort in Nusa Penida. This will be the first major resort on the island, which means we have the opportunity to bring big landscape design to the island and hopefully play a part in the development of the tourism industry there, albeit with our garden touch. Maybe one day people will look back at the Nusa Penida Beach Resort landscape in the same way as they do The Oberoi and the Hyatt Sanur as one of the grand old gardens of the island. When you’re not working, where would we most likely find you? In a restaurant, eating. I love living in Seminyak with its many and varied restaurants, so I eat out every night. If I have a craving for Indonesian food I go to Ibu Kiris at Sukro in Denpasar for crabs, and I also love watching the sunset at Tandjung Sari and having dinner under the old trees. Otherwise I’m working or driving from project to project checking how the gardens are coming together and making small changes to the design. It is hard to be anywhere else when your job is your hobby. Where do you hope to find yourself in 20 years? Still in a Bali garden, I hope, between a few grand old trees. www.balilandscapecompany.com
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andy wauman by arief Budiatna and felix immanuel.
artist andy wauman has fled these shores in search of the real indonesia. he spoke to tony stanton about his latest ventures in life.
Andy, what have you been doing since we last spoke? November last year I decided to stop shooting for brands and moved to Sumbawa with my wife. I shot over 40 campaigns worldwide and it was time to stop and to leave it to the next generation. We got our hands on 50 are of beautiful farm land in Alas Barat, and now we are in the middle of building a chili farm. The house is a traditional wooden rumah pangung on stilts, and in time we’ll most likely put the property on Airbnb so open-minded travellers can come and stay in our traditional house in the real Indonesia. How did you guys meet? I met my wife Baiq Dewi Yuningsih (she’s from the original Sasak tribe in Lombok) a few months ago and everything went on a rollercoaster. We travelled together all over Java, Lombok and other islands, and when we got back to Bali we got married. It’s been the most exciting time of my life. Some of the images you selected for this article are the result of my travels with my wife. Some of them where taken in Malang, in the Mount Bromo area, Sidoardjo, Sumbawa, Lombok … Why did you leave Bali? Honestly it had just got to the point where it was really hard for me to witness what was/is going on. It took thousands of years to build this beautiful and one-of-a-kind culture and now it is completely overwhelmed and destroyed by fashion trends and yoga-headed vegan hipsters … now the surf jet set is kicking in … what is all the fuzz about? All these people running around like chickens trying to be cool for a moment. Real life is elsewhere. What is it like living in Sumbawa? What is a typical day for you there? I naturally wake up around 5am and I start my morning run while the sun rises beyond the mountains. If I don’t do my morning run I go for a swim in the ocean. After that I do a bit of stretching. I spend some time in our garden and water some parts of the land and my wife and I have a nice breakfast. Every second day we go to the local markets to get fresh veggies and other foods. We grow most of the veggies and tropical fruits ourselves on our land. Lots of good fish here as it’s close to the Ocean. In the afternoon I do a bit of Yin Yoga and a bit of Hatha. The rest of the time goes to the property and my work. I’ve been reading into all aspects of Hinduism lately and fully studying everything related to Vedic culture, with full support from a university in Mumbai, India. Recently I started doing pencak silat with a local master here in Sumbawa. After my skateboard career I went into tai chi and fencing for a few years and I started missing that, and pencak silat popped up. It’s been very inspiring. We use Kundalini energy to dance/fight/move and we meditate for hours in caves. Pencak silat was created by local tribes to defend humans from attacks by animals. It’s a beautiful tradition. My Master is trying to find me the right kris. Very exciting. How has the move affected your work? I redirected my energy back onto my contemporary art (www.andywauman. com). Lots of good stuff started moving around. I went into full focus on research and study of tribal cultures, anthropology, alchemy, Buddhism, Hinduism, Yogic culture, Vedic culture … my spiritual and devotional practice became more and more important to me and my contemporary art started shifting.
