Talks Kanye West, Amy Winehouse, touring and how to not seek validation.
Creating new friends through his music
Raised in Birmingham, moved to London, and currently touring under is record deal with Interscope and Universal – Jacob Banks has built friendships all around the world. We sat down with Jacob Banks on his career so far. He expresses Kanye West as a massive inspiration, touring from L.A. to London, creating friends through his music and tips on starting out as a London artist.
And you’ve been touring around the world, New York, L.A. and the London. Where would you say your audiences are mainly from?
Right now, it’s really balanced between U.S and U.K, it’s pretty even but there are more people in the U.S though so like all the people that listen to eclectic music pretty much inside of London, Manchester, Birmingham. All other parts take their music from radio so we don’t get to get to those people they usually the last to come cos they listen to whatever the radio plays, so it’s kind of half and half.
And what genre would you put your music in?
Why would you say alternative?
Because that’s what I think I it is? It doesn’t live in one particular space, so like the song might sound soulful but when we hit the chorus it’ll be… it’ll have electronic sounds, I try to never exist in just one genre. So for me, music is about bringing people together, I want to be able to get a 60-year-old white guy in a room and a 16-year-old black guy in a room and they can find common ground, I want to reach out to both sides at once.
Who would be your dream musical collaboration?
I’d love to do a duet with Amy Winehouse.
Who would you currently collaborate with alive?
Urm, Kanye West.
Why Kanye West?
Urm massive inspiration for me, a massive part of my childhood and I love what he does, even if you hate him or love him he’s forcing you to have an opinion, like he’s always pushing a new direction, or he’s trying something new I think that expands our taste level so that’s a great thing to achieve.
Have you ever performed and had a special moment, in a specific country?
Yeah, that has happened when performing in New Orleans, I love performing there as we have played there a couple times in a place called the Gasa Gasa club. It’s really small as it holds about a hundred people, but every time I go there is a group of nurses, who usually study there, and every time I play they always come out and I just have a good time with them. We have become homies! I think this is because when I started making music it was to impress my friends and I feel like now a lot of friendship groups are unified by this taste. So for me, I believe anyone who listens to my stuff are people that I can possibly be friends with. For example, I meet these people on the road and we just become really good friends. Simply because we already have something in common, usually, it takes people weeks to find that common grounds but I already know off the bat that you f*ck with me.
Would you say your music describes your personality?
Yeah, definitely! My music is what I believe in, so everything that I’d say in real life is what you’d hear. I’m not one for gauging my stuff, so yeah because of that reason you already kind of like me, that’s why you’re here.
And is there one sentence that describes your music?
It’s my version of the truth.
How would you describe your everyday style?
My style… is comfortable.
I guess comfort comes with your music as well right?
Yeah yeah, I’ve never been too keen on fashion but I love the style because when I see someone at a gig you’re giving out so much information about yourself because it’s you when nobody is looking. So I would say my style is comfortable.
Yeah, I see that, but you’re really good at putting things together and colours. If we went into your wardrobe what would we find?
I’m into the ‘making simple stuff look cool’, I think this is from like Topman and this is like H&M, I’m into classier stuff on the side so it’s kind of a mix of 2. I’m into Dior a lot right now and Armani, but on the flip side like I’d gladly get a £5 t-shirt from Primark. So it’s always 2 extremes, it just depends on what I’m doing. I think that often the clothes don’t matter, you’re as expensive as you feel.
Is there an artist that inspires you in terms of style?
Style wise I like A$AP Rocky’s style actually, also Tyler, The Creator, because yet again, it’s comfy and it’s just him.
What advice would you give to London artists who are starting out, with UK music is becoming more recognised around the world, what tips would you give someone in 2017 starting up, for those who want to get in the game and share their music?
“My advice would be, don’t seek validation as the industry will come, they’re always the last to the party, make music for yourself, make music that you would listen to. The simple law is that there’s somebody for everybody, as long as you like it, someone or, a group of people will fuck with you, someone will. so just make sure you like it, put it out, and I promise you it will come back. The universe is kind, it’ll come, but you have to wholeheartedly believe in it. There are songs that I put out 3 years ago that I look back now on and think they are trash, but at that point, I was proud of them and that’s what got me where I am today, its just ride with what you believe in man, every time, and even as an aspect of life, anything you love, ride for it. So yeah, just make what you love and people will come.”
– JACOB BANKS