ISSUE 19: Young Magic


Interview by Tiffany Lam. Photos by Winnie Surya. Ever miss Young Magic when they’re in town? Don’t worry, we’ve got them down for you. For those who are unacquainted with the New York duo, you’ll find your musical tastes satisfied with their electronic dream pop songs. This month, we chat with Melati Malay and Isaac Emmanuel about Breathing Statues, bucket lists and guilty pleasures.

You released your album, Breathing Statues, a few months ago, what makes this album so unique?
Isaac: We had some different approaches in making it this time and the way we were recording was new for us. I also think we had a kind of vision of what we wanted to make this time. For us, it all sounded like it came from a similar period of time.
Melati: Me too because it’s a unique thing; there’s no way it could happen again. The sequence of events that led to the finishing of the record was very unique and something we didn’t really have control over. We were travelling all over the world and when we get invited to places, it’s not really our decision to go somewhere, but we’re always happy to be there and take up the chance. So, the amount of influence that was coming from each country and place that we visited and people that we met – that’s all up to fate and chance. So, I think it’s unique in that way and you could never make the same record.

What was the inspiration behind the album name and what influenced the making of it?
Isaac: We were really interested in the idea of life in inanimate objects. So, the idea of a breathing statue was very interesting to us. It’s very easy to skim over and miss things in life and in awareness. So for us, it was about paying attention to the subtle things and to the little things that you might miss. That for us is what Breathing Statues represents.


How is it to record and travel to different places around the world?
Isaac: We really love it!
Melati: Very thankful! It’s a surprise every time! I’m still shocked by it even though we’ve been travelling for a long time now with this project. I feel very lucky.
Isaac: It’s a great experience – very grateful!

Is there anyone you would like to collaborate with?
Issac: I’ve always wanted to collaborate with Bjork.
Melati: Yeah Bjork!
Isaac: That would be nice.

What’s something from Young Magic’s list you would like to scratch off soon?
Isaac: We’d like to tour in Japan; that’s something we haven’t –
Melati: And Indonesia.
Isaac: We really want to play some shows in Indonesia.
Melati: We can do it!
Isaac: This time, we’re going to Australia in…
Melati: In January. We’ll be up there, so we can jump over it.
Isaac: That’s what we’ve always wanted to do, but we’ve never quite made it work.


Individually, what are your guilty pleasure songs?
Melati: Oooh! We just talked about it today! They’re so embarrassing!
Isaac: Well, is there such a thing as a guilty pleasure? Because if you love something, even if it’s…
Melati: You don’t have to say it!
Isaac: But sometimes, maybe you eat some candy and it’s so bad and horrible for you and you keep doing it – so what are some songs like that?
Melati: I don’t feel guilty about anything these days because I enjoy all the music that I listen to, but when I was kid, I would listen to really weird stuff. For example, I had the soundtrack to Friends and that was pretty weird – I’m embarrassed about that, I’ll say that! But there was something about catchy pop songs that got stuck in my head. It was like candy. Definitely.
Isaac: My mom used to listen to Deep Forest around the house. So, that’s my guilty pleasure.

What are your future plans?
Isaac: We are finishing this tour and then we’re going to Europe for a month. Then, we might do a little bit of recording and start something new. The last album, we finished it a long time ago. So, we’re really excited to record some new songs. Then, we’ll hopefully go out to Indonesia!

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