Hardly short of talent, Jacob Banks defies next to all boundaries.
His sombre, and husky style of chilled R&B is a blissful creation, virtually impossible to dislike. Having previously collaborated with acclaimed acts such as Wretch 32, Chase and Status, Seeb and more, Banks has secured himself a steady spotlight within the industry.
With a comfortable belt of fame to his name, the Nigerian born singer-songwriter has stormed his way to the top.
Earlier this week Clash caught up with Jacob Banks to speak about the new album 'Village' and his passionate love for all kinds of music.
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You recently dropped your latest track ‘Be Good To Me’ - how was the recording process of this?
It was pretty straight forward, but it did take me about two years. I never normally take that long to do a track, but I was just always distracted with other projects. I found that I didn’t get enough time. When I had the song done, I text Seinabo Sey, to work on the stuff for her album. After doing that, I sent her my song in the hopes that she would jump on and she loved it and so featured in it.
What significance does the music video have?
For me, the video is kind of whatever you want it to be. I don’t believe in force-feeding ideas, although sometimes you have to. I feel like songs live longer when people have their own opinions. I just wanted to place a couple of situations some people have and let people draw their own conclusions. Whatever conclusion you draw, means you’re aware of the problem.
‘Be Good To Me,’ has had an extremely positive response, how did you feel about that?
I dunno, I just kept on working man! All these songs I’ve made so far in the past, once they’ve gone out, they’re no longer my songs, they’re no longer my children, they belong to everyone. For me, it’s, ‘how do we move on?’ ‘What stories are there left to tell? ‘I try to not dwell on these moments, although I am grateful, I have to keep moving on, otherwise I’ll get distracted.
What would you say your new album 'Village' entails?
I think it embodies the human experience, what it means to be human and so many things. My album celebrates all the weird parts and wonderful parts of us.
How has your journey been working with Interscope records?
It’s been so pleasant, I have nothing bad to say about them, they are family. It sounds commercial but I’ve really managed to find a bunch of friends.
Who has been your absolute saviour throughout working towards this album?
My manager, Brandon, he’s kept me in check, he’s kept me wondering. Asking me questions and pushing for more. He’s been my backbone, through all of it.
What word would you use to describe the recording process of this album?
Discovery; I love to learn what scares me, and how to deal with it. I’ve learnt a lot about myself throughout the making of this album.
Do you think 'Village' shows a good variation to your past work, such as 'The Paradox', 'The Monologue' and 'The Boy Who Cried Freedom'?
Very much so, this one is a lot braver.
Have any particular real-life experiences drawn an influence to this album?
I think everything, everything I’ve pulled are real-life situations, something that I’ve experienced, they’ve all been real to me.
Born in Nigeria, would you say you’ve picked up certain music techniques and in cooperate them in 'Village'?
Yeah, definitely, I think a lot of my rhythmic side comes from that, and subject matter. We are really proud people, and we represent power. So, when I choose what to talk about, I always think, ‘what would mum think about this?’
Yeah, and what would you say the crossover has been like for you between Nigerian and UK music culture?
I feel like African music has a certain influence in pop music. They’re both coexisting and it’s wonderful to see.
You seem to like having an eclectic range in music - why so?
I think it just teaches you, I think I’m a student. The more I listen to, the more I have to tap into when I’m creating. By listening to so many things, I collect a lot of references, so many boundaries to be pushed because of the eclectic range I’ve grown up listening to.
What did it mean to you being able to play at Afropunk festival this year?
It was amazing for me to play that festival, because I feel that festival is important. To see everyone, feel like they have a home to go to, I feel like everyone needs a space to live in. Afropunk creates a space for people, but for Black people especially. I feel like Black in the space of Afropunk is not just the colour of your skin, Black is the colour of the oppressed and I think Afropunk is a great space for people to feel free to be whoever they want without the world coming down on them.
Lastly, what few words would you say to your fans in waiting for 'Village'?
Stay alive, stay hydrated... and I hope you enjoy it and I hope it keeps you company.
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'Village' will be released on November 2nd.
Words: Laviea Thomas
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