Get 2 Know: Ella Eyre and Banx & Ranx

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With credits such as Sean Paul, David Guetta, Charli XCX, French Montana, and Gorillaz, Montreal’s Banx & Ranx (formed of KNY Factory & Soke) are a production duo to be reckoned with.

So when paired with London’s singer/songwriter and two-time Mobo Award winner Ella Eyre, you should already know what’s up. Their collaboration on their latest hit ‘Answerphone’ has amassed over 4 million views on YouTube and has recently broken into the top 10 of the official charts, so I visited Warner Music to have a chat with them about the single, how the track came together, future projects and much more.

 

So, I came across you two (Banx & Ranx) on SoundCloud, and over time you’ve managed to gain a massive following on that platform. Would you say SoundCloud is where you made a name for yourselves?

KNY Factory: We actually met each other on SoundCloud through the Montreal hashtag, so it’s all a SoundCloud story. We really milked SoundCloud at the beginning by releasing remixes, which helped us build a big following on that platform.

Soké: At the time, SoundCloud was the best platform for upcoming DJ’s and remixes, so we found each other through the hashtag and I saw that he had a trap remix of Blue by Eiffel 65, so when I heard it I was like “wow, what the f*** is this, this guy is in Montreal?! I have to link him”. Then it turned out that he already knew about me, as he’d been following me for a lot of work I was putting out as a solo Reggae artist so it felt like it was meant to be.

 

Ella, as you’re from London I know a lot about your come up, but could you tell me about your “break” away from music?

Ella: Yeah, I wouldn’t say it was an official break because I was writing, but I guess for me as an artist, I like to be in every room where the songs are written, so that takes time, perfecting and writing and making music that you want to release doesn’t happen in a day. I was very lucky when I got to work with Banx & Ranx because we met each other and wrote Answerphone in 1 day, but that doesn’t happen very often. Songwriting can be like speed dating, you get in a room and meet each other, then all of a sudden you’re expected to have something amazing come out of it. So, yeah I wouldn’t say that it was an official break from music, but it was inevitable given the fact that I like to write all my songs. I wanted time out to rediscover, realign, and just experiment with my writing.

 

‘Answerphone’ has recently broken into the top 10 in the charts, which is an amazing achievement, so how are you feeling right now?

KNY Factory: It’s definitely the biggest thing to happen for us so far, it feels great.

Ella: It’s funny because we’ve seen it progress and climb the charts, which there are so many of these days I can’t even keep up it’s so hard! But yeah, as it’s been climbing the charts we’ve been texting each other and I’ll be like “We just got A-List on Radio 1!”, then Yannick (KNY Factory) will be like, “is that good?” (laughs). But, they’ve grown up in Montreal, whereas I’ve grown up listening to Radio 1, so it’s so exciting, especially for these guys as it’s sort of their first official big record.

Soké: We didn’t really know the impact of breaking top 10 in the charts, as still feel like outsiders coming from overseas.

KNY Factory: I also think that’s because we don’t live in London, so we don’t even hear the track get played on Radio, and we’re in the studio constantly.

 

 

How did the idea for the song and track name come together?

Ella: We wrote the record with Shakka and Jacob Manson from Blonde. So, Shakka and I were doing most of the topline, bouncing ideas, then Shakka had this melody and the word answerphone just came up from all the mumbling through the melodies. We loved the word answerphone and I remember when we came up with the phrase “I’ve been talking to your answerphone”, Soké was like “it doesn’t make sense, what’s an answerphone, it should voicemail”, but voicemail isn’t sexy (laughs). Everything just came together so organically, even the vocals on the track are the exact vocals we recorded on that day.

KNY Factory: That was the funny part about it because the software was really lagging and we were taping stuff without really knowing how it would actually sound. The fact that it all came together so well shows that it was just meant to be.

 

Who thought of having Yxng Bane on the track, and why did you feel as if he’d be a perfect fit?

Soké: There was a missing piece to the whole harmony of the song and Yxng Bane was the first person we all thought of to give the outcome and balance we wanted the song to have so that it wouldn’t be too Pop.

KNY Factory: It helped give a sound that’s between Pop and what’s kind of popping right now these days, but we also love Bane’s songs, all of his music is great, he’s an amazing performer too, so it’s just good to be able to work with an artist like that on a track.

Ella: It couldn’t have been any better either, because he speaks fluent French, so these guys got on straight away. It was wonderful having him on set, he’s a lovely person, so being able to have such an organic connection was great. It really felt like a collaboration, rather than paying a rapper to be on a record.

 

Did you have that moment where you all thought to yourselves, “yeah we have a hit right here”, or are you surprised at all because of the response?

Ella: For me, it was when the chorus was written, because we were in a writing camp, so you guys (Banx & Ranx) were in an out of the room. So, I think it was when Shakka and I had finished the chorus we were like, “We kind of love this”, and then you guys came in and were like “oh my God, it’s great”.

KNY Factory: I’m going to be honest, because of all the initial issues with the taping and the laptop freezing, I started freaking out. So, I got kind of scared after bouncing the audio to another studio and felt a pressure that we had to deliver. However, I played it back, sat back and was like, “oh my God, this is a freaking monster!”. So, throughout the process, I was just stressing, but when all the pieces came together and I played it back in full, I realized the final piece was a masterpiece.

Ella: My mum loved it as well and my mum is really savage if she doesn’t like something, so if she likes something, then she’s usually quite right about it.

 

So I hear that you’ve been flying out to Montreal to work with Banx & Ranx on your own material?

Ella: I went to Montreal at the beginning of the year, and they’re back and forth all the time now, so I can imagine I’ll be seeing them a lot. There’ll definitely be more writing, plus I just love the energy in the room when we work together, regardless of who’s in the room, it’s always really fun with us, I don’t think I’ve ever laughed in the studio as much as I did with these two the other day.

 

What have you all got planned for this year? Any more big collaborations, an album?

Ella: I’ve got another song coming pretty soon, but I can’t say who with just yet. In terms of my album, I know that people are asking and I’m aware, but I also don’t want to put out anything just because there’s a pressure to release. I’m so glad that people are asking, so I really want to make sure that the next thing that I put out as my solo self is the right thing. I’ve been given an opportunity to start afresh and I want that to be used in the best possible way, so as impatient people are being, I really appreciate it and I’m so glad that they care.

KNY Factory: Living life! That’s the plan for the year (laughs). Yeah, we’ve got some things up and coming but we can’t mention a lot, because you know with music, until it’s out you can’t really say anything, because if s*** goes wrong, then it can look really bad. One thing we can say is that we’ve been working a lot on Sean Paul’s album. We worked on his David Guetta record, his Major Lazer track, and we have more stuff that we co-wrote with him that is going to come out as well. We’ve also been working with Lady Leshurr, she came to Montreal several times, so we’ve done around 10 tracks with her and she was great to work with.

 

You can buy/stream Answerphone right now by clicking here.