INTERVIEW: The creative direction and stellar music of BAYNK
Amongst the many musical talents from our neighbour New Zealand is BAYNK, whose refreshing electronic talents have already gotten heads turning. From live visuals to his artwork and music videos, BAYNK is an extremely hands-on musician – and his newest offering, Someone’s EP II, is star-studded with heavenly collaborations for your listening pleasure.
Of course, I had to get in touch to learn more about the man himself. Sadly, BAYNK will not be making a stopover in Perth on his upcoming Asia Pacific tour – but if you find yourself in the following cities, you won’t regret heading along to one of his shows!
BAYNK ASIA PACIFIC TOUR
Jul 4 // Melbourne, AUS @ Howler
Jul 5 // Brisbane, AUS @ The Brightside
Jul 6 // Sydney, AUS @ The Lansdowne
Jul 10 // Auckland, NZ @ Powerstation
Jul 11 // Wellington, NZ @ Meow
Jul 12 // Christchurch, NZ @ The Foundry
Jul 13 // Dunedin, NZ @ Union Hall
*BAYNK will be donating $1 from every ticket sold to the Christchurch Mayoral Fund – Our People, Our City, to go to the victims and families impacted by the tragic Christchurch shootings on March 15.
First off, there’s less than a month to go before you head on your Asia Pacific tour! What songs are you most enthused to play on tour?
Hi, thanks for having me! Am most enthusiastic to play anything on EP II but ‘go with u’ and ‘Simmer’ spring to mind first. They’re both songs that I can sing and both translate well live.
On a side note, I just want to mention how lovely it is that you’re donating part of the ticket proceeds to Christchurch Mayoral Fund to support those affected by the March 15 terror attack.
I’m more than happy to. Christchurch was a big part of my life and it’s only fair that I should try to give back some portion of what it gave to me.
You’ve just released Someone's EP II following your debut only two years ago. What are you most proud of to date?
I am proud of them both equally. They’re reflective of my life and musical prowess at the times that they were made. Having said that, I do think EP II is a step up sonically.
Your newly released music video for ‘go with u’ was co-conceived by yourself and directed Spencer Graves, with choreography conducted by Ian Eastwood. How long did it take to film and learn those moves?
The choreography took 5 sessions over 5 days to be thought up by Ian and then about 10 to 15 hours all up to learn by myself I think. The shoot for the music video was planned to be 2 days long but the cube fell off the production truck on the 1st day and snapped in half. We had to cancel the whole first day of shooting which felt like a total nightmare at the time but it forced us to simplify the concept, remove some of the locations and focus on the most key elements, which made for a more well thought out and less hectic visual.
I remember when I was linked your track ‘Water’ for the first time, and was instantly captivated with its different aural layers. Would you say experimentalism is something you aim for in your sound?
Always. If it’s not different then to me it’s not exciting. I wrote this one with a friend, DJ Stanfill, and we were experimenting with this synth that randomised the pitched of every note you played on it. It was a guessing game in terms of the sound you’d get out of it. We recorded it for a long time and then filtered out the stuff that was unlistenable to get something that just sounded thick and full but also strange.
Was it a natural choice to work alongside the soothing vocals of Glades, Martin Luke Brown and the others involved in your EP?
It’s always a natural choice for me. When you first start doing sessions you don’t really have a lot of power over who you get put in a room with but the more time progresses you begin to find out what works and what doesn’t. It’s a gut instinct that’s generally on the button.
What was the moment that made you fall in love with producing?
A band I was in prior to this project won a competition to get an original song of ours professionally mixed and when we got the mix back I was disappointed in how it sounded. I did the research to see how to do it myself and found Ableton somewhere. I think as soon as I had spent about an hour in the software I was hooked. I produced the song way beyond what we could play live but I loved the sound of it and that was all that mattered to me.
I’m loving the intimate feel and pastels that make up your ethereal artwork design. What drives your art direction and who/what do we have to thank?
To me that’s what the music calls for. The latest work is from a Korean photographer Kwon Hea Lin (@linnnn.kr) whose work I found on Instagram. A lot of the normal photography I have done is by a good friend of mine Eric Kelly (@eric_kelly). Both of them are super talented. Most of the art direction and talent is curated by myself and Spencer Graves (@nightwindow) whom I work with on most of my projects and lives just down the street from me which is very convenient.
What was it like for you to be playing at Coachella?
It was fantastic but the heat was almost unbearable (40°C / 104°F). I can’t remember a lot of it because I was so faint but I heard that it was decent haha.
I can’t stop playing ‘Off Limits’ every time I hijack the AUX cord. As it resounds, ‘nothing’s off limits’. Keeping true to the message, what would you say are you striving for right now?
Good to hear! Ahh interesting question. It changes like most everything else does, but I think purpose would be the pinnacle. It’s hard to pin down.
You seem to be playing frequent shows in the US – and soon you’ll be playing at Lollapalooza in Chicago, HARD in Southern California and Life Is Beautiful in Las Vegas – absolutely huge feats. Is there a difference you’ve noticed in the ambient/electronic scene and its reception over there?
From what I’ve seen it’s always been strong. I haven’t noticed a large difference over the years I’ve been here. The thing that’s most prevalent is the gap between how well received it is here compared to Europe and NZ/AUS. So many people here just love electronic music, it really makes the shows so much more enjoyable just seeing the obvious and apparent love for the genre.
That being said, we hope to see you playing in Perth sometime soon! It would be amazing to witness your music and light show live.
I would love to play in Perth, I’ve heard such good things about it but have never been! One day.