Just getting to your Gutterdust work, what is it you love so much about palm trees? Or the sea? Or the sand? Or any of the repeating themes you use? The Palm Tree is a metaphor for my ‘Atman’, which is a Sanskrit word that means inner self or soul. In Hindu philosophy, especially in the Vedanta school of Hinduism, Atman is the first principle, the true self of an individual, the essence of an individual. In order to obtain liberation, a human being must acquire self-knowledge (Atman Jnana), which is to realise that one’s true self (Atman) is identical to the transcendent self Brahman. It’s part of the spiritual journey that I am on. When I look back on what I did as an art director / film photographer for www. gutterdust.com I noticed thousands of shots of palm trees, shot on film all over the world during my travels. So I decided to turn Gutterdust into a Palmtree Collective. I closed my Instagram down, removed everything that was related to brands and launched a new website www.gutterdust.com with prints for sale. Everything has been shot on film, and as my friend Ano Mac wrote on the site, “knobs have been twisted, chemicals used and mechanical mistakes made”. [He also wrote: “Splashed with light leaks, and the brush strokes of multiple over exposures the images are authentic and evocative with strong scents of summer breeze and fresh cut lawn. They are a refined collection of wonderfully tactile textures with a top-down wind-in-the-hair feeling that Gutterdust has developed into the Palmtree Collective.”] I’m also about to launch several full editions (prints) with Exhibition A in New York and Twyla in Texas for the US market. Gutterdust Prints are already in a few hotels in the US and Europe. What new directions have you taken? I just had a big show in the Museum of Contemporary Art in Belgium, where I launched my most recent film ‘The Palmtree Diaries’, an experimental silent film shot on Super 8. [check it out here https://filmfreeway.com/projects/941594] Again it forms part of the spiritual journey I am on. We have spoken about the Palmtree Collective aspect of my work, but the second layer in this film includes traces of spiritual writing, where I wrote elements out of ancient texts straight onto the film. The third layer is a collection of sacred symbols from Vedic culture, Hinduism, Buddhism, combined with Runes, an ancient Germanic alphabet used for writing, divination and magic. The film is reverently dedicated to all seekers of truth and lovers of wisdom. Ok we’ll check it out. One final question – who were you in a former life, do you think? That’s easy. In my former life I was a street dog. www.gutterdust.com
PEOPLE Eric, where are you from and how did you arrive in Bali? I am from Holland, born in Nijmege, the oldest city in the Netherlands. I came to Bali in 2009 when the jeweler Rodrigo Otazu offered me a job at his company here. Rodrigo is still running his business with success in New York – he was an amazing and inspiring man to work with. Although he was difficult at times, he wholeheartedly embodied his brand with passion and energy. I learned a lot from him. After that I worked as General Manager at John Hardy in Mambal. The great thing with John Hardy was that I found the same passion and energy with Guy Bedarida and Damien Dernoncourt. These people were just very inspiring individuals to work with. There I also met Pak Werner, a German technician, who was responsible for development and production of all the amazing jewelry. Werner brought the technique and the quality to the John Hardy brand. The best quality I have ever seen. None of these people were easy to work with, but they earned my respect for the way they worked and talked with passion. That is what I like in people. How did you grow up? I grew up in Nijmegen with a sister and a brother; I was the eldest. I started horse riding when I was seven years old. We had our own horses. We lived in the suburbs of Nijmegen close to the woods, and the horses were kept in stables about 30 minutes away by bicycle. I was good at dressage and jumping. I even got a job working on a big ranch in Hanford, California. The people needed somebody to work with the horses, mostly Dutch and European horses, for riding shows and breeding. I was working with them daily. I also taught them dressage. It’s all about training, day in day out. It’s about balance and patience. You are never the boss of the horse; you can only be his friend. This was a great learning experience for me. Later I studied in Amsterdam at a technical school for the fashion industry, then I travelled the world for my job as a production and buying manager. What did your parents do when you were a kid? My father was a great sales man. He could sell oil to the Arabs. He was a very likeable person and he was always smiling. Inside he struggled a lot with himself, but he was an amazing father – always there for me. My father was an orphan, and he had a bad childhood. He joined the army when he was 18 years old and served six years. My mother was a hairdresser. She worked at home cutting hair for the neighborhood children. She was a strong person. When my father had a heart attack and had bypass surgery, he was not allowed to work anymore. So my mother found a job while my father stayed home. We had a great childhood. What gets you out of bed in the mornings these days? For as long as I can remember I have woken at 5.30am each morning. When I was younger I used to start work immediately. These days I run every morning for 30 to 50 minutes, it depends on my mood. This keeps me healthy and positive. It’s a great feeling to come home after the run. I feel so much energy and my best ideas come when I’m running. I love it. Tell us about the Vineri Media Group. Vineri Media Group is the first company to sell taxi advertising throughout the whole of Indonesia. We offer our services in 14 cities on the islands of Java, Sumatra, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, Bali and Lombok. We started the company at the end of 2010 and had our first cars on the road in May 2011 in Bali. We have recently made a deal with a company in Singapore to sell taxi advertising for our clients in Indonesia. That means their products and services from here are now being seen on taxis in Singapore and Hong Kong. Compared to all other advertising formats, we offer the
