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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 info@theyakmag.com sales@theyakmag.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.

OK you know the drill. No part of this publication may be copied or reproduced electronically or otherwise without prior permission from the Publisher. Opinions expressed are those of the authors not the Publisher. The Publisher reserves the right to refuse advertising that does not comply with the magazine's design criteria. The Yak will not be held responsible for copyright infringements on images supplied directly by advertisers and/or contributors. Check us out online, we’re awesome (if we do say so ourselves). Peace.

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15 minutes Unmoved Like Jagger


people Robbert Ian Bonnick


interview Yuri Kolokolnikov


people Brad Gerlac


people Fiorenzo Nisi


interwho Stephane Sensey


people Renato Vianna



Rat Pack


interview Scott Hammell


sounds around Giacomo Maiolini


interwho David Murrell


interview Sean Lee


people Nino and Maitri Fischer


people Michael R. Lorenti Jr.


interview Tim Adams


people Arturro Eggo


people Etienne de Souza


interview Erik Sondhy

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interview German Dmitriev


interview Stefan Sagmeister


interwho Dare Jennings


culture vulture Julian Lennon


artsake Federico Tomasi


questions Fabrizio Alessi


interview John Marciano


questions Tayler Mars


this much i know Jamie Thewes


interview Sean Cosgrove


feature Light Blue Movers


interview Arturro Chondros


sounds around Kimo Rizky and Double Deer


people Philip Lakeman


interwho Rio Siddik


people Jamie Aditya


interview Sagon Togasa

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15 minutes

'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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He was rated #1 in the surf world by the age of 20. His peers say he’s among the best big wave surfers of all time. He’s a stylish protagonist of the sport, in and out of the water, a father-to-be and an all-round amazing fella.

Brad Gerlach spoke to Ozlem Esen about life, coaching … and why he doesn’t have typical days. Photos: Saskia Koerner.



Brad, tell us about your early life growing up in California, and how you got into surfing. When I was eight years old I bought a surfboard for $7. I remember this because I used to get a dollar for every year on my birthday. I only had $7 because I spent the other $1 on the ice cream man. Anyway, I tried surfing one day around this time with my dad. He didn’t help me, he just stayed on the beach. He couldn’t stand cold water (long story), and I didn’t stand up because it was a rough onshore day and the waves were really close together. I didn’t like that I didn’t stand and told my dad that I didn’t want to surf anymore. Then two years later my mother moved us close to the beach in Leucadia about three miles north of Cardiff. I walked to the beach with a friend that summer day in 1976 and found a surfboard with a picture of Jesus on it. Evidently someone had thrown it off the cliff or something. I didn’t know that of course so I asked everyone on the beach if it was theirs. Nobody claimed it so I took it out and stood up on it right away. It had no fin so it slid around every time I stood up. I was hooked. I ran home to get the $7 board and surfed every day after that until I got hit in the nose with it. Over the next two years I broke my nose in four places, had a 150 stitches, spent lots of time in hospital and had two surgeries. I vowed to never surf again. It fucked up my face, I had to wear a cast and people would stare at me everywhere we went. I hated it and was pissed off. After a while it healed and I skated around everywhere. My friends were all at the beach, so eventually I went back to the water, agreeing to only kneeboard. I rode half a wave on my knees and thought it felt stupid so I stood up and was immediately hooked all over again! North County San Diego is home to the Self Realization Center. It’s on a cliff in Encinitas overlooking my favourite wave ‘Swami’s’. Since my mother worked and I was very independent it was inevitable that I would meet all kinds of hippy/ spiritual people into yoga and health food and surfing. I thought they were cool and I loved being a surfer and skater. I watched the whole first movement of skating happen in San Diego with Logan Earth Ski, Bahne, Greg Weaver, Rampage, pool skating, and going to Carlsbad skate park. Tony Alva and Jay Adams were heroes to me and I wanted to be a pro skater for a while but I chose surfing instead. I didn’t like having cuts! They never healed! You’re considered one of the sport’s most stylish surfers – who were your style icons growing up, in and out of the water? Oh thank you for that nice compliment, coming from such a stylish person as yourself! Well, I liked Shaun Tomson a lot when I was young. He came across as intelligent, well dressed and ripped! I liked to dress nice my first year of high school at 14 years old. I got into Punk Rock and cut all my hair off and listened to The Sex Pistols, Dead Kennedy’s, Germs, Buzzcocks … but just before that I was into Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd. They were my favorite bands when I was learning to surf and dreaming of being a pro. I loved Larry Bertlemann until I met him and he was a dick to me. Which made a big impact. I thought to myself that I would never be like that to a kid that looked up to me when I was on top! Ha, ha. I loved Buttons in the water, he was really cool to me too. He always looked like he was free and having a lot of fun. And it was confirmed when we shared a wave at Lowers in 1979. You know, I always liked James Bond, Steve McQueen and Charles Bronson. My dad and I liked to watch those kind of movies when I was young.

Then by my junior year I was into KROQ and I loved musicians like David Bowie, Bryan Ferry, Robert Palmer, and what they wore. I have always been into music. I traded my motorcycle for a record player when I was young. My dad didn’t want me to hurt myself and talked me into it. What you have been listening to lately? I haven’t been listening to a lot lately because I was fascinated by all the political stuff that has happened here in the US. I mean wow, what an eye opener. It’s just crazy so I had to follow it. But I do like the new Radiohead album. And I like to listen to KCRW. I haven’t been playing much music myself lately but that’s normal for me. It comes in waves and since my lady is pregnant I have just been so happy to hang with her. She is a musician as well so we play together sometimes and plan to make some music when we move to Australia. What drives you? Creativity, originality and style, in lots of different forms. I am turned on by design, humour and aesthetic. I love clothes and playing around with colour and tones. Colour on my boards, wetsuits, towels, my car, guitars, walls in my house … it goes on. I look for inspiration in people and how they do things, how they see things. I am driven to helping my students surf better, and for some, help them to rewrite the cutting edge of performance surfing. Tell us a little about Wave Ki. It’s the method of teaching that I developed through my study of martial arts with my two sensei’s Adrian Crook and Laura McCormac, adding in my countless hours of surfing. I teach people how to harness the power of the wave through efficient movement and awareness of themselves. Wave Ki is practiced on land and mimics surfing. It teaches people how to surf in a safe environment. Then it is up to them to do Wave Ki every day. My students who practice Wave Ki get better, the ones who practice every day get better faster. My most famous student is Conner Coffin. He has been doing Wave Ki for six years. Other students include rising stars Noah Hill and Taro Watanabe. They have been doing Wave Ki since they were 10 years old. My newest student is 15-year-old Max Beach and he has improved like crazy and is catching up to the other guys! Your dad was a diving champion and gave you great advice with your surfing. What was some of the best advice he gave you about life, love and work ethics? He has given me a lot of advice: Don’t go around with no cash, like don’t be that guy. Don’t get married too young, lots of women out there. Look people in the eye and give a firm hand shake. A good deal is one that is good for both parties. There is always something to learn. Show up when you say you are going to, your word is everything. Don’t smoke a lot of pot, just a little if there’s pressure, lol. That was a funny one when I was 15. He said it will make you stupid and you don’t need to smoke more than one hit to get high. Those are fatherly things … but where he has been the biggest influence is with my surfing. It would take up a lot of space here if I were to go into it, but basically he taught me to look for efficient movement, and that every action has an equal and opposite reaction, so if you do something that doesn’t give you speed or control then it’s unnecessary and will probably look shit. He is very blunt but very smart. He saw things that I didn’t see and he showed me and talked to me about them



to keep my interest. But these guys have it: JJF, Dane Reynolds, Jordy Smith, Jack Freestone, Conner and my young students Noah, Taro, and Max. I have recently been coaching a girl and I like to watch her too. I still love to watch Tom Curren, and Mike Rommelse absolutely shreds with great style. What is style to you? It’s about having good manners, looking understated, owning a personal look, having a good sense of humour and not being cheap! How do you overcome doubt? By feeling it fully. It’s the only way it dissolves. What best describes who you are? I care about people and I strive to give credit to the people who deserve it. I love the underdog and relate to people who have struggled and overcome. I love to teach and help people. I am a good listener. And finally I love to make people laugh, even if it’s at my own expense.

poetry in motion.

over and over. I feel like he passed down his eye for beautiful movement. I am very grateful to him for all the time he spent with me, video-taping me, giving me feedback and sharing the passion he has for watching the body moving beautifully. He was an Olympic diver from Hungary who placed 4th at Melbourne in 1956 – he was 18 and it’s too bad he didn’t get a chance to go back at 22 for the US games. He says the Chinese, who are the best divers now, copy a part of his unique style that the University of Michigan head coach wanted to change. He refused… What are your favorite boards to ride? Chris Christenson is one of my best friends and has been shaping my boards for 10 years now and they are the best ever. He is a genius and a wonderful artist, original and hard working. Salt of the earth, diehard integrity. I love Chris so much so it is cool to call him with feedback on my boards. And meet him in the snow to ride together. I am stoked and have such a good thing going with my boards. I usually ride 5’11 x 19 six channel swallow tail while I am in Bali. But I bounce around depending on the power or lack thereof. Anywhere from 5’7 x 21 to 6’ 18 7/8, mostly swallow tails. If 20-year-old Brad could speak to Brad Now, what would he say? Work to be more flexible than anyone else in your sport. Stay focused on surfing, the women will come to you :). As a pioneer surfer how do you feel about the new era of surfers? How has surfing evolved in your point of view? I think some of the new era surfers are great, especially the ones that can mix the modern with the old stuff. But those are few and far between. Most of the surfers are jocks, much the same as before. It’s the ones doing different stuff that are intriguing. It’s usually that they aren’t progressive enough with their surfing 16

What does a typical day entail for you? I don’t have typical days but the most consistent thing is stretching and doing Wave Ki, then spending time with my lady. I surf or work or do both. I could drive a lot or stay close to home. Just depends. I am not structured and organized. I like to be free, however if I have made an appointment I am good at keeping it or letting them know in advance if it needs to change. It has to be fluid like this because a lot of my work depends on mother nature. What is your most epic wave memory? I have so many but one that sticks in my mind is a giant tube I got on a first wave one morning, alone at Puerto Escondido, Mexico. On a borrowed 9’3. My new friend at the time Zen Del Rio (who is now an old friend) let me borrow his board because his back was bothering him. I planned to paddle out with Coco Nogales at first light and he didn’t show. So I paddled out alone and within five minutes a bomb came right to me, and I was like “fuck I have to go”, so I took off hoping the board was a good one and I slid down the face into a giant cavern. It started breathing. By this I mean it got bigger and smaller while I was in the tube. It threw out way in front of me and I thought for sure I would get flogged but somehow I just kept going, and I had time to think, hey I might make this thing, then no, no way, then wait, nah, holy shit I might… and I did. I did a small personal claim that I was sure nobody saw. But Coco had just woken up and stood out on his balcony to witness it. Ha, ha, ha … odelay! Who in your opinion is the most iconic surfer that ever existed and why? The Duke. Multiple gold medal Olympian, pioneer, ambassador for surfing and gentleman. How would you like to be remembered? As a good person with class and manners; a loyal friend and an inspired and innovative teacher. A contributor to surfing who didn’t take himself too seriously and blazed a trail. A classy dresser, stylish surfer, good son and brother, loving partner and an awesome dad. And an animal lover. I love animals. Thanks Brad. You’re welcome Ozlem. www.bradgerlach.com

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tony stanton riffs with brazilian born renato vianna about his life by the sea. photos: saskia koerner. Renato, can you tell us a little about how you grew up? I grew up in Rio de Janeiro on the beach at Ipanema Arpoador, the counter culture stage at that time. Bossa Nova was born a few blocks from my house. I loved the sea and tried to go to the beach every day, even if it was only to look, study or work. I had a very good childhood with five sisters; I was an engineer’s son and my mother was a homemaker. She always made our clothes as it was difficult at that time to buy anything ready-made. All my sisters also sewed, my grandfather was a tailor and he made suits in a small office with four other people. I


remember visiting him and being amazed by the process, and I always keep these scenes in mind. And how did you arrive in Bali? I ended up working for one of the best clothing companies in Brazil, starting as a sales person, then moved to store management and finally to a new design department. It was a great period for me, working with the very talented owner. One day one of our suppliers came in with some swimming trunks made from Bali batik, and I became very curious about the technique. Back then there were no computers and printing fabric was a very long process. I was

fascinated. I sold my VW and used the money to come to Bali with a friend who had been here many times before. During that time the surf industry was only making black trunks, but I made 70 different samples that were very tropical and colourful, and I gave them to my friend when he returned to Brazil and told him to give them to my former boss. The buyers arrived at the office and immediately ordered 5,000 pieces. It was 1993 and I only spoke Portuguese. Can you imagine? There were no phones in Bali, we had no staff and no driver. I brought all of the fabric to the factory on my motorbike. The first delivery was not good, so I asked the guys at the bungalow I was staying at to help. Soon production got better and the orders grew to 15,000, 30,000, 60,000 . . . before long I started to build a brand called Totem in Brazil, which was very successful. After that I went on my own and started By The Sea. What was Bali like back then? After one year in Bali I met a beautiful Japanese Brazilian girl, 19 years old, and we fell totally in love. We lived in Oberoi and our house was also our office, no TV, no phone and no distractions, just work and surf and love. Bali felt magical and the expat community was very small. The only places to go were Goa, Café Luna and the famous parties at Warisan, where we met. If heaven existed it was in Bali at this time, I believe. I surfed Uluwatu almost every day after 4pm until it was almost dark, when I’d drink a beer and watch the sun set. I was living in paradise on earth with the woman I loved. It was a special time. Our son was born the year later. From Oberoi we moved to isolated Kerobokan, which was a great place with an amazing view, but at that time a lot of things started to happen with the business, so we decided to ask someone to check the land. The mungku told us it was a cremation ground … which explained a lot. We decided to move to Canggu in 1997. At that time there were only two warung on the beach. Our second son was born there. It was the most amazing experience I have ever known. Harumi started to have contractions while we were in the bath, and at the same time our then three-year-old son Kayu woke up, just in time to see his brother born and emerge slowly out of the water, just as the light grew in the bathroom. It is a moment I will cherish for the rest of my life. So I guess you won’t be heading back to Brazil anytime soon . . . I love my country and I love my people but I hate all the politics. Everyone’s life there has become difficult. You’re a kite surfer, correct? How did you get into that? I started surfing Copacabana when I was 14 years old, then later when I moved to

Bali I improved my skills here. Ulu was my place, and Padang Padang. There were fewer people around then of course. These days I surf less and spend my time on my new passion, SUP. I started kite surfing around 10 years ago when I was on a surf trip to Sumbawa. Someone was selling a professional kite surf kit, so I bought it and started to learn. It was a bit like learning to drive when your first car was a Ferrari! The kite was too fast for me, and I’d also decided to use it with a strapless board. I’m still learning to this day. Ok let’s talk about the brand you’ve built here. When and how did it start? As I said By The Sea started after Totem closed. We had very little money, but with a lot of energy and love we achieved a lot. We were still distributing in America and had stores in Brazil, but after a while I decided to invest in the Bali market. Who would be your perfect By The Sea customer? Classic and elegant, casual-smart, resort and beach wear, By The Sea is always connected to the ocean and a relaxed lifestyle without pretension. I think everyone can find something they like in our stores. Business is good. Do you design and produce all the clothes? How are you involved and how far have you come as a company? I used to design everything with my wife Harumi, but as the business has grown we have invested in professional designers to drive the brand to the next level. I think the potential for the brand is very big. I travel a lot and I’m always shopping and searching … and I know our brand can go all the way to the top. We’ve now opened two shops in Jakarta and the sales have shown us there’s a big market for us in the cities. Everyone we know comments on the quality of fabric and work on your clothes. We only use natural fibers, and for me fabric has a soul. It’s my passion. I believe that we should give the best to our customers to keep brazil to bali. them coming back. Ok, enough business. What’s your perfect day? Sunrise meditation, green juice for breakfast, SUP in front of my house in Pererenan for two hours, then the office and kite surf in the afternoon after a workout or yoga. Sleep early! Renato, many thanks for your time. My pleasure. www.bytheseatropical.com


sounds around

Lou Nietunz meets f o u n d e r o f I t a ly ’ s Time Records Giacomo Maiolini w ho se f oundat ion TIMETO L O V E i s helping women and children in Bali and beyond. photo: s t e p h a n e s e n s e y. SO Giacomo, when did you first come to Bali? And what were your first impressions? It was in 1990, coming from Europe. Bali had a strong impact on me because at that time it was really wild. Was your family musical? Who were your early influences? No musicians in my family. Music for me is something innate. I was enraptured by music from an early age, and over the years it has become something maniacal and obsessive. In the beginning I was influenced by names like Bobby Orlando and Patrick Cowley who produced great music in the early ’80s. Do you remember the first concert you went to? I’ve never been a big fan of live concerts, I’ve always preferred clubs. How do you see the music industry today with the web and all? I’m very lucky because in my career I’ve seen all the innovations from MC to Vinyl to CD to download and now streaming. It has only changed the way we use it but at its base it’s still all about making that hit, and that’s me and my team's daily work. Can you tell us a bit about your foundation on Bali? My foundation is called TIMETOLOVE and it wants to help women and children all over the world. The idea was born thanks to my meeting with Robin Lim of the Bumi Sehat Foundation in Ubud last year. We organized a big charity event in Italy last September to support her foundation and we did something really great. Our aim is to organize and promote charity events in the future and help other Foundations all over the world. 20

Top three favorite places in the world to play and why? Bali, Ibiza and Miami. The first because it is a place that I really love; the others because they are very important for the dance music industry. What's new in the pipeline at Time Records? This last year has been really successful for us. Our artist Feder achieved great results in Europe and among others we represent another great act, Lost Frequencies, who are climbing the charts everywhere with hit singles. On November 20th we’ll be releasing the new single from Feder that is going to be huge! We have a lot of new projects for the next year that will keep Time Records the number one indie label in Italy and one of the most important labels worldwide. What's your biggest challenge these days? My biggest challenge is fighting against my crazy heart and I hope to finally emerge the winner [Giacomo recently underwent heart surgery]. What's your dream? I have a lot of dreams, and before realizing many of them I always have another dream in my mind. The important thing is to achieve them. Favourite footwear? Yohji Yamamoto and Adidas as sneakers. www.timerec.it www.timetolove.it



eco-mantra Anita Surewicz meets Sean Nino and Maitri Fischer, whose company Mantra is committed to sustainibility in Bali. photo: stephane sensey.

