Constanly creating diverse and inspiring tracks from a wide range of influences, Race Banyon is among the list of young producers (many of which we have featured previously) leading the way for original electronic music within New Zealand. With his latest Ep on the horizon we dicided to catch up and have a chat about musical directions, sample choices and plans for the future.
• This EP is obviously quite a different direction to the music you’ve previously released as Lontalius. Why the shift toward electronic music?
This kind of music is a lot more exciting to me than the Lontalius stuff. I feel so limited when trying to write songs on a guitar, but when making music on a computer I really feel like I can do anything. When Blink asked me to do my first show (as Shipwreck, which would become Lontalius) I was making electronic music, but I decided I wasn’t ready to do that kind of thing live. Playing songs I’d written over a Casio beat was an easy way to play live and feel like I was a part of the close New Zealand music community.
• Gotcha, so you’ve been making electronic music this entire time? How old were you when you started?
Probably eleven or twelve. I think I started by trying to find software that would replicate live drums because I didn’t own a drum kit.
• Were you as obsessed about making music back then as you are now? I know you’re pretty much always making music whenever you can. What’s driving that? Has it always been like this? Where is the impulse coming from? Is there a certain point or accomplishment you’re trying to reach, or do you just love the process?
I made music then just as much as I do now. I don’t know where it comes from. I remember listening to boy bands a lot when I was little and wanting to be one of them. I would lip-sync to their songs in my bedroom with the lights turned off. I very rarely listen to music without imagining that I am the one who made it. I guess that’s where the drive to make music comes from. Dreams of fame and fortune.
• Can you tell us a little bit about that spoken-word sample at the end of the album? Who is speaking and what inspired you to put it in the album?
That’s Pharrell. I been a fan of his music for a while but I didn’t realise how inspiring he was as a person until recently. I watched a lot of interviews with him while I was making the EP. “I remember being in high school for twenty thousand gagillion years.” resonated with me. I still have a year and a half of high school left, and that really scares me. I feel ready to leave school. The idea of university freaks me out as well though. When I think about my future all I can see is me making music in my bedroom. I hope the only thing that changes is the bedroom.
• I noticed a lot of vocals on the tracks, but unlike in your previous material, none of them are yours! Why? How do you find working with someone else’s vocal take versus laying down your own. Do you find one to be more expressive than the other?
I don’t know. I just wanted to use parts of songs I love. I’m obsessed with the feeling you get when you hear melodies/words you recognise over new chords or rhythms. Most of the first electronic music I listened to was full of R&B vocal sampling. Burial, Jacques Greene, Blawan etc.
I’ve thought about singing on my Race Banyon tracks but I don’t think I like the idea. Making songs as Race Banyon is just a completely different process to writing songs as Lontalius.
• Do you enjoy making music? Did you have fun making this album?
Yeah. This is the most fun I’ve had working on a release. There’s a great Thomas Bangalter quote where he talks about using Ableton, “I use Live anywhere, anyhow…as a personal-computer game — because I have more fun with it than most video games”
• Why did you decide to call it Whatever Dreams Are Made Of?
That’s what it sounds like to me. It’s not quite as strong as I hoped it would be and it’s not exactly where I’d like to be musically, but I feel like it’s a really big step towards that. I haven’t reached my dream yet but I’m getting there.
• I am enamoured by the last song on your EP and I’ve got a couple questions about it. The main sample says, “Let’s do something crazy. Let’s reach out and love one another”, which comes from a pretty standard R&B ballad about a guy trying to seduce a girl. But for me, when I hear the sample in your song, I actually feel like the singer is singing it to everyone in the world, telling us to all take a risk and start loving each other. Was there a deeper meaning you were trying to get across by taking the sample out-of-context and sticking it in your song?
Yeah, I love the way those lines sound out of context. I can’t say I chose them for that reason though. Words aren’t very important to me. I only recently realised how dumb the sample on ‘Only Sixteen’ must sound to people who know how old I am.
I hear people say ‘Only Sixteen’ all the time and it feels very condescending. I have to remind myself that I’m only sixteen when I’m not happy about my music. I have so much time to get better, to play better shows etc. Most of my favourite musicians didn’t start making great music until they were well into their twenties. I’m very lucky to have gotten into music at an early age.
