We spoke with New Zealand artist BAYNK towards the end of last year. He talked us through the time he spent in the USA performing and recording, his favourite European cities, and some of his plans for 2017..
ITNOR: So you survived your American tour.. supporting Matoma, Cheat Codes & Steve Void - how was it, highlights?
BAYNK: Another guy Steve James was there for a little bit too. I played saxophone for Matoma once (his most famous songs all have saxes in them). I do that whenever I DJ too (just as an added element to the set). That was a highlight. Playing to any crowd that was sold out, both Urbana (Illinois) & Bolder (Colorado). Bolder was so amazing because it's a university town and all the kids are crazy. They opened the gates an hour too early so everyone was just waiting round for music before I started playing so everyone was super pumped up. Those were the fourth or fifth shows I've ever played, and I played thirty in a row - the whole thing was a pretty steep learning curve. There were some bad nights as well. The first night I played to two people, and my audio cut out and it was embarrassing. There's definitely ups and downs.
Crazy times with your single What You Need hitting #1 on hype machine. What was it like working with NÏKA, and Jason Bock on the video?
NÏKA's voice is incredible, and she's a great songwriter as well. She's a super shy, really sweet girl (also the younger sister of Caleb & Georgia of Broods). My friend met her at a party and then someone said she had a great voice. She sent me lots of instrumentals which had incredible demo's on them - we wrote the whole song in about five hours. Jason Bock is ridiculously creative and talented. I just featured in another music video he did for Alison Wonderland. He was over in LA, and we were able to meet Alison Wonderland, cameo in a video - so I'm just chilling in a random 7-Eleven in LA.
We're loving the deep-house vibes on 'Find You', is that a route you're intending to continue on & explore?
A lot of the stuff I've done sounds like it's a spin off of Deep House. But then I've got heaps more music that's not four-to-the-floor too (even though that's what I love - that slow, deep house-ish music). So yeah there's definitely more of that stuff coming & then plenty of crazy shit as well.
Piano, sax, what else do you play?!
Just guitar, I love playing it. The guitar features in some new songs coming out. I got forced to do it by my parents, I didn't like learning instruments when I was young. Cheers Mum & Dad [laughs].
Favourite places while you were backpacking in Europe?
Oh man, so many to choose from, I love Budapest so much, just because we went to this crazy festival called Sziget. I love festivals so much, I kind of feel like festivals are why I started doing dance music because I love going to festivals, like R&V was my favourite thing to do every year. I loved Prague - the music and the nightlife was great there. I was lucky enough to go sailing in Croatia - that was crazy, it's just like a paradise there. There's so many places that were amazing.. Berlin was incredible. All abandoned buildings, places you could go that no-ones heard of with deep techno music. It was cool. Another favourite event was probably Beerfest (Oktoberfest) in Munich - that's a must do.
Tell us about the Laneway experience, that's a pretty big debut performance!
I know! Yeah I was so stoked that they picked me, I was super surprised, words can't really explain it. Lots of my friends are up in Auckland so the whole thing was packed out, everyone was jumping, nothing went wrong. Especially since I'd never done a performance ever before, I didn't know how to DJ. I always said I wouldn't teach myself how to DJ until I could play my own music in front of people. I still can't DJ now very well.
What do you have in store in terms of live performances for 2017?
I'm doing WOMAD (festival) which will be fun. It'll be a different crowd, I don't think I've ever seen electronic artists really on the WOMAD lineup, it seems more like a World festival so that'll be interesting. Hopefully I'll find a new sort of audience there, that'd be great. I don't have any more shows booked in, we're trying to sort out some Australian stuff. I'm just trying to sort out all this music I wrote in LA. So I did my tour for five weeks, and then I spent five weeks in LA writing, where I was producing in sessions most days. I'm going to work through all of that stuff now and get an EP or album ready.
Was that process different to what you're used to (producing from your bedroom)?
I'd never done studio sessions before, the one I did with NÏKA was the first one I'd ever done. I'm not used to working with other people, I was super uncomfortable doing it at the start. but now it's fine after doing one a day for five weeks.
Favourite albums of 2016?
I love the majority of Flume's album. The Bon Iver album. I love Bon Iver so much, so that was amazing. These guys I found the other day called Terror Jr. Just listened to their EP called Bop City. It's the guy Felix Snow who did the production for Kiara's song Gold. Super cool, easy basslines, chopped vocals - it's so good. The start of Cashmere Cat's album is great. I don't notice albums as much as I used to (unless it's a big artist). Most small artists tend to do singles and I feel like I find lots of songs I love from people who are pretty new, so they're not really at an album stage yet.
I'm really pumped for Mura Masa's new album to drop!
Obviously your Soundcloud numbers are good, but your Spotify streams are through the roof!
I don't know how I didn't understand how any of those number stuff/streaming figures worked, until I got a manager. He's really helping me to understand how to market and how to push my music.
Any friends/collaborators or other musicians you wanna plug?
Go listen to Saski. She's great. I produced a song with her called 'Faking Bright' (she wrote it). She's got a really cool voice. I'd probably have to plug all the people I just toured with - Matoma, Cheat Codes & Steve Void. This guy just put out an EP, his names Hazy Eyes. He's great. His song called Goodbye is epic. I'm gonna plug Manila Killa cause he always plugs my shit, and he's big. So go listen to Manila Killa.
Any long-term goals or are you just taking it as it comes?
I just want to do music for the rest of my life. It's obviously my passion and I don't want to have to work another job. That was my first and only goal when I got out of university. I studied chemical engineering and all my friends were telling me about their jobs that they were getting, and I just said no way in hell am I going to work in a oil rig or for a milk factory or something. That's when I started making music. I made a song every day for about thirty days. That's what Kanye did! I still number my songs by days on my laptop. I think I'm up to day 106 but I've slacked off. So I'm gonna start doing it again.
PHOTO: Martin Litwicki