Aside from supplying some of the slinkiest and funkiest beats and blips specifically designed for those night-time vibes, Dylan Amirio juggles between his daytime job as a journalist and nocturnal incarnation as a rising name in Jakarta's local electronic music scene. His sparse, abstract, and, as he puts it himself, visceral sound lets its freak flag fly in the most understated way possible. It's typically accompanied by kooky, trippy visuals in live settings, and as such stands a cut (and then some) above the typical, trendy beat drops of the genre's inflection du jour. Globetrotter’s Fajar Zakhri met with the musician, known as Logic Lost, to gnaw on not fitting in, rejecting guilty pleasures and the importance of feeling. What follows is are excerpts from a long and layered conversation - click through at the end to take the full journey.
Globetrotter Magazine: Who are you and where do you stand in life at the moment?
Logic Lost: I just live life, man. I try to live life in the present. For me, it’s better to live in the present anyway, because if you worry too much about the future, you’ll never get there. You will forget what you do now, because what you do now will affect how you’ll do in the future. It’s about letting the universe flow, and that’s what I do. But yeah, my name is Dylan Amirio, I’m 25 years old. I have passion for music and writing. Back in school, I used to write a lot of poetry, fiction and all that - which I still do, but not as productive as before.
Globetrotter Magazine: Because of the nature of your work?
Logic Lost: Yeah, I’m used to writing every single day, so my brain gets exhausted in terms of writing. That’s why I channel it differently through music.
Globetrotter Magazine: You do have a music career. Would you call it a proper career or a moonlighting type of thing?
Logic Lost: I think I kind of have a career. I’d like it to be a full career, but it’s not really going anywhere yet. I’ve released one full-length album and an EP. I did release another unofficial EP on an American internet label, but I don’t know what happened to that. I’ve been producing since maybe four or five years ago, but I didn’t start going public until about two years ago.
Globetrotter Magazine: Why is that?
Logic Lost: I’ve had a lot of self-esteem issues since childhood that I’m still struggling with. So it took me three years to be like, ‘OK, I have to release all this‘, since the feedback was good, so why not release it to the world?
Globetrotter Magazine: And you release it to the world as Logic Lost. Why Logic Lost? Where did that come from?
Logic Lost: I used it unofficially when I was in high school, and it started as Lost Logic. I hadn’t done any electronic stuff so I was playing around with guitar and ukulele - it was more folk and lyric-based. When I decided to become public, I did a little research and was like, “Does anyone in the world have the name Lost Logic?” and apparently there’s a band with that name. So the logical thing to do was to reverse that.
I think the meaning behind the name is like, when you know what you’re doing is not right, but you do it anyway because it feels right and it feels good. You might even be careless sometimes, because you put your logic and your thinking aside for a while and sometimes I’m kind of like that.
Globetrotter Magazine: Who influences you in electronic music?
Logic Lost: There’s one album that I think had I never listened to it, there would be no Logic Lost: it’s “Replica” by Oneohtrix Point Never. When I listened to it, I was taken aback and went like, “Oh s---, this is really good stuff”, and it inspired me so much, it made me buy my first electronic set and do my own music. And I haven’t stopped since. So that’s a major influence. I’m also into a lot of drone stuff, because I’m into music that makes you feel deeply. But my basis really is ambient. So I would say that if I were to be classified in a genre, I would rather be an ambient artist than an electronic artist, because there will always be ambient parts in everything that I do.
I also love people like Four Tet, Jon Hopkins, The Chemical Brothers, Trent Reznor, The Gaslamp Killer, Boards of Canada, who are probably my biggest influence stylistically because the way they layer sounds is very masterful. I also love Aphex Twin, Björk… there’s one new artist named Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, she’s a fabulous synth player. A lot of atmospheric stuff, basically. I just want to make people feel as lifted as I do when I hear their stuff.
Globetrotter Magazine: What is it about this atmospheric, wordless, free-form approach to music that interested you?
Logic Lost: It just uplifts me and moves my heart. To me, music is dynamic and anything that you hear, even street noises, is music. Music in essence is a bunch of sounds that make you feel, right? So I’m more interested in the raw aspect of it. But it doesn’t mean that I’m abandoning structure. Maybe my first album, Runaway, wasn’t very structural, but I challenged myself with the latest EP, If I Trust You. I thought, “Maybe now I could try to make something more pop, more sensible and structured.”