cheapest and also the most cost effective way to advertise. I see taxi advertising as a catalyst for all the other media in a company’s media mix. Our strength lies in the fact that we are selling throughout the archipelago. You can book your advertising in all of our offices for any city and as many cities you want. You can order 200 taxis for six months and divide it over more than one city with the quantities per city as you please. Or you can buy advertising on just two cars for three months, so we serve the smaller clients too. Nothing is more beautiful than seeing your favourite restaurant, bar or spa on the side of the taxi. It creates a connection with your brand. That’s what we want from advertising. Does advertising work? Henry Ford once said: “A man who stops advertising to save money is like a man who stops a clock to save time.” I believe that advertising is key to success. Advertising in any form and/or combined will make people remember you and make people aware that you are still out there. You have to be in their minds, you have to be remembered as soon as they need your product or your service. Of course you need a good product or a good service to start with. Like Brain Koslow said: “There’s no advertising as powerful as a positive reputation traveling fast.” But for that you need to reach people, a lot of people. To reach these people you need to start to advertise your great brand, your great service. More and more people need to get that positive experience. What’s the best piece of advertising you have ever seen? The walk-in fridge ad from Heineken. They have an amazing team with very creative people. Also, Axe deodorant, unbelievable what they have created all over the world. Here in Asia, I think AirAsia is the best example that advertising is important, as they are everywhere. They are not the best or the cheapest, yet they are a brand that is in everybody’s mind. What do you do when you’re not coloring the streets of Indonesia? I need my friends, I need the positive energy of people. Luckily I have some great friends all over the world. Meeting people is the best way to get your mind off the stress that you have on a daily basis. OK last one: you’re driving along a canyon road at night. There’s a large wounded beast blocking the road. It’s four hours back to the nearest town. You can’t get past. What do you do? Keep in mind that when I was young I lived and worked on a ranch with more than 40 horses and more than 3,000 cows. See, injured animals can be dangerous, but they are also in pain. You don’t want them to suffer any longer than needed. I would take a look and then call it in to the sheriff’s department. If it’s wounded and blocking the road, it means it is badly wounded. Otherwise it would find shelter and hide. That is what wounded wild animals do. If it is wounded badly, best thing to do is take its life. Don’t get me wrong, I hate people that hunt for pleasure. But I grew up with the fact that if your horse or a cow breaks a leg, the vet will come and take its life away. The cowboys were taking care of that during my time on the ranch. Eric, many thanks for your time. My pleasure. www.vinerimediagroup.com
Aspiring actor, businessman and polyglot Eric Van loon heads the Vineri Media Group, colouring up taxis of the archipelago. WORDS: TONY STANTON. pHOTO: LUCKY 8.
duo view the boys at bali’s top end photo and video production agency Baliprod shoot the breeze with the yak’s tony stanton. photos: oscar munar. josh patil, left, and omri ben-canaan.
Right you pair. First up – how did you two meet? Josh: A while back, our third partner (Romain Cailliez) and I met while working together on a fashion photoshoot. I was the photographer and he was the videographer. We instantly got along and formed a new friendship geeking out about photo and video gear. Almost a year later, Romain introduced Omri and I, and the idea of Baliprod took flight. Omri: That’s the story! Where are you both from, and when was the first time you picked up a camera? Omri: I am originally from Paris, France. I was working in the film industry there for many years. This was always an inspiration for my creative side. Josh: I’m from Minneapolis, Minnesota originally, but I moved to Los Angeles, California to pursue a career in production when I was 20 years old. I was working in casting and as a producer at the time. The warehouse converted living-space I inhabited in downtown Los Angeles housed some pretty awesome creatives. I learned a bit about the art of photography from them, and then moved on to start my own business. How cool is that! Ok so what is Baliprod all about? Josh: Baliprod operates as a Photo and Video Production Agency, but to us it is so much more than that. Our goal is to be the bridge that opens up Bali’s wonderful culture and beautiful locations to the outside world. In turn this brings more attention to Bali as a tourist destination and helps with the local economy as well. Omri: All of the above. I’d like to add that one of our goals is to make Bali known to foreign production companies around the world. A lot of European productions for instance are shot in Cape Town. We believe that Bali has everything a place like Cape Town has to offer and more. We shot our fair share of TV commercials recently, and all of our clients are 104
amazed at the potential the island has, not to mention the rest of Indonesia. What makes Baliprod different from the other video making individuals and organisations out there? Omri: There are only a handful of established production agencies in Bali. Legit ones I mean. The rest of the scene is held by freelancers, a lot of them foreigners who come and go and don’t have the full power of a proper production house. I guess one of the differences with our dear competitors is that we are probably the only foreign-held production house in Bali. The language or cultural barrier is not an issue anymore hence our foreign clients feel at home when they work with us. We also like to think we deliver great content, of course. Josh: One of the major differences for me is our approach. We like to think of ourselves as the “cool guys” of production. We follow trends online and off to offer our clients unique content and jaw-dropping locations to match their brand’s style. How much of your work is selling the paradise dream to those poor lonely souls currently suffering a European winter? Josh: More than you can imagine. While it isn’t a core strategy of our business, many of our clients are happy to pitch Bali as a location for their project. It just so happens that their country may or may not be completely frozen at the time. How many of you are there at any one time in the studio? Omri: It fluctuates with the shoots. On a non shoot day we have a team of about 20 people working full time. On shoot days the team increases to about 40. We love our staff. We are like a big family. We actually spend most of our free time with them doing outings and fun stuff. Josh: We’ve been blessed with a really great team here at Baliprod. We’ve spent a year
