Hear Rising Indonesian EDM Group Weird Genius’ Seismic New Song ‘Lathi’
The producer trio of Reza Oktovian, Eka Gustiwana and Gerald Liu have already gone on to secure opening spots for The Chainsmokers and gained listenership in India
In India, there’s been a renewed vigor in electronic music that draws from traditional and classical pieces – with everyone from Bandish Projekt to Nucleya, Gurbax and more adding to the desi bass cauldron. Out in Indonesia, Weird Genius are amongst those leading the charge of writing EDM bangers which are rooted in Balinese and Javanese folk elements.
Their latest song “Lathi” (which contextually translates to ‘spoken words’ or ‘tongue’) features Javanese lyrics delivered by singer Sara Fajira as well as samples of gamelan music. Producer and one-third of Weird Genius, Eka Gustiwana says, “Traditional music is like in the DNA of Weird Genius and my own solo music. Although my own music leans more towards the pop sound, and Weird Genius will be on the EDM side.”
Gustiwana, along with Reza Oktovian and Gerald Liu are all solo producers as well, but they’ve certainly had a much wider reach together since 2016, when they created Weird Genius. Beyond routine EDM tropes, songs like “Lathi,” “DPS” and “Lunatic” show just how rooted the tracks are in Indonesian music. “Lathi” alone has climbed up to the number two spot on Spotify’s Global Viral Chart, in addition to topping the Top 50 Spotify chart in Indonesia. Stats show that India too was amongst the top five countries in which “Lathi” was streamed. Over on TikTok, Indonesians – doctors, makeup artists and other social media influencers – took up the #LathiChallenge and worked with the bass-heavy drama of the song to create striking videos. Oktovian picks influencer Jharna Bhagwani’s shapeshifting take, but the group are in agreement that they saw a lot of “jokey and funny ones” as well.
For the Jakarta-based trio’s Liu – who has previously been known for his projects in the hip-hop circuit – it was a “new feeling” to see “Lathi” blow up. He says, “I even received invitations from some artists that I had always dreamed to collab with. I believe this momentum probably will give Indonesians more options for music other than the usual suspects of music genres.” Oktovian adds, “I’m now more certain than ever that if you create music with your full heart it will go well, to a point that I’m confident that any kind of music can make an effect on the global stage, no matter who you are.”
In addition to opening for American EDM favorites The Chainsmokers in 2018, Weird Genius reportedly clocked up over 145 shows in 2019. It’s a different story for 2020, owing to the ongoing global lockdown brought on by the coronavirus, but the trio don’t rule out shows. India, too, could be on the cards, but they’d perhaps first get in on a collaboration with an Indian artist. Liu recounts hearing Nucleya but also the Indian-origin American DJ-producer KSHMR. Oktovian adds, “Probably someday we will have Indian influence in our song too, with the help of an Indian artist.”
Watch the video for “Lathi” below. Stream on more platforms here.