After spending seven years building her own sound and creative vision, Banoffee’s debut album delivers a clear and in-depth representation of who she is as a singer, songwriter and musician.
‘Look At Us Now Dad’ (out now) is more than what meets the eye upon a first listen. The PC-pop collection is not only bold and endearing sonically but it’s also vulnerable, honest and genre pushing.
From the sassy lead single ‘Tennis Fan’, to the raw honesty of ‘Permission’, to the euphoric release of the title track ‘Look At Us Now Dad’, she perfectly embodies all of the different sides of her artistry and personality in a cohesive blend.
Fresh off the back of a national tour with WAFIA and year long stint with Charli XCX on Taylor Swift’s ‘Reputation Stadium Tour’, Banoffee is ready to bring this album to life on the live stage.
With a headline show in Sydney happening THIS WEEK (Thursday Feb 27), she will then be playing some support slots and event appearances before taking to the stage for a coveted set at Splendour In The Grass.
I recently chatted to Banoffee about the juxtaposition of the bouncy production and vulnerable lyrics on this record, as well as why she originally scrapped her first album and started again, and how Charli XCX saved her during her worst live show moment. Check out the chat HERE;
TB: Your debut album ‘Look At Us Now Dad’ is a really experimental and fresh collection of tracks that hears you honing your sound. But you were meant to release an album a few years ago before you went on the road with Charli XCX for Taylor Swift’s ‘Reputation Tour’, and ended up scrapping the record to create this one. So what was it about this creative process of these new songs that made you realise there was a different direction you wanted to head in?
B: I had been working on the record for a long time and some of the songs started to feel like they weren’t as relevant to me personally anymore with the lyrical content and some of the production.
Going on the road and watching people work at such an elite level made me realise that there are more hours in the day than I am giving myself credit for, and that I could get it done. Like if Charli can get a record done while on the biggest tour in the world then why couldn’t I? She’s a lot busier than me.
I realised my capabilities were a lot more, so I dived in and wanted to make sure that this first record really represented who I am right now.
TB: Was there any song from the original record that were saved and found themselves reimagined on this one?
B: ‘Contagious’ is actually the oldest track on the record. I wrote that song when I was going through a break up in 2016 when I was still living in Australia. So it’s a few years old now but it’s kept it’s value for me, and I think the tracks has messages which are continually relevant for me in it. So I wanted to keep it.
TB: Isn’t it crazy how we think a song from four years ago is “old” now? Like with the New Music Friday trend pushing streaming and releases in a new direction we are constantly searching for something new now.
B: Yes, oh my god! It’s actually crazy how the landscape of how music is consumed is so different now. Like, ‘Contagious’ came out yesterday and I already feel like everyone knows about it, so it’s no longer a new track anymore.
I have to remind myself that it was only released YESTERDAY and play-listing hasn’t even happened yet. But the new cycle we’ve become accustomed to pushes those thoughts so quickly now.
TB: Upon a first listen of the record in full, ‘This Is For Me’ is a song that immediately stand out with it’s empowering message. So do you mind if you explain how this track came together creatively?
B: I was kind of joking around and writing myself these stupid little raps that sort of made fun of myself and the pathetic state I was in at the time. But what came out of it was this little diddy that I wrote for myself and when I sung the chorus I really vibed it and believed that it could actually be a track.
So I took it in and wrote that song as a ballad and sped it up by 20 bpms to make it what it is now. I found that the verses came really naturally once I really narrowed the chorus.
TB: Diving into a really experimental sonical palette, ‘One Night Stand’ is very bouncy and playful. How long did this sound take for you to really hone and finalise?
B: That song was a fucking nightmare *laughs*. It went through so many lives. I originally wrote it with Broderick Batts in LA and he used to sing the chorus with me. But then I decided that it was too hetero and it didn’t feel true to me to have a man and a woman singing it together .
So I scrapped his voice and then it became a full RNB song for a long time. But then three weeks before I finalised the record I had this electronic version of the song that I was really happy. But then I decided to take out the entire instrumental and synths and replaced it with electric guitar *laughs*.
I had been listening to a lot of music that had guitars and I was touring with King Princess who obviously uses guitar a lot in her set so I decided that my album should have some guitar in it. I was vibing it so hard and even though everyone around me was rolling their eyes as they thought I was a complete nightmare, I felt like it was the perfect direction to take the song in.
That song is so fun for me as it does enter another realm for me having more guitar on the album and also shows people different sides to me as I do play a lot of instruments.
TB: In contrast, ‘Contagious’ introduces a vulnerable side of your artistry as a songwriter that is further explored during tracks like ‘Chevron’ and ‘Permission’. So what would you say is the most vulnerable moment on the record for you?
