After taking a little hiatus to find herself again, BANKS has returned with a bold and confident new sound. Her third studio album appropriately titled ‘III’ hears her speaking her truth and experimenting with the various different sides of her personality. From heartbreak to embracing this new sassy confidence, the album becomes a rollercoaster of emotions for the listener. it’s by far her most confident body of work yet and stands strong next to her previous two records.
With ‘III’ out now, I recently spoke to BANKS about what has attributed to her change in musical direction, the growth she’s had between her debut album ‘Goddess’ and ‘III’ and dive into the creative process of one of the albums standout moments, ‘Stroke’. Check it out HERE;
TB: Your new album ‘III’ is sonically your most confident yet. What do you think has attributed to your change in sonical direction and your craving to go towards a bigger electronic and fulfilling sound?
B: Firstly I gave myself a little bit of time off which I was really desperately needing. I just needed to recharge and to take account of where we were at, what I even liked and what I was even feeling anymore.
So that took a little time to reclaim my own space. I think because I gave myself that time I was able to feel grounded, calm and direct with what I wanted to do and everything just happened naturally. I didn’t even give myself a deadline or anything. I was just playing around and I had so many songs and ideas that at the end I knew exactly what I wanted.
TB: Your debut album had some stripped back ballads which this album focuses on less with a growth in the production. Would you say you’ve just found a way to showcase vulnerability in a different way now?
B: This album still has some very stripped back moments like ‘What About Love’, ‘Made Of Water’ and ‘Sawzall’ but I think there’s just a new bed of sounds that I am really interested in.
I’m just in a different place so I guess they come out differently. I feel a lot softer and less guarded than I ever did before. It’s kinda cool and interesting that you find it less stripped back than it was before because you would think that being less guarded and softer would in fact make it more stripped back. But I have grown as an artist and as a woman and you write different songs and you are inspired by different things as you’re in a different place. I feel like each song on this album has a different sensibility and a new freshness to it.
TB: You’ve always found a beautiful and honest way to capture vulnerability. So reflecting on the journey of ‘III’ what is the records most vulnerable moment for you as a songwriter?
B: Literally every single song *laughs*. I really just put everything into it when I make music. It’s from the depths of my being. I don’t hold back.
Whether it’s a song about hurting or some sassy song like ‘Alaska’ or the heartbreaking feeling of ‘Made Of Water’, I put my all into it.
I feel like by making art you are so vulnerable. Any decision you make is a decision you have to stand by which is what I do. It’s putting yourself out there. I think I’m just as vulnerable in every song whether I’m feeling hard or soft.
TB: This album has a lot of bold moments like ‘Godless’, ‘Hawaiian Mazes’ and ‘Alaska’. But ‘Stroke’ really stands out to me from the first listen with the lyric “you want me to stroke your ego”. So I just wanted to dive into this song for a moment and find out about the creative process of this track in particular if that’s okay?
B: Yeah of course! I love that you love that song! ‘Stroke’ actually started out on an acoustic guitar and it was a really beautiful song all stripped back. But it was all about being in a relationship with a narcissist and those types of relationships are draining because they are so toxic but it can also kinda be addictive and sexy at the same time. So it can feel like you’re being buried in it.
I knew that I wanted the song to have a lot of distortion on it without affecting the whole production of it. But I like singing about dark shit in the most ironic way. At the end of it there is a funk vibe to the bridge so it’s kinda like singing about this dark subject matter in this powerful ‘I know what it is and I see what it is’ way. I’m not naive with this narcissist. I know you’re one and I see what you’re doing.
TB: Reflecting back on the creative journey behind ‘Goddess’ and the growth of your artistry leading into ‘III’, what is the biggest thing you’ve learnt about yourself as an artist?
B: I’ve learnt so much and I’ve grown a lot. But in general I’ve learnt to trust your own intuition and trust your own decisions and to ask yourself what you think first before you ask anyone else.
Really my opinion is the only one that really matters about my music. In this industry you get so many opinions and it can be really overwhelming especially if you’re a sensitive person. I think in general the less fucks you give and the more you just trust yourself, the better. I think I’m further along on that journey than I was with ‘Goddess’.
TB: Your live show has been growing over the years into this very bold and theatrical experience. So how are you wanting to uplift the live show this time around with this new record?
B: Oh man, we’ve been rehearsing the new music non-stop and I’m so excited. I don’t know where the live show will end up visually as of yet but I know it will be elevated.
TB: Your last tour saw you incorporating dancers and costumes, is this something you will be doing again for this record?
B: Definitely! I love the way how I’ve embodied and incorporated movement into my show feel so good. Once I discovered it I just fell in love with it so I want to push it as far as it can go.
The best shows I think are the ones where you just go all out in every direction. There can be really soft moments where you’re just standing at the microphone and you’re really in it and then there are moments where you go all out with your dancers. I think it’s going to be dynamic for sure.
‘TB: Fuck With Myself’ is such an empowering anthem and it really has created such a euphoric moment during your live show. So what is running through your head when you play that song live?
B: Oh my god, I fucking love playing that song *laughs*. Honestly, I just love it. There is nothing in particular running through my head, I just have the best time performing it. it’s so fun and I can tell that other people love screaming that they fuck with themselves too *laughs*.
TB: Now I have to ask, can we expect you to come back to Australia sometime soon?
B: Yes! There is definitely some plans to come soon which I can’t reveal just yet but I can’t wait.
‘III’ is out now. You can purchase a SIGNED copy of it from Sanity HERE; https://www.sanity.com.au/products/2427756/III__SIGNED_COPY