When the phrase “pop music” is mentioned, it usually sends chills down the spine of your usual bike wandering, ‘stache wielding, plaid wearing snickering neighbor. But with Los Angeles pop artist BANKS, the word pop takes on a whole new meaning. The songwriter, producer, and vocalist delves into much deeper realms to capture emotions that then translates that into a sea of soulful electronic beats and sounds set to pierce your heart. She doesn’t sugar coat her words just to ring you in to get some of that paper.
Here BANKS discusses the world of pop music and what drives her to create the pop music that she does.
1. You’ve been deemed one of the hottest rising pop stars to come out of Los Angeles. In what way has the city angels affected your song writing if at all? Do you think you/your music would change if you were to have come out of New York or London?
I think the environment I was in (in terms of the people I was around) is reflected more in my music than the actual city.
2. It’s stated that you draw your inspirations from artists such as Fiona Apple or Lauryn Hill. What kind of inspiration do you take from them? Is it just their songwriting, lyrics, persona? Or do you also take something musical from them as well?
They are both strong brilliant women who are not afraid of their own minds… listening to Fiona Apple when I was younger helped me embrace myself as whole. She wasn’t ashamed of her anger or any of her own imperfections. Also — their tones alone just really affect me. Lauryn Hill has that rasp and grit that I love. They are just genius creatures.
3. A lot of pop artists seem to sugar coat the majority of their songs where as your songs tend to head into darker territory even if it’s a dancier number. Where is darkness coming from?
My music is the safest place for me to let out all those “dark emotions.” It’s liberating and empowering and I feel lighter when I’m done writing a song. Sugar-coating in music is so backwards to me. Human emotion is so beautiful, why would anyone hide it?
4. How did the collaboration for the track “Work” with Lil Silva come about?
I had a song that I had written and I didn’t know exactly what I wanted production-wise. I sent it to him and he just did his thing. He transformed it into something so perfectly him and so perfectly me at the same time.
5. You also covered Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes.” That was a pretty epic pop hit stemming all the way back in the 80’s. Any story behind that?
My dad loves that song. He used to sing it all the time when I was little and I just wanted to do something special for Father’s Day.
6. Are there any other artists you plan on working with or would like to collaborate with? How do you think a song would turn out if you and Fiona Apple were to collaborate on a track? Or if it were some like Justin Timberlake or Usher?
Yes. I’m excited to keep working with Lil Silva and TEED. Also excited to be going in the studio with Sohn. I’m a bit infatuated with Kwabs at the moment. His voice is just not of this earth. I want to do something with him.
7. What do you think about the contemporary state of mainstream pop? It seems everyone’s trying to go bigger than the next artist next time.
I’m just a big fan of honesty in music. There are a lot of artists doing really honest mainstream pop at the moment so I’m looking forward to seeing what comes next.
8. Now that your EP is coming out soon, what’s the next move? Will we see a full-length after? Will the song writing process have changed for that?
Yes, there will be a full length album eventually. The song writing process will always remain the same. Just more experiences from different points of view.
9. Lastly, there’s still a lot of mysteriousness to BANKS. Is there something you’d be willing to reveal to your current and future fans?
I write short stories with my best friend called “Inside-Out Girl.”
Listen to her buzz single “Warm Water” below:
Catch her on tour opening for The Weeknd below:
09.06 Vancouver, British Columbia: Orpheum Theatre
09.07 Vancouver, British Columbia: Orpheum Theatre
09.10 Seattle, WA: Paramount Theater
09.13 Berkeley, CA: The Greek Theatre Berkeley
09.14 Santa Barbara, CA: Santa Barbara Bowl
09.16 Los Angeles, CA: The Greek Theatre
09.17 Los Angeles, CA: The Greek Theatre
09.20 Broomfield, CO: 1st Bank Center
09.22 Grand Prairie, TX: Verizon Theatre at Grand Prairie
09.23 Cedar Park, TX: Cedar Park Center
09.24 Houston, TX: Bayou Music Center
09.26 Tampa, FL: David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Performing Arts
09.27 Orlando, FL: Hard Rock Live
09.28 Miami, FL: James L. Knight Center
09.30 Atlanta, GA: Fox Theatre
10.01 Charlotte, NC: Ovens Auditorium
10.02 Durham, NC: Durham Performing Arts Center
10.04 Camden, NJ: Susquehanna Bank Center
10.05 Washington, DC: DAR Constitution Hall
10.07-08 New York, NY: Radio City Music Hall
10.11 Boston, MA: Orpheum Theatre
10.13-14 Chicago, IL: Chicago Theatre
10.15 Detroit, MI: Fox Theatre
10.17-20 – Toronto, Ontario: Massey Hall
11.21 Birmingham, England: National Indoor Arena
11.22 Manchester, England: 02 Apollo Manchester
11.24 Manchester, England: 02 Apollo Manchester
11.25 London, England: The 02 Arena