TRACK FEATURE: 'What a Waste' by Matahara
Matahara’s debut single 'What a Waste' is a glistening, euphoric track that has the incredible capacity
to transform itself. This is not just a dance-pop track; it’s something more. Marissa Yadinar, the face
behind Matahara, is already getting well-deserved traction less than a week after What a Waste
premiered. The 20-year-old artist, originally from Jakarta, moved here when she was just 15. With a
fervent love for music, she had realised from a young age that writing music was what she wanted to
do. Citing inspirations such as Ariana Grande, Lorde and Kaytranada, she has created a track that
encompasses the beauty of electro and dream pop. To put it simply, it’s a goddamn banger.
When I first listened to What a Waste, I had just set myself up in bed. Instantly, it gave me an amazing sense of bliss, soothing my brain after a rather long and stressful couple of days, and I felt this intense sensation of reprieve wash over me. Upon second listen, I found myself dancing along to
it while getting ready for work, fantasizing about dancing in a nightclub with a gin and tonic in hand,
transfixed by the beat. I have imagined myself in a different place every time I have listened to this
song and it’s truly enchanting.
'What a Waste' was produced by Michael Vince Moin (Tram Cops) and mixed by Allan McConnell (Close Counters). Marissa states both of them as being a massive influence for her, helping and mentoring her through the whole process. Asking how she met Michael, it was purely by her making herself known when the opportunity arose. She first saw Tram Cops live at their California Way launch, when a Tinder date had taken her along (never say that Tinder hasn’t done a few good things in its time) and instantly became transfixed with their music. “When I saw them live, I just was in awe.” She exclaimed, “This is it! This is my new favourite Melbourne band!” When Michael put up a call on social media for people to collaborate with him, she simply bit the bullet and sent through her
demos. Being a massive fan, she was immensely worried that the artistic partnership between them
wouldn’t work, but she quotes Michael as being “the kindest, sweetest person in the world”, helping
her guide her music and her overall sound.
'What a Waste' is a perfect marriage between Marissa, Michael and Allan. Tram Cops has this dream-like bliss sound to their music and when married with Close Counters’ bold rhythms that are ubiquitous throughout their sound, you get this glittery, beguiling fusion of the two. Adding Marissa’s wistful vocal style, this makes for a unique and unforgettable tune.
“Michael and Allan have both helped me throughout the whole process” says Marissa. “I thought producing music was getting it mixed, mastered and you just go ‘alright, I have a song. Let’s put it out’ but they were like nope! They said you have to wait at least like, a month, then you have to send all these press releases to people and all of that and I thought to myself ‘Shit! I didn’t know that’. They encouraged me to reach out to people and ask questions about the whole process.”
It came as a shock to Marissa how tiring creating music can be. “You’ve just been listening to
yourself for months. I am very obsessive with everything that I do, and I want to just get it right. It’s
bad because you have the first listen through and think that it is great, and you just keep trying to
find the flaws in it and whatnot.” Any good artist laments over being overly critical of their work,
constantly finding flaws. She blames this attributing this trait to being a Capricorn, explaining her
absolute ambition for perfection (when you know, you know).
What a Waste' was written when Marissa was 16. It’s a break-up song from a suffering teen, and
there is something superbly authentic about that. Personally, my heartbreaks from my teen years
were just as painful as the ones in my 20’s, the ones people would deem more genuine and
significant. Everything feels heightened and more visceral when you are younger. It’s so easy as we
get older to forcibly detach ourselves from what we allowed ourselves to feel then, defiantly
declaring them immature as we start to become more judicious with our emotions. I love that she
has taken something she wrote when she was so young and brought it forward. It finds this perfect
harmony of how she has matured artistically and found perfect harmony in previous creations. “It’s
something that I have created and I want to put it out there, even though I was so young when I
wrote it” says Marissa, “I still sometimes look back on the lyrics though and wonder ‘what was I
I believe it is so important to recognise our past creations, and Marissa has taken these songs along for a ride. Originally when they were written, she stated that they were more influenced by the music she listened to at the time. “Back then I was listening to artists like Mac DeMarco, Alvvays, and Beach House. So back then, my sound was definitely more like a band. As I grew older, I realised that
I actually loved dance music.” After listening to artists like Anderson Paak and The Internet, her sound began to evolve, breaking down how their songs are constructed. “I just wanted to make a banger!” and she started to rework the song to be more of an electro-pop style track.
Although the lyrics are clearly quite emotional and personal, Marissa seamlessly blends it with
bright, upbeat melodies. Quoting herself to be quite a positive person naturally, she finds herself
gravitating to those styles of melodies. “I think your sound can define your personality” says Marissa,
“When I try and find melodies, they are always happy and playful, even though what I am writing
about is quite personal.” Matahari means ‘the sun’ in Indonesian, and it’s clear that her natural
passion and effervescent personality shines through to her music, much like the sun. Being a
prevalent theme of some dance music, “What a Waste” is a ‘dance it out’ track. It takes darker and
painful feelings and gives it a different light.
Matahara’s debut single is just the start of what’s to come, stating she has been working on several songs that will be released as an EP in the near future. Just like What a Waste, these
songs were written by Marissa as a teenager. She said that even though these are songs she wrote
when she was young, they are still something she is proud of. I, for one, am looking forward to what
else is to come. What a Waste is available to listen to on Spotify and Bandcamp.