“WE like to be out in nature so much because it has no opinion about us,” the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche once wrote. Nature is an agreeable beast, but we haven’t exactly been kind. While change and development are inevitable, especially on an island such as Bali, the scale and pace is often at the expense of the environment and culture. Sean Nino, one of the masterminds behind Mantra, a company committed to preserving Bali’s natural heritage by encouraging property owners to embrace sustainability, recalls the days before the island’s tourism boom with nostalgia. “I grew up on Jalan Drupadi in the early ’90s, and I could see all the way down to Oberoi and the beach. There were no restaurants or shops. We would take part in ceremonies, watch wayang kulit [shadow puppets] and hang out at the beach.” Maitri Fischer, who was raised in Ubud, says that the ever-increasing number of local and foreign visitors on the island is pushing the tourist destination to its ecological limits. “Bali is on the verge of a water crisis, it has no proper solution for waste management and the energy we consume is far from clean. We are even expecting rolling blackouts again in 2016, due to large overconsumption of energy in Java and Bali.” Sean and Maitri met through their sisters in Germany, where Sean was doing his Masters in Sustainability Economics. At the time, Maitri was studying geophysics and astrophysics in the Netherlands. The connection was immediate. “Our first project was an Indonesian curry and plenty of beers. We had a great evening and things developed from there,” Sean says, laughing. The friendship resulted in a pact to look into possible environmental projects once the friends returned to Bali. In 2014, the duo found their business focus in energy, water and waste ¬– what they refer to as the three main environmental issues on the island. Today their company specializes in sustainability consultation to help property owners increase resource efficiency and save costs. What sets Mantra apart is the company’s use of international eco-management accounting standards to measure sustainability and the savings associated with adopting more sustainability and model savings associated with adopting more sustainable solutions. “We realized that to incentivise businesses to become more sustainable we needed to offer more value. So we looked into resource efficiency and found that potential clients were much more interested in going green if they could generate savings with short return on investments,” Maitri says. “For example, we have found ways for property owners to save up to 40 percent on their water and energy costs.” For Sean, the key to the transition to a more environmentally conscious living is “time,” and how much each individual is prepared to devote to making positive changes. “It’s the sum of small things that will eventually make a big difference.” Before setting up Mantra, Sean was writing environmental policy reports


for political decision makers. However, being a part of what he refers to as a “big machine that created an endless array of numbers, tables and models so people could talk about change” didn’t sit well with him. Sean couldn’t help but think that it all didn’t make sense. “Big scale projects are so complex and policy makers are often quite detached from the realities on the ground. We wanted to affect change now and create realistic solutions that people would be able to participate in.” “Globalisation has led to an uncontrolled spiral of bad decisions and very unhealthy concepts of growth,” he continues. At the end of the day, Sean’s message is clear. The future of Bali is in our hands. Each and every one of us can make a difference. “My girlfriend and I did a trash walk in Canggu this morning. I cleaned up five kilograms of plastic and I felt way more productive than had I been writing a report on waste management.” Maitri and Sean are currently in the process of developing an eco-toolkit, an online resource management system to collect property data and help define ecosystem boundaries, as well as determine eco-performance benchmarks for Bali properties. “It’s basically a Google analytics dashboard for property data relating to electricity, water and waste,” Maitri says, adding that the company is already in the testing phase of their version 1.0. The company also specializes in sustainability consulting and the implementation of the proposed solutions. “We have found ways for property owners to save up to 40 percent on their water and energy costs,” says Maitri. “This is great for both our clients and the environment.” Over the past 10 months, Mantra has worked with eight properties, and the company is currently managing projects with four of them, including Ahimsa Seminyak, Ahimsa Jimbaran, Villa White Lotus and the Viceroy. Last but not least, Mantra also offers turnkey energy saving contracts, where it fronts the investment to kit out properties with sustainable features and takes the generated savings. While the biggest challenge for Sean and Maitri has been convincing their clients that they can actually save tens of thousands of dollars a year in operating costs by adopting more sustainable measures, the gradual shift in the attitudes of property owners on the island has been promising. “Given all the work being done in the environmental sector, and all the passionate business people and individuals out there doing great things, I have confidence that Bali will survive this phase of development,” Maitri says. “I want to ensure that Bali will still be a nice place to live for my kids and family, a well as all the Balinese.” www.eco-mantra.com

Sean Nino (seated) and Maitri Fischer.


Arturro: “i’m

inspired by life in



Stephanie Mee meets designer Arturro Eggo . . . and dreams of Roberto Cavalli.


Arturro, first things first – where did you grow up and what was your childhood like? I grew up mainly in Jakarta, but from early on we travelled as a family to many parts of the country. I have happy memories of my childhood making friends with other kids from different parts of Indonesia. I will always remember my childhood with great fondness. When did you first know you wanted to be a fashion designer? I’ve always been interested in beautiful clothes, and the colours and patterns of beautiful fabrics have always been fascinating to me. Though the interest in fashion was there, I didn’t actually get into it until my adult life. I thought it was just a passing fancy. Did you go to school for fashion design? At university I studied economics, but nothing to do with fashion. When I finally decided I wanted to become a designer (or at least to be part of the fashion world), I gained experience with several fashion houses and learned about design and how dresses were put together. So basically I taught myself how to design, although my mother was very instrumental in teaching me how to do beading and other details. Who are your fashion super heroes and why? I’m a big fan of Roberto Cavalli. I love how he combines patterns and colours into his dresses. His designs are bold yet feminine, graceful and fluid. I take inspiration from his design and create my own version of it. Tell us about the first pieces you ever designed. How has your style evolved? The first dress I designed was an evening gown for my sister. I worked day and night to perfect it. I was so nervous that she wouldn’t like the dress and may not want to wear it, but she loved it and wore it with pride and confidence. She got many compliments from her friends that evening. That was my first pride and joy. With the help of my mother I also designed a kebaya, the traditional Indonesian national dress with all the intricate stitching and beading. So much detailed work went into it, but the more I learned, the more I appreciated the intricacies. I use a lot of this aspect of dress making in my current designs. It gives a more ‘finished’ look and feel to the dress. Tell us a bit about the ARTURRO brand. How did it come about? A dear friend in Jakarta always calls me Arturro, and others started calling me that instead of Arthur. So when we were looking for a brand name we decided to use the name. Who is the ARTURRO brand made for? The woman who wears my dresses is not a shy wallflower. She’s

confident, she knows what she wants, she’s independent, but she’s also very feminine, flirty and sexy. Where do you get your inspiration from when you are creating new designs? I’m inspired by life in general, but living in Bali gives me a great source of inspiration. Just look around you. It’s amazing out here … the vegetation, mountains, temples,and people. Even the weather has shapes and colours that inspire me. I take these designs and translate them into motives and patterns, which are then printed onto the fabrics for my dresses. So here’s the scenario – you’ve just put together the perfect outfit for a night out on the town in Bali. What would that outfit be and where should the wearer go to show it off? I would say a silk maxi cocktail dress printed in my signature pattern in subdued tropical colours. I’d start the experience with a sunset cocktail at the newly opened Alila Seminyak. Then a nice dinner at Metis restaurant followed by after-dinner digestif at the W Hotel lounge and a barefoot stroll on the beach, perhaps. Why is Bali such a hot spot for fashion designers? Bali offers unsurpassed natural beauty. The uniqueness of the culture and tradition of the Balinese people, coupled with their hospitality and warmth makes it a very pleasant place to be. It’s a magnet for all sorts of people from all over the world, which makes it quite a cosmopolitan island. You can casually mix with the rich-and-famous and the adventurers, as people from many different cultures and origins are in Bali. For artists, painters, writers and designers it’s the perfect place to explore and seek out inspiration. What can we expect to see from ARTURRO in the future? In the future I’d like to expand my brand so that people in other parts of the country can easily find my designs in the nearest shop. I’d like to make it more accessible to a wider range of customers by producing more ready-to-wear garments without sacrificing the quality. Of course every local designer dreams of making it big on the international stage, but for the time being my priority is to meet the demand of our local customers. Since I personally still supervise every piece of clothing that is sold in our boutique, it requires time and my full attention. Perhaps later on down the road, once I can delegate some of the responsibilities, then I can focus on international expansion. That being said, at the moment I have orders from Europe and from the Middle East, but in manageable quantity, so I’m still able to fulfil the orders. Many thanks for your time!


people 26

Robert … I’m not sure where to start this. You’re tall and charismatic, you’re an author, a life coach, you’ve worked with supermodels and represented your country as a sportsman at the highest level. So where would you start this interview? Maybe with … ‘What is one of the most powerful insights you have gleaned from all these experiences?’ No matter a person's appearance from the outside – good looking, confident, high self-esteem, rich or famous, we are all the same on the inside. We all have our own specific challenges we either address or run away from. Looking back on my early years, even though I felt happy, I never felt I was enough, I had self-esteem challenges, chronic shyness and jealousy of others. I also stuttered, hated the way I looked and felt less than worthy. By all accounts you had a pretty shitty start in life. Tell us about that. Shortly after being born my elder sister and I were basically left by our mum on the doorstep of a distant relative in London. It was where our father was living at the time as we waited for him to come home. A short time after that we found ourselves in St Bernardo's orphanage (I was six months old or so). From around two years of age we were moved to a long-stay children's home in London where I stayed for sixteen more years. However, as you will understand if you read this article all the way through – I experienced a different outcome. How important is your name to you? As a parent now, even though my partner Marina chose our kids’ names, I understand the difficulty of creating a name. From this point of view I honour my parents’ choice and my name is important to me – which I also happen to like. Outside of this a lot of people call me by one of my nicknames anyway. You’re a motivational speaker, right? In your opinion what’s the single most important aspect or attitude to life that will help a person get on? An attitude of gratitude. When did you realise you wanted to help people visualise their dreams and make them happen? These seeds were planted young before I was 15 years of age whilst growing up in children's homes. If space permits I can divide this up into the ‘how’ and the ‘why’. Firstly the how . . . I was shy growing up and the youngest of the 18 kids which could stay in the children's home at one time. I spent a lot of time alone or just observing. I spent time in the company of communicative, observant women too which taught me how to listen. These factors were crucial. I

learnt how to analyse people's behavior and patterns. Consequently I would be that guy at school who was good at listening and solving people's problems. Now for part of the why . . . I experienced the broken dreams, helplessness, self-esteem challenges and violent natures of fellow orphans but also their triumphs. In their best light these kids also invested time in me, teaching what they did well, like how to play football, fight or dance. Also describing where they had failed or let themselves down. Seeing this (one was shot in the head) broke my heart. I felt a sense of duty to discover the best in people and help them succeed not fail. Do you think you’ve been successful because of the way you look? That would be part of it but the bigger part would be my attitude to life and the people around me. Hypothetically I’m a 45-year-old man in an unhappy marriage stuck in a job I don’t like and not earning enough money. I’m overweight and cynical about life. I hate everything. What would you say to me? I work quite intuitively but depending how deep down the rabbit hole you are: - I'd remind you how to tune in, meditate or quieten your mind. - Remind you of how life can work / the nature of thought and how it creates your reality. - Find out what drives you, turns you on and help connect you to your dreams and desires, for example. - Remind you to visualise with emotion, intention and purpose. - Remind you how to overcome speed bumps to achieve your dreams. - Remind you which part time plays in attaining this new reality. Who is the single most interesting and fulfilled person you have ever met? Two names spring instantly to mind: Mahamandeleswar Nitychanada, an Indian Meditation Master (amongst other things) and a friend here in Bali called Kai Jordan. Tell us how you ended up on this island… Marina, myself and our kids were living in Sydney and we reached the stage where that great city which I love was becoming too difficult (especially after our second baby Almira came along). It was actually Marina who suggested we spend some time in Bali. I had happy memories of my last visit to Bali some 20 plus years prior so I was more than prepared to take the leap.

What do you plan to do here? As a family we'd love to invest in property here. Personally, I'm focused on spreading a positive message through speaking, coaching and community collaboration. Such as our Monday night "Speak-uP" at our concept store, Lyfe in Bali (in Tamora Gallery, Berawa) featuring transformational speakers. In July for Speak-uP #10 we featured a Q & A with the first Indonesian woman, Mathilda Dwi Lestari, to climb the world's seven highest mountains, including Mt Everest. At Tamora Gallery I'll continue to community-build through weekly events such as Kids Sunday to annual events like the Berawa Food and Wine Festival. Finally, Bali VIP Concierge will give me the opportunity to share how beautiful, special and unique Bali is with a larger collective of friends living overseas. You’re a father of two children. I’m curious: what would the post-dad Robert say to the pre-dad Robert? Great question . . . I truly understand that I am a product of all of the learning experiences, successes and challenges that I have had so far. Having said all that preparedness was lacking when it came to solid financial habits/education. I remember a time when, by my standards, I earned a great deal of money – but instead of investing it or being a great custodian of it – I couldn't get rid of it fast enough! Having a family now has brought me into contact with that, repeatedly. Another one would be being comfortable way sooner to take even greater risks and embrace life fully, to breathe through challenges as the answers always appear. The importance of spending quiet or reflective time in order to tap into your creative flow and finally not to be afraid of feeling seemingly negative emotions. Who is Robert Ian Bonnick when he is being the best he can be? An adventurous, fulfilled, charismatic, free spirited human being who effortlessly attracts to him all resources and materials he needs to move to the next level of creating an incredible life for himself and his family. A man deeply connected to source, who treats everyone the same (which is . . . very well) regardless of their background, skin colour, ideology, religious or political beliefs. A man who makes everyone feel comfortable around him, inspires self-mastery, inner fulfillment and the understanding that transformation is part of who we are and that we can achieve anything. Amen to that. www.robertianbonnick.com

robert ian bonnick was an abandoned child who went from nothing to everything. he spoke to tony stanton about how. photo: otkidach anastasiya styling: angie angorro

soul survivor.




Fiorenzo Nisi – I’m guessing with such a gorgeous name you must be from Italy? Thank you for your compliment! Yes, I am Italian, although I left Italy when I was 29. Since then I have heard many different versions of my name, which I eventually shortened to Fio. Now I get Theo, Rio, Dio . . . I just smile away. What was early life like for you? I grew up in a simple, small town called Forli, near the Adriatic Coast about an hour from Bologna and two hours from Venice. A land of great food, great wine and hard working people with a zest for life. Fellini’s backyard – my hero. And Mussolini’s too – not my hero. My parents were and still are amazing and lovely souls. Honest, with solid values. They always supported my choices, even when those choices defied their logic. They are still happily married after 57 years and in good health and spirit, God bless them. When I was younger I practiced a lot of sports at semi-pro level: volleyball, tennis, soccer, martial arts . . . great fun for me. I also watched too many movies, read everything I could get my hands on, went to epic music concerts and did a lot of clubbing – there’s so many great clubs on the Italian Riviera. My family wasn’t wealthy, so the only way I could afford university was to work, which I did every summer from the age of 11 to 18 . . . I worked at my uncle’s furniture factory, as a bus boy, waiter, bar tender and as a door-to-door salesmen selling encyclopedias, the toughest sales gig ever! Then in 1980 after my national service I got my first full time job with Conde Nast as an advertising agent for Uomo Vogue and Vogue Pelle. I moved to Bologna and then to Milan. Have you always been such a stylish devil? No! I remember when I went for my first interview with Vogue I didn’t own a suit so I showed up wearing an olive green leather bomber jacket (although it was by Armani and I still have it). Underneath I wore a white shirt and a loose tie, kaki pants and cowboy boots. My future boss looked at me doubtfully when I walked in, and he definitely was not impressed. At the end of the interview he said: ‘You’re next meeting will be with the founder and president of Italian Conde Nast in Milan. I suggest if you would like to work for us you wear a tailored suit, English shoes and wear a tie properly.” I followed his advice and got the job. I worked there for almost six years before I moved to Mondadori, the biggest publisher in Italy. I worked for Marie Claire, Panorama, Grazia, Fortune, La Republica . . . those years taught me a thing or two about style. I got to meet everyone in fashion. Was there one event in your young life that changed the way you looked at the world? New York blew me away. I travelled there for the first time in 1986 with the editor of Italian Vogue, Aldo Premoli. I could barely speak English. We were on a Conde Nast gig but I was having such a good time I barely slept a wink, although of course I did the meetings. After the second night I didn’t even bother going back to the hotel, I just turned up in the morning ready to go. Aldo thought I’d been kidnapped or something and had called the police. When did you discover girls? I think they discovered me lol . . . it was often love and passion at first sight, always falling in lust and love over and over again, always chasing that magic feeling when I met someone new. On more than one occasion I moved continents because of love.

What’s the best trip you’ve ever done? Apart from NY it was Mexico and the Palenque jungle. I shot a film about shamanism in the mid-90s and took a few amazing trips there. It wasn’t glamorous but it was magical. I remember we got robbed at gunpoint by a bunch of Mexican bandits. They stole our film, which was devastating. We were lucky to get out alive. When did you discover photography? I started organising and producing fashion shoots in my 20s for Vogue. Working with the editorial department at the magazine kept me in constant touch with creative ideas and I met some great photographers, Hiro, Newton, Avedon. Later I set up a photography production company in Miami with two Italian partners, and finally in 1993 I moved to New York where I represented some great talents. But I always longed to be on the creative side, not on the production and marketing side, so in ’95 I took a leap of faith and went to visual art school to learn the basics of photography and film-making. That’s when I picked up the camera for the first time and found my real passion. I worked on a film/documentary that was requested by HBO and New Line Cinema but after a long wait it didn’t get picked up. I moved to LA to be with my newborn daughter, and then to Bali to repair my bruised ego. I had a garment factory here which gave me a great income but very little professional joy, except when I shot my collections for my lookbook. It wasn’t until 2008 I picked up a camera again. We’ve seen you on some of the brightest red carpets over the years . . . how long have you been snapping the luxe party scene? I took an apartment in Singapore about four years ago, and it started at that time with high society events for Tatler, Passion, Laboutin and Farah Khan. In the last year I’ve been hired for many red carpet events by Xeitgeist Entertainment Group and have shot many film festivals from Canne, Toronto, Zurich and Dubai. I’m just off to the Berlin Film Festival. It’s a fun but demanding job. What’s beauty in a woman? I’m a beauty junkie and all women are amazingly beautiful in a unique way, but for me I think it means a mix of something that transpires from the heart . . . intelligence, serenity, sensuality, confidence, vulnerability, class and style. What’s the toughest shoot you’ve had to do? The last Singapore Film Festival. It was a back-to-back marathon from red carpet to several private events that lasted a week without a break. Part of events photography these days involves social media of course, so I have to edit pics immediately and get them online, even if it’s at 3am. The selfie age. What are you most proud of? My beautiful daughter, without a doubt. But also how I managed to raise her on Bali as a single dad. I’m definitely a proud father. Taking responsibility for her has changed me, and made me a more balanced, happy and caring human being. What do you dream about most often? I dream about going back to live in LA where my daughter is now. I’d love to work full time as a photographer and producer in the film industry. What’s the hardest thing you have ever done? To forgive the people who really hurt me . . . and myself for having hurt them. But when you do, life flows again. Rio, many thanks for your time. Thank you for your great questions. By the way my name is Fio not Rio . . . LMAO! Ha ha ha, you see what we did there?



Rattus norvegicus. left to right: David Iglesias (seated) mac pediri, mark baker, paul hugo, adrian reed, will hayden, shah dillon.


What does it take to succeed in Bali's competitive club scene? we gathered the Rat Pack at seminal speakeasy 40 thieves to discover what it takes become – and stay – bali's street corner boss. images: oscar munar. words: karen donald



all in.


