“I could never quite place Daniel.”
“He grew up in Surabaya, he listens to Cannonball Adderley and Sergio Mendes – he is just weird – I say it in a good way. He is not trying to imitate anybody. He has his own style,” says Julian Cheong, the singer, about Daniel Purnomo the guitarist.
“If you want him to play like anyone else, he can – because his mastery of it will be so good, but in his DNA is this mash of influences and his roots,” Julian expounds.
The chemistry or mojo between the duo is described as riding a wave. Daniel plays and creates the wave and Julian sings along with it. When asked if they specialise in any genre, they couldn’t answer.
“We play Sweet Child O’mine. We play September. We cover Lady Gaga and we perform jazz classics. I don’t have an answer for you.”
“We can play anything, and as long as it triggers something in people, jolts a memory for them, they will like it. We never try to be anybody. We just see what happens. We don’t do the same things all the time as we will bore each other, let alone the crowd.”
The duo speaks of a friendship that has seen each other grow, musically and in their personal lives.
“I knew Julian when she just started performing. She was clueless about keys, tempo, structure but I found that she is very authentic in trying to engage with the people and the audience. She was also very hardworking and she learned and improved tremendously over the years,” cited Daniel.
The two of them sealed their partnership with the name “MoJu” that is taken from their names in 2014. They have since played at numerous places and events, which included S Café and OCF. These days they play at Skyve Bar on Saturdays and Sixty40 on Wednesdays.
What is that mojo that is in MoJu? Spontaneity, they say. This versatility and flexibility has brought the duo far and it’s just a start of a long journey ahead.