Gardika Gigih : A Flower Blooms in Harmony

Have you ever drowned too deep while enjoying an artwork, that you finally decide to meet the artist in real life? I have, and it was one of the most fascinating decisions I’ve made.

Meet Gardika Gigih, a 26 years old music composer from Yogyakarta; a beautiful city of Indonesia. Try to listen to his song, and if you’re lucky enough, it will feel like you’re having a date with the music!

“Many people said that my music is calming,” said Gigih before he started to explain more about his personal life, “However, as an artist myself, I feel that my mind is not always completely stable or calm. When creating music; I usually become really focused, and get lost in my own imagination,” said him while gazing into the air. “Once I get inspired by something, my mind would be fluctuating. I could be a moody, or expressive, or a very private person during my creative process.”

Gardika Gigih and his piano, Michiko.

Gigih’s process in creating music has been described as intuitive and emotional. “I don’t know where the ideas actually come from. It seems like your antenna gets connected with the whole universe, and you suddenly become inspired.” However, that revelation moment doesn’t always come right away, and he needs to bring the inspiration in. “I will sit for hours before my piano to play anything I can. Then slowly, I will drift into a world full of sound, and get drowned in it. In this phase, I will finally pick the strongest sound that I can find, and put it into my music composition,” he explained poetically.

According to Gigih’s experience, we are actually able to rehearse ourselves to be more sensitive in receiving inspirations, “I believe if we keep exercising our sense towards anything we can find around us ̶ such as rain, colors, or flowers ̶ it will be easier for us to find the inspiration in creating an artwork.”

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Photo by Gardika Gigih

“The energy that we got from the exercise will help us to deliver our experience in the artworks. Doesn’t matter what kind of tone that I use to create my music; in the end, it will find its way to become something new.” For him, the core of creative process is laid in the energy that we have in ourselves.

Later I discovered that Gigih’s tendency to observe things was originally based on his introversion. “I like to be on my own, and I used to spend few hours just by gazing through the rain. It feels really nice for me,” until one day he started to make questions about those habits, “I started to think, why do I like to get lost in a daydream? Why do I really like to be on my own? Or, why do I easily get dizzy in the middle of the crowd? And, is it actually a wrong thing to do?” Those questions began to pile up and climb into its saturation point, so he decided to learn the theory about introversion. “I need to know more about myself and my creative process. I need to understand how I can represent myself towards my works.”


Gardika Gigih’s studio wall

“According to the book that I read, introvert people tend to be more sensitive in feeling things. We easily reflect on it, and get inspired by it. For example, I could get thrilled just by looking at the evening sky, and I would make a music out of it. So I guess being an introvert is a good thing too.”

Gigih took his first music lesson when he was a merely 3rd grade primary student, and it was actually because his mom, “My mom asked me to learn to play keyboard from a teacher; Heri Pujianto. Then in 2007 I decided to learn more about music composition in ISI (Indonesian Institute of the Arts).” Stage performance is one thing that Gigih rarely does, and it requires a very conducive atmosphere to bring the performance into its best. “I’m a shy person too, and that’s one of the reasons why I chose music composition as my major. It feels so comfortable for me to work behind the scene.” He explained. “I once told my father about it, but then he told me that as a musician, I still have to be able to perform my music to the public.”

Fortunately, a good intension will always find its way. Few years ago, he discovered a new medium to help him with introducing his music. “I use digital media ̶ especially Soundcloud ̶ as a way to bring my music to people out there,” he said. “I’m really glad that my music is finally able to communicate with my listener, and I even received many amazing feedbacks from them.” The listener told Gigih that it’s best to listen to his music during their alone time. For example; when they’re driving alone in car, gazing into the rain, studying, and many more. They usually have a special time just to listen to Gigih’s music. “It is kind of a mystery how your artwork connects with particular people. When it happens, the energy between me and those people are actually influencing each other.”

One unique thing about internet is, you don’t really understand how the person you meet online would be like in real life. “Almost all of the people who’ve listened to my music haven’t seen me in real life. They don’t know me personally, and it’s like; there’s a room in me that people are looking and listening to, but they actually don’t know what kind of person I really am. I think it’s funny how my music can bridge me to those people, and vice versa.” He reflected.

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Photo by Gardika Gigih

His exploration in music music has brought him to many encounters with inspiring people such as Banda Neira; a music project formed by Rara Sekar and Ananda Badudu, and Wregas Bhanuteja; an award-winning film director.

“Lemantun” is a movie by Wregas which consists of a story about how incredible mother’s love to her children could be. Taking part in making the soundtrack, Gigih was amazed by it. “There’s a very special side of women, which is like the ocean; they have an unlimited greatness of soul, and it’s a very transcendental thing. I got really emotional while creating that music.”

In September 2015, Gigih was invited by NPO Awajishima Art Center (Japan) to collaborate in “Kawara no Ongaku” project. His pleasant trip to Japan inspired him to create a journal and tracks, called “Merindukan Awajishima” (Yearning for Awajishima). “I was moved by many little things that I found in Japan. I also had a lot of emotional experiences during my visit there, so I pour those emotions into some piano tracks.” Those tracks were also based by nine beautiful photos that he captured by himself. One day after coming home from Japan, Gigih picked the photos, and made the music right away.

He’s currently preparing an album called “Nyala” (light). “In Nyala, I’m trying to imagine and transfer the light energy into sound. Light is about hope,” he said. “I was really trusted by Sorge Record (label) to improve my music, and we’ve done the two days live recording with Rekam Bergerak team last June. The recording session was done with a very detail acoustic approach, and it really makes me glad.” In Nyala, Gigih also invited some musician friends such as Ananda Badudu, Rara Sekar, Layur, Damar Sosodoro (Jalan Pulang), a trio string; Suta Soma (violin), Dwi Ari Ramlan (viola), Alfian Adytia (cello), and two sopranos; Hana Azizia and Desti Indrawati, and an expert percussionist; Wasis Tanata.

Photo by Gardika Gigih

Light, flowers, rain, and sky. So, here comes my metaphor:

A seed was flown by the wind, and got lost in the beautiful sky.

Showered by the rain, and kissed by the sun,

the seed finally found a place where it belongs.

No matter how harsh the rain pours, or how striking the sun shines,

the seed will always find its way to grow, using the strong root as its guidance.

One day; a flower bud had finally appeared,

and people are pleased by its beauty.

The flower may not bloom completely,

and even sometimes tries to sneak back into the ground.

The world sees it all,

and they take it as a charm.

It is completely fine,

Since people have been dazzled by its presence.