curating the best that Bali has to offer and integrating them into our crew. One big happy Bali family. What’s the best shoot you’ve ever done in Bali? Omri: There is no best shoot really. Every shoot is a different adventure. They always come with their share of challenges and last minute issues to solve in no time. I have great memories from every shoot we’ve done. It’s also super nice to meet new teams… or recurring ones. 99% of our clients become good friends so it’s super nice when they come back too. What’s the worst? Josh: The worst? We are in Bali! Everyday is paradise, and we are lucky to be here. The only thing that puts a damper on our schedule at times is the awesome Bali traffic. How do you make videos and photos stand out in this day and age? It seems everyone with an iPhone is a filmmaker. Omri: Sure, you can make great stuff with your iPhone, but it takes more than that for a video to look amazing. It’s more of an alchemy between talent, crew, light, equipment and the location you are shooting. iPhones can’t do all this. But, we can. Josh: I totally agree with Omri on this. In 2018, we are at the point where content
is everywhere and everyone can generate their own. That being said, the words “Production Value” can go a long way. I have to say that I’m guilty of traveling to some pretty incredible places around the world and only capturing moments with my iPhone. But the level of detail you can catch with a cinema-grade camera is insane. There is a reason they cost so much, and if you can utilize equipment correctly, it is absolutely worth it. What is your work ethos at Baliprod? Josh: Do what you love and love what you do! We push our team to get their input on how to grow our brand and business. But the biggest thing for us is placing people in positions where they are doing what they want to do… and having fun doing it. Don’t you ever get sick of the long nights in an editing suite? Omri: Luckily we have staff for that… Josh: Omri is a liar, he practically lives in our office. Unfortunately or fortunately, we chose a career with never-ending hours. It’s one of the perks/downfalls of what we do. We take it for what it is, but when we are working on a project, we’re pretty excited to see the final product. I’d say that keeps us motivated to stay long nights in our edit bay. We remember the days when video production was all about the high-end …
high-end clients, high-end budgets, high-end expense accounts … where did it all go wrong? Omri: It didn’t go wrong really, the market pivoted towards something else. Back in the day there were only a few TV channels and no smart phones or internet. The game is altogether different today with the plethora of screens you can watch every day. These screens must show something. We create it. Josh: For me I am very happy with the way the production industry has shaped over the years. It took a lot of power from the big brands and into the hands of consumers. This allowed for many small businesses to become overnight successes thanks to social media. I think consumers are smarter than ever and it has forced companies to become a little bit more creative with their approach. You were kind enough to shoot The Yak Awards this year and we will be collaborating on a few exciting projects in 2018 … why did you contact us, and what synergy do you think we have as companies? Josh: Baliprod and The Yak have many things in common. We are both on the forefront of our industries and pushing unique content out to the world. I think we are both forwardthinking in our approach to keep Bali fresh, and show the world that although Bali is a small island, we can compete with the top production cities in the world. Omri: We’ve been reading The Yak for many years now and love it. Ahah! Your website is so cool. Simple, but cool. And it works so well, even with prompts to bring you back to the tab in your browser if you get distracted and look elsewhere. So let’s just say you seem pretty soc med savvy for a couple of cameraheads. Josh: I’ll have to give Omri the credit on this one. He handles all of the web development and SEO. He is a master of all things digital. Where is the whole video production game heading, do you think? Josh: The production game to me is getting stronger and stronger. While there are a few setbacks . . . for example, the photo and video market has become saturated with many photographers and videographers. Some people look at this as a negative. I firmly believe that because there are a lot of amateur content creators, it really stands out when a brand produces their projects at a high-quality level. What’s going to be the next innovation in your industry? Omri: In my mind, virtual reality will come in to play more and more. That paired with the technology of 360 cams. Hard to tell if it’s just a novelty or will integrate itself in the industry as of now. We will know soon enough. How important is sound to what you do? Josh: Essential. Whether we’re capturing sounds in nature, recording ADR in postproduction or selecting the perfect music to match a video, sound can make or break a project. The combination of audio and visual makes a great team. Together they can create a feeling for the viewer and set the tone for the final cut. One without the other is useless. If it wasn’t about making a dime, what kind of projects would you be pursuing? Josh: Money is just a bonus to what we do. Honestly, we’re lucky to do what we love and to create what we enjoy for a living. From time to time, we do some internal projects with our team that are quite fun and comedic. We are always having a good time, whatever we are doing. Ok here’s one for you – top three favourite movies of all time. Josh: Enter The Void, Almost Famous, Inception Omri: Irreversible, Cloud Atlas, Inception Gents it’s been good joshing with you and we look forward to seeing you soon. Josh: Haha, “joshing”, love it. www.baliprod.com
the French SpiderMan as he prepares for a tricy climb in a troubled Hong Kong.
Adrian Batten spends an illuminating afternoon with Alain Robert,
sky high. images: afp.