• The last song is basically one massive build-up that never drops. Quite an open ending. Does it say anything about where you’re headed as an artist? What’s next?
I’ve never thought about it like that. Maybe it does. I always want to put drops into my songs because that kind of thing is so much fun to play live. Up until recently my only experiences in playing live were ones where having drops were necessary for the crowd to get into it. It was fun but I think it was a bad introduction into playing live. I love the way a five minute build-up that never drops sounds. Both this and ‘Don’t Need You’ had more conventional dance structure with drops when I first made them.
• Where to from here?
I honestly have no idea. I feel like I’ve finally got into a groove where I can make the music I’ve always wanted to make. But at the same time I’m starting to feel uninspired by the stuff I’ve been making recently. The songs on this EP are what I came up with during ten or so months of experimentation after I released Tricks. At the moment I’m working on playing these songs live in a way that’s interesting to me. Who knows what’ll happen after that.
Article credits; Jon Lemmon
Photo credits; Megan Dieudonné
Special thanks too Greta Gotlieb and Presence zine for helping out!
Skymning a Wellington resident and member of Koresene Comic Book, fuses delicate and dreamy tones with Hip-Hop influences. The end result being an intriguing, original sound that captivates the listener. Previous releases like “stay in bed; sun seeps thru the curtains" and his resent collaboration with American based rapper Ammit "Catch You in the Afterlife" are a good example of this. We caught up for a few questions just in time for his latest Ep release. Stream the track Hopeless below or check out the whole Ep here!
• How does music making effect your life as a whole?
Although I don’t release that much music, it effects my life quite a lot. I studied at Victoria University last year but realised I didn’t like the idea of getting in debt to be miserable so I dropped out. I’m not really doing anything with my life at the moment so music is the only thing I can pretend is making me productive.
• O awesome! What courses did you study? Do you think they contributed to the music you make now?
I was studying Film, Media, Design, Art History & Music. The music paper I did definitely contributed to my approach to music making, just as far as heaps of things like equalisation which I’d never taken into account before that. There’s sooo much to learn though, most of it went over my head. Still, I feel like it helped me.
• Thats cool, eq’ing can be pretty tedious but worth the time. What topics were too over your head?
Well the course was kinda based around learning the basics of how different frequencies act and applying that to sound manipulation and creation in your DAW (Digital Audio Workstation). I don’t use a DAW though I use Audacity and record in shitty old Casios. I’m really stubborn about learning DAWs because they’re so overwhelming and I understand Audacity cause it’s much more straight forward (which obviously means it’s much more limiting too). I’ve been telling myself I’ll get round to learning one for a few years so I don’t think it’s going to happen.
• Most people seem to put down Audacity as a actual production application but the results you produce are amazing! Any favorite releases this year so far?
Hmm I’m trying to think of if I’ve listened to any LPs that have come out this year. I really like Julia Brown’s “to be close to you" tape, and I’m just a big fan of Sam Ray’s (Julia Brown, Teen Suicide, Ricky Eat Acid) musical projects in general so it’ll be interesting to see what happens with those. I feel kinda weird getting really into my friends’ music, but I’m really liking Yvnalesca and Race Banyon at the moment too. Yvna’s Hero/Faith has got to be one of my favourite releases this year.
• Im a big Yvna/Rb fan too ha! Hero is defiantly a big tune. All three of you are also part of KCB right? How did you get connected with the others, since Totems is based in Auckland and Yvnalesca down here in Christchurch?
I met Reuben (Totems) a few years ago at a show he was doing in Wellington. Sometime last year I saw a video of him dropping Balam Acab in a DJ set and started chatting to him again online. He was into my music and asked if I’d be interested in joining them so I said yeah. It’s really weird cause like you said we’re from all round the country but every time any of us hang out it’s so natural we’re totally all on the same wavelength even though we all make different music. They’re all such nice, talented, humble dudes and i’m honoured to be a part of it.
• I met Reuben actually a few weeks back when he came down with tommy ill, super cool guy! I asked Yvna the same question a few weeks back but im intrested into what you will say. What do you think about KCB effecting the New Zealand music scene?
My thoughts are similar to his in that it mightn’t necessary have changed anything but it’s definitely creating its own buzz or something. I dunno what it’s like from an outside perspective, but to me it’s just mates who’ve met through their music and fucking love and support everything each other is doing.