Paul Hugo / Director of Marketing & Events at Hakkasan Group Paul has worked in the entertainment business for the last 30 years promoting festivals for up to 50,000 people. Inspired by the birth of acid house in the UK, he promoted seminal Bristol clubs and raves before a move to London introduced him to the international club scene. Aligning himself with UK super club GodsKitchen, Paul led their international division for the best part of the next 15 years. He was also instrumental in the growth of festival brand GlobalGathering, one of the first multi-day music festivals in the UK. Paul first visited Indonesia in 2003 bringing Armin van Buuren to Jakarta for a Godskitchen event, one of the first major outdoor dance music events, attracting 15,000 people. Shortly after arriving in Bali he joined the Hakkasan team as Director of Marketing and launched OMNIA & Sake no Hana Bali. Paul now oversees all of Hakkasan Group’s projects in Indonesia. “I have always made it a priority to learn as much as possible about the local culture when entering new international markets”, Paul says. “To understand the nuances that are not necessarily obvious on the surface but are deeply important when conducting business in different countries is essential to genuine success. Also having the ability to be flexible and adapt your brand (whilst maintaining core values) is essential. Dare to do things differently, push boundaries, don’t accept can’t as an answer. Most of all, I try to be grateful every day for the opportunities I have, and always do my best.” Adrian Reed / Tropicola Beach Club Founder of Tropicola Beach Club, Adrian Reed first arrived here on regular surfing holidays with his parents. Adrian’s creation Tropicola is a beautiful spacious venue with reminiscent of an Ibiza beach holiday. It’s equipped with swimming pools and three bars that serve all the piña coladas one could possibly want, accompanied by mindblowing sunsets and top quality food. With killer music Tropicola is a beach club with a big personality. Adrian says: “You need to be an extraordinary leader, and what makes an extraordinary leader is someone who leads by example with lots of compassion, love and understanding, with an extremely strong mindset where there is no such thing as ‘wrong’, which allows everyone within the business to be motivated firstly to innovate with no fear so that what they do will have no consequence if it’s wrong. That is a significant quality for most leaders.” Mark Baker / OMNIA Bali Mark became Britain’s first-ever professional skateboarder in the ’70s – a member of the legendary Dogtown crew from Venice, California. He was at the forefront of international nightlife and lifestyle trends for over 30 years, owning and operating some of the world’s most legendary and prestigious restaurants, clubs, lounges and supper

clubs including Lotus and Double 7. He is currently the “Ambassador of Fun” at OMNIA Bali, as well as founder of Beachgarden Organic Kitchen and In the Raw, Bali’s very first cold-pressed juice company. “To succeed in the nightclub business takes nothing less than 100 percent commitment and a ‘Never give up’ attitude”, explains Mark. “One day you’ve got the hottest club in the world, the next it’s yesterday’s news! It’s a brutal business and lifestyle and certainly not for everyone. You have to be on all the time, there’s little rest and it’s tough on relationships. Most don’t survive in our world. ‘You’re only good as your last party’ is a good motto to remember when you think you’re the boss. But when it all comes together and your party or club is going off, there’s nothing in the world quite like it.” Will Hayden / Mexicola Group Will Hayden is Marketing Manager for Mexicola Group, which includes Mexicola, Da Maria and Luigi’s Hot Pizza. Motel Mexicola hit the scene during 2013 as a unique venue offering good times and authentic Mexican food all fuelled by great tequila. Co-Founder Nicolaza Que Pasa created a wild slice of Mexico and it was an overnight sensation, with beautiful clean lines and bright colours nestled amongst the coco palms and glassy swells of Seminyak. “Marketing has always been my passion," states Will. “I have been blessed to experience a 360-degree view of business during my career development – back in my country Costa Rica, then in New York and now in Bali. I’ve worked in advertising, production, sales, entertainment, and I’ve been the client – this has given me an opportunity to understand the business as a whole. If you want your brand to be successful you have to be your brand’s number one fan – you breathe it, you Iive it, with passion – that way you become your brand’s target, and then you know exactly how to build it up.” Mac Pedari / ShiShi Asian Bistro & Nightclub Born and raised in Dubai, U.A.E, and originating from Iran, Mac continued his studies and work experience in Miami before heading to Europe and extending his knowledge within the media and hospitality industry in Rome and Stockholm – where he also opened an advertising company and a solarium franchise. Since moving to Bali in 2008 Mac has been actively managing, consulting and owning several nightclubs. His first bar was Ma In Lo, in Kuta, which became a direct hit. Next came Mbargo, VIP and the first pure electronic music venue, Mint. Soon after he opened the late night club Pyramid which held a capacity of 1000 pax every weekend and became everyone's late night destination. Opium was his next venture along with their signature Full Moon beach parties then Mac headed to Sky Garden as a consultant and Red Ruby Bali before opening Rebenga Lounge & Kitchen. His latest project is ShiShi Bali in Petitenget. “I believe in leadership, hard work, knowledge, networking,

and patience”, says Mac. “Being able to offer a great service, fully understand the local culture and have the ability to train staff, with good legal and government connections – these are some of the key factors required to succeed in the nightlife business in Indonesia.” David Iglesias / El Kabron Forty-year-old David Iglesias arrived in Bali as a young entrepreneur in 2003, and after spending a few years enjoying the good life he and his partners founded El Kabron in 2011. He was running El Kabron until January 2018 when he took a break to focus on his two babies. Now his brother Jesus and the new management are running the new El Kabron: inspired by Spanish cuisine and ambience. The unique restaurant and hedonism lounge concept is located in the heart of Uluwatu and is known for hosting parties with no expense spared – including make up artists, dancers, fire-eaters, fireworks, magical sunsets, and top notch DJ’s. According to David “There are many ways to succeed as a quick one-off business. But the key to long-lasting success – especially when the competition is growing very fast – is to keep yourself surrounded by a great team and evolve faster than the others without loosing the roots that brought you to the top in the first place.” Shah Dillon / 40 Thieves 40 Thieves Club is the first installation of the Midnight Brigade Group of Boutique and Bespoke Concepts. The brainchild and sole proprietor Shah Dillon – a Singaporean/Malay native started off bartending when he was just 16 years old. With so much love and passion for the trade, he quit school and decided to pursue the drink-slinging profession. With over 10 years experience in the craft, and working in some of the most highly regarded establishments in Singapore, Shanghai and Sydney, Shah finally emptied his savings and made the dream a reality – the 40 Thieves Club was born! According to Shah: “To succeed in this kind of business you must build the relationship first, then build the business: this is something I strongly believe in. You can have the best decor, concept, and product, but without building a relationship and a connection with the community and any guest that walks through the door, it will feel just like any other bar with no soul. "Remember the guests name, remember his favourite seat, remember his favourite drink or make him the drink before he orders. The bartender, the waitress, the parking guy, everyone has to think as one. Fly them out for a guest shift at other cocktail bars around the world and expose them to the bartending community. My bars are a bit different than the other boys in the group, mine is a speakeasy small bar concept, so it’s a small team and heavily focused on the product, concept and personality: hence that’s what I feel it takes to succeed.”


interwho Sometimes you have to nearly die to be reborn – Christina Iskandar riffs with David Murrell about art, film, and love of life. self portrait by D.M.

essential murrell.


David, where do your roots lie? I was born in the Hunter Valley, New South Wales, and grew up in New Zealand, then Queensland and Sydney, then I lived and worked all over the world for 14 years . . . and had an amazing time! Favourite cities I have lived in are Barcelona, Paris, London, New York, Hong Kong – they all have a pulsing energy and, most importantly, contrast. Tell us what happened to you at 34, whe your likfe took a turn. I was in Jakarta in hospital with dengue fever and I asked for a CT scan as six months before I had had some dizzy spells . . . and they found a brain tumour the size of an orange. I was working around the world as a photographer and director and suddenly BOOM! Life changer. Grade 4 glioblastoma multiform and a few months to live, documented by you, what was going through your head at the time and why did you find the need to film it yourself? What was going through my head – a giant tumour. As a director I thought, “wow this is surreal, this is going to be an amazing story that could help many people” and with my positivity and strength of character I would hopefully help others to fight life’s big challenges. By sharing an extremely difficult and intimate story with the world – combined with a bit of rock & roll – it is a story about cancer. The feedback thus far has been amazing from people from all walks of life. I picked up my iPhone and started filming myself because I didn’t have a film crew with me. Film crews and producers came later and are helping me finish the project. A challenging journey to say the least, how has it changed you? It has been a difficult journey with highs and lows but I am a warrior at heart and I will fight to the bitter, beautiful, sweet, happy/sad end! It has only made me stronger in mind, body and spirit. It has also made me more aware of the fragility and beauty of life. Tell us why you chose Bali? I had been coming here for years and thought it would be a good place to recover. I love the place. Can you tell us a little bit about your appearance on Australian Story (a package by the national broadcaster that profiles prominent/interesting Australians) and what’s going on with National Geographic. I have been interviewed on Australian Story and they used some footage from my documentary. The documentary itself will be aired as eight

one-hour episodes in Australia and NZ going to air in March 2015 on National Geographic Channel with many more countries to follow. The style of documentary is real – highs, lows, some rock & roll and plenty of fun. I am a candid person and have been able to laugh at myself and my experience. But there obviously have been heavy, deep moments . . . shared with family and friends. Are you using your experience as an example for other cancer sufferers and how are you doing that? Yes I am doing that with my film and I hope that it will open doors to allow me to speak to people about my experience with cancer. But this is just a small part of my life and it doesn’t define who I am and my future plans . . . it is just a part of a much bigger story. Do you consider yourself a spiritual person? I do consider myself a spiritual person. I believe that energy primarily is what encompasses our body and how we reflect that. How we balance and use it is a whole other thing. We all go through good and bad days but how we dispel negative thoughts and emotions with meditation/ energy work etc is what helps and defines us. Fear is a useless emotion in life, as is hate. A man named Tim Strachan has helped me immensely with this practice. Once a top fashion photographer and director in Sydney, you have worked all over the world, are you still in the same industry? Yes and I’m still loving being creative. I am an artist by nature – I paint, conceptualise photo shoots, direct film/video . . . in Bali it may be on a smaller scale than some places I have lived but it’s what wakes me up in the middle of the night and I grab my journal and start scribbling ideas down. I always dreamed of making films but I never thought the first big one would be “Davie Wants to Live”. Bali is a great place to create – I still do a lot of personal art works and am planning an exhibition of them soon. Stay tuned . . . What inspires you and why? Everything. Cinema; art; literature; poetry; my beautiful family and friends; asymmetry; nature; the ocean. Why . . . one life no rehearsals. “This is not a drill,” has been my mantra for 20-plus years. David Murrel in 10 years? Living the dream; spreading good energy; creating art and film; surfing and riding horses . . . for starters . . . www.davidmurrell.com












Michael R. Lorenti Jr. started Sensatia Botanicals as a profit sharing company. “I never agreed with the idea of a few fat cats making all the money while everyone else gets whatever’s left,” he tells Stephanie Mee.


Hi Michael. First of all, a blast from the past – where did you grow up and what was your childhood like? I grew up in a small western New York town, 20 minutes down-stream from where the great Niagara Falls puts on her amazing, tireless show. My father was very hard working and instilled creativity, ingenuity, passion and determination in me, while my mother instilled sensitivity, unconditional love and respect for all things, with extra compassion for those less fortunate than us. Both my parents always emphasized fairness in every situation, a readiness to fight for what’s right, and to always, without question, adore and respect nature. Have you always been in the botanicals game or did you seek other career paths first? I’m actually a photographer by trade, but growing up with an Italian grandfather, who was always (literally) stopping to smell the roses, I gained vast exposure to all types of plant life. He was a self-proclaimed chef who was always proud of his botanical collection of herbs and spices. So I would say it’s in my genetic make-up. How did you end up in Bali, and what made you stay? Cities seem to have a way of driving me to my wits end, but the silver lining is that they always force me to flight. This last flight brought me half way around the world to find my garden of Eden in Jasri, Karangasem, a delicious little no-frills, black sand beach and fishing village with a group of folks that have turned into the brothers I never had. This is where Sensatia was born. What planted the seed for Sensatia Botanicals? The Balinese are a very proud group of people; they have history and to offer up a sad story is not their style. But I can tell you I have shed many a tear from stories of the lack of simple, basic human needs. Things we take for granted like food, water and shelter are often unattainable for some folks. This is what brought me to start Sensatia Botanicals as a profit-sharing company, and a means by which we can siphon a small bit of the world’s affluence into this little village the world has forgotten, or perhaps never even knew about. The company was founded in 2000. Can you tell us about the early years? What were the main challenges at first? The main challenge in the beginning was definitely working capital. I started this company with just $3,000 and a crew of two, so it was difficult trying to keep it all together with inadequate work space, and hard to buy good supplies and raw materials and get them into the country. What sets the company apart from other cosmetic companies? I think what sets us apart not only from other cosmetic companies but from most companies in general is that from day one we set up this company to be a profit-sharing cooperation, and to this day it still remains proudly as such. I never agreed with the idea of a few fat cats making all the money while everyone else gets whatever’s left. We are also less about hype and more about delivering what we promise. We create wonderfully clean, simple, rich products from excellent raw materials sourced from all over the world, and then create a corresponding fair price, not the other way around. Sensatia is the first and only GMP certified cosmetic company in Bali. Can you tell us what exactly that means and how you achieve that status? GMP stands for Good Manufacturing Practice. Once achieved, GMP Certification is proof of a company’s transparency and accountability, and you can essentially track and trace every single drop of every single material that has ever entered or left the GMP Certified facility. Most people are amazed to

learn that a company in Bali uses this international standard, and that every single raw material and every single batch of every product we produce is tested in our lab before it can be allowed to enter or exit our facility. Sensatia makes a huge range of natural skincare, hair care, and lifestyle products. Can you name a few products you absolutely can’t go without? Any Sensatia Leisure body wash, because they are all awesome. I used to be such a bar soap guy, but our body wash has brought me over to the liquid side. I also couldn’t live without our Coconut & Vanilla face scrub, Facial C-Serum and our Sea & Surf Sunscreen. In fact, this is the only sunscreen I can use that doesn’t make me break out in pimples. And for the mozzies, our Lemongrass Botanical Lotion can always be found in my bag. In your opinion, what makes a person truly beautiful? Wow, great question. To me a person’s beauty is not something you see but something you feel. A beautiful person is not afraid to be themself, even if silly. They try new things and remain positive even in the darkest of times, and their default answer to everything is yes rather than no. A beautiful person is present, sincere, humble and grateful. What you feel inside is what shows on the outside. When you’re not designing new products or managing operations, we can find you doing what? Well if I’m not at the beach, or looking for cool places in areas of Bali I haven’t been to before, or up on the rooftop gym with the boys, then I’m probably up to something with a crew of people in the village. I’ve lived in this village for almost 19 years now and have sort of become a permanent fixture. Hanging out with the Bali crew never gets old to me. They are fine, gentle, humorous people who love to joke and play tricks on each other. What’s not to love? Every time we check into the Sensatia Facebook & Instagram page, we see fab deals happening. What are the latest Sensatia promotions going on? Currently in all Sensatia shops when you spend Rp1.000.000 you receive a Rp100.000 Sensatia Cash Voucher to be used the same as cash on your next visit. You can collect as much Sensatia Cash as you can and literally come shopping for free. There are currently Sensatia shops in Jasri Karangasem, Ubud Monkey Forest, Seminyak Village, Bali Collection Nusa Dua, Lippo Mall Kuta and now Popular Deli Canggu. Do you plan to expand abroad at any point? Absolutely. Our first major move will be to work with our distributors overseas to set up one model shop at a time to sell shop licenses to other parties. A franchise concept I suppose, though I hate that word. The exciting part is that many people in this country have already asked us to open shops in other parts of Indonesia like Jakarta, Surabaya and Semarang. Finally, a look to the future – where do you see yourself in 15 years? As I look up at the calendar on my computer to see what year it is again I am reminded of a funny story. When I first came to this part of the island I stayed at a Balinese surf buddy’s house. One day after a morning surf I rocked into the house to get some grub that my friend’s mom cooked up daily and I caught my friend’s dad staring at the calendar. I finally said, “Pak, why have you been looking at the calendar for so long?” He said, “Well I’m just trying to figure out what year it is.” I burst out laughing and said to myself, “This is the place for me.” To me that is perfect – just living in the now. But 15 years? Less in the office and more at the beach in the surf with the biggest decision of the day being snapper or mackerel.



people material man.


Etienne de Souza designs fine furniture – combining rich and earthy materials with a broad imagination and an eagle eye for style . . . writes Laurie Osborne. photo: lukas vrtilek.

ETIENNE, how would you describe your creative process? It’s always exploration. Natural materials are just like books. You have to cut them to read them, and then you get the right inspiration. If it talks to you, then you become friends. It’s turning something raw into something very sophisticated. This is the point. When you have inspiration, you must sketch it down immediately. It’s like flashes. If you don’t do it, it’s lost. It’s like you’ve received a gift and you say, “no, I’m sorry, I’m sleeping”. You can’t close your doors. What are you working on at the moment? I am preparing an exhibition for Jakarta at the end of October. I don’t say I’m at work. I say, “I’m at my dreams.” It’s the same thing when you go to a restaurant and have a meal. The chef dreams things, and the creation is what the chef has been dreaming of. You cannot put dreams on the side, and work on the side, and life on the side. They are connected. What first brought you to Bali? Eighteen years ago, I was having dinner with a friend of mine called Edward Tuttle. Ed’s an architect who has designed a number of Aman hotels. I was doing some jewellery work in Bangkok, and I told him that I was having some trouble. In Paris, I could not find the right ebony and some precious woods. He said, “Come on, Etienne, just take a flight and go to Bali.” Well, after two months here, I flew back to Paris and closed down my business. Just like that? Yes, because the appeal of the raw natural material cannot stop you, especially for addicts like me. You open these materials, and it’s like magic. Discovering these materials made me think, why not leave Paris behind? My friends didn’t understand, and thought it was a crazy idea. You have success and a social life, they said, why go to a small island where there is nothing? I tell you, I made the right choice. So, what are the raw materials that drew you here? First of all, there’s mother of pearl. Then there’s buffalo horn, and an abundant variety of sea-shells. We don’t touch the ones that are endangered and we do a lot of recycling. I wanted to have a workshop because I don’t like to stick to a specific drawing. You have more and more ideas when you work with a team. Every day we try

to go a step forward. When we started, it took three years to train them to a standard of international luxury. I love them . . . they are very patient. Without them, there’s nothing. How long does it take you and your team to produce a piece? The minimum is three months. Clients sometimes ask for a shorter timeframe, and I tell them that I’m sorry, I cannot do it. There is a process. You cannot break the rules of art. Otherwise, you might as well go and buy what is already available in the street. Speaking of which, do you have many imitators? At the beginning yes. My first collection was with Linda Garland. She said, “come on, make some money and put your pieces in some hotels”. A year later, there were imitations on the streets of Seminyak so I took all of my work back from the hotels, and upgraded the technique. Where in the world do your finished pieces end up today? Everything is for export, and pieces go everywhere: New York, Miami, San Francisco, China, Hong Kong. One client wanted a very extravagant table for a yacht. For the last eight years, we’ve been doing furniture with Peter Marino, who is a big star architect in New York. He trusts me and gave me work for Louis Vuitton and Chanel. Your home is incredible, by the way. How long have you been here? Since 1999. It was left abandoned. It had become a jungle and nobody wanted it; they didn’t have the energy to refurbish it. I love the garden, it’s so inspiring. The elements of nature are so important because we cannot live outside of them. You sound like you might be a surfer too? I’m not, but my children like to surf. In life, any positive action without expectation comes back to you hundreds and thousands of times over. I adopted my two children when they were seven and three years old. Now, they are becoming incredible human beings. They will spread the positive action. This is what I love. www.etiennedesouza.com




