Naarm/Melbourne via Jakarta musician and singer-songwriter, Marissa Yudinar (she/her), released her debut single 'What a Waste' today under Matahara. Matahara's playful, creative alt-pop sound is just what's needed to carry us through these all to familiar lock down blues, where her charming vocals and polished lyrics perfectly complements the intricate soundscape of Michael Vince-Moin's production, resulting in one dreamy, down-to-earth debut. But don't take my word for it, listen to 'What a Waste' below and find out for yourself. We were also very lucky to be able to snag an interview with Marissa, where we discussed her musical progression, major influences and even Spongebob Squarepants.
Hi Matahara, thanks so much for taking the time to chat with us. Firstly, we just wanted to say congratulations on your debut single ‘What a Waste.’ Tell us a bit about the track, was it a product of the vast amount of time we’ve spent ‘wasting away’ whilst in lock down?
Hi there! Thank you so much for having me. It means a lot! Ahh thank you! I’m so so happy! ‘What a Waste’ was actually written when I was 16, I’m almost 21 now! Shocking! I know! My angsty self was being a little dramatic that time and angrily wrote these lyrics. The track went through a couple different versions before finally sounding the way it is now. It stayed with me and just me for a while. It’s not much different from the one before this though, but the previous one had a bit of a bossa bit in the chorus. It was more of a combination between electronic and bossa. But then, I gave the initial demo from 2018 in which I recorded just using GarageBand to Michael, my lovely producer, earlier this year. And it became quite a banger I think. So I guess technically this track was a product of the time we’ve spent ‘wasting away’ whilst in lockdown! Haha!
You’ve described the aim of your music is to “give light and warmth to everyone around you”. ‘What a Waste’ is definitely no exception to this and is just the playful, glittery dance-pop song us Melbournians are in need of right now. What led you to making this the focus of your music?
Aww! You just made me smile so widely. Umm, I think what led me to that focus, was just the realisation that music is something that never fails to make me feel better in many situations. I’m a pretty happy girl in general, but this year I realised that, after spending some time alone in lockdown, I always just go back to and rely on music when I feel down. It makes me feel happy, understood, hopeful and not as alone. So, from there, I decided that I want to do the same to everyone around me, and hopefully everyone else elsewhere. You know? And it’s just quite fitting with the name Matahara I reckon! I know it’s not the actual word ‘Matahari’ which means the sun in Indonesian. But my name was obviously derived from the word and we both share a similar purpose in the world.
You mentioned that Matahara started in 2016, with posting your bedroom recordings to your SoundCloud. How has your sound progressed over the last 4 years and who are your biggest influences in achieving this change? Yeah! I guess 4 years ago, my sound was definitely more band-y whereas like now, it’s leaning more towards that alt-pop, electronic sound. I was listening to artists like DIIV, Beach House, Mild High Club, Whitney and lots of other smaller bands that would pop up on my YouTube recommendations at the time. And I think now artists like Tyler, The Creator, Solange, Remi Wolf, Caroline Polachek, and oh this wonderful sextet called MICHELLE from New York that I recently discovered are on top of my list at the moment. They really help me think outside the box when it comes to making music. They manage to implement lots of interesting and contrasting melodies or sounds into their music in which I’m very much influenced by. I guess my sound is inspired by so many different sounds that I love over the years. So yeah, maybe that’s why I’m really into twists and turns in a song for example. I also love the term ‘genre neutral’. I think it’s a term coined by Hayley Williams of Paramore or at least I became aware of the term because of her. Cool gal!
Which Naarm/Melbourne artists are you most looking forward to seeing perform live once lockdown finishes? Ooooohh! Sounds like a dream! The obvious answer would be Tram Cops because I love them so much. But other than that, maybe Sunfruits?! Their latest single ‘Mushroom Kingdom’ is amazing! I really want to hear it live. And Komang! She also just released her debut single called ‘Dewi’, which is so intimate and beautiful. What’s next for you? Have you been working on any other big projects during lockdown apart from this single?
I’m planning to put out one more single before the whole EP comes out later this year. *wink* haha! Wish me luck!
Thank you so much for the chat. But before you go, we need to ask the infamous FROCKUP question, which 2000s cartoon character are you most similar too and why?
Thank you FROCKUP! You’ve been so lovely. I really appreciate it. Ooohh! I’d say Spongebob Squarepants! Hahahahaha! He’s very optimistic and loves to have fun. And I relate to how he’s obsessively attached to his workplace, the Krusty Krab, showing devotion to it above other restaurants. Very loyal! That’s me with my current workplace. Thanks again FROCKUP! Lots of love!
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Artwork by Phantasien
Photography by Anindya Apsara, edited by Alexa Satryo
Mixed by Allan McConnell
Words and interview by James Morgan