The Jakarta Post
The duo of Ibnu Dian (vocals, guitars, mandolin and pan flute) and Ganidra Rai (bass, vocals and synthesizer) of Matter Halo premiered Travel Is: The Documentary recently at the Qubicle Center in South Jakarta through an interactive screening followed by a Q&A session with the band.
The documentary, which the band described as being inspired by their process of “conquering” their fears and finding themselves, was directed and produced as a joint production by creative houses Lingkaran Pictures and Interlokal. Lingkaran also directed the music video for the Aerotiva single, “Travel.”
As its title suggests, the documentary focuses on the significance of travel, aiming to “enrich the general perspective regarding travel.” In the end, the documentary isn’t just a travel note, but a medium for exploration, existence and reflections of reality.
Aside from the band, the documentary features figures from the Indonesian creative industry, particularly those in the field of cinema and film, all talking about what traveling has meant for them and what they think its value is.
These figures include photographer Advan Matthew; director Andra Fembrianto; Ernanda Putra, founder and creative director of Makna Creative; broadcaster Iqbal Firmansyah; film director Joko Anwar; entrepreneur Nana Soedarmadji; musician Neonomora, who is under the same management as Matter Halo; musician Randy Danistha from the popular band Nidji; and politician Tuty Alawiyah.
Originally formed nine years ago, Matter Halo has released 3 EPs aside from Aerotiva. The band is known for their thoughtful visuals in their music videos. Travel Is: The Documentary works, according to the band, as a “small celebration” of the “Travel” single’s one year anniversary.
“The documentary process started in the middle of the shooting process for the single’s music video,” explains Ibnu.
“We — everybody in the production team — traveled together from one place to another to capture the story that we wanted to make. Though at the time, we didn’t know it was going to turn into a documentary.
“Turns out that we got so many beautiful shots and pictures, and so many ‘deep’ memories in the process. So we thought, we should make this a bigger thing, something that is hopefully more impactful,” adds Ganidra.
The band cites famed directors Christopher Nolan and Spike Jonze, as well as Brian Eno’s ambient music works, as inspiration, referencing their ability to bring meaningful thoughts from their art.
The band feels that the theme of travel encompasses their record, and as such made a perfect focus for their film.
“Our album’s songs came from very personal stories that turned out to become something personal for everybody [involved in its production],” Ganidra says.
“We’ve been writing demos for the album three years before its actual release. And during that time, we both also tried to work and do things outside of music. Ibnu lived in Edinburgh [Scotland]. So living life is very important and a great source of inspiration in making music. It feels like we ‘traveled’ through the process of making music together and it just keeps on going.”
The band wanted to not only provide the audience with “a piece of object,” but to give them a real experience that they would be able to “explore and feel.”
“So in the end hopefully they can find themselves, understanding their own definition of ‘Travel’,” explains Ibnu.
Both Ibnu and Ganidra feel that the documentary corresponds with the album’s theme of “conquering fear” first and foremost and that it was about celebrating “life as an adventurous ride.”
“So to be able to release a documentary is definitely strengthening our belief that art is a free state of mind where you can write the book that you want to read, or make the music that you want to listen to. The documentary is just the first of many things Matter Halo hopes would keep them busy for the rest of the year.
“2017 is an exciting year for us, with a lot of stuff in progress. We have got a new single coming. Having to tour Aerotiva is always a dream for us and hopefully we can realize it this year,” Ibnu says.