We’re on Bali. So, first question – do you surf? I do, but I don’t. I mean I generally do surf a bit. But not here on Bali, because I had other things that kept me busy. Like the ear infection that was bugging me throughout my time here. But over time I started to enjoy it, ’cause I know I’m gonna be back to Russia and it’s gonna be over, all the poor tiny tropical bacteria will just freeze to death. Okay, now to the serious part. We know you got a part in the fourth season of Game of Thrones. Who’s your character? I don’t want to spoil it for you, and I’m also bound by the nondisclosure stuff. So the only thing I can tell you is what’s already out in the public: I’m playing Styr, Magnar of Thenns, one of the Wildling tribes. What’s so wild about you then? Oh, cut the prejudice crap. Who told you that a Wildling has to be wild? Maybe we’re the intelligentsia tribe from behind the wall. By the way, intelligentsia is one of the very few words Russians have introduced into the English language. Russians haven’t really given Hollywood too many actors either. Have you acted in an international production before? Your info is outdated. There are more and more Russians in American movies these days. I guess it’s because we are becoming a rather significant market, so big producers know they can boost a local box office by using the local actors. And everyone starts realising we are not communists any more. Actually, I already went on to conquer L.A. right after I graduated from an acting school. Didn’t go too well I assume? Slept a few times on Malibu beach. You know, it’s more quiet than Santa Monica. It was there that I fell in love with the ocean, and felt the drag to go to the big water ever since. Is that where they found you for the audition? Yeah, I got approved for the part 10 years ago, but it took them some time to build a proper show around me. Some scale they got there . . . A thousand people running around in funny clothes hitting each other with sticks and an actual wall of ice one kilometer tall – you

Does anyone watch it in Russia? Surprisingly, yes. We didn’t have HBO by the time I started shooting, but it turned out that through any means possible so many people are carefully watching the fight for the Iron Throne. Enough of the promo stuff. What brought you to Bali? As you might be aware, it’s pretty damn cold in the long Russian winters. So every year I’m trying to free up my schedule a bit and have some time with the sun. I like Asia, but I’ve never been to Bali before. And everyone’s so crazy about this place, so I thought I should give it a try. Well, how’d find it? I love it! The nature’s amazing. And the people are so open and friendly, smiling all the time and stuff like that. A nice change from the grim Russian folks back at home. And the food is just great! I can’t stop eating here. And then there’s the ear bacteria… What was your ‘thing’ here? Did you party? Do yoga? Craft furniture? A little bit of everything. But mostly I just ate and ate. I tried not to get out of the villa, ’cause it’s so nice there, with the rice paddy view and stuff. I did start to play tennis here though. Something I might consider making a habit of. I actually came here with my daughters, we all had our birthdays here, three, eight and 33. So I was trying to be a good dad and spending as much time with them as possible, which doesn’t happen that often with actors. And that was such a great experience, something I’m most grateful to Bali for. Everyone absolutely loved it here. I just hope they don’t get depressed when we get back home. Because I might.

call that a scale? Of course it’s freaking huge. That’s the biggest show in the universe, after all. I was very lucky to get involved with this project. It’s a great honor for me to work with all these talented people. From costume designers to actors and showrunners – these are some of the finest men and women in the industry. And everyone’s so passionate about what they do, it’s no wonder this show is such a hit.



interwho interwho

Stephane Sensey – talented interior designer, passionate photographer – talks to rosie andres about life, art and living the dream. portrait by irezz pratama. japan images by Stephane sensey.

Stephane, how did you end up in Bali? I came for the first time in 2004 just for a vacation. When I got home to France. I decided quickly that I wanted to move here. I was fascinated with the life and the simple beauty of Bali. In many ways it’s like Bali found me. Moving just felt natural. So you’ve been here for quite a while . . . how was it back then compared to now? I started working in a small office space on Oberoi Street before the strip became what it is today. Before all the shops and luxurious hotels appeared there were only rice fields around in every direction. And now it’s like Oberoi Street has become the Champs Ellysée of Bali. Can you tell us how you came to start your own interior design brand? I guess the fact that my father is an interior designer – and started the first Sensey showroom in 1969 – has had a huge influence on me. I always followed him everywhere, learning by doing. Every summer I’d be chasing my father’s heels around to shows and fairs in Paris, and to the factory, taking in as much as I could. What makes your line of interior design stand out? We produce and export furniture, art, lighting and accessories in classic

French style, mainly from the Louis XV and Louis XVI era, using textures and textiles with patterns and luxurious vintage designs. And then I give it my own touch. It stands out because it’s unique and totally different from what anyone else is doing, especially here in Bali where it’s mostly about copying. We are focused on quality and innovative designs, the concept being to add to the interior of a space in a stylish and elegant manner. Where do you take your inspiration from? Everywhere. Life . . . in simple and beautiful ways. There is so much to see – colours, things happening. Compared to the stressful life back home, Bali is such a refreshing environment to be in. I don’t think I could ever feel not inspired . . . because there is so much going on. The thing is, when you live in Bali, I think your daily life is easier . . . it’s supposed to be easier. So I can understand that you can’t find inspiration when you live in a city, which destroys everything. Everywhere I go I see something and I don’t have to go looking for it. It just comes naturally. If you ever did feel uninspired, how would you pull yourself out of it? Concerning my work, I have a certain style. And I always follow my style. And what do you do when you're bored? You know, I’m pretty busy. I have three warehouses and one shop and we’ve got a lot going on so I don’t have time to get bored.


petite japan.


interwho interwho

heavy metal metropolis.



Describe your style in five words. Elegant. Simple. Sober. Refined. Unique. What is your educational background? I went to school in Seattle, but didn’t really like it. A friend of mine who I’d holidayed with in Spain the previous year – taking snapshots all around the countryside with a not-very-good camera – invited me to come visit him in San Francisco and I decided I wanted to move there. I phoned my parents and told them I wanted to move to S.F. and take photography classes, and so I did. When it comes to interior design, the base of my knowledge and my taste comes from my father and the fact that my mother was an impressionist painter also had its effect. So you paint too? I used to, but I’m not doing so right now. I just don’t have the time to involve myself in painting like I’d love to do, but one day . . . I’m more focused on the interior design and I really enjoy photography, which is my passion and pastime. The furniture and interior design is more commercial and the photography is personal. My goal with taking photos is to create an emotion, a reaction from the viewer. To share my feelings by capturing the essence of a moment and portraying what I see. When did your journey as a photographer begin? After I took the photography classes in San Francisco, but it was more of a hobby up until the year before I moved to Bali. The real passion for photography came when I was involved in creating a book on my hometown, Biarritz. As the editorial director overseeing the project – which took almost a year – I had to pick and organise and learn what makes a good photograph. Ultimately I learnt that the most important thing to focus on as a photographer is the background. And what is your style of photography? Natural spontaneous scenarios. Everywhere I go I always take my camera with me. I love black and white. Probably 90 per cent of my work is black and white. “Colour is the reality, black and white is the truth” – I think these words are from Henri Cartier-Bresson? I love being the director of my own art work. It gives freedom to my style, whether that is in interior design or in photography. Using colours, dealing with people and the atmosphere all come together to define the details that finally give value to the whole concept. Have you exhibited your work outside of Bali? I’ve had several exhibitions here, but also in Kazakhstan. And I have some more projects still in the negotiation stage. The last few years, I’ve been travelling a lot. I’ve been to Cambodia, India, America, Hong Kong, Singapore, China and Europe. It’s what I like to do to escape my daily life and work. I heard rumours that you DJ as well? I only DJ once a year but I love it. I love music and enjoy listening to it but I’ve never been interested in creating music myself. So, besides having three warehouses and one shop, what are your plans for expansion in the future? We have 10 projects in the making. Being in Bali is the perfect place for meeting people and networking. It is like a fair and so many people from all over the world come here to buy and produce furniture. But we are working on expanding and opening up new shops. www.stephanesensey.com



hug me baby.


interview andrew e. Hall catches up with motivational speaker, stuntman, magician and escapologist, scott hammell, for a few tips on what not to do with your life. photo anthony dodds.


Picture this . . . A steel vessel originally designed to hold 17 gallons (about 64 litres) of milk – a milk churn – is filled with water. A man is handcuffed with three pairs of the restraints around his wrists. He is helped into the churn by some assistants through a narrow opening at the top – taking a deep breath as his head is pushed under the slosh. A lid is placed on top and fastened in place with six padlocks. The handcuffed man is in an upright foetal position in the dark. He is expected to escape from his predicament. But in the anticipation and adrenalin-rush of contemplating such a stunt a lapse of concentration has occurred . . . his arms are pointing upward instead of downward.

And to that end Scott is also a motivational speaker for the Me to We organisation, and was recently on Bali as a keynote speaker at a Global Issues Network conference. “I was inspiring young people to make a change on a local level or even on a global level, and to start thinking about the social elements in their day-to-day lives that they might not normally think about,” he says. “My whole approach is to use what you’re passionate about to make a difference in the world. “For me, a magician, that might seem like a bit of a stretch but you attach something unique to it and people seem to dig it.”

Unfortunately his assistants outside have not properly assigned the various keys to their padlock partners – they fumble as the seconds tick down . . . the claustrophobic darkness presses in, inviting panic.

Scott’s passion in this respect is trying to develop strategies to turn around the environmental devastation visited upon the global community by those with a vested interest in destroying environments for profit. A pressing issue for Indonesia at this point, albeit not so much for her relevant authorities, is the clear-felling of the country’s rainforests for the palm oil industry . . . and the consequent eradication of the habitats of some of the rarest and most endangered animals in the world.

Who would be a professional escapologist?

Not to mention the displacement of indigenous human populations.

Scott Hammell (a 28-year-old Canadian) got out of that one . . . just. He is able to hold his breath for up to five minutes.

Scott cites the same kind of environmental tragedy taking place as we speak in the Amazon.

“Have you got a few ’roos loose in the top paddock?” I ask.

“You know we have tidal power, geothermal energy, the sun that we can collect energy from, but it doesn’t seem like that is the focus of a lot of people’s attention right now – they’d rather suck all the oil out . . .”

He cannot free himself. He cannot breathe. He bangs on the underside of the lid.

Scott smiles and shrugs a bit – he gets the analogy because his partner is an Australian woman. One of Scott’s signature stunts is to escape from a straight jacket while suspended upside down – at times dangling from underneath a hot air balloon. To perform this stunt one has to be able to dislocate one’s shoulder . . . Does it hurt? “Yes,” he says, “putting it back in hurts more than dislocating it . . . but once you’ve done it a number of times all the rotator cuff muscles get torn which makes it easier – which sucks but it’s good for me in a sense because I sometimes do it three times a day, five days a week. “My mum always says, ‘don’t you want to be able to lift your children’ ?” Doesn’t need to . . . Scott’s also a magician – he can levitate them. On one occasion Scott got into another pickle whilst attempting an escape while dangling from a bungy cord underneath a balloon. Someone forgot to read the instructions for the specialised bungy boots (takes two people to fasten them, not one) and as the balloon floated above a concrete runway they caught on the balloon basket . . . which is a bit of a worry when you’re inverted in a straight jacket and the crew can’t haul you back in.

People or policy-makers, I ask? “That is a very important distinction to make . . . I think the social consciousness of the people is changing and it’s at the forefront now, but the policy-makers have the money behind them,” Scott says. “Education is a huge issue and is the cornerstone of any change. “I’ve done development work in Kenya and you can see the differences between two types of villages . . . a village with an education system in place and one without – the ambition of the kids, level of awareness and consciousness, and even the levels of hygiene and health are vastly different.” Scott and I juggled the various notions of healthcare and how important it is – in concert with education – in lieu of the recent debacle in the United States where the nation was held to ransom by a few conservative hardliners. Canada has a national public healthcare system, as does Australia. “One of the recent stunts that I did I had severe second-degree burns to my hands and I was in a plastic surgeon’s office, and had regular follow-ups and was never billed for it,” Scott says.

Scott got away with that one too . . . without the balloon landing on his head.

Now, I know you’re wondering, “what’s he done this time”?

His hero and inspiration for these peculiar acts is, of course, the legendary Harry Houdini.

So, I’ll let him answer you . . .

“He was a master of pushing the envelope . . . and a master of looking at something and saying, ‘I shouldn’t be inside that but I want to and see if I can figure out how to escape’,” Scott says.

Nut bag!

It didn’t end well for Harry. Scott admires a number of his contemporaries as well, including David Blaine. “So have you ever contemplated getting yourself frozen in a block of ice?” I ask. “There are a few David Blaine-style endurance stunts that I’m working on redoing but my angle on them is instead of doing a stunt just for the sake of doing it there has to be some sort of social reason for it,” Scott says. “For instance, I lived in a glass box in downtown Toronto for a week and challenged the city to make me disappear by bringing canned food donations and piling them up around me. Then we’d give the food to the food banks.

“I was juggling live explosives.”

Bloody lucky he’s not an American – it would have cost him a small fortune. Seriously friends, Scott Hammell is a complex human being – affable, and undeniably ballsy, with a broad social conscience and ready wit. Slightly demented perhaps. He holds the record for the world’s fastest moving card trick – which involves jumping out of a perfectly good aeroplane. You can watch it on YouTube. And you can also hear this incredibly bright man on the Me to We website. I guarantee you will not be bored. I am happy to say that most of his stunts and tricks pass without any injury to himself or others – his latest one is swallowing a bunch of sewing needles and then a length of thread . . .

“So some sort of social context instead of, ‘here I am, look at me, aren’t I great’.” 49


Who is this guy, making a showing without anyone knowing? Sixteen years behind the scenes with the Hu'u bali, the man who created the Jalan Petitinget explosion. salvador bali reports.

The silence is broken . . . Sean Lee, age 40, I have one brother and am married with two children. Born in Singapore and have been in Bali for 12 years. What was your educational background? Magna Cum Laude College, Washington D.C., U.S.A., I went there because I wasn’t exactly your textbook kid. I was the kid who was more interested in staring at the sky. Be that as it may, I got it together and majored in international finance. That leads me to family background . . . My mother and my father are Singaporean; it’s a professional family with 10 doctors, a smattering of bankers and veterinarian’s as well. Dad comes from a professional background and my mother comes from a business background. So you were the rebel without a clause. I spent the last 10 years finding a clause; now I think I’ve found it. When you came to Bali, was that an escape route? I was a banker down in Raffles Place in Singapore – fund management – wasn’t quite interested in that, and when a job opportunity came up in Jakarta to set up something different I decided to take it. So the opportunity came up and I took on a job setting up a liquor company to distribute and import, that’s how I ended up in Indonesia. During that time I invested in the Hu'u Bali in Singapore. That was in 1998, I was 26, and my alumni wanted a bar we were used to. I was making good money as an investment banker, and that was the first pre-club bar in Asia. So we actually created the bar scene as we know it today. That’s how the Lychee Martini came about. We kind of hoodwinked the Singaporean government to rent us a place in the museum saying that we would set up a jazz bar. So you being the humble sponge here created history? So it would appear (laughs). What do you think about the boom on Jalan Petitinget since the Hu'u Bali first opened?


I think that all cities that are doing good, people see progress, success attracts success. I think it’s great, the market’s going to expand, it’s getting wider, everyone keeps it elegant, and that’s the way to go. So you’re happy with the situation? I’ve always been half mad anyway. We tend to do our own thing and hopefully we get it right. Here you are now, this is your first interview, and you never spoke to anyone before . . . why now? Well, because you’re my friend. I think it’s always good to be low profile; I tend to be a little bit Asian in that sense, we like to be, let’s say, the proof is in the pudding. I’m more concerned about making my pudding good. Sometimes when you’re busy, grinding and chipping away, you don’t have time to give interviews. At the beginning business at the Hu'u Bali was very slow . . . That was a time when I was doing a lot of other things and then about five years ago I decided to concentrate on that and make it work. In this business you have to put in your passion, sweat and your gut to get it going. I’m away from home half the time, so, of course it’s tough. Your family is in Singapore, so you’re in and out constantly? Absolutely, so it’s not easy operating in club land, there’s got to be a lot of trust. Have you got it down now to a system? Yeah I do, I mean there’s a certain degree of delegation, but in terms of strategy, concepts and vision, one still has to be there. On the concept of visions, you started off wanting a jazz concept, now it’s mainstream DJs, do you have plans to take that further? At the end of the day there’s one thing I learned as an investment banker or as a fund manager, it’s not what I think, it’s really what the market thinks. We try to give the market what they want, of course aligning our vision. With that and a little dose of creativity, a little bit of thinking out of the box.

A lot of people aren’t aware that the Hu'u Bali is not just a DJ rockin’ bar, but fine dining downstairs as well? It was Hu'u Bali, but that has changed to Baba’s, what’s that all about? Baba’s is a creole concept about the mixed heritage of the overseas Chinese or Indian or Portuguese who made their home in Asia over the past hundred or two hundred years. The cuisine that we bring in is of mixed heritage. You’re open now for breakfast, lunch and dinner? Yes, because it’s going to be part of the food at Hu'u Bali Villas Seminyak which is now in process adjoining the Hu'u Bali, so it’s a main food element. Villas all around the club, what kind of an establishment is that? I see Bali as the one true holiday island in Asia. A lot of like-minded people came here and called it home. I draw parallel’s with all the holiday islands in Europe, like Mykonos, Ibiza and Santorini. I look at Bali as the lead in Asia and for people who party pretty hard. What are the villas going to consist of ? I am like any visionary, building to what I know best and I think the villas encompass the vibe and the feel of everything that I want in a villa. Basically it’s what I think we should all live in Bali . . . I think Bali is good for a few more projects, but we’ll see, I don’t want to be accused of being adding to the overcrowding. I think while being motivated we should face ourselves. Things are moving pretty fast here. The vision for Bali, when we moved here, was to build a kick-ass bar, kick-ass martinis, and be able to say hi to a cow, and that’s what we did – built an open-air style building surrounded in the paddies, tried to be far away from people. What’s your philosophy? If you try to do something, you gotta love it.


the Hu'u's sean lee.



Tim adams — bespectacled and tattoo-sleeved rockabilly man-about-town — runs the cozy (and raucous) new watering hole, Mantra.

