With devilish good looks akin to, say, Justin Bieber and Drake, you’d think Aussie DJ duo Bonka would be more at home lip-synching in front of the camera rather than spinning tunes behind the decks.
Suffice to say, Connor O’Neill and Lachlan Norton – aka Bonka – are killing it locally and internationally, gaining kudos from the likes of David Guetta and Laidback Luke, and currently on their first official world tour, which takes in a massive number of dates, from India and Nepal to London and back home.
Karen Bilsby chats to one half, Lachlan Norton. He’s the one that looks less Bieber, more Drake, on the right.
To anyone who has been living under a rock for the past few years, how would you describe Bonka’s style?
Our style is based around fun and energy. The way we play and perform as entertainers is solely for the audience. This naturally has crept into the way we produce our music, whether it be our choice of top-lines, the structure of instrumentals, or sounds and samples we incorporate. It’s all to ensure the listener has a great experience.
Celebrities can decide to become DJs and automatically get booked at the biggest festivals without really ‘earning’ those opportunities.
As artists, are you and Connor very self-critical of what you create?
We’re definitely self-critical. Not to a level that is detrimental, but we pride ourselves in producing quality, and progressing each time we ‘make a move’ in the industry, so to speak.
Since Bonka was officially formed in 2014, have you noticed changes in the EDM and dance music scene over the years?
The scene has changed tremendously in the short time we’ve been in it. Take social media, for example – a person can become famous overnight from a single viral video. Celebrities can decide to become DJs and automatically get booked at the biggest festivals without really ‘earning’ those opportunities.
You’re certainly becoming well-known and respected globally with your music gaining support from major players around the world like David Guetta, Timmy Trumpet, Morgan Page, Bingo Players and Laidback Luke himself. That must be a great feeling!
It is such a great feeling and incredibly humbling! Just to think they would listen to our songs and play them is amazing. It’s surreal, and it motivates us to keep improving.
So, what has been your favourite/craziest gig to date?
Our favourite gig to date would have to be the Eatons Hill NYD Festival 2019. It was the biggest crowd we’ve played to and the energy was amazing.
What would be your ultimate gig or who would be an artist you’d like to perform at/collaborate with?
That’s a tough one. We would love to play in Europe at a festival like Tomorrowland and to work with some of the industry heavyweights such as Afrojack or Hardwell.
We joke about remaking ‘Bonkers’ with Dizzee Rascal and, who knows, one day we might just get that opportunity.
You’re about to announce a world tour – is it your first and where are you going?
We’ve announced the Australian leg with around 22 shows over the next three months. After that we’re planning on announcing our overseas shows, but for the moment we’re keeping them secret.
Finally, how does Dizzee Rascal feel about the connection between his epic track ‘Bonkers’ and your choice of stage name?
Well, that’s a conversation we have always wanted to have. We joke about remaking that song with him and, who knows, one day we might just get that opportunity. However, for the moment it’s just a play on words… and a dream!
BONKA WORLD TOUR DATES :
OCT 16 LOD, KATHMANDU, NEPAL
OCT 18 PRIVEE, DELHI, INDIA
OCT 19 PRISM, HYDERABAD, INDIA
OCT 20 BITS, HYDERABAD, INDIA
OCT 26 ELECTRIC STORM, DARWIN, AUSTRALIA
NOV 01 TBA, IRELAND
NOV 02 TBA, IRELAND
NOV 07 TBA, LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM
NOV 08 TBA, IRELAND
NOV 09 TBA, IRELAND
NOV 15 EATONS HILL, BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA
NOV 16 HEAVEN, MILDURA, AUSTRALIA
NOV 23 HOME HOUSE, DAVENPORT, AUSTRALIA
NOV 25 SCHOOLIES FESTIVAL, GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA
NOV 27 SKY GARDEN, BALI, INDONESIA
NOV 30 ORION HOTEL, SPRINGFIELD, AUSTRALIA
DEC 07 TBA, PHUKET, THAILAND
DEC 08 TBA, PATTAYA, THAILAND
DEC 14 WYNKXX, COFFS HARBOUR, AUSTRALIA
DEC 20 SANDSTONE POINT HOTEL, AUSTRALIA
DEC 21 CARGO BAR, SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA
DEC 26 CRITERION HOTEL, MARYBOROUGH, AUSTRALIA
DEC 31 MAGNUMS HOTEL, AIRLIE BEACH, AUSTRALIA
JAN 01 EATONS HILL NYD FEST, BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA
JAN 04 LUNAR ELECTRIC FEST, NEWCASTLE, AUSTRALIA
JAN 18 CARGO BAR, SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA
JAN 25 XS, CAIRNS, AUSTRALIA
JAN 26 TBA, BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA
FEB 01 GREENS HOTEL, BURNIE, AUSTRALIA
FEB 08 DOG AND DUCK, ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA