Bringing a revised live show to the Laneway Festival, Banoffee put on a spectacle for audiences featuring a live band and dancers. The new lineup complemented her already well-established stage presence and gave the audience a chance to hear (and view) new materials off her new Do I Make You Nervous EP Despite an untimely bout of illness, her afternoon set proved to be a highlight. We managed to catch Banoffee for a chat about recent projects and what’s to come next.
Besides getting unwell, has the tour been fun?
Yeah its been really fun. I actually wasn’t sick for all the shows, apart from my home city – which is the worst one to get sick for. But I guess people here get to see me more often so its not the worst.
Have many of your friends come down?
A couple who I could score passes for but it was mostly just people to see Banoffee which is really nice. It’s a bit shit when you play a gig and its only your friends and you’re like, “Ah… it’s a sympathy audience.”
And the new EP has had a good response at the shows?
I think so. I mean it’s pretty different to the last one, so I think what’s cool is that it’s pulled in a new group of people, which is always the aim when you’re playing music – to reach new audiences. So it seems to be going alright.
So you’re ready for the next one?
Yeah pretty much!
I heard that when you took on this EP you went overseas, worked with new people and tried new things, and you said that was a risk for you. Have those risks now become how you would approach the next EP?
Totally, yeah! Exactly. Last time it felt so strange to get into a studio with strangers and find that balance of communicating your own ideas but also being open to theirs. Just that really hard situation where you want authorship over your music and to prove that I can do this on my own – but at the same time, two heads are better than one, and people will come up with some really cool stuff. So this upcoming EP, yeah, I’m looking to collaborate.
I also learnt a lot about production, and I feel more confident about doing more on my own. The most important thing with that now is that I feel more confident in communicating ideas, instead of maybe not having the authority to communicate with who I’m working with.
You can talk the language now.
Yeah, I can say “this is how I want it”, and don’t feel ashamed about asking for what I want. I’m a lot more confident in being my own boss, which is cool.
Is that development in your production skills going to shape your sound a bit more in this next project?
I think so, yeah. I still rely on vocals a lot, but yeah. Like ‘Oceans’, a track on the last EP, is an example of an area that I’ve been fiddling with a bit. I’m trying hard to not sound too pop or radio friendly. But I think the more I worry about it being radio friendly the less it might be, so I won’t be happy with the music I make anyway. So I’m ready to just go in and go “there’re no rules now!” I think second records are often bridging the gap between the first and the third.
Because when you release your first, people form a preconceived notion of how you sound? And then you go on to try and break that. Do you feel the pressure to maybe break that again?
Exactly! Yeah, I do feel that pressure. It’s interesting, I was having a conversation with another artists here, QT, and she was speaking on this exact sort of dilemma, but in terms of personality and beliefs. I think humans are really attached to certainty and need to know what’s happening next. We’re really attached to everything in life being linear, so you make a decision and you stick to it and then the decision you make after that is based on whatever you’ve done. It’s like if you stayed in a school from grade one to year twelve – everyone who’s been there from year one still sees you as that kid. I don’t want my music to be linear. So some skills I’ve learnt I might chuck, and go “I liked it when I was an amateur producer using GarageBand” – although it’s still my favorite program to use.
I hope this record comes from completely where I’m at now, and nothing to do with the last EP or the one before. Nothing linear. This is what I’m doing now as of now.
I wanted to talk to you about your collaboration with Pageant as well. For those who don’t know, how did this come about?
That came about a long time ago. Maybe two years ago. I’ve always been interested in fashion, and I’ve always wanted Banoffee to be multi-faceted and its own little world. Its own character and nothing to do with Martha, just its own thing. Part of my hope for it was that it would have a visual component; I work a lot with video and other things. So I was always looking for things that inspired me onstage, and Pageant approached me and were constantly lending me clothes, so I thought “I really want to make clothes”. I don’t know how to do that, so I approached them and they said “lets do it”.
It just made sense. What did you draw upon from ‘Banoffee’ to turn into wearable art? How do those translate?
We’ve been drawing from a lot of the motifs in the tracks. A lot of the emotion that has been put into the clothing is emotion that has been taken from a track and put in there.
It was hard at the start, like “how do we do this?” But my music is really a representation of all things I’ve experienced, so making clothing that I enjoy is always reflected in the tracks. A lot of the clothes are sort of aimed to quite gender neutral. I don’t identify too much with either gender, I like to just be able to do whatever I want and not tie myself down about the things our parents were taught about being a human. I think that comes through in the clothing, because I like to jump around a lot – it’s very practical. But it’s also just super fun and colourful, with lots of unexpected colour combinations. Really loud. A lot of the clothes were based on that song ‘I’m Not Sorry‘ from my last EP, and not apologising for wearing something ridiculous.
And does this project go back to your attitude of pushing things further and trying new things with each step along the way?
Yeah, I think it comes with the urge to completely defy embarrassment. It’s just about doing what you want and not being embarrassed about it. That’s when things don’t work, when you’re doing something and you feel ashamed. So the clothing line is about that.
And when will it be out?
Actually, in about a month, we’re premiering it at BAMF, so I.D is premiering it on their runway and it’ll be available as soon as the runway finishes online. I think it’s the 10th or 12th of March.
Thanks Martha, best of luck!