• Yeah i guess its hard to comment on something from a outer perspective when your surrounded by it. What do you think is most influential within your creative process?
Just my environment I guess. As I said I’m doing virtually nothing with my life right now so I probably get 2+ hours walking done every day (or more realistically, every night). Walking round Wellington alone listening to depressing music and smoking cigarettes. It gives me a lot of time to think about the feel of the music I want to make rather than the structure or genre or anything like that.
• So the Wellington landscape has some mark on your music, is there any thing specific you feel wouldn’t come out in your music if you didnt live there. I guess its pretty steep and windy in general (specially round this time of year). Do any of these factors have an effect you think?
Hmm yeah it’s really hilly but I love that cause it just means better views at the top! Most of New Zealand seems to be pretty beautiful so I don’t know how much a different city would affect my music, although I’ve been going up to Auckland a fair bit over the last few months and that feels like quite a different environment; more industrial and lonely.
• What was the feeling you were trying to create on your latest release? I feel like most of the tracks have a similar vibe and fit well together.
Yeah well I recorded it in just over a month so I was really trying to get a similar sound throughout it. I feel like if I sit on music too long everything I make starts to sound different and I don’t like it as much. As far as the feeling I was trying to create I’m not too sure. I was really happy with the EP 1993 I released last year and wanted to push my sound slightly away from that free lofi headphone sound into something that was almost danceable, while still keeping it kinda melancholic and lonely. I got bored of using guitars and stuck pretty much entirely to one Casio keyboard, with the exception of bass which was either created by another Casio keyboard or the Trapaholics XXL soundkit.
• I can defiantly pick on that feeling! The combination of something sweet like the casiotone and aggressive like 808’s works well i think.
Nineteen year old producer polo is based in Christchurch and has been causing a mass amount of hysteria within Soundclouds realms. Listening to previous tracks like unfiltered-cigarettes its not hard to see why. His tracks drip watery textures and R&B samples, a combination that he blends perfectly. Dropping a exclusive under his name has been a month in the making but was defiantly worth that wait. Check out the track below and our short interview as well!
• Whats your favored place to create?
Milk bath. Trim. I don’t know, it doesn’t really matter to me - if i want to create i’ll create.
• Are there any New Zealand artists that you are creatively inspired by?
Oh, where to begin.. I’ll just say a few names? eske, Kamandi, Yvna, Estere, Lorde, Loui the Zu, Kimbra, and more..
• Whats your opinion on rap artist Riff Raff?
I mean, there’s not really much to say, he’s RiFF, he’s doing his thing and its different. I love it. he needs to work with Willie Nelson though.
• Is it a challenge to turn ideas you have in your head into form?
Not really, its sushi. i don’t really know what’s in my head until it’s out. i don’t think about the perfect melody or anything prior. the music bypasses me acknowledging it and goes straight into what ever i’m doing, be it an instrument or a program - there’s no intermediary in the process, i don’t filter shit just to make it more appealing. That’s not real music.
• Whats your opinion on the whole nighties revival culture? I see you use lots of r&b samples from that decade.
I think its cool, i just use them because that’s the music i grew up with and its what inspired me as a kid. I have an older sister who was always playing hits of the nineties since i was born, so it’s going to rub off. Barbie Girl and Love Fool - my jam everyday. I remember seeing a video on MTV when i was real young, it was polyester girl - regurgitator. I never knew what is was about at the time…haha but it stuck with me because the video was so crazy. I love things that are different. I think that’s always going to be the case with artists, i guess the goal is, in a way, to be sampled. fuck copyright.
• You play piano right? do you think knowing fundamental music helps with your production?
I dropped out of highschool to learn, teachers wouldn’t let me play Mariah or Gaga because they were musical elitists. I lost my shit. I steer clear of theory and music teachers, for obvious reasons. I had one good music teacher, he teaches at Hagley. Kevin would just leave me to my own devices and while i didn’t learn anything musically, he taught me about self confidence and that i didn’t need to get jacked on drugs to play in front of an audience so i owe a lot to him for that.
• Thank you for this artist exclusive :)
You’re welcome man, anytime. Thank you for the opportunity.
Yvnalesca is one of the most hyped producers to come out of New Zealand in recent times. His ability to craft tracks and put on a live set to such a high quality has seen him open for some of the biggest acts within the scene. Most notably the likes of Stones Throw’s Jonwayne and one half of TNGHT’s Lunice. Below we discuss the recent change of name, his influences and future projects!
• So you used to perform under St Eden, what prompted the change to Yvnalesca and how do you think the transition went?
I changed mostly because of people making comparisons to Mt Eden fucking Dubstep, it got old real quick. Also, Christchurch is small enough so when I went to parties and things and introduced myself as Eden people would make the connection and start giving me awkward compliments. The transition to Yvna has been Ok, on one hand I liked starting fresh with new music and aesthetics, but on the other I kinda miss all those Soundcloud followers and plays. But I did it once I can do it again for sure. It’s also funny hearing radio Dj’s trying pronounce Yvnalesca. Guess they never played FFX.
• You recently performed a show in Wellington with Kerosene Comic Book. What’s your association with those guys and what do you think about how they’re effecting the New Zealand music scene?
Yeah man it was tight, everyone was on such a good wavelength that night. I think I’m the newest memeber of the group? Kcb is fam though, I wanted to to join because I had already met most of those guys through playing shows in Auckland and Wellington. It’s a group with crazy different styles but I think a similar outlook to doing this music thing. You gotta surround yourself with people that can inspire you, and it’s cool to be apart of. I’m not sure if the Kcb thing is effecting the scene, but like, creating it’s own little corner to play in, which is awesome - I’d rather stay on the fringes.
Your track for The 420 Tape was a lot more Dubstep sounding than most of your other shuffly 2step tracks. Do you think this is a sound you’ll pursue more later?
Maybe, who knows, I love both Dubstep and Garage, I don’t think they’re worlds apart. With that track I wanted to make a club tune, I had the live setting in mind when I sat down to make it. It needed to be really simple and driving, bass driven. I refrained from putting vocals all over like I normally would so it was just pulse. I guess it was pretty Dubstepish, honestly I was trying to make a tune like those James Blake tunes on R&S or Hessle Audio. I try to make shuffles because I love that sound, the groove and the swing. If you get it right it’s mesmerizing, you can hang your entire tune off it. Like, Nova by Burial and Four Tet is my favorite track of all time, the drums in that are the greatest drums I’ve ever heard. There’s not even a snare, but the hats can carry everything so well you don’t need it. I wanna make sophisticated tunes like that, with wicked shuffles but also at the same time simple dance tunes are fun too, I guess I wanna explore the spectrum.
• What was your thought process/musical influence around your new EP Dead Bored? Can we hope for a full length any time soon?
Dead Bored was optimistic sounding, like making the most out of a shitty situation, being inside watching the rain. I wanted it too be sexy though, I have been listening to a lot of house music. I’m into Dusky, Shadow Child, Quentin Harris, stuff like that and of course UK Garage - Zed Bias, Groove Chronicles, EL-B, MJ Cole. I don’t think there’s a day where I don’t listen to Burial or Four Tet. It was about making something really minimal, with lots of space between the elements. I wanted everything to be clean, clear and simple, kinda like a Jamie XX or Koreless tune, Drums, chords and sub. I always use vocal cuts because it gives you something to sing along too. Even though the words are diced up theres still tons of feeling in them, they really complete a tune. I was also trying to create atmosphere without piling on the rain.mp3s and vinyl crackle.wavs, I had been listening to Zomby’s Dedication a heap which is really slick and erie without hiding everything in reverb or ‘organic’ sounds - my next songs are going to be dark like his, night time tunes. The songs on Dead Bored were from an album I got half way through making before I got so sick of the tracks I was just going to scrap the whole thing. In the end I decided to pick the best ones and put them out as an EP and I’m glad I did. I’ll get back to work on a new project when I get a break from school, but I couldn’t say if it’ll be a full length or not, I don’t have any grand scheme at the moment.
• You also create visual art right? Do you think you approach this medium in a similar way as making music?
I suppose so, I’m all over the show with both, way too many ideas that I try to get into focus. Design is easier for me though, I’ve always done it - always been good at it, music is a new endeavour and very difficult for me. My family is artistic not musical, everyone can draw but no one plays an instrument or anything like that. Music can be quite visual for me, dreaming up movies scenes or things like that. Y’know like how each city has a sound and you can imagine yourself there when you listen to certain tunes. I’m obsessed with the London sound and the Bristol sound, I’m really attached to those places and I’ve never fucking been there.
