Initially formed in 2009, HIVI! has since became a pop band that’s well-known among today’s millennials. With catchy tunes and relatable lyrics, the band know how to tap into the teen market. Since their first debut album released back in 2012, with 5 singles launched simultaneously, they have gained a significant attention of music lovers everywhere. Their fan base also expands, they’re proud to call themselves HiFriends. Thanks to the supports, their singles: Orang Ketiga and Curi-curi became soundtracks in the movie “Cinta Brontosaurus”. They also have performed in 4 European countries: the Netherlands, France, Germany and Swiss.
To be more focused and to find a new spirit in their music is their aim, and to do so, HIVI! didn’t hesitate to opt for hibernation. 5 years to 2017 have met a fruition, both music and lyrics have matured up in their second album Kereta Kencan. For this album, they were also helped by fellow musicians Lale and Ilman from Maliq & D’Esseentials.
So a fresh new music to offer to fans and music listeners everywhere. Share us what’s new with HIVI!?
Febri: “We released a single and music video of Remaja. At the same time, we also opened an official merchandise store, TOKOHIVI.”
Ezra: “Yeah, both of them happened at the same time, 10th of October 2017. The music clip is actually a present for my parents’ 27th anniversary and the lovey dovey tale during the ‘80s, even my parents became the model in the music video. The story is about investing time during the teen period, to seize the time you have by being productive, because it will lead to a good result.”
Ilham: ”We also wanted to share Remaja merchandise to our fans. In fact, we plan to release a limited merchandise per song in the second album.”
Neida: “This second album is an introduction to a new voice. Remaja has a wide concept, it’s not just about love, but also every topic that comes with it. So the concept is personal cause it’s based on our stories.”
Since Neida joined the group, how has the new member affected the HIVI! music, chemistry wise?
Ezra: “It needed some adjustments here and there, but it didn’t take long because Neida knows how to keep up.”
Febri: “We’ve explained her about HIVI!’s vision, just to give her a heads-up on what HIVI! music is aiming for.”
Ilham: “Everything is cool and well because she’s been with us since June 2016.”
Neida: “I’m already familiar being surrounded by men, so I adapted easily and the chemistry went by naturally. They’ve also used to have a female member so it’s a no brainer. We learn from each other from time to time.”
And could you share about the second album, an overall overview since Neida has joined?
Ezra: “Well, the significant change is actually the adaptation that Neida did in order to synchronize with us. We gave the chords and Neida basically winged and adapted from there. We’ve all matured musically. So when a new member joined, we simply added another ‘ingredient’ to the mix, her signature color, per se.”
Neida: “My voice and the previous female member have each own distinctive style, but that’s what makes the music sound different from the previous one.”
Febri: “The second album itself is actually a proof that we’ve matured in terms of concept, so the music and Neida followed suit. So technically, we’ve all adjusted to a mature concept of music, all of us.”
Ilham: “There’s a new spirit—vibrance in this new album, a new color, a new soul, a new breathe in this new album.”
Now throwback to the debut album “Say Hi! To HIVI!” and to the current one “Kereta Kencan”, what’s the story behind the music transition of the album, especially in the song ‘Remaja’? And why the USB concept?
Neida: “Well, the first album was meant as a debut album, a way to know each other, whereas the second album is strengthen our relationship to the fans (emphatically) through the lyrics; to know HiFriends deeper and share the joy.”
Ezra: “Our second album was released on March 23rd, 2017, while the first time we announced a new member was in June 8th, 2017. So it’s actually been a year since Neida joined us. That also means that we’re getting older, we were 19 when the debut album was launched, basically about puppy love and stuff. As time goes by, from 2012 to 2017, the process has nurtured us to be more mature. In the second album, we’d like to highlight that the best thing about being teens are the reminiscing parts, hence you’ve to seize the youth by being productive. The topic is relatable on so many levels, that’s where we tap in. Songs wise, this album felt more personal because it’s based on our experiences. For example, in the song Pelangi it’s about having our hopes on love high only to be crushed, it’s that “This song is so me” effect that we’re trying to get. We chose USB so that people not only listen to our songs, but also we give them something useful, the rest memory of the USB can be used to save your memories, like photos, or work materials, or college essays, and other stuff.”
