Connor O Neill and Lachlan Norton from Ipswich are BONKA
Connor O Neill and Lachlan Norton from Ipswich are BONKA Caitlin Boland

Bonka back on home turf

WHEN they walked out the doors of Ipswich Grammar School, two Ipswich lads had the world at their feet.

Fast forward a few years and the boys known as Bonka have been travelling the world ever since as demand for their DJ act continues to grow, but it's their gig at the Ipswich Cup next week that has them beside themselves with excitement.

Lachlan Norton (24) and Connor O'Neill (22) started working together as DJ's, and decided to turn their hobby into a full-time career.

"My plan originally was that I wanted to join the police force," Connor said. "I was working at Suncorp Stadium in hospitality at the time, and I started my own DJ business on the side, where I did house parties. That's where I met Lachlan.

"He started DJ'ing for me, we hung out, and I thought 'why don't we start a duo?' Since then it hasn't stopped."

The duo have been performing shows non-stop in nightclubs and at festivals around the world, plus it has allowed them to create their own music, as Lachlan explained.

Connor O Neill and Lachlan Norton from Ipswich are BONKA
Connor O Neill and Lachlan Norton from Ipswich are BONKA

"We moved into the 'club sphere' I guess you could say, when we started doing live shows, and realised we could actually make a living out of it when we found we were getting offered jobs which meant we had to get on a plane to get there.

"It started as a hobby, became a job, and now it really is a full-time thing," Lachlan said. "Through the week there's lots of long hours, and late nights, but when you're travelling around the country, having fans come to all your shows, its really crazy. When I think about it, it's hard to call it a job, as we're having so much fun."

"We've played all over Australia, Connor added. "Every capital city, lots of festivals, tons of rural cities. The highlights have been playing New Zealand, Indonesia, Thailand...so many different cultures to experience and it's so rewarding to see how they receive our music. Although I must say some of the times we played Club Metro in Ipswich, they were some of the best nights we've ever had, but in saying that the travel is pretty good too!"

Connor O Neill and Lachlan Norton from Ipswich are BONKA
Connor O Neill and Lachlan Norton from Ipswich are BONKA

The name Bonka didn't come as a result of a think tank, a marketing plan or a public vote. Funnily enough it was Lachlan's mum who came up with the name.

"I was in the shower listening to Bonkers by Dizzee Rascal one day" Lachlan said. "At the time I was stuck trying to find a name for our act, and my mum walked in and said 'Why don't you call yourself bonkers, cos that's what you do when you're on stage'...so our name became Bonka. Thanks mum!"

Now based in Brisbane, Lachlan and Connor have found fame by performing in clubs, at dance festivals plus working hard on their social media presence, but it also means that they have to work outside the traditional business hours.

"Our sleeping patterns have just completely changed over the last couple of years," Connor said. "I used to get up at 7.30 and go to work. now I'm working till 2 or 3 in the morning, then aim to have about 5 hours sleep then be and ready to go for the day.

"The job itself is what keeps us awake, it fills us with energy as we play the music, and the adrenalin kicks in.

You can catch their energy filled fist pumping act at the Ipswich Cup when Bonka are one of the headline acts at the after party, along with Mashd N Kutcher, but the boys aren't sure if their parents will turn up.

"Probably the last six months to a year my parents have seen where this is heading" Lachlan said. "Mum will say 'Are you home this weekend?' and I'll say 'Sorry, I'm off to Thailand for ten days!'

But overall family and friends are so supportive."

Connor said that the duo are excited to be back on home soil and anyone coming to the Ipswich Cup can expect something special.

"We've started bringing a lot of live stuff into our shows, like a drum pad...as it gets people more interested when they can see the music...if that makes sense. It adds something a bit extra.

"I'm not gonna lie," Connor added. "I've got several hundred messages and texts from friends in Ipswich who are so excited to see our new show. We can't wait to paly to our home town. We know what the Ipswich Cup means, it's the biggest day of the year. Everyone bets on the horses and is up for a good time."

Bonka will perform at the Ipswich Cup on June 16th at the Ipswich Turf Club.