One year of VICE in Indonesia

When Englishman Mo Morris landed in Indonesia seven years ago, he was looking for a ‘change of scenery’. Exorbitant London living expenses were draining his creative spirit as a DJ, music producer and entrepreneur and as it turned out, island life suited him.


While the move was influenced by Adia, his Javanese wife, getting under the skin of the ‘beautiful, turbulent and progressive’ country he now calls home provoked his best light-bulb moment to date.


Perceiving a real lack of original, exciting media platforms for an emerging generation of switched-on millenials, Mo enlisted VICE, a company he already had history with.


Launched this time last year with a full weekend blowout of music, art and youth culture at Potato Head Beach Club, VICE’s surprising story angles, honest reporting style and comprehensive coverage on up-to-the-minute issues quickly won favour with the young Indonesian public.    


Days before installment two of the VICE x Potato Head Weekender party, Mo spares a few minutes to share insights on the year’s editorial highlights, VICE’s move into feature films, and the country’s creative youth movements to watch out for.


Congrats on a year of VICE in Indonesia. How has it all gone?


It’s a little bit of a blur to be honest! My feet haven’t really touched the ground; we tend to work at speed as a company. We have made some amazing content, formed some beautiful branded partnerships, and now are excited to be planning our entry into the scripted movie space with our first feature film alongside the wonderful Joko Anwar. I’m also in the very early stages of developing a movie with a clever old friend of mine. It’s also set in Indonesia with one of the wildest stories I’ve probably ever heard…


Sounds interesting. Tell us more…


I’m afraid I can’t give away any other details about the movie is at the moment…  

Fair enough. Any particularly memorable stories that you’ve run on VICE Indonesia this year?


We published a great story about the daughter of a local preman (a street gangster). The story travelled incredibly well and was a global smash for VICE and local TV here. [Read it here]


Has VICE’s very frank reporting style clashed at any point with the readership here in Indonesia?


No. People have really warmed to our reporting style. We had a small problem with the military but that ended well and was essentially through no fault of our own. We have a super professional local team of writers, we know how to navigate our storytelling, aiming to be provocative but never deliberately disrespectful. I’ve been here almost seven years, so also pretty schooled now on what should or shouldn’t be covered.  

Potato Head | One Year of VICE Indonesia
Potato Head | One Year of VICE Indonesia

We’re excited to collaborate on this weekend’s VICE x Potato Head party with DJ Harvey headlining once again. What is it that drew you back to him?


He’s a dear old friend with one of the most magnetic personalities I’ve ever met, so essentially I had no choice! He’s also at the top of his game time and time again when performing so I’m really chuffed to have him play for us and Potato Head again. We’ll be putting the world to rights and spending some quality time with him and his better half Samantha.

Potato Head | One Year of VICE Indonesia
Potato Head | One Year of VICE Indonesia

‘Volcano with Eyes,’ an illustration by Ykha Amelz was the leading visual for last year’s flyers. What’s the story behind the image on this year’s artwork?


She’s [Ykha Amelz] amazing!  That piece [Volcano with Eyes] was put together exclusively by her to celebrate our launch. This year it’s the wonderful Luke Insect and his artistic translation of Indonesia, which he nailed as I imagined he would.  


Do you see any young movements today that will have a positive impact on the future of Indonesia?


The young art movements. Yogyakarta is awash with very exciting, super talented and fresh local artists, it’s such a vibrant and exciting scene . Check out Wedhar Riyadi for innovative psych art at its best. Buy it up! It’s a solid investment tip.

Join the VICE crew at the VICE X Potato Head Weekender on 7–8 April for  two full days of music, film, art and youth culture at Potato Head Beach Club, Bali.