Febri: “True. Our debut album indeed talked about love, but love has a broader sense. So it’s about love in general. Whilst the second album has various stories to offer, based on what we experienced and felt. Not only about hopes being crushed, but also about moving on, or about shy girls who are in love with famous people in our Gadis Sampul song.”
Ilham: “From 19 years old to currently we’re 24/25/26 years old, lyrics-making became much more relatable cause we no longer have to imagine what it felt like. We did experiences many and poured them into songs.”
HiFriends reaction to the new album?
Neida: “They enjoyed it. Gotta be honest that I had my worries not being able to live up to expectations. But I was surprised about how welcome the fans were about me being a new member and a new voice. They even gave me constructive comments and useful suggestions to help me, and it boosted my confidence and spirit.”
Ilham: “The reaction was different, but all in a positive way. Some of them like certain songs and the others like other songs. It gave them a mix reaction. So each track is a success, because it made them feel personal.”
Ezra: “They were all happy that we finally launched a new album. The themes are also relatable, so it made them happier. So our initial hope of them being related to the songs was achieved. It grew us closer, we also love hearing their stories everytime we finished a gig.”
Febri: “Yeah, even before the album was released, their response has been very positive. We’re really thankful that they’re still loyal to us, still support our music.”
Seeing the music video, you also took a new approach in terms of vibes. Dare we say that other videos are going to be similar as Remaja?
Ezra: “Well, we’d like to have a simpler approach, relatable ones in music videos. Since Remaja is about ‘80’s throwback so the music video was also shot with the same feels. From the uniform that we wore, like bank workers back then.”
Ilham: “In the music video, that was actually Ezra’s parents that were in the video. Simply about how teen love during the ‘80’s still lasts until now.”
Let’s move on to style, any signature that you guys like to represent?
Ezra: “Uh…not sure. (laughs) Brand wise, I’m not a picky kind of guy. As long as I like and I feel comfortable in it, then I’m good. Like plain shirts from Uniqlo, or polo shirts. Shorts are also okay.”
Neida: “I’m actually a bit of tomboy when it comes to style. And whenever we’re on stage, I always wear something simple so that it doesn’t limit my body to react into songs. Cause we’re pretty active whenever we perform.”
Ilham: “I like wearing t-shirt, jeans, well, yeah simple as well. Just keep it simple.”
Febri: “Same here, I like minimalist. I don’t like to be distracted about what I wear, or people to be distracted about what I’m wearing.”
Well noted, simplicity it is. You guys are pretty humble. So fashion and music, minimalism-ish?
Neida: “What’s the best way to connect our music and our sense of fashion in a sentence…hmm, simple but honest, maybe.”
Ezra: “Yeah, bottomline it’s the same simple approach. Easy listening. Don’t complicate stuff.”
Febri: “Well, the initial concept itself is simplicity in music. That also applies in how we dress, speak, act. We don’t sell luxury, we serve something that’s relatable, down to the last detail about we choose to wear. That what made us close with our fans, as you can see in our Instagram page @sayhitohivi, we often wear plain white shirts or blue shirts. If we’re gonna explore further about why we really underline simplicity, it’s this: basically we’d like to portray that being successful doesn’t mean about flaunting all the glitz and glam. That we should be thankful on what we have without overdoing it.”
Ilham: “True, as simple as if you wanna hang out with us, you don’t need to go overboard in dressing up. It’s our signature look, you can say, simplicity. Just be yourself.”
Editor&Conceptor: Galuh Tathya
Writer: Hadi Sutanto
Photographer: Vicky Melly
Digital Imaging: Rendra Martin
Stylist: Hilarius Matthew
MUA: Nadia Renata
Wardrobe: Legiteamate and MCQ, SBNL, Analyst, available at The F Thing