With just over a week to go until we ring in the New Year, we caught up with Bonzai for this week’s Take 10. It comes ahead of her upcoming gig in Dublin and follows a hectic end of year on tour with Flume, which included a closing date at the Warehouse Project. December 30th will see the Indiana born Dublin-raised, hip-hop-funk-jazz artist take on the crowds at District 8, alongside DJ sets from Mura Masa, Mumdance, Bobofunk and Wastefellow. This “New Years’ Eve-eve” gig is all set to be a sell-out show but before getting down, our quick-fire round got some more detail on the trip home.
What’s up, Bonzai! What are you at today?
Making music with my friend John Calvert in Brockley, London.
You were extremely busy touring alongside Flume in early November. Is travelling something you take to easily? Was this your first intense touring experience?
Yeah, I’ve always loved travelling and his crew made it all very easy. I did a North American tour with Mura Masa and Nao that was probably more intense…the flume tour was fairly luxurious.
You’re an Indiana born, Wicklow raised, Dublin export. Do you feel your blend of music is a reflection of your multiple cultural touchstones or is it more straightforward than that?
I think its more straightforward than that, I spent most my time in Dublin, sometimes with my friends who’d only listen to hip hop and reggae, sometimes with my friends who listened to indie stuff and always listening to my brothers music, he had an ear for more underground stuff.
As you’ve talked about previously, London has undergone considerable changes since you first got there. How does the buzz of your locale influence your creativity?
Well I live in Brixton and use a studio in Peckham and I feel like they’re two places that have maintained some culture still despite the sprawling gentrification. You still see the steel drum band outside Brixton Iceland and the record store on rye lane blasting “dry cry” at 11am…I don’t know how much it influences my music though, apart from putting me in a good mood.
It looks like you’re right at home in London but are there any Irish essentials still in your life?
My accent, I’m trying to hold on to that…I think some phrases are catching on over here though…
In your eyes, can Dublin compare to London in terms of opportunity in music and art or is it two different planets?
I don’t think Dublin compares to London in terms of opportunity yet.
When you find yourself back in Dublin, what are the local haunts first on your hit-list?
The Bernard Shaw for a Guinness, Yammamori for sushi, Jervis for some Christmas shopping.
Did you see London as a solution or an option? Was music on your mind when you made the move?
It was an option, I finished my LC, wanted to go to music college and thought London would be cool, I didn’t think about it too much, I just left.
At what point did you decide I could do this for a living?
I’ve always wanted to do this for a living, music and performing are the only things I’ve ever been truly passionate about.
How important is it to you that you get come back to Ireland to perform?
I’m very grateful to be able to do it and to have such a warm response when I announced the gig, it’ll be a very special night!
Before we let you go. Who are you listening to at the moment? Got any tracks on repeat?