• What was your creative intentions for the track were releasing?
I made that in my room in the middle of the night, I just used my laptop speakers so I the levels are fucked. I didn’t have any intentions really.. it made itself. I like how dark it turned out though, and the vocals singing these really longing lyrics - ‘I don’t want to be alone, don’t you leave me lone’. II’d call it a break up song, like you’re mad at someone for leaving and ruining you. I’m sorry about the end, it’s abrupt. I don’t have the file anymore, I can’t change it. I quite like the unexpectedness of it.
Auckland based Cashmere has managed to release a wide variety of tracks with only one year of production experience! Ranging from hyped remixes to some of the coldest head nodding beats, this young producers talent is obvious. Oddplastics.com was lucky enough to grab a exclusive unreleased track by him and also have a small chat about his plans for the future and his relationship with global label Forward Thinking Sounds.
• Were do you see yourself in three years musically?
If I’m still doing this in three years, I like to think that I’d be making some decent money off my music. Also, I’d like to be a lot more technical about my production.
• What release of yours are you most satisfied with?
The release I am most satisfied with would probably be DxllaBinBeats Vol. 1. I would love to do more stuff like that in the future.
• Your part of forward thinking sounds right? Whats that about?
Forward Thinking Sounds is a Knoxville based record label. It’s full of amazing artists from around the world and I’m really proud to be a part of it. Expect big things from us in the future!
• Would you call yourself an artist?
I don’t really agree with the term ‘artist’, anyone can call themselves that nowadays. You could throw some dog-shit at a blank canvas and someone would still buy it. Some people might call me that though.
I think it’s great how much recognition trap music is getting thanks to Harlem Shake. Unfortunately, I don’t think it sets the best example for the genre and perhaps one of Baauer’s other tracks would have been better. I feel like since Harlem Shake took off, a lot more of these shitty generic laser trap tracks have been popping up.
• Define what making it would be too you?
Hahaha, if I ever did ‘make it’ I don’t think I would realise it. It would be nice to make a living off music though…
• Thanks for the exclusive :)
No problem :) Can I give some shoutouts?
• Awesome! For sure.
Yay! I’d like to give a shoutout to /r/trap, gLAdiator (we’re even now!), the whole Forward Thinking Sounds crew, and all the friends that I don’t have!
Who would of guessed that a random add on last.fm would lead me to be in contact with and further more releasing a track by Splash Club 7! Splash is a producer who likes to keep his real identity secret. For all i know he lives somewhere in the pacific ocean where he composes some of the coolest tunes out. Dipping between the classifications of Vaporwave and Seapunk, he has made a name for himself in his given genres. Enough reason to showcase him on the blog. Check out the interview and the exclusive track below :)
•Define Seapunk for us?
This is quite a tricky question, because I wasn’t a part of the original Seapunk movement and everyone seems to have varying opinions about Seapunk. Basically it started as an internet-born joke that started from a tweet by LIL INTERNET which caught on and gained an audience, and I guess the music and art style has changed and adapted as different people have made Seapunk inspired art and music. That’s why I love it so much, because the sound varies from artist to artist.
•When do you feel a track is fully complete?
When I feel that I can’t add anything more to the song, and when I’m happy with how it sounds. I’ll listen to it multiple times and upload it (if I still like how it sounds), although I wish I had spent more time on most of my earlier tracks, which I kinda rushed a bit. I’m releasing my next EP with Crystal Magic Records so I’ve had a lot more time to pick up on things (because it won’t be released for about a month).
•Thoughts on the electronic scene in New Zealand?
I really like the New Zealand artists that I‘ve discovered from soundcloud and bandcamp. Three of the songs in the Seapunk compilation were made by New Zealand artists ($noregazZzm, Fauxhound and ༺kariiiba༻) and I’ve discovered many great electronic artists from New Zealanders since then too. I would like to see more NZ electronic artists get some attention because there’s some great stuff out there, and I think the internet really helps these artists attract a larger audience.
• You released “Now that’s what i call Seapunk” right? Tell us what you were fundraising for?
