Q&A | Banoffee
Banoffee is the Electro-pop artist and producer who’s textured vocals explore the ends of love, lust, and everything in-between. Determined to develop her own identity through music, her big-picture mindset carried her on the journey from the Melbourne suburbs to college, fashion, music, and up next: her first full-length album releasing in 2020 . When she’s not in the studio, you can catch her touring with the likes of Empress Of, Charli XCX and Taylor Swift, or even collaborating with brands like Adidas and Puma.
Banoffee’s creative current has brought her to LA, where we got to discuss everything from her Aussie beginnings to Hollywood happenings, and how she’s cultivated her unapologetic style along the way.
Id like to start by talking about your name a bit, if you don't mind. What inspired the change from Martha to Banoffee?
The name doesn't have much significance apart from the fact that I see my personal name as my naked body. Like I’m not going around showing my pussy to every stranger on the street, you know? And I feel like when you begin making music, well my experience in making art as a whole is that Im bringing together parts of myself that I created along the way in life instead of this identity that was given to me when I was born. It’s a little bit of self protection and also a way of getting to choose what my identity is, which is really important. So yeah, it’s really my way of putting myself together with parts that I chose instead of what’s been imposed onto me.
If you could describe your music in terms of colors, what would they be?
I think if I had to chose colors it would be a really confusing mess, it would look like spew [laughs] Because so many of the songs that I've done have gone in so many different directions, genre wise, choosing a color palette would be really difficult. If I were to think of my music in terms of textures though, it would be easier to describe. I imagine something like an octopus, lumpy and slimy, many legs, knows how to protect itself.
That makes sense in regards to the style of your music, many understand it to be full of those sorts of textural, or, sonic juxtapositions between beat and lyrics or vice versa. Would you agree?
Yeah I love doing that, tricking people into thinking I'm doing one thing and then once they read the lyrics they realize I'm singing about something completely different or vice versa. Its a fun way to open people up without them realizing it. They're like dancing and singing along and then they're like woah this is really deep.
Did you always imagine yourself as a music artist?
Ive always wanted to play music. I was sort of invested in more social welfare and human rights law and things like that at one point, and I think later on in life that might be something I involve myself in. For now I think music for me is a way of being involved in that that’s a bit more passive. The whole culture is very powerful.
Were things like social welfare and human rights law things you studied in school or on your own?
At the university I studied Indigenous Studies and Political science in Melbourne. Those were two of my main interests. I was going to go further with it but I found myself hitting walls and asking myself where I was going with those jobs as a creative.
And you mentioned living in Melbourne for some time and now you're here in la, when did that change come about?I made that change about two years ago. I just didn't want to be home. I mean especially in Melbourne, it’s really small. You grow up and everyone knows you in the city. Everyone has opinions of who you are and they know a lot about you, so it feels really hard to make personal changes without that external judgement. Even if its a positive judgement it’s still something thats tears you. So I really wanted to move and take on what I was saying about Banoffee being this new identity all about thing give created for myself, and I think moving really helped with that.
Do you see yourself ever moving back to Melbourne?
I do… It’s my home and it gets a bit weird having two home city’s because I'm constantly homesick. When I'm in Australia I'm missing la and when I'm in la I'm missing Australia. But I've got a very close family, two sisters, a niece and a nephew, two brothers, those are the things that I miss.
Speaking of being homesick, not too long after moving to la you went on tour with Taylor Swift and Charli XCX, right; how was that experience, were you super homesick then too?
That was weird as fuck. [laughs] Just being apart of these worlds that you tell yourself aren’t real. You know when you see Taylor Swift on the TV she's just this fictional character to us all. It was just really cool to be there just observing women at their prime, and realizing that these people don't really sleep to do the work they do. To be a student learning that was really cool, because everyone there was at the top of their game.
To go back to your different interests between academic and creative pursuits, I wanted to hear a bit about your interest in fashion and get some insight into your relationship with Skodia.
Yeah, I love Skodia! Skodia actually started in Australia but now Jess who runs Skodia lives here in America. We actually met here when she contacted me about some collaborations i’d done in Australia. I’ve always been really passionate about Fashion and Designing and making products to go with my music. And so she contacted me about doing a collection together, and that was the first time that we started hanging out and we seemed to get along really well. It’s really nice to have a different avenue for expression. It’s nice to have something else I can give to people, it’s a way of sharing my product in a more tangible way.
Would you say these different outlets inform the type of music you make or are they separate?
Definitely. The Skodia collection I did last year had some velvet crops and this black lab coat that was inspired by my past single Muscle Memory; So it was about bringing in the aggressive but also intimate themes of my music together.
On the topic of intimacy, I noticed some themes of love and lust in your music, would you say those are also influential to your tracks?
Interestingly enough, aside from one track I can think of, all of my songs are pretty much metaphors. I think most of my songs are about addiction and a lot of them are also about abusive relationships. In order to make them palatable and a little more accessible I've used a love affair of a way of discussing that. Because any abusive relationship, whether its emotional or physical, it also brings up the conversation of people being addicted to their own abuse or, the interactions that come with that. I’ve often seen a lot of my addictions like lovers that make me feel safe, but at the end of the day they’re bad for me.
Can you tell me about any empathetic DM’s you've gotten or fan-mail that have really hit home?
I’ve had some pretty cool ones, I love that my song Ninja seems to be a lot of peoples coming out song. People have written to me about their coming out stories and how that song has helped them get through it and combat feelings of doubt and I think that’s really cool. I also got an email a while ago that blew my mind. It was from this woman in Saudi Arabia that said she has these secret meeting where they listen to my music, and I guess my music and most streaming must be banned because they do it in secret. That might have been one of my favorites.
Thats amazing! For my last question, its a classic: if you could work with any artist living or dead, who would they be?
I have four [laughs] Arthur Russel, amazing, lost him too soon. Micachu from England, I actually blushed the other day because my friend was asking me the same thing and she was like “oh yeah she's my friend” and that was crazy. Robyn, but I mean, who doesn't want to work with Robyn. Robyn for me does exactly the thing we were talking about where she makes these sort of punchy beats but then her lyrics are always really heartbreaking. So I feel like I try to sort of emulate her when I write my lyrics sometimes. And lastly would be Laurie Anderson, she doesn't make much music anymore but she's a huge inspiration for me.