It is when we live with the reality of our immediate extinction that we live most intensely. As adults most of us would understand if not agree with the statement. And yet we don’t understand, not really. It is a truism, just words. The concept becomes commonplace and twodimensional. It is only at exceptional moments, when we fall in love, experience catastrophe or face great danger that time slows down and we enter an altered state of heightened reality. Most of us are neither structured nor wish to live at such intensity. Love settles down or dies. If we survive catastrophe or moments of great danger, the memory fades and life goes on. There are those few of us, rare people who really do manage to lead their lives at this level of intensity. We envy them, even while we lack the desire or ability to emulate them. For us, such people possess a numinous quality conferred by their willingness to risk self-extinction without the desire to achieve it. Quite the contrary in fact, their desire is to live long and do it all . . . full on. I met and shot the breeze for an entire afternoon with just one such person last month, high up on the Bukit plateau in the windy halls of the Uluwatu Renaissance Hotel. He was Alain Robert, aka ‘the French Spiderman’, who has for the past six years had a home in Bali, where he lives on the Bukit in a house nearby with his Indonesian second wife and their young daughter.
shoulder length hair and a prominent Gallic nose that has been broken four times. He has had three serious falls in his career to date. The most serious nearly killed him, leaving him invalided for two years before, quite remarkably, he overcame his disabilities and returned to climbing. Nonetheless, as a result to this day he suffers from vertigo and is prone to epileptic fits. After a while you notice the pronounced upper body strength and the lithe suppleness of the rest of the man’s body. There is not an ounce of fat on Alain. Which is just as well as he was eating bread, prosciutto and fritto misto all washed down with Chandon Brut for four hours non-stop. His metabolism is obviously that of a 19-year old surfer, not a man three-years shy of his 60th birthday. In appearance he looks like an Apache version of Iggy Pop. In fact a fortune teller did tell him he was descended from the native Indians of America’s South West. Something he resonates with and dresses accordingly. Once, jailed in his attempt to scale “my Everest”, which is what he calls Kuala Lumpur’s Twin Towers (450m), he went straight from his prison cell by limo to dine with the King of Malaysia in a leotard, bare-chested save for a signature lizard-skin waistcoat. He speaks English fast and well with a pronounced French accent, which can sound opinionated but isn’t, in the light of the humour, street smarts and self-knowledge he brings to his conversation.
Alain Robert, aged 57, is a rock climber acknowledged as one of the leading exponents of an elite niche among climbers known as Free-Solo. This means climbing a sheer 300m cliff face alone, unroped and without any mechanical aids. Just you and the rock face, with perhaps a bag of chalk around your waist to dry your hands. Even a short way up in a climb if you fall, you will die. Climbing in this way is very ancient, arching back to the time when man first went out into the savannahs and raised his eyes up to the mountains. It pitches man against nature in the starkest way possible.
As a child Alain was shy and quiet, but in his inner life he was, he said, “D’Artagnan, Zorro and Robin Hood. I identified with adventure and the outlaw spirit”. He still does, adding Che Guevara, the Dalai Lama and Abbé Pierre to his list of icons. Even today 70 percent of his climbs are illegal and he’s been jailed and fined on many occasions. His life changed aged 12 when he was locked out of his parents seventh floor apartment and had to climb up to it. From that day on rock climbing became his life. Before he was 20 he was climbing free-solo and went on to become one, if not the best – in what was to become the purest and most classic form of what we now call extreme sports.
Robert is a small, seemingly slight man just 1.65m (5.5ft) weighing just 50 kilos with straggly
In the mid-1990s Alain was to experience a second epiphany, when he discovered
“Buildering”, a clumsy word to describe the niche of niches, that is climbing skyscrapers free-solo. Climbing was Alain’s life and passion, but only when he climbed a skyscraper did it all come into focus. His need for fame and recognition, to attract beautiful women, make pots of money, be accepted by poets, kings and vagabonds, to lead life utterly on his own terms – all came to pass. And to add icing to the cake, all the while supporting progressive causes, the little guy and, best of all . . . giving the finger to power. Since 1997 Alain has climbed over 160 of the tallest structures in the world’s major cities, most of them illegally. He has fallen, been jailed, fined and punched in the face for his temerity. But the public love him for it, he has tens of millions of hits online and the powers-that-be are conflicted. Some really hate him and try to stitch him up any way they can, while others just “tut tut, bad boy”, fine him a nickel per floor, and invite him to dinner. Perhaps Alain Robert’s greatest gift to us is his divinely inspired ability to take a big black pin and stick it to the most prominent parts of the Masters of the Universe. He has, to coin a phrase, become the perfect outlaw for our day and age . . . a modern incarnation of the parfit gentil knight of old, the Urban Iconoclast. Recently Alain has turned to motivational speaking. He’s good at it and has successfully added a second income stream to his sponsored climbs. At age 57 this is a smart move but he’s not about to give up climbing. With a man this fit he could go on well into his 70s. Along with the ready opinions and obvious intelligence there is a vulnerable quality to the man and he is easy to like, so one fears for him. We root for him and want him to go on doing what he does so well, and . . . we want it to end well too. Alas, what we want is irrelevant. In the great scheme of things, the act is supernal and the effect numinous. That’s the way of it, it couldn’t be other. “Most people dream their lives, I live my dream”, says Alain. www.alainrobert.com
people suited and booted.
restaurateur and fashion designer Maurice Terzini enters the bali f&B scene with da maria. s.d. caught up with the man behind sydney’s icebergs.
