Quick Questions with Sketchy Bongo

Music performances have really suffered during COVID with venues being closed, so that industry is under enormous pressure. But the recording and music making side has really been thriving because everybody’s operating remotely and lots of musicians are working out new ways to use technology and different kinds of media platforms to amplify their music. They’re creating live experiences on different social media platforms. And even though they’re not in the same room or city, people are using technology to work together in different creative ways to create music, art and media. So it’s exciting to see how companies and artists are using this pandemic to try and be more creative.

Lots of brands try to leverage popular culture using social media. What’s your view on this and what’s your advice for brands looking to do this?

Brands’ use of social media has become a huge industry and we see people really specialising in this. Also we see the rise of the influencer and the creator. Companies like Instagram, Facebook and Tik Tok all have people they are working with in terms of brands and are also working with these influencers and creators directly. It’s really exciting for brands as it opens up so many options.

But importantly with social media and especially with GenZ, everything needs to be relatable. It needs to be real. It can’t be something that seems like an advert. So it’s advertising without being an advert. And that’s really where the creator element comes in. Lots of brands are collaborating with creators to speak about their brand in a way that’s not direct advertising. It could be a Tik Tok challenge created around a certain brand. It could be something on Instagram where they get an artist to start talking about their music but they bring the brand into it in some kind of way, such as brand-sponsored interviews. With no live events they could create digital live events on social media. These are the kind of things that associate your brand with culture.

It’s really important when brands do this that they get to know the platform. Every platform is different and how people communicate on it differs. You’re not going to speak on Twitter the same way you’re going to be speak on Tik Tok so I think that’s very important for brands to learn, and working with influencers and creators has been a really good way for them to get into that.

What pop culture trend are you currently most excited about?

Of course jumping on to trends can help my brand to stay relevant but what’s important is to think how I’m going to use them to propel my brand forward. I sit and look at trends pretty much every day to find new ways to promote music whether it’s a Tik Tok dance… something that I think has kind of been done, or Tik Tok fashion transitions. You see trends on Instagram live where people are doing these ‘vs’ where one musician is playing their hits and talking about it and then another musician does the same.

Obviously there’s lots of trends starting every day so I can’t really single out one specifically. For me it’s about looking at them and working out ways to amplify my brand through them. So if there is a TikTok challenge for a song I’m going to be doing I might integrate that into my music video so that while they live on different platforms it creates synergy.

Because I’m a musician the focus for me is always how I’m going to use it and how it might be useful to promote my brand, rather than asking what’s the hottest trend and jumping onto it just for the sake of it.

Have you got anything up your sleeve you’d like SA to know about?

Yes. I’ve just released a new single with Jimmy Nevis and South African rapper Emtee. It’s a song called ‘The Moment’. The song and the music video are out and we’re really pleased with them. It’s available on all the main platforms. I also have an album that’s going to be coming out later this year so you can look out for that.

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