So I started listening to a lot of pop music like Madonna and Justin Bieber, and I studied structure and tried to channel that in the EP. In a way, it’s experimentation too because I was experimenting with structure, I wanted a more controlled result and it worked. I’m personally very satisfied with the EP, it made me confident in using different styles of music and putting them in my music, because I’ve proven that it can work. I’m not a purist—I reject Puritanism in any shape or form, and this isn’t just about music. Nothing is pure or stays the same. You have to be open to change. Everything has to be open to change.
Globetrotter Magazine: So you don’t believe in guilty pleasure?
Logic Lost: I don’t. I don’t need to feel guilty about what I like. I like everything. There’s no such thing as good or bad music—there’s only preference. If you like something, you like it; and if you don’t, just don’t listen to it. But it doesn’t mean that what you don’t like is bad. It’s just not your cup of tea, so drink something else. Unfortunately here in Indonesia, some people still judge you for what you listen to. I had this band called To Forfeit and we played this emo revival stuff and one day we were doing a small gig and I had this J Dilla shirt on, my guitarist wore a Drake shirt and my drummer put on an A$AP Rocky shirt. We didn’t even plan it! And after we played, some kids started asking us questions like, “Why are you guys wearing those shirts? They’re not a good fit here.” And we were like, “Why not? Because they’re hip-hop artists?” and they couldn’t respond to that.
These kids didn’t get that and are still trying to differentiate how people in a particular scene should look like, down to the shirt that you wear. So it gave me a good observation about how people think the local music scene. I’m not saying that everyone in the scene is like that, but I came across these people who are stuck on their rigid, identity-based way of looking at things. And that’s not the point. You don’t have to be tied down to a certain mold. Whenever I’m inspired, I try to make something out of that inspiration in my own way. I don’t have to imitate anyone. But that’s not the case with a lot of bands in Indonesia, they see what they like and they try to imitate that as much as possible because maybe for them there can never be anything beyond that. They just stick to the blueprint and to me that doesn’t make them interesting.
There’s also a lot of “my generation's music is better than yours” mindset going, which is bull---- because there’s always good music. You just don’t want to open yourself up, you don’t want to dig deep. Even on the radio there’s still a lot of good stuff. All you’ve got to do is open yourself up and listen and you’ll find something.
Globetrotter Magazine: How do you position yourself in the local electronic music scene?
Logic Lost: I don’t think I can do that because I don’t think I quite fit in anywhere. My music is not very danceable, it’s more visceral… So the only way for it to work is to perform it live. I’m actually growing more bored with the idea of DJ-ing, because I’ve realized that I should probably commit myself to doing something great instead of focusing on DJ-ing. I still love to DJ, if anyone were to ask me, I would definitely say yes, but I don’t want it to be a career because I might be burned out by that and I wouldn’t enjoy that after all. I don’t play a lot of live gigs, to be honest, because not a lot of people ask me to anyway. Even when I do, I always play stuff that I make myself, like for my EP launch last February. And in the rare occasion that I do play live, I try to make it different from anything I’ve done in the past.
Like right now, if I were to play, I wouldn’t play anything from my first album because I’m not in that mindset anymore. I’d either play my new stuff or stuff that I assembled recently, which is what happened in the EP launch. In that show I played a couple of songs from the EP and a bunch of unreleased stuff that I plan to put on my next full-length release. It’s currently in production but taking a very slow time to materialize. But I really want the second album to hit people in a way that they never felt before. I have my ambitions; I just need time to make it happen.
Globetrotter Magazine: How’s the progress going for that one so far?
Logic Lost: I need to make sure that it’s great and I need to have the confidence that it’s going to be great. There are probably only two tracks that I’ve recorded so far, three that I usually play in my live sets but haven’t recorded yet and that’s about it.
Globetrotter Magazine: So no date penciled in for the second full-length?