First up, what on earth are you doing in Bali? It’s not as though you haven’t got a lot going on…
I’ve been wanting to come to Bali for years. My first visit
That pretty much goes without saying. However sometimes if the location is unexpected that can also make it very appealing.
here was in the early 80s. I feel that Bali has evolved into
The Dolphin Hotel, Sydney … groundbreaking design. Is that
to be opening here. I’m also ready to work abroad, so Bali is
Not really. The menu is just a good blend of Italo/Australian
an international F&B destination, so it’s an exciting time
a comfortable first step in that direction. And of course the lifestyle here is a big attraction.
Fashion and food … How does your Ten Pieces label fit into the scheme of things?
reflected in the menu?
food written for a hotel. Having said that, The Wine Room within The Dolphin is taking Sydney Italian food into
2016. Plus we’re also the only restaurant using Australian ingredients, which no one really does with pizza!
I believe all my products are about lifestyle. Food, fashion,
You mention that Melbourne Wine Room broke the mould. In what
as is throwing great parties.
Da Maria is not really breaking the mould, except that it
art, music … so Ten Pieces is just another branch of my brand,
Can you give us a brief background of your journey as an
way? And how do you plan to do that here in Bali? blurs the lines between restaurant, bar and club.
entrepreneur through the hospitality industry…?
How do you plan to spruce up the Da Maria menu since Bali does
the mid-80s and experienced some special moments, including
I think what’s appealing is that we are keeping the menu
I was fortunate enough to spend some time in Milan during
drinking Campari at Bar Camparino. Milan showed me that I had to work in hospitality, and on my return to Australia I was
not have summer or winter menu options? simple and consistent.
lucky enough to work for the legendary Mario’s and Henry Mass
Which end of the tourist spectrum does Da Maria target?
Il Bacaro and the Melbourne Wine Room, also the Snakepit, one
Definitely more bistro, oseria bar, fun dining!
in Fitzroy. From there I went to Caffe E Cucina, followed by of the first disco bars in Melbourne. In 1999 I ended up in
Bistrot or fine dining?
Sydney starting Otto Ristorante Italiano, Nove Pizzeria and
There is a lot of competition on Bali… how do you plan to stay
Food. I also began collaborating with Tusbi and Sneaky Sound
There’s competition everywhere.
the Iceberg’s Dining Room, followed by North Bondi Italian
System. Ten Pieces was launched in 2014 with my partner Lucy,
ahead of the field?
and I am happy to say it has now become an important event in
What is the biggest risk you ever took?
takes me to Bali.
I just had a gut feeling it would work.
Australia’s Fashion Week history. The next adventure of course
I opened Caffe E Cucina with no business experience whatsoever.
What took you so long to open here?
Finally, what’s your current favourite restaurant in Bali?
really where I wanted my brand to sit. But times change, and
Although I enjoyed the early club days of Bali it wasn’t
the opportunity to be part of a developing F&B scene was too good to refuse.
It’s not a restaurant, by Revolver in Seminyak is very
Location, location, location … what’s another vital ingredient to success, apart from excellent food of course?
Mawut As a wry and soft-spoken fixture on Bali’s ever-growing live music scene, Made Mawut serves up some genuine Delta-Blues. Lou Nietunz meets the man behind the guitar. Photo: Stephane Sensey.
