Exclusive Interview with Rishanda Singgih, the Music Director of Jakarta Broadway Team’s Heart Records, A Theatrical Concert


jazzuality- interview-rishanda-singgih


A very interesting show is coming soon during Valentine’s Day celebration. This show will give you not just something audible but also visual. You like watching movie with all the dramas inside it, you like live stage performance where you enjoy the songs along with the action brought by the bands. Even if you dream of having a Broadway-like show, you don’t have trouble yourself, because it does exist here in Indonesia. Well, HEART RECORDS: A Theatrical Concert presented by the Jakarta Broadway Team (JBT) is the show you need if you want to have both your eyes and ears to be entertained at once. (Read the complete event info here: http://jazzuality.com/jazz-events/jakarta-broadway-team-presents-heart-records-a-theatrical-concert/).

As the time draws near, we got the chance to interview the music director of this interesting show: Rishanda Wicaksono Singgih. This talented young man currently serves as the music director for Afgan and Marcell. His latest work can be seen on Afgan’s Konser Duo, The Voice Indonesia and Raisa’s performance at the Java Jazz Festival 2013. If you think you have seen him playing on stage, you’re not wrong, because he’s also a bassist who plays for Drew and Magenta Orchestra, just to mention a few. Rishanda is best known as an influential pioneer who celebrates individuality amongst Indonesian bassists. Other than that, he’s also a critically acclaimed producer who has such directing style that emphasizes the emotional visualization of the song and its connection to the audience. Now he’s ready to expand his territory by entering the musical theatre for the first time.

All the music, dancing, singing, theatrical acts and storyline are important in building the whole concept to meet the audience’s expectation. But since we are a music e-mag which is focusing on Jazz, we should try to dig everything behind the making of this theatrical concert from the music’s perspective. We see some really familiar faces among the musicians that we’ve seen often on Jazz stages. That could be a clue that Jazz patterns and sounds would be found too here and there inside the show. Or wouldn’t it? Since they dare to ask “What song does your heart play”, we can’t help but guess that the songs chosen for this show will all be familiar to you guys. Will the musicians also deliver some action, having more role than just providing the music? What’s the story behind the process? Or even, what’s the most important thing to keep in mind for a theatrical concert like this? A modern Broadway-like show is not that familiar to the Indonesian audience, therefore we think it’s important to let you learn more about it beforehand.

Here’s our full lengh interview with Rishanda Wicaksono Singgih. Happy reading.

It’s usual for us to celebrate the Valentine’s Day with live music events, candlelight dinners or even exchanging gifts. But it’s rare to have a full package of show like Heart Records: A Theatrical Concert. Where the idea came from first of all?
We want to make something that can please both ears and eyes. People usually go to the cinema or have dinner in a romantic place with live music. So why don’t we give them both? A theatrical drama of love cycle with a story line that easily connects with people — especially young people, wrapped with good musics as a medium to tell the story.

[flickr id=”11967520163″ thumbnail=”medium” overlay=”false” size=”medium” group=”” align=”left”]In your own words, what this show is all about?
Firstly, It’s about love (laughs). The cycle of love. Starting from the time you see someone that attracts you, then you meet him/her, share contacts, begin a nice chat, and then you start having butterfly in your stomach, waiting for him to ask you out, starting to date, change your status into “in a relationship”, until conflict starts to intervene the relationship. The tension keeps getting bigger and bigger, until you can’t stand no more and want to end the relationship.
Secondly, of course it’s all about great musics that wraps the whole show. Songs that are familiar and relatable with the audience.

Compare to the previous shows of JBT, what’s new this time?
This is my first time working with JBT. I think this is the first time they hire an outsource as a Music Director too. So the treatment of the show would definitely be different.

Would you tell us who are the persons in charge?
The main team consists of me, Ali (Alicia Kasih) the director, Thya “Maknyes” Said the script writer, and Dhika (Adyuta Abandhika) the vocal director who’s also one of the singers). Four of us have agreed to match the story line with songs that people are familiar with, instead of making new ones. Therefore hopefully the upcoming show will be quite engaging and  more relatable to the audience.