So Tim, how did you find your way to Bali? I was approached to help out with the Potato Head project, so I helped lay some roots with that project and then while I was here, I uh … met my wife, and yeah the rest is history. I was based in Jakarta at that point but was bouncing back and forth to Bali. Did you always know you would end up in this line of work? I remember when I was 15 years old, I was in a room with a good friend and she was predicting that I would end up doing bars and nightclubs, and I thought it was really funny because academically I was pretty successful and studied political science. But when I had the fortune to move to Paris I got the opportunity to open a bar. So I opened a bar at a very young age, at the age of 20, and it was a good location and became a very popular bar, and gave me a good reputation in Paris and it just kind of started from there. Did your family have anything to do with this direction? My mother had a very prominent restaurant in New York and I grew up around that, but you know everyone ends up trying to do the opposite of what their parents are doing, and that’s why I studied political science. I worked in a plethora of industries, from movies to branding and doing events, which I still do now, but the bar work has always been something that’s a passion of mine. I developed a fascination with the mixology culture and right now amongst certain circles around the world my opinion is validated and I actually have something to contribute to the game and be a part of it. It’s something that’s followed me around the world and it's something that I am passionate about. I always go back to it, no matter what I do. So opening that first bar introduced you to mixology? Pretty much. When I started the first bar, I grew up between London and New York, and so I was very privileged to be able to go to high-end restaurants and bars, and something that always attracted me was kind of the sophistication behind ordering a sophisticated drink, and the anecdotes and stories that go behind it. . .actually having an opinion about your drink. You know, to me – I see it like if everyone wanted to drive around in a Lamborghini, everyone will drive a Lamborghini … but they’re very expensive … and impossible to drive – so if you can afford to go out and have a drink you can afford to pay a bit more for good alcohol. Alcohol basically poisons your body when you drink it, so you’ve got to have an excuse and a reason behind building it up in different ways, and I like to have an insight about that. So how did your collaboration with Philippe Starck come about? It actually came about because I was popular in Paris as a bar-tender and his daughter, Arra Starck, used to come in quite a lot and party and they approached me to work with them on a number of projects in Paris, mainly in that they would be working on a big project and they would need to have the food and beverage base consulted in terms of work flow and what would appeal for the bars, and so we 52



interview 54

worked together on a number of projects, the biggest of which was the Mama Shelter project, which was a collaboration between the Trigano family, Chef Alains Senderens, Philippe Starck and myself. What did you learn most from working with Starck? Philippe is very difficult man to be around – you know he’s the kind of guy that can walk into a project and he knows exactly where it should go from day one, and what I took from that is . . . I think I definitely adapted a bit more style, a bit more taste towards interiors, and F&B interiors, and also his level of productivity. He’s very focused and he works at an incredible and alarming rate, and I like to think that kind of attitude has rubbed off on me a bit. Which is why I’ve been able to complete a number of projects here in South-East Asia and worldwide. How does Bali compare to what you’re used to or where you grew up? When I first got here Indonesia was a huge culture shock, everything here is completely different, and Bali is a small community, hugely creative and hugely productive, but you have to work your way in there to get known and be a part of it. How does if differ? I think everywhere in this industry is the same, you know, that’s one of the challenges I like about it. You learn about an area, you learn about the demographic of that area, and you try and create something that would appeal to that demographic and area, so the same formula doesn’t work everywhere. You’ve got to identify different areas, with regard to my industry of food and beverage and more so mixology – it’s still a growing industry here, not in a bad way, but it’s where New York city was 10 years ago, it’s younger. There’s a lot of opportunity here. I’m seeing a lot of repetition of what I saw in New York 10 years ago, what I saw in Paris five years ago. But what I can say is the energy here is great, the people are great and there’s a lot of potential in the market here. Funniest or most unexpected situation you’ve had to navigate here so far? I’ve so many weird and funny situations here – man I’ve got so many…okay I can’t go into too many details because I might get in to a lot of trouble, but it was Jakarta Culinary Week, that’s probably too much already… and we happened to be hanging out with a very famous singer who decided to retire to bed. He met a girl and left early, but in the meantime by this point everyone knew I was hanging out with this celebrity and they were calling me relentlessly, two or three nightclubs were calling me to bring this guy to their club, and they were offering us girls, money, to make an appearance – so in the end I was with my friend who happened to be an Asian British guy who was like, 'what the hell', let’s just pretend that I'm a guy working in the band. So I don’t know, I was very drunk, and this is something I would never do, but we called up the guy and said we’re coming in a bit with the bass player of the band, and we rocked up to this nightclub and we didn’t realise how much of a big deal it was gonna be. It was like Beatlemania, so we walk up and there’s girls all lined up, cameras flashing everywhere, we had to be escorted to our table and got given special treatment with our space. The funniest thing was that when it was time to go home, they insisted on driving us using with their drivers. So I couldn't take the friend to my house because they would figure it out, so we had to go back to the hotel where the band was staying, and then wait till they left so we could go. In the end no one was the wiser and it was actually mentioned on the radio the next day. There’s been a plethora of stories. You recently staged Seminyak’s first proper iPod battle at Mantra – will this become a series or was it a one-off? We want to do another one and do lead-up battles in between and really capture

people’s imaginations, including the air-band battle, but I won’t give away too many details – you know you come with your friends and pretend to be a band – like air-guitar. The iPod battle was a huge success; we used to throw them in Paris about five years ago. The reason I did it here is because there’s all these party crews here in Bali, and let’s be honest they’re kind of cliquey…so I wanted to try and pit them off against each other and make the challenge and they would all step up. Some people tried to flake on the day, but we convinced everyone to show up and it was insanely popular. We want to do another one here, and we’ve already got Jakarta in the works, and I’ve got calls from Singapore as well. It was great. How about your own iPod – what's been heating that up lately? I’m really into SUBTRKT at the moment and then…Wave Machine, a new band that’s come out. I was hanging out with Foster The People recently when they were here so been listening to their stuff. What else? Mac Miller? I’ve been getting back into HipHop – I’m a huge music head so I could go on and on. What’s your toughest challenge these days? That would definitely be bringing up my newborn son. He’s 11-months-old. It’s not just a challenge, he’s changed my life so much already, especially working in this industry I have now reduced my sleep by about six hours, which sucks, yeah and married life, that’s about it – those are the toughest things for me right now, but you know we’re living in Bali so it’s amazing too. How do you enjoy time away from work? Looking after my son is a big escape for me. It makes me do a lot of things that I wouldn’t normally do. Go to museums and do things that are good for kids . . . but I guess my most favorite thing to do is go visit bars. I’m just really interested by bar culture and restaurant culture. For example if we go on vacation, my highlights of the vacation are from the restaurants and bars. Is there any personal mantra that gets you through trying times? Honestly I think Indonesia has taught me patience. Definitely when I came here two years ago I was a different person than the one I am now. I realised that being humble and being patient can be a way to getting your goals in life. And testament to that is our bar Mantra itself, and my wife and having a kid. I’m more complete now than I ever was in my entire life. I really put it down to learning from the Indonesian people and their examples of humbleness and patience. What’s your dream? I’m really pretty content with my life right now, and if anything I’m pushing myself to do more of what I’m already doing – travelling, consulting … I guess if I were honest with you I’d want to be a rock star. I still fantasise about being on stage and rocking out with a guitar in front of people, but in the meantime I'm pretty content. My wife is actually a performing entertainer so it’s nice to be on the sidelines and watch her go through it, and I do a lot of promotions in Jakarta which may come here soon, so looking at some pretty big names, you know, I’d rather go big or go home. Favourite Footwear? Patrick Cox, but since we are in Bali – I really like what Suedehead is doing … and my trusty Chuck’s of course. Thanks for your time, Tim and the silky Sazerac cocktail (try one yourself) and see you soon back at Mantra. www.mantrabali.com


Erik sondhy: "Music is my life."


jazz cat Erik Sondhy reveres the beatles and wants you to keep loving the music. so says Salvador Bali.

Ok Erik, begin the begin. Erik Sondhy, age 37. I come from North Sulawesi, Manado, but my mother is Balinese. I never married but I have two children; a boy, six and daughter, eight. They live in Bandung. How about when you were a kid? Normal, high school, dropped out of college though to pursue my music. At what point did you start playing the ivories? When I was 11, I played in a church. Before that, where did your musical training come from? I didn't have any. There was an organ in the church that nobody played, so I sat down and learned how to play and I played it all through high school – self taught. Wow, sweet Jesus, guide my hand . . . Yeah, He told me to be a musician. What other instruments did you pick up along the way? Guitar – at the same time actually – there would be other places I played. I couldn’t bring the organ, so guitar came along with me. Now I play drums and trumpet as well. So at some point you decided to get serious I guess . . . When was that? After my first year in college, 1995 . . . I had a band all through high school and we played Beatles songs. When did the jazz come in? That came from my uncle. He wasn’t a musician but his advice was: “If you’re going to be a serious musician you have to learn classical and jazz as well as pop. You have to learn and listen to everything”. So I started listening to everything and asking other musicians. I learned how to read music from a friend. So now you’re fluent in the musical language? Yes, mostly because of friends. When I was younger there was a jazz competition in Jakarta and every year I won first prize. There was a small group of famous jazz artists at the time and they all looked at me as the new rising star. They started taking me to concerts where I played, and eventually I played with everybody on the jazz scene – all the famous players. I was being called for studio projects and

learning, learning, learning from all these greats: Miles Davis stuff and John Coltrane, the list goes on. Then traveling to Australia, Singapore and throughout Asia. When did you record your first solo album? That was in 2007, Introducing Erik Sondhy – all standards; my original album, out now, is called Jazz. In the future, something more commercial, and that will be called The Erik Sondhy Project. It will be with a lot of guest artists and in English. I want to hit the international market. You’re an arranger, musician, writer, but not a singer . . . I’m more comfortable being behind the scenes. I like to sing, but my focus is more on the musical side. Who is your biggest influence musically? The Beatles. I never heard that from a jazz artist . . . Nobody better, melodies and so on, I’m still so impressed. You still have a Beatles haircut. What music do you like to play the most? I like all music – a note is a note and I like to play and arrange everything according to my personality, being myself. Do you have your own studio where you prepare arrangements and ideas? Yes, I have my own studio at home. It seems these days you are all over in Bali doing weddings, back-ups, arrangements and so on, where could we find you playing on a regular basis? Mostly at Ryoshi House of Jazz on Jl. Legian in Seminyak: Mondays with The Rio Quartet and Wednesdays and Fridays with the Erik Sondhy Project. Anything to say to your fans out there? Just keep loving the music. Your philosophy? Music is my life.


interview . . . breaks the mould as a violin player. bali can do that to you.

GERMAN, tell it like it is. My name is German Dmitriev, I am from Russia, 26-years-old; born in Siberia – Krasnoyarsk City. I am married, no children. I have a dog. Did you come from a musical background? Yes, my mother is a pianist. My younger sister teaches piano. At what age did you start playing violin? When I was six years old. Did you like playing violin at that age or were you sort of forced into it? Good question. The truth is I really didn’t take pleasure in music until I was about 15. I studied at beginner’s school and then went on to music college, and then at a music academy for a master’s degree. During that time were you playing professionally? Yes, my first big performance was with The Symphony Orchestra when I was nine. I played solo. Impressive. How did you feel onstage at that age? I was shaking right down to my toes, but it was a success. I also had my first radio recording at 10. How do you feel on stage now, you seem to go off into another world? I feel as if in another time, much faster than the audience. Your selections of music are so varied, what do you like to play by yourself? Most of the time I play classical music, but now I like rock music for my show. When I was a boy I dreamed of big bands – I enjoyed rock music so much then that I started to doubt whether I had chosen the right


musical instrument. I really enjoyed playing guitar and thought I should be taking lessons, and then I discovered playing rock on violin . . . fusion. On that note, do you prefer acoustic opposed to electric? I prefer acoustic, but need a powerful sound, so I play electric violin onstage. At home I play only acoustic violin, and this is a pleasure for me. Do you play other instruments? Yes, I play guitar, piano and drums. I must add, playing on acoustic violin requires way more skills – it’s much more complicated. Also when performing in front of the audience, the technical aspect of an acoustic violin is quite complicated – it’s a living instrument and anything can go wrong. Electric violin gives you the confidence of having control, but the sound is not alive, it’s different. Who were your influences? David Garrett, the most famous violinist in the world. I take inspiration from Metallica, heavy metal, and Led Zeppelin, also Pompera. I like emotional extremes. On stage you have backing soundtracks over which you play solos. Do you record these yourself? I create with keyboards, guitar and drum machines. When I need it I have professionals to play saxophone, flute and other instruments. Have you recorded any albums? Not yet, that’s why I’m here in Bali. My solo career started two years ago, before that I was playing classical music and touring Russia, Europe and Japan.

It was the career of a classical musician and I wanted to perform and create on my own. At what age did you freak out? That was about four years ago. Ha ha, right. So what brought you to Bali? Destiny, really I don’t know, this is a hard question. I guess I reached a point, a certain level where the next logical step was to go to Moscow to try to build a career. Previously I had come to Bali to learn how to surf and I reached a point where I needed a change – climate, culture, environment . . . Bali is a popular destination for Russians. I think Bali is a very good place for creative people. Back home the climate is very extreme, minus 40 during the winter, not better in the summer, you’re always in furs. Now that you’re here, do you think you will be going back to Russia in the near future? I don’t know, I feel maybe something great here, maybe my album, maybe doing fusion with Balinese instrumentation. I think I’ll be here for a couple of years. I have plans to go to Moscow and London, but I want to record here. How do you find the music scene here? It’s not that progressive or competitive but in a way it is. I have played with Rio Sidik and Erik Sondhy . . . both very good. What is your philosophy? To do what I’m doing – enjoying life through music. S.B.

"I like emotional extremes."


culture vulture

julian lennon talks to the yak’s tony stanton about life, photography and music. photo credit: Deborah Anderson


HI Julian. First off, how was your trip to Bali? Hectic . . . actually this was my second trip to Bali, as I was there many moons ago. I had a Number One in Australia with a single called Saltwater so we stopped in Bali on the way and stayed at The Hard Rock Hotel for a week. We played one night there, in sarongs and barefoot . . . ha!

Asia, as it’s somewhere that intrigues me. Before arriving in Bali I was on a cruise around the South China Seas for about 10 days or so, but that only gave me a glimpse of what’s there. I’ve yet to make it to Thailand, Cambodia, India and China. I found Vietnam and Kuching especially quite moving and beautiful.

We did all the touristy things, but enjoyed it a great deal . . . all catered for, so easy. This time, I came with a friend to see our dear friend Mark Baker and my old friend and chef Benjamin Cross, who runs Mejakawi at Ku De Ta.

What’s a typical day for you? It depends on the amount of work I need to take care of on any given day. Generally I like to wake up naturally, and that can mean anywhere from sun-up to noon, depending on how late I’ve been up editing photos.

We toured the island as best we could within a week, but didn’t get nearly as much done. The traffic has at least doubled, if not quadrupled since the last time I was there – sad to see, really. Pollution is heavily on the rise, and also the island has become so touristy now, just coaches upon coaches, and nothing but hustle going on for business. Not saying it’s all like that, but certainly in the main tourist areas it seems pretty bad. That doesn’t mean I won’t be back to sample the finer delights of Bali again, of which there are many . . . (including Villa Kubu!) How often are you travelling these days and what gets you on a plane? I travel at least twice a month, minimum. It can be for many reasons, but generally it’s either for photography, charity (for my Foundation, www.whitefeatherfoundation.com) or as an Ambassador for other charities, like The Lupus Foundation of America. Or working with Music for Relief (www.musicforrelief.org) for The Nepal Earthquake Relief Fund. The list goes on. Occasionally I travel for music projects for or with other artists, or film projects, and also for executive production for environmental/humanitarian documentaries I work on. Do you spend much time in Asia, generally? No, I haven’t at all really. Mostly I’ve been based in Europe, and I tend to do a fair amount of traveling in the US and Europe. I would really like to spend more time in

Then before I even grab a coffee or breakfast, I have to deal with the business emails and decisions of the day, then I’ll take time for breakfast, or brunch, and some exercise. It’s important for me to get out as I may spend the rest of the day editing in front of a computer screen. If I’m on a roll, I’ll stick with editing all day and night, bar a few TV shows or maybe a film. On days when I can breathe a little more, I’ll go down to the local town, grab the papers and a coffee and watch the world go by for an hour. Then it’s back to work. I also generally work through the weekends too. There are never enough hours in the day. Tell us about your charity, White Feather Foundation. The White Feather Foundation embraces environmental and humanitarian issues and in conjunction with partners from around the world helps to raise funds for the betterment of all life. It also honours those who have truly made a difference. Check out the website www.whitefeatherfoundation. com Why did you choose the name White Feather? Dad once said to me that should he pass away, if there was some way of letting me know he was going to be ok – that we were all going to be ok – the message would come to me in the form of a white feather. Then something happened to me about 10 years ago when I was on tour in Australia. I was presented with a white feather by an Aboriginal tribal


culture vulture backstage business. sean lennon.

charlene wittstock, princess of monaco.


glenn hughes.

someone to look up to.


culture vulture

elder, which took my breath away. A white feather has always represented peace to me. We read somewhere that you play most instruments by ear, and that generally after you’ve recorded a song you forget how you wrote it . . . so when you play live you have to relearn every song and every instrument again. Yep. Them there’s the breaks. Where are you at with your music these days? Touring plans? New downloads? Everything I do these days is organic. I haven’t toured as such since Photograph Smile (www.julianlennon.com/ music/26-photograph-smile). I did some TV & Radio Promo for Everything Changes (www.julianlennon.com/music/25everything-changes) but my focus is elsewhere these days. I never enjoyed the industry or business of music . . . it always tainted the joy. I have plenty of songs for another few albums, and then some, but I’ve no desire to record another full album at this stage as I prefer to work with friends on side projects. It’s about the music, and the art of making and recording it, and not about the business, or how many arses you need to lick to remain in the charts. And regarding downloads . . . I spent 10 years putting together the last album project, which includes an App of Through The Picture Window (www.julianlennon.com/app), a feature-length documentary about my life and the making of Everything Changes) as well as several versions of the album, acoustic and instrumental too. So I don’t hang around when I’m working on a project I love.

Your work has extraordinary quality and presence. Practically what do you shoot with and what do you look for in a shot? I shoot generally with either a Canon 5D MK II, or on a few different Leica cameras, but my work predominantly resides in post. I’ve no idea what I’m doing with a camera, but I always just try to capture a moment that conveys the truth of that moment, the emotion of that second, that fleeting second, a blink of an eye, something that may never be seen again. And emotionally how are you attached to the final images? They take me back to where I took the picture and I sense all the emotions, smells and sights I felt at that time. This is a totally unfair question of course – but if you had to give up one creative outlet in your life, which would it be? Cooking. Well actually, I’m such a food lover I’m not sure I ever could. If I hadn’t gone into music, I would have been a chef. But! I used to love acting and was awarded a scholarship to The Royal Shakespeare Company as a kid, but gave that up for music. So there’s your answer. Your life story has been well documented and we’re not going to enter into the old debates here … but if there was one memory you could take away of your father, what would it be? Not sure what you mean, as such, and not territory I enter these days. As you have said quite clearly, it’s all been documented before. And likely, this is the best there is:

Is it really 30 years since the release of The Secret Value Of Daydreaming? It’s hard to believe. How do you look back on your life in the last three decades? Hmmm . . . Interesting that you should bring up my least favourite album! The ‘sophomore album’, which basically killed my career, thanks to the label pushing us into doing it too soon. I look back on the last 30 years as growth. What else? Learning through mine and others’ mistakes, and hopefully improving on all aspects of life, personally and professionally. Let’s talk about your photography. When did you first pick up a camera? No idea, but I recall making videos when I was 13 or 14, with storylines. No idea where those films got to. But with cameras as such I guess it was just about the same as anyone else – holiday snaps and the like.


imagine: sean, yoko, cynthia, julian.


overlay: everything changes. this page: horizon.


interview le president du savon.


John Marciano is a Renaissance man – an art conservator, musician, businessman . . . and he’s got his own Republic. He took time out to talk with Drew Corridore.

