Fikri Fadzil has come a long way from starting The Wknd as an archiving project back in 2008, and he’s finally made the jump to working on Malaysia’s premiere online music platform full-time. He’s made new friends, overcome unlikely obstacles, and witnessed the scene bloom tremendously in his journey thus far. JUICE, never tired of featuring Fikri in hopes of making him Esquire’s Best Dressed Real Man one day, talks to him about the scene, Mokhtar Dahari, and the ordinal season of The Wknd…
Hi Fikri, when was the last time you did something for the first time?
Probably about two years ago, when I followed Tenderfist on their second European tour. On the way back, I stopped by Paris, and just totally lost myself (literally, I was lost in the city for three hours on a rented Vespa).
It’s been a while since the first season came out and The Wknd has become a platform for all sorts of artistes to showcase their music. How do you curate which acts to feature?
We get asked about this a lot, but we can never table it out in a clean manner because there are just too many variables at hand. In general, we look out for musical creativity (genre, arrangement, ideas), proficiency in live performance, and potential longevity of the act. The curation doesn’t end at the artist selection stage as we usually plan out how we sow each episode together, so that each act compliments one another.
How do you juggle your time between your day job and this project?
As of early this year, I’ve made the jump to work on The Wknd full-time (I’m still a director at my design studio, BLAM) to give it a proper push it deserves. It’s been a little challenging to have multiple hats on, especially when it comes to making creative decisions under the watchful eye of business rationality. It’s tough, but all start-ups are.
What are your thoughts on how the local music scene has evolved over the past few years?
In recent years, we’re seeing a lot more collaborative partnerships between scenes in the music community, which is a relatively big leap forward from the early to mid ‘00s. I think people are starting to realise that we all need to stick together to make this work, like a proper community.
What else needs to be done though, to push it to the next level?
There’s still a lot to be done, but things need to happen gradually – from audience development, to having a proper distribution and state-based music promotion network. I think the end goal is not to take over the mainstream industry, but to create an equally sustainable and professional alternative scene. Slacking off because it’s only a part-time hobby is no longer a justifiable excuse; Mokhtar Dahari was a part-time footballer during his prime years with Selangor FC and our national team. The bottom line is, everyone needs to be on board and play their respective roles for all of us to get to the next level.
What new acts coming out of Malaysia are you especially excited about?
One of the more exciting acts to come out this year for me is The Venopian Solitude. From when we released her single under our programme, The Wknd Recording Fund, to her signing with Kasi Gegar Entertainment (home of Aizat Amdan, Go Gerila!), she has definitely grown creatively and found her distinctive sound with her new record, Hikayat Perawan Majnun.
Are we going to see anything special to commemorate the tenth season of The Wknd?
We’re still in the pre-pro planning stages for our 10th season, but it will most likely be something we’ve never done before. We’ll be announcing it in the next couple of months.