Cooking With


Your debut album is called Waktu Dulu, which means ‘before’ in Indonesian. What are your childhood memories of living in Indonesia?
I lived in Papua from the age of two to nine. My father worked there as a missionary, we lived in a tiny village called Kaisah that had no more than 300 people. You could only reach the village by travelling down the river. The memories I have from that period have been untouched by all my other experiences; they exist in a separate part of my brain, which is why I wanted to base my music on them. They are feelings that I cannot describe in words, so I just try to make music about them instead. When you are a child you don’t judge the world around you, you just take it as your reality and I think that’s beautiful.

Is there any Indonesian food in particular that you miss and can’t get in Europe?
Tropical fruit that you can just pick off a tree! Sometimes I also miss the way the people there consumed food. In the village where I lived, people ate a lot of meat; they would hunt for their food. At the time I also ate a lot of meat, whereas now I am vegetarian because I can’t stand the way meat is farmed and killed in the West. But there the ritual of hunting was very beautiful, you only took what you needed. They hunted deer because there were so many of them and otherwise they would eat all their vegetables, so in a way they completed a circle, the hunting was very much in harmony with nature.

You know how some TV chefs and foodies will be all annoying about Southeast Asian street food and serve it up on pretty white plates in fancy restaurants? What’s it really like?
Well, it’s a lot of rice and fish in Papua. They eat a lot of smoked meat too. Right after hunting you’ll eat fresh meat, but afterwards you salt and smoke it to preserve it for later. You eat a lot of cold food there, which is a surprise to Westerners. For instance, we eat a lot of bread, whereas they eat these pancakes made out of sago, which comes from palm trees. They also eat this food called papeda at parties, which is made out of big white larvae living inside the sago palm trees and some sago flour. It’s a white gluey porridge that you eat with fish, it’s very strange but also very cool.

Herrek’s Sago Pancakes:

Find a locally growing sago palm tree and cut it down when it starts flowering.
Pound the trunk till its pulp comes out. This is called sago. 
Make some sago flour from this pulp by grinding the pulp and washing it with water from a river. 
When your sago flour is ready, you can make some pancakes out of it by frying it in some hot oil over a fire. 
Eat the pancakes with some freshly caught tropical fish.

We’re hosting Herrek’s Album Release Party this Thursday, 21 February at WORM Rotterdam. Eklin and Fabulous Diamonds are also on the bill – free for members!