Fikri Fadzil is a champion of local music, bringing underground artistes to the foreground with his online music video portal, The Wknd. By day, Fikri is the Creative Director of design studio, Bright Lights At Midnight (BLAM). But he could never resist his passion in bringing Malaysian music to the world.
Tell us a little bit about where you come from. I run The Wknd , a music website where we feature independent music from Malaysia and South East Asia. The Wknd also hosts a couple of original video segments, where we get musicians to come to the studio and perform original songs of theirs, mainly The Wknd Sessions and Singgah Sekejap. Honestly though, The Wknd is really a 'weekend' project of mine. During the day, I am a partner and creative director at the BLAM creative studio.
What do you usually dress up for?
Most of the time, it's for meeting clients in relation to the work we do in my creative studio. But the good thing about a pair of jeans and shirt, which is my usual getup, is that I could even wear those to a gig.
How does dressing up play a part in what you do?
I used to not care about how I dressed, with an excuse about being in the creative field deeming it unnecessary. But as time went by, I realised that clients, or people in general, take you and your ideas more seriously when you look decent.
What did you originally envision yourself to be doing before this?
I wanted to be an architect originally, but that dream quickly faded in my high school days with my introduction to alternative music. From then I wanted to be an audio engineer, like my eldest brother. Before I could enroll to an audio engineering course, I stumbled upon a course called 'Multimedia'. Back then it was still new, which offered the same amount of technical challenges and creativity an audio engineering course could offer, only spread across multiple mediums.
Can you tell us more about that one moment in time that inspired you to pursue your passion?
I'm not too sure if there was one defining moment. It was more of a series of events and experiences that I went through. When I was in University, I always wanted to work on my own, and being the naive and 'I know everything there is to know in the world' undergraduate I was, I just jumped into it. Also, I realised if I wanted to risk something, I might as well do it while I'm young. I could always enroll myself into architecture school when I'm 40 or something.
What were the difficulties that you faced when you first started out?
The Wknd Sessions first started in 2008, when we only had 'high speed broadband' in Malaysia, and not everyone had it. So that was our biggest hurdle, technically. As per any other project, we didn't have any funds or expertise in producing a video program, or for that matter, the manpower to keep it running (which we still lack).
But it was just something that I feel I had to do. So we had to borrow video equipment and even make our own equipment, from dolly tracks to lighting equipment. Finding a space for our shoots were the worst. Surprisingly, my parents were extremely supportive.
What do you feel sets you apart from everyone else?
The Wknd Sessions has been running on a shoestring budget, and we've managed to record over 60 bands in the span of 4 years, so with that kind of momentum in our backseat, there is nothing much we can do but move forward. The Wknd Sessions has also discovered new and upcoming acts, which have gone on to do some amazing stuff.
What's your proudest moment thus far?
I think the fact that the project has been afloat for the last 4 years is pretty amazing. Also knowing that the acts The Wknd Sessions has featured are going places.
What're your upcoming projects for the future?
We're looking at trying to figure out how to sustain the project. Right now, we're working on it on a part- time basis, weekends mostly. So we would like to do it full time, in order for us to provide better content. There are some ideas that the
team has been talking about, one of it is to start a small record label and maybe do a lot more live shows as well as act as festival curators. So we're looking for partners and collaborators to work with us.
What do you want the world to remember you for?
Ah. Now, that’s a very difficult question to answer!