He was born in Turkey, grew up in Singapore, went to university in Dallas, Texas, and first came to Bali in 1974 (because his family lived in Jakarta for a couple of years). He’s been around . . . and is driven by a compelling interest in, and exploration of, various aspects of the fine arts. After gaining his fine arts degree and completing a rigourous apprenticeship in (three-dimensional) decorative art restoration, John set up a company in the US that specialised in art conservation projects. “. . . so if a piece (whether it be made out of stone, wood, ceramic etc.) was in 10 pieces or 1,000 pieces, I could, essentially, make it look like it had never been broken,” he says. After 18 months or so of successfully building the company in the US, John moved back to the home of his youth, Singapore, for five years to continue the project there. “We did really well, and worked with the Economic Development Board, and the Singapore Tourist Promotion Board . . . training (with specific grants) people to preserve their own heritage,” John says. “There’s no single way to restore anything, so you have to look at each individual piece and approach it with your code of ethics . . . which means you cannot alter the original (intent) of the piece. “Everything I do (in restoration), as dictated by my code of ethics, has to be reversible . . . so when new technologies become available, a piece can be deconstructed, and reconstructed using the newer techniques.” John worked on many invaluable objet d’ art in private collections that the general public would, generally, never get to see – requiring endless hours of painstaking work . . . all the while refining his understanding of materials and processes. In 1997 John moved to Bali to manage the setting up of a candle factory. A strange departure you might think . . . Ever tried to create a near-perfect-looking piece of bamboo out of bee’s wax?

“That was seen as a hot trend in the States,” John says. “. . . and I was hired because of my skill set (in experimenting with various combinations of compounds and chemistries).” From there John moved into jewellery and handicrafts; exporting with Andrew Mclatchie’s Great Dividing Range company, that served some of the largest retailers in America at the time. Again, it was all about quality, finishing, and innovative approaches to product design and manufacture . . . “It was almost mind-blowing (the number of containers we put together) coming out of this tiny, little island,” he says. . . . and so to the present . . . The Republic of Soap: John’s next step (beginning in 2004) on the road to challenging himself on the creative journey: “I woke up one day and said to myself, ‘I want to make soap’, and I’d never made soap before,” he says. “All my candle(-making) books and literature talked about the historical association between candles and soap that were traditionally made by the same person – the chandler . . . so it felt like a natural progression for me.” And an opportune business decision. Republic of Soap has been supplying Bali's top spas, hotels and villas for years. Handmade natural luxury bath, body and home products are also specially designed to suit individual clients’ needs. “We’re always growing and increasing our knowledge of blending, creating and experimenting . . . are making great new products and we’re pleased with the direction we are moving in,” John says. “There is starting to be quite some demand from the European market, specifically France, as well as the Maldives. Above all, we have a lot of fun here and are constantly creating new scents and have introduced specialty items that many people don't even know exist . . . like low-melt-point massage candles that can

be directly poured onto the skin for a stunning effect. “The wax is liquid but not hot, just warm, when it is applied to the skin . . . really fun for couples!” All products in the Republic are made and packaged by John’s team of 20-plus workers. “I'm honoured to be working with a highly skilled team that is devoted to helping our clients with exclusive scent creations and customised artwork labeling. We all do our best so that the whole team-effort really creates an amazing handmade quality product,” he says. “We only use the finest ingredients available . . . which sometimes gets tricky because we need to source and maintain quality and consistency on everything – from our packaging to the paper that we use to hand-wrap our products. “We import oils from Australia and France for products that are unavailable in Indonesia . . . but of course we try to support the local community as much as possible, and source everything first from Indonesia before looking beyond the archipelago.” For John Marciano attention to detail is everything – whether it’s in putting customised logos on products and packaging for the Republic of Soap . . . or working on the business end of his Fender Stratocaster. He’s been a guitar player since he was kneehigh to a grasshopper and is well known around the traps on Bali for his Texas Blues-style technique. “I want to be a rock star when I grow up,” he says. “But it’s like everything . . . if you persist you’ll achieve what ever you want to achieve. “I didn’t know I was going to get into ceramics; I didn’t know I was going to become an art conservator; I certainly didn’t know I was going to end up making soap and skincare products . . . “But I always knew I wanted to play music.” And for John, listening to the rhythms and melodies of his life’s journey has led him a merry dance, that is far, far, from over . . .


the owner of Petitenget restaurant makes us laugh at the obscurities of life, writes lorna jane smith. Photo: lucky 8.

He is a human Prozac whose presence is effectual yet subtle. Sean, a 40-something-year-old Aussie and selfconfessed wallflower, had no hospitality experience a decade ago when he escaped the restraints of the urban Melbourne rat race. Destination Bali, goal professional redemption . . . Regardless of his lack of experience, Sean somehow blundered his way through the culinary hierarchy and, to date, has established two venues in Bali that have both provided their patrons with great hospitality, community relevance, and good food and bevies. The first, The Corner Store, tragically burnt down a year ago but will go down in Seminyak folklore as the once popular provider of many morning-after coffees. Petitenget, the second venture, is a simple colonial bistro loitering among the coconut palms, bordering blessed grounds and scented with sea spray, and has become Sean's testament to the possibilities of a road less travelled. Petitenget has established itself to the diaspora community of Bali in similar fashion to what the 1980s bar and sitcom, Cheers, was to Boston. It's a place where everyone knows your name, or at the least, a great place to hang on a tropical Friday night and meet everyone. If you bump into a character who has a Woody Harrelson style of barmanship, a Basil Fawlty disposition, yet oozing with A-Team Hannibal sensibilities, that's Sean. How did Sean become a restaurateur? I'm not. I'm a bistroteur. When did the idea of Petitenget, the bistro, come to fruition? The idea came with the site. This site was here for a long time and had previously been an old Bali eatery, doing nothing. I thought its position was incredible – a Balinese temple to the front, footsteps from the ocean . . . perfect. I had been in Oberoi with The Corner Store

for a long time and wanted to eventually progress by making something not so pedestrian, and definitely not too upmarket. I also wanted night-time trade, a local crowd, to serve great food, and of course to have THE bar. What's the Petitenget visual mood? We were lucky enough to be able keep the original premises' footprint, and just designed the whole building around that. Décor-wise I wanted an Asian, colonial, expat, relaxed kind of vibe going on. Do you tend to name your businesses by their position? Guess so. I like stating the obvious. The locals know where we are and they get it, and the locals and the expats are my core business. As for the tourists, I have a theory, they are only here for 10 days or so, you don't want to make it difficult, you want to make it clearly understood where you are. Are you an extrovert? No. I like to be present, but watch from the side . . . an observer. Favourite colour? Blue. There is no blue in the Petitenget decor? Yeah, that's ok. Are you a visionary? I always ask myself what would I like? If I got off the plane in Bali, where would I like to go, where would I like to hang out? Well if I came past Petitenget, I would love it here and this is where I would spend some time. Abode of choice a castle or commune? Probably just a shack, out the back of the commune, halfway up the hill towards the castle. Holiday destination of choice? I'm pretty happy where I am. I'm living a permanent holiday. The years before I came to Bali I was living in Melbourne knee deep in the rag trade and losing interest fast. I had to have an exit strategy. That exit had to be somewhere tropical, and back then I was thinking

Sri Lanka or Argentina. In fact Bali was never on the map, but life and good shit happens and here I am, on a working holiday. Anything up your sleeve? Yes actually. A great big beach bar, suitable for families, surfers, dogs, kids, surfboards, parties, concerts, life. Currently a work in progress. Where is it? At Old Man surf break Batu Bolong. This place will be a story about me. What's it called? Old Man. Where's Sean in 20 years? Running a small old timer’s beach shack on a little island near Flores. What’s the power of Bali? The everyday antics of everyone's life in Bali. It's the diverse nature of the diaspora that come to Bali. That's why I'm here, that's why we are all here, we are all seduced by Bali. Books? What do you like to read? I love a tragedy. I work from a pessimist's point of view. I know nothing's ever going to be perfect and nothing's ever going to work the way you want it to. That's okay. Are you a control freak? No . . . well you try to control as much as you can, but you got to understand stuff is just going to happen. A tree fell down the other day next to the eating area. It could have killed a few people . . . it didn't, and we are now putting up a new tree. One word that describes Petitenget? Comfortable. I really want people to feel comfortable when they're here. Which US President do you identify with? Bill Clinton. Why? He brought people together.

Bistroteur Sean Cosgrove.



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creative chameleon Jamie Aditya took time out from juke joint rehearsals to jive with the yak.


So Jamie, how would you describe your first love affair with Bali? Mind blowing . . . I was 15 or 16 and it involved too many magic mushrooms from a place called The Lazy Swan. Growing up with mixed heritage you have explored Indonesia and Australia in depth – how would you describe the two nations and how they have shaped your perspective? Both Australia and Indonesia are kampungan on so many levels, and I am proud to be from that. Early Influences? My earliest memories of music were my father’s Bob Dylan, Credence Clearwater Revival and Bix Biederbicke records spun on a Sunday morning, and the Sundanese Kecapi-Suling music which my grandfather played endlessly as he sat typing away at another book. I love Sundanese music. So emotive and soothing. I miss the sound of my grandfather’s typewriter, that was real music to my ears. It always sounded like the typewriter was speaking to me in Morse code. It was the rhythm of his mind. Do you remember the first concert you went to? It was in Bandung when my six-year-old self was dragged along to a concert by the Indonesian band Duo Kribo, featuring Ahmad Albar of God Bless-fame, circa 1976. I knew the hit song by heart from watching it repeatedly on TVRI. They were so loud that I cried the whole time. I liked them better on television. Jamie you’ve seen the music industry from many angles, not only as a performer, an MTV veejay and Indonesian Idol judge . . . how do you see it these days? Both personally and professionally. Personally, I was always deeply embarrassed to have been a part of MTV. As the song goes ‘Video Killed the Radio Star’ as in image and looks became as important, if not more important, than how you sounded, and the whole Idol franchise pushed that too; formulaic money-making, ass-shaking, riff-singing, cookie-cutter drones! Though I am terribly grateful for having the opportunity to sell out and make a few bucks and pay them bills, at least I didn’t shoot anyone, though a few people probably wanted to shoot me! In this day and age of digital downloads and streaming, I think kids are listening to their computers like a radio, sans visuals – which is good. Currently, I’m enjoying the freedom in phrasing with singing jazz. You can really pull, tug and play with the rhythm of the phrases. In my live performances I’m trying to bring the listeners back to when jazz was a form of ‘four on the floor’, boom boom boom boom dance music. Get them up and stomping I say. You were able to discover and learn traditional performing art forms from around the world with your acclaimed Nat Geo series Sync or Swim – what did you learn most from that time?

With the Discovery Channel show I was lucky enough to travel all over Asia, most notably to Mongolia, where I met Kazakh nomads who hunted with eagles in the Altai mountains, and the Siberian rain deer herders on the shores of Lake Huvstgal. I also got sloshed with Tibetan Kampa tribesman, but no matter how far I travelled, I always felt strangely at home. I used to break the ice by pulling out family photos from my wallet, which would always have people passing them around, and commenting on which of my siblings I looked more like; my mom or dad . . . Then they would all one by one pass around pictures of their wife and kids or mother and father, so it occurred to me that regardless of where we come from, we all more or less care about the same things. Family and culture. Also I realized all cultures share a history with some kind of Shamanism, whether it be Celtic Druids, Mongolian, Amazonian, or Dayak medicine men or Yoruban voodoo priests, they all practice a form of animistic Shamanism. It’s what all cultures, if you go back far enough, have in common. You recently recorded a Dixieland Blues album in Tuscon, Arizona? Last year I went to Arizona to record a jazz album with my childhood buddy, Kelland Thomas, a guy I went to school with in Jakarta. He’s an incredible sax player, one of the better players out there. He’s lyrical and plays with a lot of humour – his notes literally make you smile. Check out the album on iTunes – Trad & Soul by yours truly and Kelland Thomas. Your thoughts on Prince? So sad and tragic to see one of my biggest idols pass, though he had an incredible run – but not so sad to think he’s probably playing an ectoplasmic piano with Duke Ellington somewhere on the other side. Biggest challenge these days? Being a role model for my kids. They love their Daddy but I wonder if they should look up to such a fool as I. Another challenge is trying to be relevant and current, singing and playing music from the ‘20s and ‘30s, but then again, we are hitting the 20’s again so, bring it on. Time to do the Charleston. What’s new in the pipeline? I’m jumping in the studio again next week to record another jazz album. This time as a duo, with an awesome guitarist buddy from Jakarta named Robert Mulya Raharja – can’t wait! Should be fun. Favourite footwear? My favorite shoes are my old Doc Martins, brown bush walking boots. What’s your dream? I’ll have to wake myself up to tell you than one. L.T. www.cdbaby.com/cd/jamieadityaandkellandtho www.antidastudios.com


In terW ho Serious Sagmeister.



In terW ho

Stefan, begin the begin. I’m Austrian, living in New York City 18 years now and I run a small company that I opened in 1993 to design for the music industry. The idea was to combine the true loves of my life, design and music. When did you actually start designing? When I was 14 or 15, working and writing for a liberal magazine in Austria. I discovered I actually liked doing the layouts rather than the writing, so I started designing. At the same time I was in a terrible band. So you’re a musician as well? I wouldn’t call it that, but through music I got interested in album covers and studied at the University of Fine Art in Vienna. Then I studied for a Master’s degree at Pratt Institute. Are there awards given out in your field, as in the Oscars and such? Way too many and I have them all. Grammy music awards, the National Design Award for the U.S. – which is the biggest there is – Gold medals, all of it. The first award is fantastic and I made a big stink of it, now that we have won hundreds, ah, it’s nice to be recognized by your peers, but there’s a danger in it, you start designing for other designers. Do you keep your studio small on purpose? Yes. The job really starts by picking the clients and over the years it has become well known, so we can pick and choose. I was very influenced by my mentor, a Hungarian designer by the name of Tibor Kalman. He would only work with clients more intelligent than himself. It makes life unbelievably interesting, because in every meeting you learn something. If you have disagreements, you’re having disagreements with smart people. By and large intelligent people are in charge of intelligent projects. When I break that rule and work with somebody who is stupid, it’s extremely aggravating. Well, as I always say, you can’t tell somebody who is stupid that they’re stupid. After all is said and done, the only thing that remains is knowledge, so point taken. What are the projects you’re working


on as now, as opposed to earlier ones. What’s the difference in progression? We used to design mostly work for the music industry and designed many, many projects for bands that you have never heard of and some for bands that you have. With visuals becoming less important in music over the last decade, music videos have lost much of their power and CD covers now play a sharply less significant role. Electronic files need no physical packaging, so it was a bit of good luck that I had grown bored with visualizing music and had moved the studio into a different space a couple of years prior the near collapse of the industry. We are currently working in three different directions: self-instigated projects, the largest of which right now is a documentary film on my own happiness. It’s a proper look at what serious psychologists recommend to improve wellbeing, including meditation, cognitive therapy and physiological drugs. I will try them all out and report back the results. The film will be visually driven and will be released in theaters in the fall of 2012. The second big strand is work for the cultural industry, including identities for museums, art books and the like. The third field is blatant commercial work for large and socially conscience corporations. Currently we are working on a program for the Portuguese electricity utility. They are a wonderful organization, being able to deliver 65 percent renewable energy for Portugal right now. In comparison, Obama talks about 20 percent renewable energy for the U.S.A. in 2020. You have been in Bali for a year or so now, how has that influenced your work? I was here for a year during my sabbatical in 2008 and I am now back for three months to complete one chapter of the documentary film. The Bali influence on our work has been incredible, and this was one of the main reasons to come here in the first place. I wanted to be influenced. In the first year we designed a whole lot of projects outside our regular comfort zone, mostly prototypes for graphic furniture as well architectural ideas. The furniture was really designed for my own studio in New York and in the

meantime has gotten some notoriety. A couple of the pieces will be shown at the Muse D’Art Decorative in the Louvre in Paris and some others in Moscow, Beijing, Europe and the U.S.A. What is the difference in energy here as opposed to New York? You know the feeling you have in your gut, much the same as when you go apartment hunting: one place feels so much better than the others, even though you cannot really describe why that is so. I have had that feeling about a city or country twice in my life. Once when I visited New York and the other time when I first came to Bali about 20 years ago, so even though the two places could not be more different from each other, in a wonderful way they are the perfect accomplices, yin and yang – black and white in terms of the possibilities in how to live. I love them both. When you leave New York, do you leave New York behind, work-wise? Do you work on projects from here for there? I have a fantastic team working in the studio in New York and they run it rather well. I try to keep phone calls to an absolute minimum (successfully I’ve had only two phone calls in the last three months) and do all my emailing in one single session, typically about two hours every day. The rest of the time I am really present here in Bali and don’t think much about elsewhere. How do you go about inspiration, having ideas? The process I’ve been using most often has been described by Maltese philosopher, Edward De Bono, who suggests starting to think about an idea for a particular project by taking a random object as point of departure. Say I have to design a pen using this system. I might look around the hotel room where I’m staying for random objects, like a bedspread. Ok, hotel bedspreads are…sticky. So would it be possible to design a pen that is thermo sensitive, so it changes colours where I touch it? Yes, that could be nice. An all black pen that becomes yellow on the touching point of fingers, hands…not so bad…considering it took me all of 30 seconds. Of course, the reason this works is because De Bono’s method forces the brain to start out

at a new and different point, preventing it from falling into a familiar groove it has formed before. What about the difference of design as opposed to art? I could say the difference is functionality. There was a nice quote from the American artist Donald Judd, who said design that has to work out does not work. Meaning every design at its core has to have function. If I design a chair and I push it and I push it to the form so much that I can’t really sit on it anymore, then it immediately becomes a sculpture. Then I could say, is it a good sculpture? At this point many of these things are terrible sculptures. In my case, that’s fine, my company’s work comes quite close to the world of fine art. Finally, would you give a little push to our budding designers in Bali? Start as early as you possibly can. Work your ass off, do work that is close to your heart, that you feel has a relationship to your life, and push it as far as you possibly can. Wise words Stefan, thanks. My pleasure.




federico Tomasi has the heart and soul of an artist compelled by the beautiful process of expression.

these and following pages: Federico Tomasi in his studio in bali.




