When we last spoke to Bonzai back in December she’d just signed her first big record deal with Sony. While the relationship had been “really cool so far”, she had concerns that “it might be a bit of a struggle keeping creative control,” and that she wasn’t “really going to come out with any bubbly bangers.”
Well, with new single ‘I Feel Alright’ – a raucous mix of boom clap beats and summery synth riffs – she’s found a happy middle ground. Kicking off with sparse production and her typically smooth vocals, the track builds quickly to a bass-filled, world-beating chorus. It’s hands-down the best thing she’s done yet and features producer pal Mura Masa on desk duty. Listen below.
We caught up with Bonzai recently at Wildlife Festival in Brighton and this is what she had to say about the track:
What’s the story behind the track?
“I wrote it with Mura Masa and my best friend who I live with who’s a songwriter as well, and the only person I’ll ever write with, if I do write with other people. It’s about the feeling of being lost which I think everyone feels at some stage but then it’s like – it could be worse and it can always get better.”
What’s it like working with Mura Masa?
“It’s great! I think I take it for granted now because we’re so close. I’ve known him for quite a while and last year, because I was still singing with him, we spent pretty much every day together. Not joking. We probably spent about a week and a half apart.”
Do you ever fall out?’
“No, we’ve never fallen out. We’re quite different definitely but we just slot into each other really nicely. That sounds really wrong [laughs]. But yeah he’s fucking amazing. It’s been really nice to be around him. When I was at university I was around some people that weren’t great and it can be hard to motivate yourself. Now I’m around a lot of brilliant people and it keeps reminding me to get my shit together. He’s a genius, really special.”
You also toured with Flume – got any war stories?’
“There was one night in Strasbourg, where we were like ‘right were having a party.’ I was on his tour bus and we just got fucking mashed. It was probably the most drunk I’d been last year. We were drinking red wine by the end ‘cos there was no more alcohol on the bus and that’s when you know it’s gone wrong [laughs]. We stayed up late dancing and just chatting shit. At one point someone threw me across the bus. I don’t know how that happened! It was a really fun night.”
Your live show is really energetic – is that important to you?
“Definitely. The guys in my band are all my friends. The DJ, the drummer and myself all went to uni together. We just gelled very well. Having gone to gigs you can see when people have session musicians who don’t give a shit. They’re just there to get paid and they’re not enjoying it. That sucks.”
Does that mindset feel alien to you?’
“I mean do what you want, that’s just not what I want to do. It’s a very special thing to be able to do this. I just want everyone in my band to have fun. They just get up, have a few drinks and a great time. Hopefully we do a good show!”
How’s your debut album coming?
“I’m working on it. I’ve pretty much spent this whole year writing songs and I’m gonna keep writing until the cut-off point which is July and then I’ll start finishing everything off, get it all done.”
Catch Bonzai next weekend at Secret Garden Party (July 20-23)