B: ‘Permission’ for me is the most vulnerable track. It’s the only time that I don’t have any production clothing me and clothing the lyrics, which can be a form of protection if I’m being honest with you.
So that’s an intense one. I reveal some really personal stuff about myself in interviews when I talk about it and it’s one that touches on subjects that aren’t always comfortable for everyone. So that’s been a really personal one for me.
The title track ‘Look At Us Now Dad’ is another one that I find hard to play live without getting teary just because it reminds me a lot of what I’ve been through and the gratitude I have for where I’m at.
TB: You teamed up with the incredible Cupcakke on the track ‘Ripe’. So how did that collaboration come together?
B: She’s fucking insane! I love her so much. Something a lot of people don’t know about her is that she doesn’t have a manager, label or agent. She does everything herself. So when I contacted her I was literally just sending tracks to her personal email like “hey Cupcakke, you don’t know me but my name is Banoffee and I’m kinda obsessed with you. Wanna jump on my track? *laughs*. The biggest shock was that she said liked it and was keen. It felt like a glitch in the matrix.
TB: Did you work together IRL? Or was it done all over email?
B: It was all done over email. But it’s so sweet because I feel like I know her now. She’s one of those people who are automatically herself over emails and we just got along so well. We created a cute little internet friendship that I really treasure.
TB: The album is divided by a couple of different interludes. So what was your vision behind separating the record like this?
B: I wanted the interludes because I feel like the record is very non committal to a genre and it really goes all over the place. I think the interludes are really important to glue the whole thing together in a way that makes people feel safe to listen to it from start to finish *laughs*.
Without them the record may have sounded like three releases in one.
TB: You named the album after the closing track ‘Look At Us Now Dad’. So why did this song feel like the perfect overall representation of how the record felt and meant to you?
B: It felt like it represented the record because that song is sort of where I am at right now. It’s looking back at my life and just sitting with things that have happened and letting them be what they are and being okay with that.
And that’s personally where I’ve come to in my life from writing this record. There are a lot of really angry moments and there are a lot of really sad and bitter moments too. And in contrast that song is a lot more positive and more of a song of celebration and appreciation.
I wanted to make it clear that while there are moments of darkness on the record, that it is actually a release of relief. It’s something to celebrate instead of wallowing in all the bullshit I talk about.
TB: With the album nearly out in the world how are you envisioning of adapting the new songs to the live stage and continue to grow your set?
B: I’m definitely working on how I can be more involved with visuals for my show and perhaps how to bring more instruments onto the stage. If I could afford it I would get a band and have a lot more of instrumentation on the record played live. But at the moment it’s just going to be me, a bunch of controllers, a guitar, a keyboard and a lot of running around.
TB: Reflecting on your evolution as a live performer, what has been one of your most challenging moments on stage?
B: Oh my god, the start of my set at the Charli XCX ‘1999’ afterparty in Brisbane was the worst musical moment of my life. I will remember it forever.
There was a major computer issue, so when we went to play everything just stopped. We were trying to fix it and the crowd were getting restless. There were a lot of people there as we oversold it, and they all started chanting for Charli. It was like hell. A little bit of me died.
At that moment I thought I was just going to walk off stage as I couldn’t do it but then Charli got really angry and got onto the microphone and started chanting “Banoffee” and was like “fuck off, you have to listen to her play” and everyone just went quiet. It was so awkward. I was even more like “kill me now” when that happened but once I started playing ‘Ripe’ everyone was back in and me and Charli had a crowd surf and everything was fine. But in that moment it felt like the equivalent of being boo’d *laughs*.
TB: Let’s play a little game of rapid fire questions. You ready?!
TB: The emoji that best describes my debut album ‘Look At Us Now Dad’ is…
B: Probably the butterfly emoji!
TB: If I could have any superpower it would be to…
B: Be able to breathe underwater. I wanna be a mermaid so bad.
TB: Pineapple on pizza is…
B: Disgusting. It should be illegal!
TB: Most mornings I…
B: Do a crossword. Obsessively.
TB: If I was to have a drink inspired by me, it would be called the…
‘Look At Us Now Dad’ is out now!
Banoffee Live Dates
Thursday 27 February – The Red Rattler, Sydney
Friday 28 February – The Workers Club, Melbourne *supporting Dorian Electra*
Friday 6 March – Melbourne Museum, Melbourne *Nocturnal x Fashion event*
Banoffee Instore Signing Dates
Wednesday 26 February – Red Eye, Sydney
Saturday 29 February – Rocksteady Records, Melbourne