They say that disaster brings opportunity, and it's no secret that the world right now is grappling with a momentous challenge that's unprecedented in almost all of our lifetimes. When the magnitude of the COVID-19 pandemic began to show itself earlier this year, life as we know it was hit with a tidal wave of uncertainty and immediate change. As with almost every aspect of society, the music and nightlife industries took a massive hit, and the story was no different on the magical island of Bali – a place which, pre-pandemic, was in full flow as a vibrant hub of music and creativity for the Asia region and far beyond.
Almost overnight, venues were shuttered, events were postponed or cancelled, and the many talented artists and DJs who call the island home were suddenly left without work or income. One such artist was DJ and producer Adrian Giordano. “The pandemic has been a big hit for the music industry and the dance community in the island, probably not so different from the rest of the world,” said Adrian. “With the closing of borders, lack of tourists, the prohibition of large scale events and the closing of clubs, the current times are definitely challenging for DJs, promoters, venues, as well as people looking to connect and share with others through music experiences.”
"The idea behind Baliaric.fm was to showcase the sound of the island and its many talents to the world while creating and supporting a network of local and international DJs and music lovers."
After processing the shock of the sudden implementation of containment measures, Adrian set to work realising a plan that had previously been simmering away on the back-burner of his subconscious. Aware that many of his peers had found themselves in precisely the same position as he had, Adrian's motivation was noble: to offer a platform for the talented local artists whose livelihoods had been stripped away instantly and without warning. “Bali is an amazing island, with a rich and healthy music scene,” said Adrian. “The idea behind Baliaric.fm was to showcase the sound of the island and its many talents to the world while creating and supporting a network of local and international DJs and music lovers.” But the idea wasn't entirely new for him, he'd been gently plotting the brand and the concept for a while before the pandemic forced his hand, “The idea and the name had been with me for some years actually, but the COVID outbreak pushed the button to kick start it.”
Adrian found himself supremely motivated. He joined forces with the locally-based creative group Tropical Affairs and began tirelessly building the back-end of the station, the website, as well as creating the striking graphic design of the brand. The natural landscape of Bali has provided a key element of the look and feel of the station, with stunning landscape photography providing the virtual backdrop to the listening experience.
With this framework in place, it was time to turn to the most important element: the music. He set about selecting a network of DJs to curate playlists, sets and shows to populate the station's schedule, and it wasn't difficult for him to find suitable and willing contributors. Having lived in Bali for over a decade, Adrian was already well acquainted with the abundant oracles of musical wisdom that call the island home. “There are great music talents in the island,” he said. “We are lucky to have in-land music curators such as Seabass, Discofunk, Sould Out, Dan Cook, Sam, Raff Track, Kembar, Dean Dixon, Danny Eka Satria and Dea.” The line-up began to take shape, and the backbone of the station's output would be comprised by committed and cultured local talent. Occasional international guests would complete the roster, with respected artists such as Rayko, Pete Herbert and Phat Phil Cooper contributing shows.
"There has always been a strong connection between Ibiza and Bali, the pearls of the Mediterranean and the Indian ocean."
Those who have already tuned-in to the station will be familiar with the blissfully laid-back sound of the playlists. From morning meditation music to sunset soundtracks, the music has a distinctly Balearic quality, and this is a deliberate policy. The honeyed sounds of The White Isle resonate perfectly with the incense-infused atmosphere and mysticism of The Island Of Gods, but the connection doesn't end there. As well as its undeniable place in the fabric of dance music culture, Ibiza's reputation as a home for artisans, hippies and outsiders has long been in place, and the similarities with its Indonesian counterpart are striking. “There has always been a strong connection between Ibiza and Bali, the pearls of the Mediterranean and the Indian ocean,” said Adrian. “Many DJs, travellers and trend seekers would spend half of the year in the Balearic islands and the other half in the Lesser Sunda Islands, with Bali as the main archipelago's destination since the '70s. This exchange has influenced a great deal on both sides in terms of culture, architecture, fashion and obviously music.”
Indeed, both islands are home to bohemian international communities, blessed with natural beauty, stunning ocean-side vistas and are reputed to be endowed with healing energy. It should be said that both places also offer drastic extremes depending on the area you visit: the booze-fuelled carnage of the West End in Ibiza's San Antonio has much in common with it's rowdy Bali cousin, Legian, but the polar opposites on each island offer a serenity that's difficult to match. Losing oneself in a sunset on Ibiza's Salinas Beach, or Bali's Canggu are a guaranteed way to quiet the internal chatter of everyday living. As the station's name suggests, it's this transcendent state that the music of Baliaric.fm is designed to help induce. “The name is a marriage between Bali and Balearic, probably the best way we found to represent the Balearic spirit of the station, with the uniqueness of the sounds and artists from Bali.”
It's worth mentioning that the station has a strict “advert free” policy. The idea of listeners being disturbed by noisy commercials when they're getting down to soothing sounds seemed counter-intuitive to Adrian and his newly assembled team. “As well as zero adverts, we also set the bar high when it comes to our music,” said Adrian. “Our sound is totally underground. The playlists and sets are carefully curated by our DJs, and all have unique taste and refined ears. What they have in common is they love high-quality music.”
Helping the station stand out from other streaming services such as Spotify et al. was something Adrian knew to be important, but he suggests the human touch and quality of the DJs sets the station apart. “It's about the curation and the selectors. Streaming sites use complex algorithms, but after a time what they present to you can become a bit sterile. Our DJs will always throw in some surprises, and they all pride themselves on keeping in touch with the very best music out there, whether new releases or rediscovered gold. It's just a great place to discover new music”
The newly-launched station has plenty of interesting projects on the horizon. The team are launching a shop, planning events for when the island gradually opens up, and their roadmap includes a series of live streams from breathtaking and iconic settings across Bali. “The best way for people to keep informed of our plans is to listen in 24/7, or to hit us up on IG.”
So from disaster comes opportunity and creation, and Baliaric.fm is born to spread good vibrations and grow a like-minded community. As the world tries to come to terms with living under the shadow of Covid-19, music can and will play a key role in helping us to keep our sanity intact, and collaborative efforts such as Baliaric.fm are at least some pearls of positivity born out of this deeply unpleasant global situation. So turn on, tune in, and get horizontal.
listen to Baliaric.fm 24/7 here