JAmusic: Can you give us the story behind the stage name: Banx & Ranx?
BR: Banx & Ranx was created in early 2014 out of the dream of creating a new hybrid genre of music that we wanted to hear. The passion for Reggae & Dancehall mixed with Electronic and Pop music techniques gave birth to the unique sound of Banx & Ranx. Founded by “Soke” and “KNY Factory”, this project represents an evolution of the Jamaican sound. The concept needed our two skills (each with over 15 years of experience) together in the studio to finally blossom. Banx & Ranx is a state of mind, a sonic idea behind the fusion of two music genres. It can also be associated to fictional characters hidden in both members. The visual aspect is very important for this ECM group.
We started releasing remixes of famous Reggae and Dancehall tracks and a couple of original tracks. We are currently working on our first official EP and an original compilation with artists like Chronixx, Busy Signal, Gyptian, Million Stylez, Sizzla, Capleton, Pinchers, New Kingston Band and more.
Soke (pronounced So-Kay):
He is a Producer / DJ / Reggae Artist that excels in song writing, engineering and vocal production. He is Canadian but has strong Jamaican ties in the family in Canada and Jamaica, traveling back and forth to both countries.
He is a producer / DJ / Creole Dancehall Artist that excels in song writing, engineering and vocal production. He is originally from Guadeloupe but has an East Indian and French Canadian background. He has a base in Guadeloupe and Canada, traveling back and forth to both countries.
JAmusic: Music lovers globally will always be looking for that new, impeccable sound that can be looked upon as leaders of the new wave of vocalists. How would you define a musical genius that can eventually become a vocal leader?
BR: A musical genius that can eventually become a vocal leader is someone with a unique vocal tone, talent, dedication, patience, luck and a versatile musical influence. You have to be inspired by many genres to be able to thrive and bring original vocal melodies and rich lyrical content.
Banx & Ranx’s goal is to release that new & impeccable sound with high Pop music standards while staying true to the authentic Jamaican sound. As for being a vocal leader, we don’t focus on just one singer. We are also vocalists, but we prefer collaborating with Jamaican International singers. Established artists who have extreme talent .Our quality standard is very important, so we make sure to work with singers that have what it takes to be vocal leaders and to represent Jamaica on the global scale.
JAmusic: Some of the most genius artistes have thrived when taking chances and innovating. How important/present is that on the Reggae soundscape today; from what you've seen and that might have help in composing your singles?
BR: It is very important on the Reggae soundscape. Reggae has influenced so many sub-genres and is constantly evolving. With the explosion of Electronic & Bass music, it is only logical that Jamaican music should be part of it because the bass line is the lead instrument in Reggae and Dancehall. We are taking chances and innovating by blending two worlds / cultures together. It’s a new concept and is not considered a genre of music yet. There’s a lot of work to be done and we won’t be able to do it alone. Since we want our music more accessible, we apply pop music structures and melodies to it, so that it appeals to as much people as possible. We are bridging the gap between Reggae fans, Dancehall fans, World music fans, Hip Hop fans and Electronic music fans.
JAmusic: How do you think your ECM remixes impact your growing fan base as well as attract new ones? And why do you think it’s a necessary move to align EDM with Reggae/ Dancehall singles?
BR: With our remixes, we work on people’s emotions and nostalgia. We bring back the good old days with a fresh new package. When a classic tune is remixed with quality and soul, people love it. They rediscover their love for a certain song or artist. It is also a very good way to get our name out. Although we love remixing and consider it a specialty, we are not a remix group. We only use it to relate to people’s memories, promote ourselves and create content for our live performances. We are a music group and production team that also have a catalog of original material.
JAmusic: With every single that an artist releases they intend to tell a specific story. What is the tale being told on your upcoming project with Gyptian, Busy Signal, Chronixx, Sizzla and Capleton?
BR: The subject matter of this album revolves around love and positivity. There is no slackness or superficial lyrics. We are extremely proud to work with talented people that we respect and admire. The story behind this project is interesting. A few years ago, KNY Factory (half of Banx & Ranx) produced a riddim for a Reggae label called Special Delivery. It was supposed to be a one riddim album with a few International artists. But, for some reason, the project failed and the publishing company was left with great unreleased material. We discussed the matter with our friends at Special Delivery and proposed to revive the project and present it under our name. Not as a one riddim album but as a Jamaican / Pop music compilation with exclusive riddims to each song. Why not add official remixes to this project? We want to show the world that Jamaican artists can release Pop songs and that Reggae & Dancehall is not limited to a specific sound. We also added our own original material to this release to get the fans familiar with our work and get the status we deserve. The project is at it’s final stage and we are currently shopping for licensing deals.
JAmusic: What's the biggest risk you've taken artistically; one that went over surprisingly well and one that might've gone over people's heads?
BR: The biggest risk we’ve taken is to blend two very different genres and to stick to it without making any compromise. We bring Reggae & Dancehall to crowds that aren’t necessarily fans of this music. It takes time for people to get used to it. We also use a lot of Patois in our songs and want to take the dialect to a global scale and make people want to learn and “overstand” it fully.
JAmusic: Who's the artiste that keeps you on your toes? Pushes you to go harder?
BR: We are inspired by many people like Chronixx, Busy Signal, the Marley family, Sean Paul, Major Lazer, Jr Blender and every major artist that has International success and is inspired by Reggae / Dancehall music. Ryan Leslie, who developed a unique way to sell his music and relate personally to his fans, is also someone that we admire for his talent and business skills.
JAmusic: We live in an era where the average person's attention span is limited to what they want to see or hear. What are you doing differently that will hold their attention?
BR: It is very important to be aware of that. In our productions, we make sure that there is a change in every 2-4 bars. Every song structure has a build-up (peaks and valleys in the sound dynamic) and catches people’s attention. We try to stay away from monotone and redundant music, the “looping effect” that doesn’t have much variation can get some people bored quickly. A lot of our songs have a “drop” section that is heard in Electronic music, which makes people go crazy! We stress the importance of putting a “hook” as soon as the song starts, either a chorus or a hooky melody that stays in your head all day long. The vocal melodies (top-lines) are very important aspects of our songs, just like in Pop music.
JAmusic: With success comes a lot of negative feedback, how do you react or deal with negativity while doing remixes to classic Reggae/ Dancehall singles?
BR: We haven’t received a lot of negative feedback so far, we’ve been pretty lucky. We know that some purists aren’t happy when you make a hybrid electronic sound out of an organic and acoustic sound. We got comments from people thinking that making a Trap remix out of a Roots Reggae song is Babylon corruption. Everybody has the right to have an opinion. We know that our love and respect for Jamaican music and culture is pure and make sure to apply this love and soul to our work. That is why it is hard to produce ECM because you need to have a special set of skills in organic music and electronic music, as well as mixing and mastering a hybrid sound. Many producers have tried it, but very few reach the standards of both genres. Some very successful people in both genres (Reggae & Electronic music) told us that our formula will never work and that people don’t want to hear this new hybrid sound. Negative feedback just makes us want to succeed even more on a bigger scale. We are proving them wrong!
JAmusic: What kind of future plans have you set for yourself as an artiste (to accomplish and maintain)?
BR: We focus a lot on giving free material (remixes and originals) to our fans. Who doesn’t enjoy free music from their favorite artist? It keeps them constantly updated with our music. We are looking forward to releasing our first compilation with Special Delivery and our first EP as a group. We plan on working with many more Jamaican artists and helping them to get more attention around the world. Once we are established as a Reggae /Dancehall/ECM group, we would love to experiment with Creol, African and Latin sounds to expand our sound identity.
Thank you for the interview!