JUICE decided to spend a weekend bugging Fikri Fadzil, founder of popular local music portal The Wknd, discussing the lack of representation of local independent acts online and what they’ve got brewing for the coming Rockaway Festival 2012.
Starting back in 2008 as part of PopTeeVee, The Wknd has grown from online video music channel into go-to Malaysian independent music portal at a rate that doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. The Wknd Sessions, which was the start of the whole thing, remains the main driving force behind the portal, showcasing live performances in The Wknd studios stripped down in an intimate setting.
“The Wknd came about after realising that Malaysian independent music had very little representation on the internet, and documentation of the scene were mostly text-based,” says founder Fikri Fadzil.
“We had one or two clips from previous music TV shows, but I guess those were ripped straight from TV so the quality was unbearable. I toyed around with the idea and shared it with a couple of friends, mainly Hardesh Singh, who was just about to kick off his only TV channel, PopTeeVee. In 2008, I called some friends to help out, and they’ve been an essential part of the project ever since.”
From the quality of the videos you would be expecting a big crew behind the production. But in reality, a whole season is shot over 1 weekend with 10 bands playing one after another for 2 whole days, which is the origin of the moniker The Wknd. The exclusion of vowels was simply to get a shorter domain name, according to Fikri.
“We initially didn’t have a name, and we knew that we could only work on the project during weekends, so that kind of stuck, ‘The Weekend’ was a bit too long for a domain name, so we just went with The Wknd instead.
Needless to say, quite some time is spent in post-production. It takes about 3 months to produce 1 season of The Wknd Sessions, which is quite a long time, but it’s also because the crew has their day jobs aside from The Wknd to take care of. The production team today runs on a fluctuating team of 7 to 9 people, and the process, according to Fikri is getting more efficient, “Every year we try and find ways to speed up the process, so hopefully one of these days we will find the formula.”
Despite popularly being referred to with the blanket term “indie” as the defining genre featured on The Wknd, they actually don’t discriminate. Or as Fikri puts it, they’re “genre-agnostic”.
“We usually prefer bands or individuals that are trying to do something different (and doing it well) or saying things differently from the rest of the scene. So far we’ve featured a lot of bands, guitar driven music, and we’re looking at featuring other types of music in the future.
“One thing that sets us apart is our video content, mainly The Wknd Session but also Singgah Sekejap where we get touring bands to drop by our office for an acoustic session. We try to be genre-agnostic with the bands we feature, as we feel that music can, and should be appreciated, no matter what it sounds like and we invest a lot of time in curating the sessions.“
This year sees a collaboration between Rockaway Festival organisers Livescapes Asia and The Wknd, featuring a stage at this year’s festival that consists purely for local independent acts that will be run by The Wknd. “This is actually the first time Rockaway Festival will be having 2 stages, and we’re pretty psyched that they’ve asked us to curate the second stage,” says Fikri.
“The Wknd stage will be more intimate, and we’re featuring bands from across all genres, from experimental music to more singer songwriter types. We’re also collaborating with some visual guys, so that should be pretty interesting.”
TM presents Rockaway Festival 2012 will be taking place on 20 October 2012 at the Helipad of Sepang International Cicuit. You can get your tickets now at redtix.airasia.com. And be sure to checkout The Wknd at www.the-wknd.com.