By UK/Indonesia 2016-18 team

23 October 2018 - 17:32

Despite being half-Indonesian, Ed Riman has only ever visited the country as a tourist, not a musician. “Most of my Indonesian trips have been to visit family or travel around, so it’s very exciting to perform at UK/ID Festival,” he gushed. At the same time, the presence of family members during his performance still racked his nerves, especially since it was the first time they had seen him perform. “But it was a lot of fun. The audience was very lovely and I was proud to be a part of it,” the Londoner confirmed.

Ed is also proud of his mixed heritage and uses it to his advantage, especially for artistic purposes. “‘Hilang’ is Indonesian for ‘missing’ so I thought Hilang Child made a cool stage name. It kind of stuck and I got used to it,” he explained. He chose a moniker due to not wanting to be known by his real name when he first started singing. “I was so terrified of my musician friends hearing my voice. I wanted a fake name so no one would know it was me singing,” he reminisced. 

Although at present known as a singer and songwriter, he began his music career by playing drums in bands and sessions for 10 years. “I didn’t get into singing and songwriting until about 4 or 5 years ago. I sort of got tired of never being able to play my own songs, and I wanted a creative output for myself,” he said. Gradually, his creative process has shifted over the years. “For a long time, I would have the skeleton of a song on the piano. Then I would record it and add layer after layer to see what worked and what didn’t,” he elaborated. As he started to take a more active role in producing his own music, Ed said that nowadays he might create a song by building its sound first. Nonetheless, one thing remains the same.

“It’s always an organic process because I never plan anything. There’s not an actual process I follow each time.”

Ed 'Hilang Child' Risman's performance at the opening night of UK/ID Festival 2018 

He added that his Indonesian heritage could not help but inform his creative process to a certain extent, particularly thanks to the gamelan lessons he has taken during his visits over the years. “The polyrhythms are definitely ingrained in my head. I’ve definitely found myself trying to take from that influence a bit,” he noted. “But for the most part I try to stay true to myself and be organic, in terms of not trying to sound like anything.”

Still, however, Indonesia has a strong grip on Ed’s music, as proven by the recent release of his first ever song in Indonesian entitled ‘Pesawat Aeroplane’. “It’s about my dad moving to England. It made sense to do it what with playing this festival and knowing that there are people in this country listening to my music, and the fact that I have this [cultural] linkage. I wanted to have something relevant coming here,” he reasoned.

Although currently occupied with doing shows and touring to promote his full-length debut, Years, Ed expressed gratitude for his UK/ID experience which he deemed “eye-opening”. “I haven’t had a lot of chance to learn about the wealth of culture here, and this trip has opened my eyes to it,” he said. “I think it’s important that we cherish that and make the most of being an increasingly globalised society. Events like UK/ID Festival does make you feel like you’re part of one big, global family.”