So Made, growing up – was your family musical? Back then in my father’s village, everyone loved to play gamelan. While I was living there I would often watch my Dad and uncles jamming in the house with funny lyrics made spontaneously. Meanwhile my mother would often play and sing along to Bee Gee’s songs to clear any loneliness from the house . . . or maybe she was just bored with all the traditional music, which is dominated by men mostly. Who would you say were your strongest influences through highschool years? A lot of my influences came from various parts of my growth between the environment, Benjamin S films, novels by Mario Puzo and Eiji Yoshikawa, historical figures like Soekarno and The Sex Pistols. But probably the strongest influence, even from middle school days, was Bob Marley. Do you remember the first concert you attended? Yes it was during my middle school years at our local banjar in my village. It was a music event and was the high point after all the games for the kids and older people. Honestly I was disappointed because I’d hoped to watch some live rocker musicians like on TV, but that didn’t happen because what I saw was like people going to pray at the temple. You were a chef before you chose to make music your calling? How did that change happen? I have always wanted to become known as a musician, but by becoming a chef first allowed me a way to reach my goal. During my time at culinary school I wasn’t confident enough yet to believe people would accept my music. How did your travels and time in Georgia affect your approach to music? What did you learn the most about? From my brief experience and travels in Georgia, I could see that the Blues over there are like the barong dance here on Bali, which only strikes interest with the tourists. That observation grew into the desire to write some Blues songs which I hope can represent the spirit of the Blues from a long time ago applied to current themes, bringing back the Blues, which I love, as one of many vehicles to communicate injustice for marginalized people. Do you think that Blues music can fit anywhere in the world, or it is an acquired taste and only for people that know it? In my opinion the Blues was borne from religious culture. Brought from Africa to America, but also mixed with European music. The Blues are the
roots of popular music today, and will always live anywhere as a response to injustice. What’s new in the pipeline? Any collaborations you would like to see happen? Right now, I am working on opening a food outlet in front of my house, and at the same time I am putting new material together for my next album. Maybe I will make a link between my food and my Blues, who knows. A lot of your original works seems to raise awareness to various crises on the island – what do you see as the biggest problems facing Bali? All of these problems are related from one to another issue. In my Blues Krisis album I was telling Blues stories about daily life. With my Water Krisis song I was lamenting the water troubles at home, even though there are no water problems at nearby resorts. With my Harvest Krisis song, I was lamenting the fact that Indonesia is very rich in its natural resources but we still import everything from outside of the country. The Food Sufficiency Krisis song reflects the challenges of people who are trapped by their consumption. Subsidi Krisis tells the story of a country that puts the interests of corporations first instead of the poor. The crisis of quality in humanity due to the price of education is covered in Krisis SDM, and then I look at human rights with Krisis Nurani. One of the other songs, Jungle Law, is a cover from the Punk band Marginal, which tells the story of law in Indonesia only being available to the rich. All of these issues are related, right? What’s your dream Made? Tomorrow morning I want to wake up in a better condition, without any crisis! Favourite footwear? I like to have no shoes on when I’m sleeping, and mostly wear sandals when I go fishing for cat-fish, and shiny leather shoes if I’m working. Check our Made’s songs at www.soundcloud.com/mademawut/sets/blues-krisis
people A r E t
n e g o
d w g e L n
Youâ€™ve seen him on the red carpet at The Yak Awards, you may even have seen him on the big screen . . . but life coach Andrew Eggelton is a lot more than a pretty face. He Spoke to Tony Stanton. Photo: sarah alice Lee.
Andrew, where in the world are you right now? As a wild stab in the dark I would say somewhere in the middle of the ocean about now, nestled into one of those uncomfortable airline chairs wishing I’d paid extra for the meal service. I’ve spent the last 12 days in Bali, which is my second home, coaching at a retreat and promoting an upcoming coaching tour of New Zealand and Australia. My over-active mind is occupying the thought I may have bitten off more than I can chew. But you’re not from there, are you? How did you grow up? I had a blessed childhood albeit an odd one. I grew up in a tiny village called Otaio, which is in the middle of the South Island of NZ and to my knowledge doesn’t really exist anymore. I use the word village merely for dramatic purposes. I lived on the school grounds as my father was the headmaster and schoolteacher and there were only eight pupils. The only ones my age were girls and at that age they were the last things a young boy wants to hang out with, so I entertained myself and relied on what might be my most powerful tool these days … my imagination. It’s for this reason I feel blessed to have had a slightly unconventional experience growing up. We’ve only encountered you in Bali, specifically as our wonderful host for The Yak Awards these past years … Ah yes, The Yak Awards might just be my favourite night of the year to let my hair down, so to speak. Um, after I’ve finished hosting of course! I remember the first year I was perhaps more of an overdressed male prop as my good friend Christina Iskandar didn’t let me get a word in. To be fair we still laugh about that today. Well she does most of the laughing. You’re quite comfortable in front of the camera … how did you get into that? In 1994 I got an acting job with Michael J Fox in a film called Frighteners, which was one of Peter Jackson’s first projects. Then followed a German Beer commercial . . . I went to the audition uninvited and got the lead role, and as a 21-year-old the money seemed too good to be true. I was hooked. More opportunities followed with roles in a number of TV shows and a part with Ryan Gosling in the series Hercules. I also love stories, the whole magic in telling them and listening to them and the worlds they can take you to. While growing up I remember dad coming into my room and tuning on the radio to the children’s stories on a Saturday morning. Bad Jelly the Witch was and still