federico, Tomasi, paint the picture. Born in Stockholm, age 37, lived in Sweden until I was 13 years old. My parents moved to Italy and that’s where I grew up, basically. I studied at the Institute of Art in Riccone, Italy, for five years. On first meeting we guess most people think you’re Italian – your mannerisms, accent, speech? Yeah, I feel more Italian than anything else. Did you ever pick up a brush before going to art school? No, it was probably my father, Mauro’s, influence. When he was 35 and I was five or six he was doing cinematography and he introduced me to that world: taking me here and there, introducing me to the art world – a very creative environment. I always had room to create, which my father always encouraged, so when it came time to make a decision – university or not – I chose art school, although I never thought about becoming an artist. I always admired artists but I thought they were in a dimension that I really couldn’t understand. After five years of art school I thought fashion would be my future . . . living in Italy, there was a lot of influence in that direction, lots of work, and lots of opportunities. I realised that wasn't something I wanted to do. After that I did ordinary jobs for a couple of years, as a bartender, etcetera. That was around the age of 26. I came to Asia in 1996 on holidays for a month: Bangkok, Singapore, Malaysia, then Bali for a week. Coming back from Bali something happened to me. Here we go, you got the Bali bite? Yeah, let's say the Bali bite. I got this beautiful energy

from Bali, the people – I saw this proudness in their souls, the way they lived. Even though there wasn’t much of a materialist world (nothing like where I came from) I started to have something I wanted to express and I had the capacity to paint, so there was my tool. I lost my fear of expressing myself. Artists are very passionate and intimate, and putting it out in public is hard sometimes. Sure, it’s your baby. Opening yourself up, and then you have critics – people like or don’t like it and you have to face that and Bali gave me that power. I had to go back to Italy because I had army problems, but I was sure I wanted to move and live here. Also my father was living here for six years. Up until that time, did you sell any of your paintings? No. It all started in Singapore, my first show was in a restaurant, that was in 1998. After a year exhibiting I got a phone call from London from The Fine Art Gallery – they loved my work, came to my studio in Singapore and offered me a contract. I signed, the prices went up and that gave me the freedom to live where I wanted to live . . . two-and-a-half years in Singapore, but for years Bali was always on my mind. I really didn’t know what to do in Singapore, I was not a painter then in my mind, so I moved to Bali in 1999. Since then where have your works been shown? A little bit everywhere: my agent, who I’m still with from the London gallery, pretty much takes care of everything. I have started to collaborate with galleries in Milan and shows in New York. How would you define your art? I think it’s very difficult to define any kind of art, but when




portraits, by federico tomasi.




people ask me, I say contemporary. I’ve been painting only faces and bodies for 12 years, still doing it, so maybe a portrait artist? I would say more avant-garde? Well it could be described as action painting; there is inspiration from (Jackson) Pollock a little bit, with a technique of letting go while maintaining total control. Oddly enough for someone who was so influenced by Bali, nothing in your work represents Bali? During the first year here the culture inspired me directly – the ceremonies, the strong spiritual aspect; I kind of lost it, though. It doesn’t have to be connected to the subject. I can paint something where the inspiration is there, for example, thinking about the love I have towards my son. That doesn’t mean I have to paint the face of my son. I’m doing a completely other thing, but the spirit is inside. The process of work contains a lot of elements. You’re going abroad shortly, are you doing anything there with your art? I received an e-mail from this gallery in Chelsea in New York City – I don’t want to say the name because I haven’t signed the contract – and they want to represent me. Actually I had a show in New York in 2002, then something went wrong. I fell into a very deep depression for a year. The artist’s dilemma of not living up to expectations: confusion, insecurity, the whole mess? Yes, I gave up Singapore, I gave up with everybody, gave up painting, then my son was born two days before the Bali bombing of October 12th, 2002. The day after he was born, I woke up to visions of 30 paintings I wanted to do. Do you see yourself heading in a certain direction as an artist? Goals, no. I had it, maybe a couple of years ago but now I think art has to be very honest in one way, there’s so much speculation around, so much in the art business that doesn’t have a connection with an artist. Strange, I’m an artist and must make a living, but I feel like I don’t fit in the art scene.

There’s no true artist that doesn’t feel that way – you’re not alone: you are a reporter of life and so you’re subjected to its anxieties on a deeper scale. I know, you do it because it’s instinct. It’s not about selling, but nowadays if you want to be a successful artist you have to take into consideration those elements, which means, don’t show your art there, because if you do you’re going to burn yourself; be careful, just show in the good galleries, don’t do this, don’t do that. I don’t sit down and start a painting thinking about this. Advice? Never sell your soul, just do it, doesn’t matter afterwards. If I don’t create for a month, there’s emptiness in my life. This year I discovered that once I finished a painting and put it on the wall, I felt death. Let’s end this interview with the many faces on paper looking up, an inside perspective? Well, it’s been four months I’ve been working on papers, hundreds of them. For some reason I see a spiritual connection without asking the reason why, one day I woke up remembering reading the Puputan mass suicide of the royal families of 1906 in front of the Dutch. So here we are with your philosophy of painting, variations of necks and heads looking up? Unconsciously I have this work on silver and gold paper, each of those, which I wanted to do a thousand of them. The Balinese didn’t have guns, so they threw coins and jewellery. So there’s the connection of silver and gold paper, but I cannot sell this work that has feelings inspired by a mass suicide – bad karma for me. So I’ll do this show and have a big cremation of my work. This connects the fact of what really matters to me – it’s already been done, finished, disappear, it really doesn’t matter. I work on the floor, so I really don’t have a perspective, a chance to see the paintings properly in the process. The emotion I had while I was doing it disappears. I can’t go back. I want to start another one, get back to that state of mind when I paint, that’s what matters to me. S.B. www.federicotomasi.com


Qu es ti o n s

Tyler Mars...that's a fantastic name by the way, what's the backstory on a moniker like that? Well, that’s just the name they gave me! Tell us about how you grew up and what inspired you as a kid. My Mom loved to cook for family and friends and my Dad is a sculptor and an artist, so there was always something going on in or around the Mars’ household. At one point when I was young we grew our own vegetables and when we moved to Santa Barbara, California, we had a chicken shed, fruit trees and herb garden. So lots of fresh herbs and eggs!

Photo: Tom Hawkins

What posters did you have on your bedroom wall? A nice question. Some people say that if you get a peek at a kid’s room when they’re young you’ll see what may happen to them in the future. So, my wall art reads like this: torn-out surfing and skateboarding pictures hung with tape amongst rock-n-roll posters that included The Cramps, The Sex Pistols, Iron Maiden and Motley Crue. I also had a bikini-clad girl holding a Tecate beer can which I believe was captioned: "Tecate my body.“ And there was a poster of a cowboy boot stepping on the head of a rattlesnake...with a hand holding a knife.


Blade runner Tyler.


Qu es ti o n s

The guy was wearing a ring on his finger with the words ‘Let’s Rodeo’ carved on it. I think you get the picture. And the mad middle years...what happened in your 20s? That was a long time ago man. My 20s were pretty much made up of fast and hard nights mixed with culinary school and a few different cameos working in greasy spoon diners. My favourite was The Local Cafe in South Mission Beach. My nickname was ‘Burns’. When did you first get interested in food? Everyone in my family is a foodie. As a kid I helped my Mom in the kitchen whenever I could. My real interest was sparked when I was sent to the kitchen to do dishes for getting into trouble at boarding school. After doing the washing up, I helped with the evening's dinner and enjoyed it so much I returned on my own the next day. And that was the official start of my career as a chef. The next day I told my folks I had found my calling. And how did the whole sushi thing come about? I was working in La Jolla at a family run rotisserie joint called Rimels. They also owned a sushi bar called Zenbu, which was down the street. I became friends with Executive Chef Tim Johnson and I bugged him for a year until he gave me a chance prepping sushi prep on Sunday afternoons – a job no one else wanted. A few months later I was working the same job when the sushi chef got fired. I jumped into his spot. Within three weeks I’d created my first Tyler Mars’ sushi roll – “Sid Fishous“ – and somehow I developed a cult following. The Rimels and Tim encouraged my creativity and gave me free reign to do pretty much whatever I wanted. So you could say you’re something of a renegade in the sushi department. I definitely march to the beat of my own drum. I’d rather create rolls for my guests than have them order stuff they can get anywhere. I create a lot of the sauces to accompany the sushi I serve. I insist that my creations are innovative and full of flavour and stretch the boundaries. You’ll never find soy sauce or wasabi on my plates. Where do get inspiration for your rolls? Sometimes I work backwards when a cool name comes to me, like,


let’s say, “Thunderbolt 555" or “The Mango Vajango“. Or I might see something while I’m traveling that sparks off an idea. Then there’s the market, or surfing, or music...and of course there’s nothing wrong with a good Sake session to get the creative juices flowing. So how did you find your way to Bali? I’ve been coming to the island a lot over the years. In October 2010 my girlfriend and I found ourselves in Canggu and on the second night we stumbled on Deus Ex Machina, met Dustin and the guys...and the rest is history. You've invented many firsts, including a sushi knife made from a surfboard fin. Tell us about how you did that. The day after my first night at Deus, I was surfing with the boys and the shaper there invited me to come over and make a fin for my retro pintail I was rocking that morning. One thing led to another and just one comment about how my fin looked like a cleaver turned the key in my mind and I said... sushi knife! Sushi knives are layers of folded steel and fins and fin panels are layered fiberglass and resin, so you can see how I connected the dots. That weekend, Deus had its first sushi party. What else have you been up to here? I’ve come up with many new sushi recipes since landing in Bali; I started a band called “The Barmuda Tryangles“ with my good friends Bob and Frazer; designed “The Gooza“ (which is my new Deus Motorcycle)…and my girlfriend and I are expecting our first child. Oh, and I’ve started a ’zine called Corduroy. Blimey! Is there anything you wouldn't put in a sushi roll? I will try new and exotic ingredients but when people ask me to put stupid stuff in...like fried chicken for the kids, and ketchup...that’s where I draw the line. I like to have fun and get weird but if it sounds lame to me...I won’t do it. And one final question: what's the worst kitchen injury you've ever witnessed? Besides losing the tip of my finger...or having 15 stitches across my thumb after a cut with a dull blade in my boarding school kitchen...I would say seeing a friend endure a scolding oil spill down his leg. That was heavy. You work long enough in a few different kitchens you see some gnarly shit. It’s how fast you can get back on the horse that matters. After all, the show must go on.

In one incredible week the surf community saw Kelly Slater win a historic 10th world title‌and said goodbye to the iconic Andy Irons. Nathan Myers reflects on what it means to be part of the family, and analyzes the stunning portraits of surf photographer Dustin Humphrey, shot over a decade living among the greats.








Good portraits act like a mirror, reflecting light back upon our own, reminding us we’re all in this together somehow. Really good portraits are like smashing your head into that mirror. A feeling so startling and abrupt you barely know what hit you. Or why it looked so familiar. This week, the broken glass is cutting straight to the bone. The unparalleled surf champ Kelly Slater won an unfathomable 10th world title. His longtime rival Andy Irons passed away alone in a Texas hotel room. And the international surfing community is turned upside down trying to comprehend this awesome dichotomy, resulting in an unprecedented out-pouring of portraiture to honour these two iconic careers. Reminds us why these moments are so precious. Much of the imagery pouring out washes over us like a warm breeze. Distant. Unfelt. But a rare few jar our emotions awake. They speak the truth. They crack through the glass surface to glimpse the inner reflection of humanity. The light. That is a great photo. Great portraiture is one of the hardest skills in photography. Like great surfing, it looks easy but there’s nothing as hard. The way a surfer must know his surfboard perfectly so that he may focus on the shift and flow of a wave, the portrait photographer must know his equipment so that he can focus on the mood and presence of his subject. He must put them at ease. He must be awake to their innermost nature, without frightening it off. Like hunting butterflies with a bazooka. A delicate task, easily blown to bits. Surfers are not really models. They’re not really professional athletes. They’re not really artists or craftsman…it’s hard to define what they are. Yet, you know it when you see it. Which is why good surf photography speaks to us. Surf photos answer the questions words will never explain. The images in this feature were achieved over years of dedication. Dustin Humphrey traveled with his subjects. Lived with them. Surfed with them. He earned their trust, came to understand their personality, and captured a moment when the time was right. The final products were picked from hundreds. Firing the lens and sifting for moments. Not today. Not today. And

then finally, something happens. Lost in thought. Found in the moment. A photo happens. And because of this work, we end up feeling as if we know these icons of surfing. Dorian, the soft-spoken hellman, we know how deeply he thinks about those giant waves he rides. Look at the ring on his finger. It weighs on him to risk his life. Machado, the cruisey conundrum. What’s he hiding under that mop of hair? Does he make himself so visible as a way of becoming invisible? Just like he came to Indonesia to disappear and ended up making a movie about it. And Ozzie Wright, the shadowy art-rocker. What does he mean by “Robot”? Is he calling us robots? Himself a robot? Or does he just like the word? He likes vampires. We know that much. And Cuban stogies, apparently. The beachfront countryboy Malloy brothers…they feel like old friends even to folks who’ve never met them. Look how relaxed. How bearded? Rasta with his George Greenough surf matt, getting more retro by the hour. Dane Reynolds looking contemplative and disinterested all at once. Mikala Jones disappearing in the reeds. Filmmaker Thomas Campbell contemplating some oddball art scheme. It’s funny…we see these photos and we know these people. Even if we’ve never met. So then there’s Kelly and Andy. How many hundreds of photos have we seen. At the end of their years of facing off, they’d gone from hate to love. Enemies, bonded by battle. We know them best. And now they’re gone. Retired…in both senses of the word. But the images remain. In this unforgettable week, surfers around the world oscillate between such grand visions of heroism and tragedy. And we connect with these images more than ever. Andy’s passing makes us choke back tears. Kelly’s triumph fills our hearts with pride. They’ve shown us the extremes of what it means to be a surfer. The highs. The lows. The ride. The fall. Triumphant and tragedy…maybe it’s all part of the same big picture. These are our friends, even if we’ve never met. We’ve seen them in the mirror.













David A. Carol gets together with Philip Lakeman of Pesamuan Ceramic to put a glaze on Phil’s artistic journey. photos: lukas vrtilek.


PHILIP, what first brought you to Bali, and how long have you been here? It’s been 21 years. Our thing is really architectural ceramics. Back in Australia my ex-partner and I were doing production, marketing, everything ourselves. The beauty of coming here to Bali was being able to train staff because in Australia that was really difficult for a number of reasons. Originally, everything was under one roof, but about three years ago, my business partner and I decided to call it a day. By that stage, we’d bought out our Indonesian partners. A way for me to continue was to sell the original factory. Now, the showroom’s in Sanur and our factory’s 10 minutes away. Where on the planet does your work end up? Bali’s great because there’s always a new hotel or a renovation happening, but we send our work throughout Asia, the Middle East, America and the Caribbean. How influenced by Balinese culture are your ceramics? It’s always been a source of inspiration. All my team are Balinese, and some of them have been with me for 20 years. Some of them came to me with no knowledge of ceramics but they have this innate ability with their hands. It comes from their culture. From a very young age they’re helping their parents make offerings or learning to dance for temple ceremonies. It’s almost like they’re talking with their hands. In no time I was showing them how to decorate ceramics, and now they do it 10 times better than I ever could. It’s in their blood. Is it easy for you to source materials in Bali? Was that another reason to locate here? No, not really. A lot of our glazed materials come from either the UK or Spain. I’m really particular about the materials that I use. We can source some from Surabaya and Jakarta, but a lot of the colours and the melts for the glaze we have to import from Europe. How are your ceramics made? The only machine that we use is a kiln for firing, and a compressor for spraying glaze on, but everything else is done by hand. We use a technique called sand-casting where we make the moulds out of timber, press them into volcanic sand and then cast before putting them in the kiln. It’s like making cookies.

And every cookie is slightly different? Yes, a lot of clients see a tile and think that each one will be exactly the same. I have to educate them by saying it will be similar, but not the same. The variation in colour is the beauty of what I offer. If you want something exactly the same, it’s better to go to a commercial factory. Is everything collected in a reference library? Yes, and it’s huge. After 20 years I’ve got hundreds, if not thousands, of designs. A lot of it is now digitised, thank goodness. It’s a bit like fashion – I’m always coming up with new ideas and new techniques. Speaking of fashion, would you say it inspires you directly? It does, but I’m not sure I would look at Stella McCartney’s collection and say there’s a parallel between what we’re both doing. I think what most inspires me about fashion is the idea that you’re constantly re-inventing yourself. Have your designs changed since your partner left? They probably have. We were like yin-yang, like Gilbert and George or Pierre et Gilles. People would ask us, “are you Philip or Graham?” That was an amazing adventure, but everything runs its course. I’m two years into running Pesamuan on my own, and I’m really enjoying it. I’m the driver and the passenger all at once. Would you consider collaborating with anyone else again? Yes, I’m not a precious artist. What else can we look forward to in the near future? Recently, a designer from Jakarta had the idea to use ceramic panels on the exterior of a three-storey building in Nusa Dua called GWK. It’s almost finished, and it’s one of the projects I’m really excited about. It’s the first time my work’s been used as an external detail, especially on that kind of scale. Do you think of it as work? It’s a responsibility, but no, it doesn’t feel like work. With work, there’s the question, when are you going to retire? I find that such a weird concept. Hopefully, I’m going to be doing this until the day I die. As you get older, you get better. Your ideas become clear, you’re much braver. You’re not so influenced by other people, and you’re probably doing your best work. For me, good art comes from knowing when to stop. You can overdo things and lose that spirit and emotion. I think that’s the greatest challenge for any artist. www.pesamuanceramic.com



Ryoshi originator and jazz pioneer Sagon Togasa is a Bali legend and all round nice guy. He spoke to Salvador Bali about life, fish and the joy of live music.

Sagon, you’re on. Aged 47, married twice with two children, Layla and Kaizan, born in Haiti, delivered by my grandfather who was a gynaecologist [laughter]. Moved to Japan before I was one year old. Father, Japanese; mom, Haitian. My father was an artist, so we moved around a lot. I went to nine different schools before I finished high school – Japan, Australia and Philadelphia. I studied science and maths, which I never use these days, except to calculate percentages. Actually I wanted to be a genetic engineer. If you want to make God laugh, tell him you have plans. Yeah, exactly. After college, did you then come to Bali? Yes. Mom and dad had just moved to Bali and when I got here I started working with my father on projects that never developed, including hotels and restaurants. Then we got into handicrafts, exporting to Japan. Then the seafood business, live lobsters (also to Japan), and through that I got to see all of Indonesia, the islands, Sumatra, all the way west to Sulawesi. That’s how I got to know about fish. I was 24 at that time. How did Ryoshi come about? Evolution. From buying and selling to 110

Japan. Goa 2001 opened up on Jl. Legian, and that was the first big hangout. I opened a small sushi bar in the back of the place. Then I started a place called Iza Kya, which means tapas bar in Japanese, but that failed. So I decided to move to another location and give it another name and the Ryoshi chain was born. I also got married at that time and we had Layla. When did music come into the picture? I always liked music. I got my first conga was when I was nine, but there was nobody to teach me, so I learned from the streets. I didn’t do very well with that. Back in high-school in Japan I bought an electric guitar and went to the Yamaha music school. I could sit by the piano and bang around for hours, so there was always an interest. Where does the Michael Jackson impression come in? Ha! Well, that comes from my theatre background. I did high-school musicals. I always gravitated to musical theatre. I was in a high-school band; we were called the Botchy Mud Suckers [laughter]. Botchy means 'grave' in Japan. Where does the jazz obsession come from? Jazz was a college thing. I went to this place with some friends, sort of a black

deal, and there was this quintet playing Be-Bop. I had an overwhelming sense of awakening. It was the best music I had ever heard. Ryoshi wasn’t the first endeavour on your part to do the jazz thing? No. I put together a jazz club in 1999, the Blue Train Club. It didn't generate enough interest to keep going, unfortunately. During that time you got your fingers into just about every pie Bali had to offer, quite the entrepreneur. Yeah. I even got into the postcard business. It was called Salvador Bali [laughter]. Sly dog that you are. Then the original contract on Ryoshi on Jl. Legian ran out? Yes. I had to look for a new location. They wouldn’t renew – that was two years ago. Next door was the Kupu Kupu restaurant, a big space with a nice garden, two floors. Basically more than double the capacity of what I had. And their contract had run out at the same time. I jumped on it. A gift from the Island of the Gods. One door closes and another opens. Such a Balinese story. Opening night? I invited Rio – an old friend from the Blue Train Days – to the opening and he offered to play for me as an opening present. He called in the old Blue Train band and it

was a huge success. So we decided to do it every Monday night. I had a huge hole where the stage is now, so I decided to build a stage there. It was a perfect setting for a round-about theatre effect, and the people just kept on coming and coming. It’s been overwhelming, actually. There are very few restaurants in Bali now that do not have some kind of musical entertainment. On that note you deserve a big tip of the hat. Thanks. I mean really, at that time for me, it was the dark ages. There was dj music everywhere, and live music had taken a back seat. So now we have international standard musicians coming from everywhere – it’s great. Parting words? Put a little music in everybody’s life. We seem to get carried away in our business and the things that we do. We forget to stop and listen to the music. This happened to me for 10 years when I arrived in Bali. Now that I have started having music in my life again, life has become so much more interesting. It’s not just the music. There was a reggae band at the Bali Spirit Festival recently that said music is a remedy, and I for one believe that is true. A good musician channels a higher force and changes you for the better.

