How long have you been making music ?
I started making music when I was in primary school. I used to play the triangle and since then it’s been on.
For our readers, where does your name come from?
It’s literally just a nickname that stuck with me. In general I am a pretty calm person. Bonkaz only really comes out when I’m performing.
How did your collaboration come about with Farida for their SS16 collection?
I was approached by Farida Apparel earlier this year and was asked to be a part of their new campaign shoot. I checked out the brand’s previous collection (AW15) and really appreciated the style and bespoke feel of it, plus the direction of the SS16 collection spoke to me. I would genuinely wear the clothing, and have done, so it was a no-brainer for me to be a part of it. As this was my first time doing something like this, it was a great learning experience for me and so far the feedback has been positive.
How important is fashion to you?
It’s definitely something that I enjoy being a part of and being able to express my personality through what I wear. There is such a strong synergy between music and fashion, therefore I like to keep an eye and do things differently.
Tell us a bit about your musical influences.
I’m drawn to honest and experimental artists, The Kid Cudis, The Mike Skinners, The Kurt Cobains. It’s about pushing boundaries and understanding your responsibility as an artist. Once you’re on that platform it’s your chance to affect the world.
Tell us about your creative process – are you heavily involved in the visual side to your campaigns?
Musically I just meditate. I literally don’t write anything. Some songs I just close my eyes and come up with lyrics and melodies, with the more upbeat ones I’ll usually pace up and down the studio like a mad man until I get it. Visually I know what I don’t like and I’m open to anything else.
Tell us a bit about your new single ‘You Don’t Know (BONKAZ)’?
It’s fun. The Dizzee Rascal sample is cool because it’s Dizzee and it says my name. I’m pleased with how the single’s going, it has been received really well. I wanted to make a song I could play in front of my Mum, aunties and little brothers.
What advice would you give to fellow musicians starting out in the music industry?
Just be yourself. Understand who you are. Establish within yourself what it is that you stand for, what your purpose is. What you will and won’t accept. That is the foundation in my opinion.
How important is it to set yourself apart in terms of your personal style? Do you have any plans in the future for your own clothing venture?
If you genuinely love what everyone else is doing then setting yourself apart isn’t necessary but if you don’t then it’s important to acknowledge that. As for my own clothing venture, that’s definitely something I’m going to do. It’s just a matter of timing and making it happen.
Tell us something random about Imran (Farida) that no one knows?
Imran is the most subtly shady guy in the whole entire universe. If you look hard enough you’ll find him in the Guinness Book Of World Records.
Your track ‘King Mike Skinner’ soundtracks Farida’s SS16 Motion Editorial for the campaign. What made you choose that track?
Sonically the track just works, it complements the pace of the visual. It was one of those instances when I saw the motion editorial footage and just knew that ‘King Mike Skinner’ was the one.
Who are your ones to watch in the music industry at the moment?
Santandave & Yxng Bane. Also Sinead Harnett, she’s already established but she’s super talented and I fancy her.
And finally, what’s your favourite Madonna song?
“This Used To Be My Playground” That song is life.
What made you start Farida Apparel?
I always knew that I wanted to create a gender-neutral clothing line. Fashion has always been a considerable part of my life, therefore it made absolute sense for me to take this step. Timing was always an issue – although I strongly believe everything happens for a reason.
Tell us a bit about your background.
I am a Music PR, and have been working as a publicist for over six years now. Up until recently I was working at a record label taking care of online and print PR for a variety of clients. This summer I decided to set off on my own to freelance as well as focus on Farida. My strengths are definitely the visual aspect of the campaign. I am very hands-on when it comes to the styling and photography to ensure the correct positioning is in place for my clients. This in effect helps me when it comes to opening doors with various areas of media. I am extremely passionate about my job and really enjoy having a unique relationship with each one of my clients as well as media.
Where does your name come from?
Farida is actually my Mum’s name. It’s such a beautiful name and it was very natural for me to dedicate this to her.
What made you choose Bonkaz to be the face of your SS16?
When it came time for my amazing photographer Eva Pentel and I to flesh out a concept for the shoot, we started to look at models and decided using a talent for one of the features could be interesting. It just had to make sense and work for the brand and concept. I have been working publicity for Bonkaz since the summer and I feel he truly encompasses our brand values. He’s a talented and daring musician, and what he is doing right now is very exciting. I love the fact that he is such an open person and likes to take risks when it comes to his style and his music. Once we spoke about everything he was fully on board and was able to put his trust in me which was awesome. Plus it helps that he is extremely photogenic, so lucky us.
Running a business is tough – what do you do when you aren’t working, and how do you manage the life/work balance?
It definitely is, especially since I have such a busy and hectic day job as a music PR. I am always working and switched on, as hard as it may be I don’t think I would want it any other way. I love the fact that I am working for myself now, able to pick and choose my own schedule. I am investing and nurturing my own business at the same time which will only benefit me in the future. How do I manage it? It’s a constant work in progress. I surround myself with positive people – I have such a great team around me as well and the right support which is very helpful. I try to organise as much as I can in advance which definitely helps the balance.
How big is your team?
My team is very small. I definitely prefer the more concentrated approach, that way nothing is diluted. We are due to expand soon with PR representation which is very exciting and I cannot wait.
What’s your plans for the future growth of your business?
Literally the same week we released our SS16 collection, we were already researching and developing our next collection for AW16. There is definitely no time to rest! It’s exciting as we are on track to produce our samples in the new year for a truly dynamic and innovative collection. This is the first time we will be doing a full collection (not capsules) so that will be something new for us. There are also some great launch plans coming together. I definitely want to further develop and nurture Farida. I always intended for it to be more bespoke than mass market, therefore ensuring our foundations are strong and we don’t lose our edge or focus. Farida is a lifestyle so we will definitely be collaborating with more creatives to further broaden our reach. The target is very much Europe at present but in the future I would like to focus on Asia and the Middle East.
Tell us something random about Bonkaz that no one knows?
I don’t think people realise how collaborative this guy really is. It’s awesome to know that someone trusts you 100% and I think because of how he is a person, it just works.
What’s the best thing about running your business?
I love the flexibility and creative freedom that comes with it. I love the fact that I am investing in my future and creating something that will be around for a while because i made it happen. The recognition is pretty awesome too!
What advice would you give to any budding entrepreneurs?
Be ready to work hard. It definitely isn’t easy and in no way is an overnight success. Have a clear vision and goal in mind and never compromise. Know your audience and make sure you do your research and learn along the way. Don’t give up.
And finally, what’s your favourite Madonna song?
I am not really a Madonna fan…but American Life was a dope tune.