Though he was only 19 years old, Iyas has always known that his passion does not lie in his initial studies, Law, he chose to continue and explore the graphic design major. His name was once also circled around Jakartans’ ears due to his answers in the-then it website, AskFM. And in a podcast interview with BKR Brothers, Iyas confessed about his wish to become an art curator, he took an IB foundation in arts at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London. Back in Jakarta, Iyas worked at VICE, initially as a graphic designer and then became an editor.
Fast forward years later, Iyas explored podcast since early 2019 when there wasn’t many podcasters around, he dead on made a name under Makna Talks where he consistently featured a lot of guests with different topics until present day.
Many people started noticing you for your page on ASKfm, where you explicitly raised up your voices for many different matters, people know you for your page, your podcast, you on the internet, but how would you describe Iyas Lawrence, who are you behind all of your presences online?
“I’m a very loving person—in person, especially to my family. Though you may know me from ASKfm.com which is very cringe—because I was that young guy who seems like he knows everything about the world. However, right now I’m often known for Makna Talks, which I’m very proud of as it is a work that can be enjoyed by everyone.”
If people solely listen to your voice online and hear the way you portray your thoughts, many are surprised that you’re only 23 years old, why do you think so?
“Many people see it that way, but many were also surprised after they have a conversation with me directly, and told me that I am truly a 23 years young man. The thought of me being older than I actually am probably because I hang out a lot with older people, and I absorbed their thoughts a lot.”
You’re supposed to be a law graduate, but then you chose to study graphic design, then you tried to become a writer, host, and even actor—what else is there to explore?
“I’m a very easily-bored kind of person and I try to achieve many things in life. To be very honest, I’m not the smartest person in the room, so I know that law is just not for me and math is also not something I’m very good at. So instead of pursuing them, I chose to do anything that keeps my mind going, such as writing, hosting, and acting. Although, I’m very grateful for what I have right now, because I get to know many people that I used to know from afar. It was all started from one podcast, and many things followed after it. So I really enjoy this moment, and I wish my comfort in this place would last a long time. I don’t know what’s going to happen this year, but what I do know is to live in the moment.”
Podcast is currently a hit now and since the nature of its concept is accessible to everyone, many tried and made one nowadays. But before all the trend, has it ever crossed your mind to choose another career?
“Two years ago, my dad passed away, and at the time the podcast wasn’t going anywhere, my works also didn’t do any good, so one thing that came up to my mind is to go on a solo motorbike trip once again. I did it for my late dad, and during this travel, it healed me, it made me feel better. That’s when I got inspired, I had my turnover in life.”
Makna Talks have loads of guests coming in, each has its own theme. Do you choose guests based on the current trend or perhaps other insights that have yet to be explored by other podcasters?
“Before inviting someone, I definitely crosschecked first, whether this person have insights for the listeners or not. I believe everyone has something to say and it could be anyone. Hence, I don’t really think about who’s I’m interviewing next, because the most important thing is doing to let the topics flow.”
Fave episode so far?
“The one that left me the biggest impressions are Najwa Shihab, Rich Brian, and Ario Bayu whom I only met once but he’s extremely kind in person. There are so many people I’m thankful for, it’s fascinating to me as well, because many of these people that I interviewed are those who I used to see from afar, but now we can hit up one another every now and then, which is really cool.”
What do you think about the rapid growth of podcast? And do you think podcast will top YouTube in terms of being a content platform?
“It’s not surprising, but to be very honest, it’s a bit too quick. From what I see, it didn’t take even two years to grow this big, it took less than a year to escalate this high, which is really good for me financially. But it’s also made me think that I’m standing on a ticking bomb, because if you think about it, something that went big too fast will also die very quickly. And I’m very realistic when it comes to see the negative side of everything. Therefore, before everything gone vanish into thin air, I joined YouTube as my other platform. Spotify has a big part in podcast. Before moving to Spotify, my and my team has the biggest dilemma as we had to reset everything from the square one, however it turned out to be the best decision we’ve ever made.”
Editor: Galuh Tathya
Writer: Windyannisa Cindrati
Photographer: Ganang Afriardi
Digital Imaging: Ari Angga
Wardrobe: LEGITEAMATE, available at TheFThing.com
Location: Makna HQ