Simply Sagon.



Inspired son of the surf industry Dare Jennings – founder of Mambo and Deus Ex Machina – talks to Drew Corridore about counter-culture, Japan and custom motorbikes.

Deus Ex Machina in Canggu isn’t just a place where you can eat some great food, shop for clothing, surfboards and custom motorbikes . . . it’s a vibe. There are art spaces, a photography studio, grassy gardens for leisurely gatherings. You can even get a free tattoo by turning up in the late afternoon and putting your name on a chalkboard list. The man behind the idea that is Deus Ex Machina is Australian Dare Jennings – a Sydney-sider who also founded the Mambo surf wear company, as he puts it, “in another lifetime” (1984). Dare describes himself as an old lefty from his university days. Days when the Vietnam War was in full flight and the protest movement in Australia was at its height. He brought his rage with him when he decided to form Mambo. “I really hated the way that surf was sold as a fundamentalist religion,” he says. “That if you weren’t in you were out. “And I didn’t want to be part of ‘big surf’ – Billabong, Rip Curl, Quiksilver – but because we were part of the surf industry, what I wanted to be was the choice . . . the alternative. “Mambo was pretty much that: we loved to surf, we were satirical, we took the piss out of things, we loved artwork and other things just as much . . . at the time it was pretty radical, but not so much these days. “We used to call ourselves the bastard sons of the surf industry.” A maverick by nature, Dare says he just liked to do the opposite in things that were declared as givens by those who claimed to know “the way”. In his 20s he got off on surfing, on riding motorbikes and bicycles, of living the adventure to its fullest. “In the ‘70s if you surfed you also had a motorbike – you did that because both things were


a thrill and you pursued them as thrills,” he says. “In those days one of my great heroes was Herbie Jefferson who was a bit older than us and an Australian speedway champion and noted bigwave surfer. He was always out there when the big ‘bombies’ were breaking off Newcastle.” Dare says that Herbie’s attitude was: “Fuck it, I’m going to do everything that’s fun, do it all, I’m going to chase it and enjoy myself”. “Herbie used to say ‘it’s all the same juice’, ” Dare says. He sold Mambo in 2000 and “wandered around a bit”. “But I had it in my head that I could start another company that combined all of the things I’ve talked about – where all these things could happily coexist,” he says. “I’d spent time in Tokyo where there were a lot of young guys referencing vintage motorbikes but in a contemporary way. That really interested me. Sociologically speaking there was a turn away from technology, or cutting-edge, or this year’s model. “And suddenly people were going back to building stuff and making things.” Dare took the idea back to Sydney and started building bikes in a similar vein . . . Deus Ex Machina was born. “Because I figured there was nothing sadder than a bunch of old baby boomers hanging around together reminiscing,” he says. “We came up with the name (God is in the machine), which is a bit of a pretentious name for building motorbikes, but it expresses the idea of having respect for the machine and respect for the activities that the machine is part of.” But he didn’t want the new company to just be a motorbike customising place. Dare says he believes

the sum of different parts is always more interesting and, once again, moved away from more orthodox motorbike-building business models such as the ones that can be seen on American reality TV shows. “So we started to build bicycles and started to add surf into the mix,” he says. “People said ‘you’re mad!’ – you can’t have motorbikes and bicycles in the same shop. And surf boards! “I said I ride motorbikes and bicycles, I surf . . . it’s my shop, I can do what I want. “But,” he says, “if you do it seriously and it’s not just an affectation, and do it well, and you learn about things . . . that’s what it’s all about.” The first multi-various Deus Ex Machina outlet opened up in Camperdown, Sydney. “We call it The House of Simple Pleasures.” The Deus venue in Canggu is called The Temple of Enthusiasm. “In this day and age just having a shop is pretty dull,” Dare says. “You’ve got to make a place that’s interesting and entertaining – that’s worth making the effort to visit. So here (Canggu) people can come and have something to eat, see stuff, there are things going on, people revving motorbikes and getting excited about surfboards . . .” Deus isn’t stopping here and recently opened another venue on Venice Beach in California. “Sydney, for instance, is different to this – which is the Indonesian expression of what we’re all about – and the Venice Beach venue will be different again,” Dare says. Variety is, after all, the spice of life . . . sambal, perhaps, in the case of Bali. “Ideas, though, are universal,” says Dare.


Ques ti o n s , Qu es ti o n s Fabrizio Alessi, by Dustin Humphrey.


He’s the originator of post atomic men’s clothing line, Skin. And he rides a big green motorbike. Ladies and gentlemen, Mr Fabrizio Alessi.

Fabrizio, you're a well-known member of Bali's fashion community...when did you first arrive on the island? I arrived in Bali in 1989…when I was still a pure and beautiful baby. Do you have a history in fashion? Yes. I design clothes for punk rockers (mostly my friends). I wouldn’t call it fashion, just rags…that’s what I’m doing…designing rags! I started to work as designer for a couple's independent Italian label. Always street wear, always fun. Some people say there are not enough men's clothes available here. Why is that, do you think? Man, in the ‘old’ Bali days we didn’t even need to wear clothes. Just board shorts and t-shirts were enough. But now things have changed. Men want to be cool and smart, and Skin tries to satisfy all this. What's important about men’s clothing, as opposed to clothes for women? Men want practical clothes, light material, cotton never polyester, earth colours. Which do you prefer to design for ­– the boys or the girls? Boys. But I also have fun with women's… clothes. What's the most important thing about making a good t-shirt? The fit, number one, and the print, which has to be in line with the modern thinking. Do you design all the clothes yourself or is it a collaborative effort? We work as team. I always like to have different opinions.

What do you look for when choosing fabric? I don’t like synthetic fabrics. I hate to sweat in a plastic shirt, so I try to work with only natural materials. Who is your favourite clothes designer? Vivienne Westwood. Does music have an influence on your clothes? Of course. Everything starts with rock ’n’ roll, and then continues in the same rhythm. And now we want to know…do you believe in God? I do believe in God. I think of all of us as God…it’s just hard to remember, especially when I am upset! What's a regular day for you? Café, surf, yoga, work. Where do your ideas come from for Skin? Many sources…magazines, travel, or just watching people on the street. I want to be a fashion designer. What should I do first? Come on…you don’t want to be a fashion designer, you want to be an astronaut! Or a doctor, or a chef, a pimp…or maybe somebody who is good for society. Fabrizio, thanks for your time. It’s been illuminating.


Thi s Mu ch I Kn ow

He runs one of the poshest pads on the island and has no idea what a chutney ferret is. Good boy, Jamie Thewes. Photo: Yaeko Masuda. Jamie Thewes, why are you always laughing? Because every morning at about 7 o’clock I walk to my bathroom, look in the mirror and am faced by ridicule. Tell us how you grew up... I grew up in the North Perthshire Highlands. It’s a very beautiful, wild part of Scotland. My father is an art dealer and collector, my mother a cook. My childhood was spent mainly outside and invariably involved mud. I’m told that I was a pretty feral child, but I don’t believe it. Our house was constantly full of people enjoying my mother’s food and my father’s cellar. It was quite a remote neck of the woods, so we grew much of what we ate in an old walled garden. As children we were also encouraged to get what we could from the surrounding hills. Spring was St. George’s mushrooms, nettles and gull’s eggs; Summer was salmon, wild garlic, wood sorrel; Autumn was game and mushrooms and Winter was...well Winter was bloody cold! We had a mantra – you kill it, you grill it – which curbed my teenage bloodlust and brought me to the kitchen. In other words, I had an awesome childhood. How did you end up in Bali? Bali arrived at the end of what seemed like a very long journey. We sold our family’s restaurant in 2004 and I then found myself working on various projects primarily in Scotland but also Portugal and the Bahamas. One of my clients was John Dodd who’d recently bought The Istana. He asked me to come out and train his chefs for a few weeks. This became an annual thing until he asked me to come out full time a couple of years ago. What's important to you in life? Contentedness without the smugness. 116

And food, we would imagine… I was very lucky to have been born into a family who love food. My mother and two aunts are all professional cooks. In the late ’80s my father decided to convert our steading (outbuildings) into a concert hall. It was quite a bold call, for although he had a great love of music, he’d never worked in the industry. At the time he’d been commissioned to refurnish the Libyan Embassy building in London after their expulsion. Everything abandoned had to be sold, so on his return to Scotland he brought with him an enormous commercial kitchen. My parents set up a charitable trust that aimed to give master classes to young musicians from around Scotland. I think, even to my parent’s surprise, it was a huge success. We started to host regular concerts and a music festival. They wisely brought in the Canadian classical guitarist Simon Wynberg as musical director and soon we were hosting some of the greatest artists in the world. In the early ’90s the late Yehudi Menuhin became president and so began an extraordinary relationship between the Menuhin school in Surrey and home. My mother and aunt catered for these events, often cooking for up to 140 guests. We, as kids, would help. It was a great way to learn the dark secrets behind the entertainment industry. My mother, being a thrifty Scot, would take huge pleasure in announcing to the assembled crowds that my brother or I had shot the venison, she’d picked the chanterelles or grown the veg and that the whole expense of the meal was the wine! After I left home I went through the rigmaroles of apprenticeship in Ireland at Ballymaloe, which was a huge learning curve. I then packed up my knife case

and followed my stomach around the world until I came home and opened our restaurant. Can you also wash up? Sure. I was a dishpig for a catering firm in London for the first six months of my professional career. I was promoted to “garnish” chef. I had to walk up and down a long line of cooks elegantly draping greenery on their creations. It wasn’t a happy time in my life! Have you ever cooked for anyone famous? Prince Charles – garnish chef! OK, give us your best culinary anecdote... Once upon a time...an unnamed hotel asked me to discreetly investigate whether their chef was on the take. I spent a few days in the kitchen and soon found that although he was rough as old boots he was straight. In the middle of service, one of his commis admitted that he’d run out of mint for the minty peas. In a flash of “genius” the chef went to his locker and emerged with a tube of gel toothpaste, which he generously squeezed into the simmering water! I was somewhat astonished when the kitchen started getting compliments for “the best peas ever”! The Istana...it’s quite posh isn’t it. And you’re the de facto general manager, we hear. I’m lucky in that we’ve got an excellent GM from Bali Homes Management. I’m not nearly computer literate enough to take on the management side of things. We work very closely on all aspects of running the house but really my domain is in the kitchen or cellar. And posh? Well, the glorious thing about The Istana is that

although it’s breathtaking, it’s not over the top, shiny suited and draped in bling. The only gold is the braid on the 18th century bed covers. Gfab (the architects) really got it right with the renovation project and the Dodds have collected some superb works of art. What's the best part about running somewhere like The Istana? Not having to cajole the team into enjoying themselves. The Istana staff are a very tight knit crew and excellent at what they do. The smiles are genuine. And now for something completely different. What's your opinion of...rainstoppers? I’m in awe. I’m going to start shipping them to Scotland. The Istana’s rain-stopper is so powerful he managed to shield the house from rain while bringing an almighty downpour on the farm next door. Do you have a talent of which you are particularly proud? I’m a pretty dab hand at fly-fishing but I don’t like to brag. What's the worst job you've ever had? After a stint at university I spent two days working for a telesales firm that had been exposed on a TV watchdog programme as a sham. I’ve never been subject to such vehement abuse. I still don’t know what a “chutney ferret” is but apparently I have one where the sun don’t shine! Is there anything else you'd like to share with us? Julia Roberts, Brad Pitt and Angelina did NOT stay at The Istana…honest. And what's the last thought to go through your head at night? Who the hell is calling at this time? Jamie Thewes, thanks for your time. www.theistana.com



arturo Ku Dé Ta impresario Arthur Chondros talks inspiration, gut feelings and being a dad. Arthur, what's a good Greek boy like you doing in a place like this? Bali is an amazing place full of sun, smiles and sunsets…what more can I say. Where did you grow up? Born and bred in Melbourne. What was it like at home when you were a boy? Home was full of great food, lots of laughs and running away from my older brother. Did you ever get into fights when you were at school? Going to an all boys’ school it’s inevitable you get into a few fights, but they were usually confined to a sporting arena. Where do you get your drive from? I haven’t thought about it – I suppose it’s innate. What do others think of you, would you say? You would have to ask them… Do you have a secret to your success? Staff, relationships, attention to detail and most important – passion! When was the last time you were sad? Ten minutes ago. 'I'm an Angel', what's that all about? It’s Ku Dé Ta’s official charity foundation that we proudly started back in 2003. It means a lot to me personally because it’s a way that we can give back to the community. Over the years we have raised over $500,000 and our annual I’m an Angel event raises approx $70,000. Throughout the year we donate 10 percent of certain dishes from our menu to the charity, which tops up the


contribution by another $30,000 per year. It’s for underprivileged communities in Bali focusing on women and children and I for one think it’s a given that Ku Dé Ta would be involved in something so special. Do you feel rich? Generally I am a positive person. I’m grateful for the life I live; the people around me and of course my family. If these things make you rich, then yes, I’m a trillionaire! What makes Ku Dé Ta the best day club in the world? We cater to all five senses – with Ku Dé Ta being the sixth. What's your style of management? Identifying great people (management and staff ) who complement me and the business. Are you a spiritual person? Emotional more than spiritual…my gut feelings usually dictate my decisions. You're a father, we understand. Did that change your view of the world? Of course – it’s made me want to have 10 more. What's the worst day you've ever had? When the cheating Italians beat the Socceroos in the last World Cup! What's Arthur up to next year? I tend not think that far ahead. All I can think about is welcoming the Brand New Heavies, Frankie Knuckles, Heather Small and Dave Seaman for our massive 10th Birthday High Season celebrations this August. Mr Chondros, thank you for your time!




Rio Sidik is a horn player, he’s Indonesian, and he blows it like he sees it . . .

RIO. . .what’s the back-story? I was born in Surabaya, I’m 33, and I moved to Bali when I was 19. So how’s show business? It’s been good to me so far. Your group, Saharaja, was a favourite on Bali but seems to have fallen off the map – what happened? My divorce . . . Saharaja is coming back, single and mingle . . . same people and the music is our own – fusion, originals with some classic covers as well. Are you writing your own material? I’ve been writing a lot – actually 60 per cent of our stuff is original. Was your family into music? Yes, my mother’s side of the family . . . my grandfather was my biggest mentor. He is a trumpet player and he’s 75-years-old now, and has his own bigband orchestra in Surabaya. My grandmother was a singer; my mother a singer and a trumpet player; my aunt, singer and trumpet player; my uncles trumpet players; older brother trumpet player. All in the family, it’s in my blood. My grandfather was in the navy, so maybe that’s where he got the jazz bug. He brought back lots of records. I grew up with the big band sound and started playing solos and improvisations at 13 . . . that’s when I started playing piano. I learnt piano so I could improvise. Did you take lessons? My grandfather used to have a school where he taught more than a thousand students. Does your younger brother play trumpet too? My older brother is still playing in Surabaya and Jakarta, but my younger brother stopped and became an actor. My little sister, Marina, is a singer.


You sing as well, so I presume your mother was the voice teacher? She taught Marina and me. Did you ever have thoughts of ever doing anything else? No man, since I was a kid I knew I was going to be into music. Did you play with bands in Surabaya? Yeah, I played with my grandfather until I was 11 . . . that’s when I turned professional. At 11? Amazing. . . What made you come to Bali, given you were already successful in Surabaya? I just got tired of big cities. We went to Jakarta once a month . . . we travelled a lot with my grandfather. You were what they call a “trunk baby” in the show business world . . . Yeah, I grew up like that, so I came here and called a few friends and just started playing. Appears you never had a hungry day? Yes, thank God. I used to come here when I was in high school, so I already had experience playing in Bali. How long was it before you started the Saharaja band? The first band I played with was called Jiwa and the Soul Train – we split up, and I moved to Australia for a while. How was the reception in Australia? The first month was really dry. It’s so hard over there to get through. The musician environment is really protective . . . they were afraid I was going to take away their gigs. I just wanted to jam and they just wouldn’t let me. I got fed up, and then I met a clarinet player . . . we played and he really liked me, and finally I got through with his help. Now I go back and just call them, and go play some gigs.



interwho hot bike, cool jazz.


How many instruments do you play? I play a bit of piano, I play guitar and bass; I play the whole range of brass instruments. So you’re a one-man-band . . . you can actually do your own album by yourself? Yes, I did actually; that’s what I do, produce music. Score and write music. I learned that from my grandfather as well. Are you into recording right now? Actually, this year I’m producing two albums; one is my own; and the other is with Julie Tamblin, who’s a singer, and we’ll be doing a duo sort of thing. You’ve been travelling a lot this year, has that changed your attitude? Yes, a hell of a lot. Because of these trips I’ve written 12 new songs. You were in Russia? I was in Moscow, and I love Moscow man; it’s awesome, they loved me there. That’s an ego builder if there ever was one . . . Without a doubt, the biggest compliment I’ve ever had. How did you find the musicians to play with? I knew a few producers and contacted them before I left. They helped me to find musicians, straight away, meetings and practice rehearsals for shows. The musicians are great . . . they can play Tchaikovsky . . . I mean everybody can play classical – anyone who can play classical has amazing technique. Who is your biggest influence would you say? Miles Davis, Freddy Hubbard, Dizzy Gillespie – I love his personality on stage. So jazz is your passion? I wouldn’t say I’m a jazz musician; I play everything . . . and a jazz musician only plays jazz. On the rock scene, who are your favourites? I like Guns ‘n’ Roses; the Stones; and I’m a big fan of Michael Jackson. More recently Paramour and Nico Back . . . oh yeah Aerosmith – they’re cool. Last words? Just play what you feel, show what you play – that’s what Miles Davis said. Don’t be afraid to try something new. I don’t believe in music rules. What was your biggest compliment? When my grandfather came here last year and told me that he was proud of me. He was always strict and never said anything like that. This meant the world to me.

blow me up . . .


Profile for The Yak Magazine

Yak #69 Oh Man 02