If you’ve been to Bali lately, then you may have heard of Bali Praia, a hot new spot on Sunset Road that includes a record label, state-of-the art recording studio, fully equipped lounge and a funky cafe that does great food along with live broadcasts of killer beats. This brilliant new creative hub is the brainchild of GO-JEK co-founder Mikey Moran and his business partner, Fadi Alturk. The few times we’ve met Mikey have been all about fun, positivity, laughter and good music, so we thought it was high time we picked his brain about what drives this effervescent entrepreneur and great DJ. Read on to find out how he transitioned from founding Indonesia’s favourite transportation app to running a music, art and F&B hotspot, plus top picks for Bali and so much more. And for all the music fans out there, check out his latest track Right On My Soul
Urban Journey: We know you moved to Bali from Jakarta recently. What drove you to make the move?
Mikey Moran: There were multiple factors. Bali’s always been one of those dream destinations to live in. The people, the energy, the beauty… it’s a special place that I’ve resonated with growing up in Indonesia. In terms of what I do, I also feel Bali is a front runner for house music. Commercial music still dominates the island, but it’s the only place that I feel I can play the music I love. And with such a massive influx of DJs and producers moving here and more clubs and venues booking international DJs, it made sense to create a space where artists could work on their music. Already we’ve had the likes of Yellow Claw, Chus & Ceballos, David Penn, Vanilla Ace, Dennis Cruz, Cheat Codes, and many more loving Bali Praia. Lastly, on a personal level, with getting married recently, I felt that the next best move was Bali because Jakarta is considered one of the most polluted cities in the world.
UJ: What was your inspiration for Bali Praia?
MM: After leaving GO-JEK, I went through a lot of personal stuff including health issues and the loss of my brother. I went through my journey of healing and when I got my feet back on the ground, I decided I really wanted to do something of impact. I come from a creative background, so I also wanted to do something creative with music.
The inspiration for Bali Praia came from two major factors. Firstly, booking DJs in major cities can be a very transactional process. The DJs get booked, they come, they play, and then they leave, sometimes all in 24 hours. However, with Bali, people also want a holiday. So I thought, why not make a space where artists can come to Bali and work on their tracks? That way they can spend a week or so here, have a great gig and develop personal relationships with the people they meet.
Another thing that I really wanted to do with Praia was give back to the community. We do this by sharing the knowledge through creative workshops where we talk about things like theory, software and hardware. If there’s anything related to the electronic dance music industry, we can help to serve. In a way, you can call Bali Praia a co-working space for artists and musicians. It’s a great place for the local community to network and meet other people in the same industry. We are fortunate enough to announce that brands have taken notice of us and these workshops are now supported by Pioneer DJ, Denon DJ, and Marlboro Indonesia.
UJ: Tell us about the music and party scene in Bali.
MM: Bali has changed so much since the pre-bombing era before 2002. Back in the day, there were only a few places to go for good music and even those only had international DJs every once in a while. Now, the island is evolving into the next Ibiza. Big club brands like Cafe Del Mar Bali and Omnia Bali are opening and big festivals like BPM and Pacha are taking off, giving Bali a world-class clubbing experience that we’ve never seen on the island before. Then there are other major players like W Hotel, Da Maria and Motel Mexicola that have already made their mark. As for the music, it’s divided between commercial EDM and house music. Personally, I’m all about knowing who’s playing and what kind of music is playing. As I always say, music is the key that will either make or break your night.
UJ: What are your top 5 favourite places in Bali?
MM: 1. Bali Praia Cafe because I think we probably serve the best coffee on the island. We also have a great mix of dishes like nasi goreng sambal matah, rice bowls, and Western breakfasts.
- Genius Cafe Sanur. This is such a great place to disconnect on the beach and get away from the craziness of Seminyak. They have tons of healthy food and drinks and sometimes they do Sunday markets and host live acoustic bands.
- Warung Taman Bambuku. This is my go-to warung for Indonesian food in Seminyak. I love that they don’t use MSG, it’s dirt cheap and the food is delicious.
- Kajin because they have the best sushi in the world… and I don’t say this lightly. They also have 2-for-1 espresso martinis. Game over!
- 40 Thieves. They take their cocktails seriously at this hidden gem where you have to walk through a ramen store and then go upstairs to get to the bar. This is a good pre-drinks place because the staff know their sh*t and they always have funky tunes going on.
UJ: Can you give us a few suggestions for things travellers can do in Bali that are off the beaten path?
MM: First I would say go to the neighbouring island of Nusa Penida. There are lots of awesome beaches, caves, fields and viewpoints that are all very Instagram-friendly. It’s just a short boat ride from Sanur harbour. Next I would say stay in village in central Bali where you can truly disconnect and feel like you’re above the clouds. In the interior there are tons of waterfalls like Aling Aling Waterfall, Bhuana Sari and Sekumpul or you can visit the famous Bedugul temple on the lake. Finally, if you like to hike, then an easy one to do is Mount Batur. Leave early in the morning and you can reach the top by sunrise. The views are insane.
UJ: What’s on your bucket list?
MM: Iceland, Brazil, Bagan, Turkey, Salar De Uyuni, Jordan, the Glowworm Caves, New Orleans, the Sahara Desert and to see the Northern Lights somewhere. There are so many things to do and so little time.
UJ: Which DJs inspire you?
MM: Skratch Bastid, DJ Day, DJ Byte, J Boogie, Stimming, Jazzy Jeff, Booka Shade, Maya Jane Coles, James Zabiela, Alison Wonderland, and Peggy Gou to name a few. The list can go on and on. Really anyone who has the ability to play live instruments when DJing. Also anyone who uses DJing as a platform to do something bigger for the greater good inspires me.
UJ: Favourite track of all time?
MM: It’s impossible to have one single track of all time. I guess it depends on what mood I’m in. But if I had to choose a few, I’d say Desert Night by Rufus, Californication by the Red Hot Chili Peppers and People Everyday by Arrested Development.
UJ: Words to live by?
MM: I’m a very motivated and goal-oriented person, and I’ve gone through all walks of life from running successful businesses to major failures. My advice is to remember to enjoy the ride and the process. Remember to take a breather, disconnect and travel. It’s good to get out of your bubble and see and learn about new places. And whatever you do in life, do it with all your heart and passion. Live life to the fullest and good things will come your way.