A Cup of Ice Tea with Widi Puradiredja

Talk about synthesizer and his collections.

HIS PASSION ON SYNTHESIZER isn’t merely for the reason of its significance in today’s music. When he was listening Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder (specifically in their early music careers), Widi Puradiredja, now 33 years old, has been also capturing weird unfamiliar sounds on their music. Now dozens of collections has filled his studio and warehouse in Bintaro, Jakarta. Accompanied with Sweet Iced Tea and a pack of cigarettes, I was having a casual talk with Widi about synthesiser.

Why analog synthesizer?
I see these analog synthesizers like a piece of art, so I tend to collect many analogs, not just as a pivotal requirement for my music, but as a token of my love for stuffs that made with heart, from scratch.

When did you first experience them?
I saw the first analog synthesizer directly from Indra Lesmana. It was part of the process of making the first album of Maliq & D’essentials: “1st”.

Why analog in this digital era?
Analog is unpredictable! Hahaha! Sometimes you can hear some false tunes, and from one day to another, their sounds are not always the same. But that’s the very thing that attracted me. The components of analog are not well organized, because it is not made in machine mass production. It’s different with digital, where every sound is the same and organized just like plug in.

Since when do you using analog synthesizer for your music? Isn’t D’Masiv using it too now?
Hahaha, I’ve been using it since the first album, not because it’s happening right now. Maliq’s first album utilized much Moog, but we didn’t use it for producing electronic music.

Was it complicated to make albums using that kind of instruments?
No doubt. People often say I’m crazy: when we’re in an era where music technology is more sophisticated, they said I was being hard on myself with analog. But I always feel that this tool is more alive. When you turn it on, there are uncertain waves. I don’t see the final result from this instrument. It’s more like enjoying the whole process of making music or creating something in my studio by using it.

Did you often bring your collection to the stage?
No! Rarely! Hahaha! The electricity system in Indonesia is not good. In most events, they often use external generators, which are likely to cause damages to any fragile music instruments. Electricity is the biggest issue for my collections. We have to stabilize it before plugging in any analog synthesizer. Being snobby as I am, for me, these are sacred instruments, not  everyone can touch and play with it.

When you’re buying, they’re in secondhand condition, so there must be some errors or something unusual. How did you do the rebuild?
There are some mechanism that i’ve alrealy familiar with these. I’ve had my Moog to be ripped all apart with the kids, because when i collect something, i have to understand everything on what i have. I keep exploring its components step by step. Just like people who love automotive, they will explore the machine, not only just using it.

So you fixed all of your analog synthesizer?
Of course not , hahaha. I didn’t have much time for that. If i was too lazy to fix it, i went to Bandung, and gave it to Evan. He’s really good at fixing synth. It’s so rare to find people who can fixing such equipments.

Do you realize the adage ‘you are what you collect’?
Indeed! I love vintage stuff, but I’m not vintage maniac. Maybe it’s obvious that I’m not that kind of guy who adores things that are one hundred percent perfect, if any. I love something imperfect, just like human being. To be precise: imperfection is very “human”. That’s the way I see all of my collections. They aren’t perfect; they’re handmade, which is the reason that their errors make sense more.

If only analog synthesizer has its own character that is so strong and cool but still has to be rebuilded, do you think it’s necessary that human need rebuild moment when they’ve already got their own character?
I think we need it, indeed. Because in my perspective, every human needs a progress in life. Change will always be happened. Change is something unchangeable. Sometimes it doesn’t have to be an extreme rebuild, but the life itself has to be upgraded although we don’t have to completely change it. I believe that we hardly change our own character. There is an idealism standard when it comes to change. Only you and your closest circle who can understand you. We have to comunicate our character clearly, adjusting what’s happening today, especially when it comes to creating a piece of art. From that side, maybe rebuild is needed to strengthen your character in every situation.

The most memorable collection?
Clavinet D6. Stevie Wonder’s perfomance in Jakarta used one of my collections. Crazy, isn’t it? The model is only owned by me and Indra Lesmana in Indonesia. — (P)


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