Lintang Enrico was only a high schooler when he attended Parkinsound, Indonesia’s seminal electronic music festival. Little did he know that the festival would impact his career and life profoundly. Along with Rangga ‘Egha’ Eshayoga, Lintang runs Waiwai Studio, an audio post-production company in Yogyakarta.
Several years later, Lintang’s interest in music production was sparked when some friend entrusted his PC—installed with interesting audio and recording software—to him. Prior to producing and performing electronic music, Lintang played guitar in an archetypical rock band. His friend’s PC touched his creative impulse to approach music differently.
Since the moment also coincided with his band’s inactivity, Lintang opted to learn the basics of music production. He spent hundreds of nights in front of the computer and frequented the software shops in town. The communication studies graduate then recalled Parkinsound that successfully blew his mind for its novelty in concept and artistic forms. He still remembers the thrill of watching electronic music trailblazers such as Jompet Kuswidananto and Venzha Christ.
One of the festival’s organizers was Ishari Sahida aka Ari Wulu, a music producer and gamelan advocate, with whom Lintang would join forces in Soundboutique in 2005. Along with other friends, they produced music and performed in various events that are not limited to electronic music gigs.
About his experience with them, Lintang jokingly said that the group was too selective in performing. “My colleagues in Soundboutique were too picky. Though having many offers to perform in corporate promotional events, they preferred not to since they felt their music was not for the masses. My Soundboutique’s mates would take the offer only there were gears to buy!”
The game plans
In 2011, recently married, Lintang started to notice that many friends had decided to take regular jobs. Having learned the significant demand of audio post-production from the internet, he persuaded friends to join him running the business—to no avail.
“Many felt that the business would fail as there were a bunch of similar companies in Jakarta, the mecca of the industry. They doubted anyone would collaborate with a Yogyakarta-based agency. Everyone rejected the idea except Egha. The story of Waiwai Studio was started with two laptops, one soundcard, and two pairs of speakers; a substandard compared to other studios,” said the 36-year-old, describing their initial struggle.
At the time, Lintang did not like the idea of working for other people; he never did a 9-to-5 job. Moving to Jakarta to make ends meet was unthinkable, too. He was pretty certain that the internet and technology could fold the map.
He was 26 and it turned out to be the right decision. His company has been collaborating with big clients from overseas such as Unicef, Microsoft, Honda, Ford, Ikea, Nestle, Danone, and L’Oréal.
“As I figured out the internet to be of much help, we spent the profit from our first project in setting up a proper website. I began to learn the A to Z of the internet such as search engine optimization, Google Analytics, or social media—which at the same time also honed my business instinct.” Waiwai Studio attracted its first clients through the internet.
In less than five years, the studio had evolved. In 2015, they had had enough portfolios so they could leverage their bargaining power over the clients. As a result, they could propose certain requirements before taking the jobs. Since 2016, Lintang had regulated normal work hours to his employees—no more work after 6 pm. This is antithetical to the norm within the creative industry where people usually work long hours. The company now operates three studios and employs 12 people.
One day, Lintang and co. found the soaring demand for voiceover service. They then decided to put extra effort into this, by creating a new website called Indovoiceover.com in 2015. Six years later, the studio has provided voiceovers for clients in 27 languages.
Nowadays, he and Egha only carry out the monitoring duties at Waiwai Studio. Production tasks, sound composing and engineering, are now in the hands of three talented young persons.
“As the company grew, I had to learn the nuts and bolts of the business. I had to comprehend the concepts of SOP, job interview, business model canvassing, et cetera. In 2018, we pivoted our business model to start-up.”
Lintang was very determined with how things ran, that the company should grow and scale. In late 2019, he and Indovoiceover planned to tour Semarang and Surabaya to meet voiceover communities and organize some events. Unfortunately, the pandemic forced them to call off the plan. It didn’t stop Lintang’s plan entirely, though. Instead, Indovoiceover held online classes that were attended by amazingly 3,500 participants.
“Throughout the classes, many participants asked about the opportunity in this field. That was the moment when we decided to set up a dedicated marketplace for voiceover. We officially introduced the marketplace to the public in March 2021. There are 1,200 registered talents on the platform so far. I would be very happy if the platform can nurture starters to become real talents.”
Lintang also mentioned that he and Egha have been burying themselves in artificial intelligence (AI): estimating the technology’s staggering impact on everyday life as we know it.
“It’s been an interesting time. I’m well aware of the development of voice-based technology such as voice commands or audio-only social media like Clubhouse. In case you don’t know, the demand for smart speakers is increasingly high. We may have something up our sleeves related to AI in audio technology that I can’t reveal for now.”
The perks of creative collaboration
Collaboration has been commonplace in Yogyakarta, a city relatively small that people tend to know each other. The sultanate region was where Lintang learned the audio production, either formally at Atma Jaya University or informally with artists at Gayam 16 and House of Natural Fiber (HONF).
Lintang remembered fondly how the good people at Gayam 16 warmly taught him music production.
“I came to that community with zero knowledge and zero equipment. They let me use their musical equipment for free. I also became friends with people at HONF, who were very open to discussion and did lend their hands on many occasions. I practically went down the rabbit hole with their help. They were Obi Wan Kenobis to my Luke Skywalker.”
Lintang is not your average DJ as he prefers to experiment with sounds and equipment in his room. He doesn’t have a moniker like other electronic musicians. But to call him a reclusive nerd would be a mistake. The father of two kids in his spare time is still producing music for fun. The Norman Cook’s fan is the cook behind Prontaxan and the Megahits, Yogyakarta’s hot electronic acts.
“Now, I execute music using the same attitude as I do business. I wasn’t surprised at all if Prontaxan’s regular tour destinations were Jakarta and Surabaya as residents of these cities are the top listeners of their podcast. When Prontaxan’s personnel showed me a certain song to remix, I would analyze its fare and reach in streaming services and social media. Decision making, especially when putting something on the internet, should be data-driven.”
Undoubtedly, Waiwai Studio has its own competitors. What makes them head and shoulders above the rest is their penchant for collaboration. They are very open and seeing this as some kind of intangible investment. Lintang allowed friends to use the studio and gears. He helped podcasters setting up their operations. He mixed and produced fellow artists’ works. All free of charge.
“I am grateful for what I am as I received a great deal of help from sincere and talented ‘Jedi masters’. My time as an apprentice has ended years ago. It is my turn to give back to the community.”
Fajar Martha works as a business analyst for a Jakarta-based management consulting firm. Like Warren Buffet, he believes in the importance of communication. He has keen interest in comprehending how technology shapes and influences society, and vice versa. He loves to write fiction.
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