Logic Lost: No, unless someone gives me a deadline then I’ll probably try. I usually give myself a deadline, though. When I have the time, I’ll come up with my own deadline. But right now, I have a lot of finished songs that I want to put out in the meantime. Now I would say I have enough materials for two more EPs, but I’m going to focus on the second full-length because these materials don’t have the vibe that I intended for the album. So I could probably put out an EP this year, but I would need to find another outlet do that, a label that would be committed to releasing my work. I’m also currently working on a collaboration with a local R&B artist named VVYND, which is exciting, he’s a cool guy who’s open to pretty much anything. And so am I. If I find a collaborator whom I’m comfortable with, I will stick with them. When the vibe is good, why stop at only one thing? That’s the ultimate artistic relationship to me.
Globetrotter Magazine: You mentioned having self-esteem issues, and that can be a problem for someone whose job is to perform. So how do you approach it? How does that work for you?
Logic Lost: Performing always feels incredible because when I’m performing I always get in the zone and sometimes I don’t really pay attention to the crowd, and that’s kind of my way to cope. But sometimes I look to the crowd and see someone feeling it, it could make me cry. One time I was opening for two folk acts and when I came on, I thought since my music sounded different than what the audience might have expected, I was like, “I’m just going to play.” And when I started playing, I remember this one girl dancing to my music. And it made me feel like, “Oh s---, this is amazing, this is what I want to do.” That was a real confidence booster.
In general, I just get lost in the zone and I know quite a lot of performers who do that. But I try to balance it out, when I start feeling tired, I’ll turn the tempo down. You just have to be aware of what’s going on, without obsessing over the crowd. That’s what I’ve learned after performing a couple of times.
Globetrotter Magazine: What do you want people to get out of your music?
Logic Lost: I don’t want to just entertain people. I want people to come to my shows and feel, and that’s what usually happens. That’s why I don’t think my music can be viral. It’s too visceral. People don’t really want to feel all the time. But music is my way of communicating, and having people feel my music is the best kind of achievement I could get.
Globetrotter Magazine: Let’s talk about your other career as a journalist. How do journalism and music correlate with one another?
Logic Lost: Journalism is not really a passion, but I like to write and journalism is the only place that can accommodate my writing skills. The downside to that is probably I don’t get to write as much personal stuff as I used to because it’s a job and I do it every day. I actually haven’t written much personal stuff in two years. But someday I’d like to publish a poetry book with everything that I’ve written since high school up to now.
Globetrotter Magazine: I’m just wondering whether the fact that journalism is your daily job in which you must adhere to a certain narrative structure prompts you to express yourself in this wordless and free-form type of music…
Logic Lost: That’s probably the case, considering in the past two years I haven’t been able to express myself as eloquently in words as I do in music. I do feel like I express myself better in music. But we’re going back to the correlation thing, and I think there’s some of that. For instance, when I make music, I choose which synths sound the best, what kind of atmosphere I want to convey… And I write, I look for words that are fitting and can convey the point that I’m trying to make. I think writing is also musical in terms of the curation, the atmospheric aspect, the attempt to convey a message. In the end, a completed work of writing is like a completed work of music.
Globetrotter Magazine: How important is public recognition from you? Do you like the attention? Do you want the attention?
Logic Lost: I do, of course. I have dreams and hopes for Logic Lost to be big. I want to do a film soundtrack, for instance. I’m not there yet, so I can try my best to reach that. Like this interview, whenever someone is willing to take some time to listen to what I have to say, it’s awesome. Whenever this kind of opportunity comes up, I’ll gladly put aside anything I’m doing. Even when I have to work, I’ll get it done as soon as I can so I can devote my time and energy for it.
Globetrotter Magazine: Where do you see Logic Lost in the next five years?
Logic Lost: Logic Lost is a part of me. It’s something that I can’t separate from myself. I really want this to succeed. Sometimes I’m very worried about not succeeding, because I feel like this doesn’t succeed then I don’t succeed. But I also realize if I worry too much, I won’t enjoy the process. For now, I can only do what I do and make what I make. If people listen, that’s good. If they don’t, so be it. I don’t know what’s going to happen. I’ll wait and see. I take life as it comes at the end of the day.
Wanting more? Here's Fajar's full convo with Logic Lost. Click click.