At first it was supposed to be a free compilation to create a starting point for people that want to listen to Seapunk music but don’t know where to start, it was also a good way of promoting the seapunk artists and getting a wider audience. Because Bandcamp only allows 200 free downloads per month (and it automatically adds a price to the album when this limit is reached), I decided to donate any money payed to help save the ocean (because seapunk is all about the ocean and it’s a good cause). The money went to the Dolphin sector of seashepherd.org
• Does the original club 7 have any influence on you other then the name?
Not really, other than being positive, happy and kind of cheesy.
• Where would your music be without the internet you think?
I would be my only listener, in fact the whole seapunk style in my music wouldn’t exist without the internet and I wouldn’t have the majority of my sound samples either. Without the internet, Splash Club 7 wouldn’t exist. I feel so lucky that I have an internet connection.
•Thanks for this artists exclusive :)
Thank you for including me, this is the first blog Q&A I’ve ever done :)
Heres the first in the series of mixes featuring all New Zealand producers. These mixes plan to showcase the wide variety we have to offer within our small scene, and connect it through half an hour of non stop audio! I plan to air each mix on WonkPanthers RDU 98.5FM before releasing the with full track list on our sound cloud.
• Christoph El Truento - Mountains
• Totems - Overcast (feat. Foxtrot)
• Cold Eyes - September: We’re Not (Remix)
• Doprah - Spirits
• Pip John - Oh Cam
• Cold Eyes - We’re Not (Yvnalesca Remix)
• Race Banyon - Swords
• Amin Payne - Pharoah Rays
• Skymning - 3 in the Morning (ft. Athuzela Brown)
• Kakapo - Broken Emotion
• Race Banyon - Clique
• Eske - Poems of fire
• Pip John - Farewell
Only a few weeks ago my ears were touched by the immersive landscapes of Enjoy., a 19 year old producer from England now residing in Wellington. Impressed from the first listen i was quick to ask for an artist profile. With a swift reply and a short discussion we planned on releasing his first orginal track, Let Her Know featuring Naked Bird (USA) as a Oddplastics exclusive. A short interview was exchanged over Facebook and this is the result. Enjoy!
• How did the non-physical contact between you and naked bird affect your composition?
I think the fact that we have never physically met made it somewhat harder to get the sound i wanted. But both Selena and Jeik had the same inspirations as i, so after Skype sessions and redoing the song multiple times i am incredibly pleased with the end result, and hope that one day i will meet both of them in person.
• Are there any certain rituals you go through before you are ready to create?
Normally i can’t set out days for which i produce, i am a perfectionist when it comes to my music so i wait until i have an idea not force one. Normally these ideas for my songs come while i’m listening to music or just playing around on the piano. I normally always produce in the early hours of the morning it seems to be the best time since there is no other distractions.
• Do you think your ethereal sound relates to you environment? Do you think you could create the same music if you didn’t live in New Zealand?
Yes and no, the sound i try contains a lot of natures sounds, or sounds that i have created hitting a rock against another rock or scraping wood against something. The waves, rain or wind lay the foundations of my songs. I can definitely say this is influenced by environment I live in. If i still lived in England then the sound i create would be very different i think.
• Are there any aspects outside of other artists music that you take inspiration from?
Like i mentioned in the previous question nature is a really big inspiration, a lot of the sounds i record from nature i could never make in the studio or on my Macbook. It is just such pure atmospheres, so perfect and serene. Also anything Oliver Sim says or does. I would follow that man to the end of the world!
• I feel like Enjoy. could be either a comment or a command. How do you feel about that?
Haha, it’s funny you would ask this, I get asked this a lot. It is definitely not a command, if you don’t “enjoy” my music i can totally understand it’s not for everyone. So i’m not commanding you to enjoy it. Making this music is something that i enjoy, something that i love, if other people enjoy my music i feel humbled, i really do.It just symbolizes what my music means to me. Enjoyment! That is a lot of enjoy’s haha.
• What attracts you most to creating music?
It’s my life, it sounds really cheesy but it is. To me nothing else matters as much, it’s the community, the people and the incredible musicians that i get to meet and play with. More then anything it’s a way to express myself, to communicate deep and meaningful emotions.
• Thank you for being our first artist insight :)
Thank you so much for the opportunity i am humbled!