In music industry, where everything is fast-paced and changes occur in the blink of an eye, hiatus poses great risks. And for a musician, a three-year hiatus may last forever. A lot of things may happen during that three years. New trends, new competitors playing in the same niche, and fans? In this social media age fans are as fickle as the wind. But a hiatus can be therapeutic, and Rifan Kalbuadi’s comeback single, Temporary Hours, is proof of this.
The young musician, born 25 years ago in Jakarta on February 27, decided to brave the risks and took a hiatus after the promotional period for his debut EP, Statis (released in 2017), ended. Rifan needed the break to finish his studies and to redefine his musical direction.
“Since the release of my previous album, where I took part in some phases of its promotion efforts, I realized that all this time my inner self was not satisfied. To put it bluntly, I was not producing, or playing songs that I fully enjoy. I tended to follow the crowd, rather than creating it. In short, I felt that I made music to please others, but not myself,” he explained.
During this hiatus period Rifan did not stop playing—and making—music. He explored his musicality and wrote songs. And when he has enough songs up his sleeve to fill an EP, he returned to the recording studio.
“Temporary Hours is the last song I wrote for this EP. It did not take long to write this one. I wrote this after I attended my sister’s graduation ceremony in the University of Michigan, USA, last year. Broadly speaking, this song tells that all the good things will come to an end, and all the bad things will not last either, so all things are temporary. I always think that everything revolves around things being temporary. When I went to my sister’s graduation, I saw that she was very happy and grateful for the four years she spent studying for her degree.
“But afterwards I sensed that she was sad and depressed. I asked why, and she said ‘I don’t know whether I will see the friends and colleagues I made during my stay in America again, friends that came from all around the world. I spent four years of my life with them, but I don’t know if I will see them again.’ And I thought that everything is temporary, and life is indeed incalculable, and fragile,” Rifan said.
The central theme of this song does not wander far from the theme of Rifan’s upcoming EP, which will address mental health issues based on his own personal experiences.
“Yes. That is one subject that is very close to me. I am still going through that one, still struggling to overcome it. And I am glad to finally be able to put this out, especially through my music,” he confessed.
“The recording process was very simple. I tried to break the stigma that you need a large space and sophisticated instruments to record a song,” explained Rifan. “The entire instrument tracks were taken using my laptop, which has been faithfully serving me since 2011.”
Indeed, this process was a far cry from Rifan’s previous EP, where he was supported by a host of musicians. This time, Rifan decided to write, arrange, play the instruments, and even record the song all by himself.
However, Rifan felt that he needed a partner who could help him direct his vocals and push him for maximum results. He found this figure in Ivan “Iponk” Gojaya, the producer and music engineer who had helped Rich Brian on Amen.
“What attracted me to him was the fact that he is very enthusiastic with my materials. He never thinks about altering my concept and my music. He only made my songs perfect in technical terms. He also completely understands the message that I’m trying to convey in this album. He neither makes creative barriers nor trying to take more credits. I learned a lot from the recording process of this EP. This is the first time I worked with a co-producer who takes the psychological condition of a musician into consideration,” explained Rifan.
“He taught me that during vocal takes soul and mood are needed more than perfect vocals. I was not allowed to rehearse. I just got in the vocal bench, did five takes for each song, and then we chose the ones with more soul in them. These are usually the first or second takes. Probably because on later takes I started to think too much. Hahahaha!” he added.
Rifan is very pleased with this therapeutic work.
“I know it’s cliché, but I am pleased to say that this single and the songs in the upcoming EP are reflections of who I really am,” he concluded.
Temporary Hours is available for download and listened to in streaming services starting from March 6, 2020.