is a favourite. And now of course you’re teaching other people how to be awesome in front of the camera. How do you do that? This, for me, is part of being of service and offering something to others in an area that I feel I have a gift. I take my clients on a journey from where they start and we slowly strip away the layers of masks they have, through the ego, through the blocks, until we get to their truth. We get to the core, where they’re authentic and then empower them to become storytellers. It’s that authenticity entwined with their storytelling that touches the viewer and takes them on an emotional journey. The process is incredible to watch as you see them suddenly resonating with the words they are saying and the place they are coming from. Give us a quick run down of how we could be awesome as well. Think of each word that passes your lips as an opportunity to colour your story, to take your viewer on a journey. When in front of a camera, you become a storyteller whether you like it or not. It becomes your responsibility. Enjoy the process and own the power that you now have to make others feel a certain way. Use your
voice, create a beginning, middle and an end and take your viewer on a journey of their imagination. Another wonderful tip and perhaps my favorite is to reframe the opportunity as a chance to play. Have you always been into coaching? We’ve seen a few pics of you in modeling pose … particularly one on the back of a horse. Once I discovered that I could get paid well to simply stand around and look at a camera, pretend to point at something, or spend the day in underwear, there was no going back to having a normal job. I was hungry for success though; I didn’t stand around and wait for it. I worked hard at it and the horse shot was something I did for myself, it’s actually my favourite shot of myself ever! Coaching has been a natural progression as I’ve grown older and wanted to give something back. Do you do other empowerment courses to? Yes. I run a life coaching practice called ‘Life By Design’. Simply speaking, I ask clients to dream of their ideal day in their ideal life and then I help design the person they need to be to have this. From beliefs and habits to their character and skill sets. What I enjoy about this is we are entirely focused on what they want, not what they don’t want. We dream and then build the path and person to get there. Who comes to your seminars, visits your website and gets curious about Andrew Eggelton? Originally I trained TV Presenters, but now I focus more on entrepreneurs and business people as their mindsets and passionate vision stimulate me and the arc of their journey is more pronounced and rewarding. From the life coaching area I mainly help people who are feeling disjointed and lacking passion about where they are in life and the presenting training is for those who want to use the skill of speaking to camera or speaking live to enhance their business and career. OK we’ve watched a few of your videos online and we’d like to throw a few questions back at you…. What’s your mission in life? To allow others to shine and live as authentically as they possibly can and to find peace within myself. What’s your X Factor? Every piece of experience, every memory, every high of success, every dark period, every time I’ve been knocked down on my knees and have had no idea how I was going to get back up again . . . let alone make a new success of myself, all this has created what I would call my X Factor. Do you have a personal contract with yourself? I don’t have a personal contract with myself per se, however I know that I’ve got one shot at this and if I can look at myself now and then and know that I’m giving it my best, that I’m a good man and I’m treating others as they deserve to be treated, then the rest will take care of itself. Andrew thanks for time, it’s been illuminating. Pleasure. www.andreweggelton.com/life-by-design
stephanie mee gets on the kryptonite with the force behind legendary bali band superman is dead. take it away ... one-two-three-four!
photos: anthony dodds
"These days as a band we make decisions about what we do with our influence."
Jerinx, did you always know that you wanted to be a rock star? Not really, but I always knew that I was gonna live my life doing things that I love. How did you meet your band mates in Superman is Dead, and how did the band get started? I met Bobby [Kool] through a mutual friend in ’95. We were in different bands but not quite happy about it, so we started jamming the stuff that we loved – punk rock. Then a drugged up kid brought Eka [Rock] to our practice room and that’s how the curse of SID began. What's the most memorable concert you ever played? Probably the 2009 Vans Warped Tour all across the USA. It was insane and none of us had been to the US before. We slept in vans, on the floors of people's houses, played to crowds that didn’t even know what Indonesia was, bought the wrong weed, stayed in dodgy motel rooms, met creepy junkies. Sixteen cities in one month, and we came back home alive! What's a typical day like for you? When not on tour I like to spend my day at the beach, watching movies, cruising with my vintage car and bikes and normal stuff like that. But my days are also usually full of business meetings and organisng movement against greedy government and their greedy friends. Favourite spot in Bali to get away from it all? My room. Drink of choice? I only drink beer because liquor turns me into a really angry diva.
Could you tell us a little bit about your tattoos? Which tattoo was your first? Ha ha, it’s quite shameful, but my first tattoo was when I was 16 and I loved the Red Hot Chili Peppers a little too much, so I decided to get a similar tattoo to Anthony Kiedis – a tribal piece on my bicep. Favourite tattoo artist in Bali? Ah - there are so many great tattoo artists in Bali! Seriously, I don't have just one favourite artist, but if I have to name one, for now it’s Sailor July from Lady Rose Tattoo. We know that you're a big supporter of environmental issues and humanitarian issues. In your opinion, what is the most important issue in Bali at the moment? Greed and slavery. Greed has turned this island into a shallow, money-oriented island with not much love left for the local people's future – it’s all about the businessman's future. And this mindset is slowly destroying everything; the nature, the culture, the social structure. Bali is nothing but a tool for the rich and the locals are the slaves. Once this island is totally destroyed, the rich will leave the locals with nothing but permanent problems in every aspect. In an ideal world, the government should protect and educate its people. Too bad in Bali the government are the rich people’s BFFs.
Singer-songwriter, social activist, son of Bali.