Future Sounds: What Makes Banks So Special? + FS Vol. 4
Unlike your cinnamon apple, Future Sounds is back for good! After taking some time off to travel and discover a lot of new music, I am back to share some of my findings. The rise of the future r&b genre (sometimes referred to as r&bass or the sad boys soundtrack) has been pretty exciting to watch. Within the past six months, I’ve seen sets and performances by Lakim, Shlohmo, Sevnth Wonder, Esta, The Whooligan, GoldLink, Sango, Boy/Friend, and more. This past week I was lucky enough to catch Banks on her Sold Out “Goddess” tour stop in Boston (shout out to the plug).
Now as I have previously stated in an earlier post, I wasn’t always sold on Banks and if she was actually that good or if it was mostly hype. My opinion of her changed when I saw her perfect performance of “Brain” (video has been taken down since) on Late Night with Seth Myers about a month ago. I then realized she does have the star power that everybody seems to be yearning for. So I started thinking about what exactly makes her so special.
From the beginning, Banks has always had a darker/gloomier take on pop. She found a way to tap into the sad boy culture of sound cloud and really created her own lane within it. Working with artists like Lil Silva (pictured above) early on really helped her find her voice and sound. Taking those lessons and and vision with her into other studios, it was easy for her to croon over a beat from Shlohmo or Sohn. She has a great ear for production and she knows what she sounds good over. The affinity for other producers to remix her tracks has helped out a lot as well (cc. Snakehips & Kaytranada).
Now being kind of underground, Banks hasn’t really done a ton of press. Even when researching for this article, I couldn’t find much video of her talking and I believe that’s on purpose. Her videos are all very sensual and dark. But in contrast, she seems to be this very humble and quiet girl in real life. Now whether that’s all an act or thats really her, her fans love it. When I attended her show this week (which I will speak more on in the next point), she came off as a genuine performer. Pausing at times to cry during a song which she claims was the first she ever wrote and was the most painful to her. In this interview at Coachella this year, she reaffirmed my belief in her calm and cool demeanor but hopefully celebrity life doesn’t ruin her. I mean, she is an LA girl after all.
3. Stage Presence
I was lucky enough to get a ticket to her sold out show in Boston this week and it was one of the best come-ups of this year. I almost didn’t make it due to a bad allergic reaction but I’m really glad I went. First of all, the band Movement that is opening for her is incredible. I was in sad boy heaven. When Banks finally took the stage to a packed room with just a drummer and a pianist/guitarist, everything went to the next level. I was unsure how she would actually perform since a lot of her songs are really slow but she had that Diddy Bop while she performed and she made people experience songs inn a new way. As she took the stage with a long black shawl, I was expecting to cry at some point but then she threw that on the floor and revealed the lace top. That had me like. Anyway, her performance helped girls realize they didn’t only have to listen to her songs in bed after they just watched a netflix marathon and think about their ex. They could listen to it out in public and bob their heads to the beat like normal happy people. Banks hits the stage like a seasoned performer. After touring with the Weeknd, this would be her second full tour and her first headlining. Stage presence is tough to fake. I’m so glad she doesn’t have to.
4. Stayed True To Her Sound
Finally, the best part about Banks to me is that she stayed true to her sound that she started with. It would have been easy for her to go a super top 40 pop route (not saying no names) and put DJ Mustard on her beat hoe (again keeping my mouth shut). But with her vocal range and talent, she knew she could do something different. Something better. A lot of the songs she’s first released like “Warm Water”, “Waiting Game”, and “Brain” made it on to her debut album. These were all fan favorites that she couldn’t keep off. Banks has been writing music for over ten years but this is her first album and it’s a great body of work. Hopefully she continues to grow as an artist and more of the mainstream can appreciate her style of music.
Check out her debut album “Goddess” on iTunes and check her out on soundcloud for more info.
BONUS: I have compiled a playlist of 20 of my favorite jams from this week. Enjoy