The man behind the sound, Dea Barandana, talked with us about records, music, food, and places – anything, just anything related to the sound. He’s straight – forward and very simple, but appreciating the goodness of life: good music and good food. Find him behind the deck, stage, or kitchen, that’s Dea – always cooking up something good.

“I think collecting records is a way to discover the creativity of people around the world. Like going to museums, but museums are boring.”


What was your early introduction to music?

When I was little, I often heard my dad play the piano. My grand-dad played some records so it’s always around.

I see, I heard that your first job in Bali was at Bali Safari, that’s interesting! What was your responsibility there?

My job there was as an audio-engineer and composer assistant. My main responsibility was mainly at the theatre and I helped to set-up Bali Agung there. I did the sound-system, playback – those kinds of things. I also recorded announcements for safari-park and music editing for the animal show.

Could you tell us more about your music work apart from your DJ-ing?

Well, ya… a lot of people know me as a DJ. Actually, my main job is actually a music producer. I compose a lot of stuff for myself and others. My upcoming project is the third album of White Shoes and the Couple Company, next on the run is Diskoria. Then, I have Soundmantras coming early next year. Aside from that, I also do scoring for movies and advertisements. Basically, anything with music – sound and audio.


You guys were based in Stockholm, how did it lead you back to Indonesia, and finally, Bali?

I moved to Stockholm after that job in Bali Safari. I just wanted to live in Scandinavia. The four seasons tempted me. But, it lasted us for a year then we moved back to Indonesia. Then, we tried to be based in Bali.

What was your mission behind Studio Eksotika?

Hmm… there was no proper space that plays good music with good environment. Well, even today, there is no such thing. Simply just a place to hang out – good music, good sound system, affordable drink, and located in the centre. It’s a local hangout for the creative community. Because when I see Bali it’s like everything is for tourism.


Your set shows your sense of travel, people, and nostalgic sound in Indonesian music you played – what was the beginning to dig, play, and present underground Indonesian music from the past?

I’m always on the move. I think I’m very lucky. I had so many works locally in Indonesia and Bali. Sometimes I need to work outside Bali or Indonesia. So, I always travel. To me, music is part of discovering the culture. For example, I went to North Africa and I just bought some records and I have a piece of their culture. I think collecting records is a way to discover the creativity of people around the world. Like going to museums, but museums are boring. While, with Indonesian music, I go deep because it’s the only material I could source here.


These days, how do you guys find yourself at home?

Same – as everyone I guess. Stay home, be creative, healthy. Been making a lot of music.

Some people told me that you love cooking, Dea. How do you find yourself in the kitchen?

I think it started when I lived alone in England and I realized that I had to eat and survive so I learned how to cook. Eating out everyday is not cheap like in Indo. But, I know I need to have a good standard to eat at home. So, I guess it started from there.


Which record holds memory for you?

Current favorite is a very emotional one made in mainland China in the 80s. The ones with memory are records from my childhood – there’s one and that one by Chrisye, Yockie Suryoprayogo, Eros Djarot. It’s the soundtrack from Badai Pasti Berlalu.

How long have you’ve lived in Bali, by the way? What’s your go-to food(s) in Bali and where to get that/them?

Been in Bali for 9 years now since 2011. I think it’s almost 10 years. Favorite? Hmm.. Go to Pittore (La Locanda del Pittore). It’s in Berawa. Good pizza!

Tell us three music performers in Bali you’d suggest and why.

That’s TOUGH! I think you should check for traditional ones ither Made Alit or try some Ketut Lanu performances. You could also see good shows in art centre. For jazz, try Mostly Jazz Brew in Sanur by Indra Lesmana, if you’re into free jazz! Well, aside from that. Used to be in Studio Eksotika, but right now, it’s not on – every Friday, we had experimental music.

Last one, where are the best places to explore in Bali for you?

To me is Karangasem, from Sidemen to Amed. Also Menjangan (island)/ I like it quite a lot. I mean everywhere in Bali is great for exploring – apart from Seminyak, Uluwatu, and Ubud. Hahahaha not Ubud.


Dea Barandana written by Prinka Saraswati photos by Andre Wiredja

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