Interview: An Afternoon Talk with AsteriskaInterview: An Afternoon Talk with Asteriska, Sophomore Album, Collaborations and Traveling Journey

Cabrini Asteriska Widiantini, or more known as Asteriska is a sixth of indie rock group, Barasuara. The 29 year old singer has begun her singing career in the age of fifteen and as a soloist she has released a full length album called “Distance” in 2015. She could be a part of a rock band, but her own music is rather different than her group. “Distance” is a mixture of gentle pop and folk tunes that showcased her personal love life within its 8 tracks. Amidst her busy schedule with the band, she took her time to visit the newly opened Ha8itat Café in Malang to have a quick chit chat session in a lovely afternoon. Asteriska or friendly addressed as Ichil warmly welcomed us with a smile. She did not show a sign of fatigue after rocking the stage the previous night with Barasuara. We talked about her solo venture, yoga routine, traveling journey and more below.

The Display (TDP) : Hello Ichil, you are very busy with Barasuara at the moment, but how’s your second album going?

Asteriska (A) : Hi, I actually have many materials that I’ve made with my bandmate, Gerald Situmorang. But the recording process took so long. In between, I kinda lost my mood and wanted to make new songs instead. It was such a waste since we have put our energy, brain, and time to make it. So I said, “Ge (re: Gerald), let’s record this”, but I realize that the mood would be different than it used to. It was a song that I made when I was so young, and now I’m old. It turns out when I listen to it again after many years, it sounds pretty nice. Hopefully it will have the same energy once the album is out.

Interview: An Afternoon Talk with AsteriskaTDP : What’s your second album is about? Can you tell us more about that?

A : It varies. Basically it’s the same with the first album, just me talking about random stuff. Actually I have 50 songs in total, I chose 10 songs to be in this album with Gerald, and other 10 songs from my solo album “Distance”. So if you asked me what is it about, mostly it is about love. Some are taken from my personal experience with some drama added to make it more interesting. Like a song called “You’ll Forget Anyway” is about my experience with my drunk friend. He called me at night to join him, and once I got there, he didn’t even remember that he called me! He was so drunk and the next morning he called me again to show how surprised he was to meet me last night. I thought I could make a song out of it, because drunk person tends to forget what he/she does. So, it’s filled with love songs, friendship and many more.

TDP : Do you plan any promotion like tour for your second album?

A : From the first album, I actually really wanted to tour across Java. Unfortunately it clashed with Barasuara’s schedule, and to arrange a tour takes a lot of effort. If I don’t have sponsors, I should spend my own budget. And to think about it, I don’t want to push it too much. Since I joined Barasuara, I become very laidback and try not to pursue my solo venture too much. Seeing Gerald and Puti Chitara doing their own tours, it didn’t make me eager to follow their footsteps as soon as possible. Maybe later, if I want to, I’ll definitely make it. If the universe doesn’t allow you to do it, then it won’t happen.

If the universe doesn’t allow you to do it, then it won’t happen.

TDP : What is your hope for the second album then?

A : I hope the second album would do better. The first album wasn’t really well-prepared, the listeners were scarce, just because I’m in Barasuara that people are intrigued. It took one year for my first album to start going well, on the second year people started buying. So, I’ll gather listeners first, hopefully the second album could be more well-prepared. I’ve learned a lot from Barasuara’s production team, so I want it to have firm concept if I want to make a tour or anything else.

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TDP : Seeing your Instagram feed, you’re an adventurer. Any plan of traveling in near future?

A : If it’s in Indonesia, I usually travel on last minute. Either Barasuara’s schedule takes me to that spot and I extend my stay, or my relatives ask me to join them. I usually plan my travel abroad, normally I start planning a year before. Barasuara rarely have vacation, but Iga Massardi plans to go to California in January. Which means, if he leaves, then we got a holiday! The chance is we might have a break on January and throughout next year’s fasting month. January, if everything goes well, I will depart to Morocco during winter and in fasting month I really want to go to South America. I want to visit Peru mostly, or nearby countries since I only got a month so not all countries are gonna be visited. Brazil is the furthest though, and after I googled the round trip tickets from Argentina or from Peru to Brazil, it costs 6million. So, I need to calculate my budget and extra cost for this kind of thing.

TDP : What is the misconception you’ve met so far being a traveler?

A : People thought that I have a lot of money! I saw people comment on my page and stuff, they have no idea about what’s going on behind my traveling journey. Maybe my friends of the same age have purchased a house, or started their installments but my priority so far is still buying travel tickets. I want to see the world so it’s understandable to sacrifice some things, like money and people’s judgements. I welcome people who judge me as an adult who spend her money to travel, because for me it is an investment. People could have bought houses or cars, but they could not buy the experience like, staying in Europe for two months. It is a lot of struggle especially as a backpacker, having had swollen feet, torn up shoes, etc. But later on, I have a unique experience to tell to other people compared to those who just stay at home. I can give tips on how to cut budgets to get to other places. People can use Couchsurfing, a site for travelers, to minimize traveling budget of course with trustworthy individuals.

TDP : Whoa that’s some insightful tips there, can you tell us how you began your passion for travel?

A : I started traveling in 2011, when I just got my heart broken. That made me come out of my comfort zone, like, what’s the point of living in Jakarta. What am I looking for here? Then yoga and meditation made me feel so small compared to the whole universe that I want to explore. So I bought ticket to India, Europe, Australia because it is more interesting than Jakarta. In Jakarta, there is only business, heartbreak, annoying people. If I leave, it makes me miss my family and I can appreciate my friends more once I return.

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TDP : Why don’t you perform your music while traveling? It will be like killing two birds with one stone.

A : Since I travel by myself, bringing a carriage weighing around 60 – 70 liters is already too much for me. Furthermore, I don’t play music instruments in front of people, because it gives me stage fright. I have performed using that format twice and the last one I thought my voice was so bad, since I concentrated too much on my guitar. I decided to focus on my vocal, and let someone else plays the guitar and in terms of skill I am more confident with my vocal, so there’s that.

TDP : Don’t you ever get homesick while traveling?

A : Well if I stay for a year, maybe. But it’s relatively short and I always contact my family back home once in two days.

TDP : The perks of being Asteriska as a traveler is….

A : I’m easy to adapt to any environment and I got close easily with people. I got stomachache once in India, but as time goes by, my body also adapts to the surrounding. Traveling alone is much easier since I love to make friends with other backpackers regardless of their origins. It is a plus if I could hitchhike or travel with them, so I can cut some cost.

Interview: An Afternoon Talk with AsteriskaTDP : Have you ever come across bad experience when you travel?

A : Well, I was riding a bus on 2 AM in the morning in Vietnam with a bunch of other foreign backpackers and local factory workers. Then someone grabbed my breast and walked away, of course I reacted. The bus event stopped since I screamed so loud out of fury. Other foreigners were trying to help finding the culprit but it was useless. This kind of thing happened, but you got to have a positive mindset. Once you were let down by those kind of things, it would ruin your whole trip. There was once also a bad stereotype as an Asian, since Caucasians tend to feel more superior and being the only Asian, I was asked to drive, do this and that. However, there are also a lot of good people out there. Like there was this complete strangers who invited me to stay at their place since it only took a fortnight before continuing to other destination. Those kind of experiences become addictive for me as a lone traveler.

Reporter: Hanif Ardhika/Editor: Novita Widia