Thee Marloes

When you first hear Thee Marloes, their particular soul sound may seem familiar enough. There are the weighty drums, a crooning guitar, and a beautiful voice singing about unrequited love or the complications of relationships. But then there is something undeniably different about Thee Marloes and their music, something new and distinct. And while you may be acquainted with soul music, you’ve probably never heard it from Surabaya, Indonesia—the place Thee Marloes call home. 

With Natassya Sianturi singing and playing keys, Sinatrya (“Raka”) Dharaka on guitar, and Tommy Satwick on drums, how Thee Marloes came to be is pretty straight forward, but the result is anything but. With early influences from American hip-hop and alternative rock, Raka found himself driven to write his own songs. Night after night, after getting off work Raka would play and pen his songs with no real idea what he’d do with them. While raw, these early drafts had potential—that much he knew. After crossing paths with Tommy, Raka now had a partner to start fleshing things out with. With similar musical influences and passion, the duo began getting gigs both sitting in with other bands and DJing parties around Indonesia and Southeast Asia. While they didn’t know it then, this time spent cutting their teeth, playing shows, and seeing what was out there, would serve as a crucial foundation for their sound to come.

A significant step was taken in 2019. Raka and Tommy saw a woman perform at a local show that truly captivated them. Her name was Natassya, and her voice had such feeling and range that they knew they had to work with her. Natassya, surrounded by a musical family, grew up in church honing her vocals in the choir. Those chops coupled with the fact that she was inspired by a spectrum of absolute global legends, ranging from The Jackson 5 family to Erykah Badu made her a perfect fit. Raka and Tommy invited her to join a recording session, and it was clear right away that she added a meaningful and talented depth to the music. So now, almost suddenly, with Natassya’s addition, they were a trio that found an authentic voice blending an Indonesian vibe with the universal appeal of soul, jazz, and pop.

The sound Thee Marloes are putting together and recording doesn’t have much of a local scene in Indonesia. “We didn’t have any real bands like that, with that raw soul sound,” Raka explains. “So it made us think we can learn from it and make a new flavor with our sound.” Without much of a road to follow—Thee Marloes paved one for themselves 

and it began in their home studio. Acting as a kind of sanctuary, it was a place where creativity wasn’t rushed allowing them to write, play, and jam freely, working out their different ideas and feeling out what works as a group. With little external pressure, their ideas flourished, ultimately giving way to an authentic sound. A sound that eventually caught the ear of Big Crown Records. 

“I was, like, shaking when we heard from them,” Natassya remembers of that first contact with Big Crown. “We couldn’t believe it was happening.” Of course, Thee Marloes knew of Big Crown—Lee Fields and El Michels Affair were heavily appreciated by them as they explored and developed their own sound. In hindsight, the connection was almost destined.

The world’s introduction to Thee Marloes’ debut album, titled Perak, started with their first 45 that showcased two distinctly different and unique sides of their sound. The A side “Midnight Hotline” is a punchy dancefloor number built on all funk-slapped drums, vibey piano, and jazzy guitar licks with lyrics that  instantly get a hold of you. Contrasting that energy in the classic plug and ballad pairing dynamic, the B side “Beri Cinta Waktu” has all the makings of a beloved B side soul ballad but the lyrics are in Indonesian. Regardless of any language barrier, the sentiment in their music is palpable, helping to make their songs relatable and heartfelt, whatever tongue is native to the listener. The rest of Perak fits perfectly in between those bookends of both energy and language, “I Know” is a mid tempo burner that talks about pulling the veil of lies of a love affair founded on falsehood. “Not Today” is right up there with the grooviest feel good songs you could ever play on a Sunday morning. “Mungkin Saja” brings the tempo back up and brings every to the floor while “True Love” finds Thee Marloes dipping into the soulful side of jazz with a beat ballad that could soundtrack a Tarantino dance scene.

Perak is a journey from the heart of Surabaya into the spirit of the soul sound. It’s about creating a space where none existed, and doing it because you love it. You can tell that Thee Marloes enjoy making their music, from the process of writing and recording, to performing in front of crowds. “We want to share what we live,” Natassya tells us. No

matter what language you speak or  culture you come from, Thee Marloes music and energy is so charming that we will all be keeping it close to the turntable for years to come. 


Management and Booking: Chaidir Deery –