Weird Genius, formed in 2016 by Reza Oktovian, Eka Gustiwana, and Gerald Liu has continued to grow their fanbase over the years, earning them spots on the lineups of coveted shows and festivals such as YouTube’s Viral Fest in Bangkok in 2017 and supporting The Chainsmokers in 2018.
Their smash hit “Lathi” sparked the #LathiChallenge on TikTok, inspired by their haunting music video which saw countless content creators across Asia participating. The hashtag alone has now racked up over 130 million views ...and counting!
Photo via Weird Genius
We had the chance to speak to the EDM trio, and here’s what they had to say!
1. Introduce the group!
Hi, we are Weird Genius, consisting of Reza Oktovian, Eka Gustiwana, and Gerald Liu.
2. What is your style of music and how are you different from other EDM groups?
EKA: What makes us different is that we use traditional sonic elements from traditional music instruments as the main influence when making our music. Some with a very obvious flare, sometimes it’s subtle in the background of a song.
3. Your song “Lathi” has gained a lot of attention on social media, tell us a little bit about the song.
REZA: Lathi is about a toxic relationship between two humans that they said love each other but the fact is the opposite, they hurt themselves and each other. And at some point, the female with her strength and courage, opposes the male who is being abusive to her.
So, the message really is to give hope to others involved in such toxic relationships- just be brave and move on. As the pre-chorus lyric said “Kowe rasio mlayu soko kesalahan, Ajining diri ono ing lathi” means “You cannot run away from your mistakes, that the self-esteem in on your tongue (words)”
4. The music video is unique. What is the concept behind it?
REZA: I directed and edited the whole MV with my friend Creamypandax, it’s just to amplify or dramatize the song & the lyric in visual form. We used shadow puppets or ‘Wayang’, jaran kepang, fire breathers, glass eater, is because it’s part of Javanese tradition. So people will relate right away when they hear the ‘Sinden’ (the pre-drop-vocal) with those elements in visual.
5. How was your reaction when the song went viral on social media, especially TikTok?
REZA: Overwhelmed and thankful of course, since this is an EDM song and this type of music is very niche especially back home. This is a milestone that we wanted to achieve when we formed the group. We want to add something unique in our music that probably people have never heard before.
And in fact, people are loving it, judging by the comments that we received on YouTube and also in our DMs. With this, we conclude that any type of music can be accepted as long as it’s true from your heart.
6. Are you planning to come to Malaysia for a show, after this pandemic is over?
GERALD: Definitely! Actually, we planned to have a show back in March 2020, but then the lockdown order came just a week before the show. But of course, we will meet our fans in Malaysia as soon as we can.
7. What do you hope your fans can take from your song, “Lathi”?
EKA: We hoped everyone who listened to it can find the meaning of the song and also enjoy the beat and sounds that we put together and also hoping those who don't know Javanese, they can slowly learn; the language, the music, the culture, the people, the history, etc.
8. In this time of crisis, what can people do to help each other out? (Describe your role as entertainers during this crisis)
GERALD: It’s kinda a sad moment for not just us, but all musicians and entertainers. We usually have tight schedules for shows and now it’s all gone for who knows how long. But in the end, if we want to survive, we just had to take a step back and think about what you can do and what makes you, you. For us it’s obviously music, just making music as much as we could.
We will have a song in collaboration with Yellow Claw, pitching some remixes for big international artists (we cannot mention it right now), another two collaborations, and our own original songs. We hope that all of it can be released this year. Other than that, each member is also involved in many social events and charity whether through music donation or performance.
Photo via Weird Genius
9. Any message for your fans in Malaysia?
REZA: Weirdos in Malaysia, we love you, and thank you so much for your support all these years. I can’t wait to greet you in person. See you soon!
By: Aishah Akashah Ahadiat