The music in a show like this has to be able to bring more than an ordinary music concert.. it has to be integrated with the storyline, dancers and so on. Thus, the music will get much more roles than usual. As the music director, could you share us how you shape the concept?
Intergrating the  music with the storyline and the dance is actually the easy part. The hardest part was making sure that the songs we picked and the arrangement I have created can make the audience sing and dance during the show.

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What do you have in mind to create it?
To achieve that goal, you really need to highlight the key parts of the song, that will easily be remembered by the audience so that they can notice the song immidiately.

Bringing out the musical show involving drama, cabaret show and so on ala Broadway is not something we find often here in Indonesia. What’s the most important thing to keep in mind during the process?
I think knowing that these kind of show is not really popular in Indonesia, you really have to blend it with something really common here. For me, I think, that thing is drama. As in everyday drama. Daily love-related-stories. Since we deliver the story through music, of course we have to choose songs that are already very popular. So the songs you will hear during the entire show would be songs you have been listening to everyday.

Working out the musicians to be ready for a nonstop 90 minutes show must be quite a work! As the music director, what’s the most difficult challenge for you during the preparation?
Getting the band as tight as possible. AND.. the most important thing is, to keep their mood on fire, eventhough we’ve been reharsing the songs hundred oftimes.

[flickr id=”11967649764″ thumbnail=”small” overlay=”false” size=”medium” group=”” align=”right”] Any interesting story during the preparation/rehearsal that you can share to us?
That would be the revisions (laughs). Even in less than a month before the show, Ali still sends me a revision.

There must be variety of genres to be found in the show. Will jazz be involved in it? Does it have an important role in the music concept?
Cross-genre is my approach for this event. I try to put one genre into other genres. Doing something that people would hold their breath to and can not wait untill the next part of the song. So yeah, of course jazz will be involved. Every kind of genre has a big role here. But I guess the main genre of the whole show is still pop.

From what we heard, the list of songs used in this event is carefully selected as well. We’re guessing some unique covers of today’s popular music will be there. What songs will the audience get, what inspired you to select the songs and how do you go selecting them?
Unique. Yes, but the song still has to be familiar to our audience’s ear. People MUST know the songs. So the audience will be able to feel each scene and each song will be all related.

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Then there’s the word ‘badass’ in front of the musicians which caught our attention. How far or wild will the boys go?
Just wait and see! (smiles)

From your own experience, how’s the excitement of the audience or their response towards Broadway-like show like this?
Musical production wasn’t very popular in Indonesia. However 3 or 4 years ago, it has changed. In a blink of an eye, it become the new big thing. The number of musical production escalates. And people are loving it.

Today Jakarta Broadway Team has more than 40 singers, dancers musicians, actors and creative talents. We have helped to announce several auditions made by the JBT since 2010. Do you have any difficulties to recruit them?
Not really. We open an audition each year. From there; the singers, dancers, and other creative talents are being chosen to play the role that suits them.

If a musician interested to join, what criteria they should have?
There’s no specific criteria. We just want a REAL talent with a REAL dedication.

What can we expect to experience at this showcase, from the whole perspective in general and from the music side in particular?
An emotional journey through dance, acting and most importantly, music.

Thank you for the interview, good luck!
Thank you!


Jakarta Broadway Team Presents: Heart Rercords, A Theatrical Concert

– Friday, 14 February 2014, 8:00 pm
– Saturday, 15 February 2014, 8:00 pm
– Sunday, 16 February 2014, 7:00 pm

Location: Graha Bhakti Budaya, Taman Ismail Marzuki
Jl. Cikini Raya no 37, Jakarta

Ticket Prices:
Platinum : IDR 500.000
Gold     : IDR 350.000
Silver   : IDR 250.000
Bronze   : IDR 150.000

Ticket Box: heartrecords2014@gmail.com, or call +62 8777 5678 195

Full info: http;//jazzuality.com/jazz-events/jakarta-broadway-team-presents-heart-records-a-theatrical-concert/

Interviewed by : Riandy Kurniawan


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