Incoming release Budaya brings Sweatbox Party resident DJ and KL-based RIMKA into the music production realm, having already been Djing in the circuit for many years now. Experiences being raised in a multi-cultural home and nourished by multi-genre music from around the world, as well as hitting the party capitals of the world from Ibiza to Berlin to catch top acts fuelled her love for the electronic music scene. She shares her love for music inspired by her frequent travels, absorbing their unique sound and vibe, playing at some of the best house and techno nights in the city, as well as spinning at major capitals like NYC to islands like Bali.
As a resident DJ of The Sweatbox parties in KL as well as being part of DJ duo Brown Rice with fellow KL-ite LZZY, RIMKA identifies through the use of ethnic elements in her sets and now, her production. But it was perhaps the local element that has pretty much inspired her writing, producing and recording her debut EP Budaya (Culture in Malay), released on the KL-based label Sweatbox Records.
Just fully released exclusively over the last weekend on online electronic music retailers Beatport, it's already breached the Top 50 (now peaking at 39) of the Beatport Top 100 melodic house and techno releases chart. Budaya comes with the use of rare live samples of Malaysian traditional instruments - the percussion kompang and Malay bamboo flute seruling, and inspired by her own local cultural involvement, as we found when we had a chance for a chat recently.
You've just released your new EP Budaya. What went into writing it and where did the inspiration for the music come from?
My idea for Budaya was inspired by the dikir barat culture of Malaysia. Growing up I did perform in some dikir barat shows; I always found it super uplifting, powerful and energetic so I thought why not create a fusion of electronic music with hints of dikir barat in it. I have always loved world music and I think that’s obvious with my DJ sets. I always try to add ethnic elements to them. This track went through many versions for two years until I finally felt this final version was the one that I was happy with.
How did you go about recording it so far, what has been the response like since?
It was tough at the start to find samples online of the kompang or seruling so I ended up getting live recordings of them which helped a lot in making the track sound more authentic. The response has been great from friends who have heard it and having support from artistes like Animal Trainer, Erick Morillo, Dubfire, Pete Tong, Eclept, Soul Button, Wild Dark, Satoshi Fumi, Dale Middleton, Tom Zeta, Lonya, Hasan Mogol, Allies For Everyone, Stas Drive really means a lot!
How have you been coping during this time this year? How have you been keeping busy through all this?
This year has been filled with unpleasant surprises, but I always try to look at things positively. During the lockdown, I was able to adopt healthier sleeping habits, practice daily meditation, work out and focus on music. Overall, it has been enjoyable to experience life at a slower pace. It’s been great and not great at the same time. Great because I feel I have so much more time to just work on myself …... not so great because I really miss travelling, DJing & being able to dance with all my friends at a good festival. However, I’ve been keeping busy working on music and my other businesses.
With RMCO in progress, what plans do you have? What can we expect from you for the rest of the year?
Well hopefully more music, and if we are able to DJ again then some local and international gigs with real humans dancing and connecting in front of me will make my year. Also, working on the upcoming collection for my (fashion) brand, Immigrant (which LZZY who is also half of our DJ duo Brown Rice has partnered with me on).
How do you feel about how the RMCO is progressing with regards to the music industry in Malaysia as a whole?
I think nightlife here isn’t taken seriously as part of the culture of a city, even though I think it is. If theme parks, cinemas etc are allowed to open, then clubs should be too. We have seen people having socially distant parties in Europe and I think we could implement something like that here for the time being. It is a little sad to see an entire industry just put on an indefinite pause, I do hope we are able to revive our scene again soon.
RIMKA's Budaya EP is available at https://www.beatport.com/release/budaya/3059632