Good afternoon and welcome folks, to yet another bafflingly brilliant Beneath The Surface feature. Today I am joined by the really, rather lovely Binoy who sat down to have a right little chin wag with me. So pull up a pew, sit back and relax as we dive deep with Binoy…
What would you say first sparked your interest in music/who inspired you to make music?
I grew up in a home where music was constantly being played by my parents, from Celine Dion to ABBA to classical piano by Richard Clayderman. I then started piano lessons when I was about six years old, and from there would pick up different instruments that I liked the sound of. I think my true artistic instincts awakened the first time I properly listened to Taylor Swift – not just casually watching and rolling my eyes at the “Love Story” music video on MTV, but really listening close.
Her album Speak Now communicated with me in ways that music had never done before, with its follow-up Red solidifying my desire to start writing songs. Her music continues to inspire my own sound, and I can undoubtedly trace blueprints created by her writing around mine.
How would you describe the music you are currently creating?
I’ve always really loved 80s pop. I think the melodies are so undeniable and that era worked to shatter the misconception that pop always has vacuous lyrics. My sound right now is very influenced by that retro sonic palette, but as a songwriter at heart there will always be a desire to incorporate storytelling components. Friends constantly describe my music as sad / happy pop, in that the production and melodies make you want to sing and dance but the lyrical content, upon closer inspection, is really quite sad. I think that describes the music I try to create perfectly.
What does your creative process look like?
It ends differently every time, but almost always starts with me sitting at the piano. I like seeing all the keys laid out in front of me when I write, perhaps because it serves as a reminder that everything I need to create the song is right there under my hands.
Writing an entire song can take as little as one evening or as long as eight months, and make no mistake the latter will occupy a cold corner in the back of my mind until I finish. Recently I started working with other producers – as opposed to doing everything myself – and I’ve really loved the collaborative process. It’s exciting seeing other talented musicians bring their craft into a session, especially when they’re able to come up with ideas and sounds that I never would have thought of. In truth, those moments of hearing a song I wrote at the piano brought to life through someone else’s lens are immeasurable.
Who would you most like to collaborate with? (let’s send it out to the universe and make it
Oh gosh, how much time do you have? In terms of producers I think Jack Antonoff is at the top of my list. He’s done so much incredible work in the past few years with Taylor, Lorde, Lana del Rey, St. Vincent, the list goes on… Daniel Nigro is also a producer I’m continually impressed by. He’s worked with Conan Grey since the beginning of Conan’s rise and a lot of those songs are direct influences on my sound right now.
If I had to pick a couple of artists I would love to collaborate with, I’d say Troye Sivan and Conan Grey. I love what they both do and I think they’re supremely talented. Taylor Swift is also of course at the top of my list but I’m a few years away from entertaining that fantasy in terms of my own artistic growth.
What is the one message you would like to send out to your fans?
It’s been a challenging year for all of us, and I think the future continues to remain more uncertain than ever. Find what brings you joy, whether it be the music you listen to, the books you read, the people you get to talk to, and let those things anchor you. Oh and above all, be kind to yourself. It’s easier said than done, trust me I know, but please be kind to yourself.
What’s your top tip to rejuvenate your creativity/get over a writer’s block?
I watch a lot of TV shows. Even if I am as busy as can be, I will find a little time to unwind and watch an episode of something. Aside from being an ideal form of escapism, good television is a full-throttle display of creativity. I find that it often rejuvenates me and relaxes my creative mind, because it reminds me what my creativity is all about – telling stories that embody the human condition.
What’s next for you, what do we have to look forward to/ what are you currently working
My new song “Silver Lake” is actually part of a five song EP that comes out in early 2021. I’m very excited about the project because I feel like it tells a story from start to finish, and although the songs may be different tempos and styles there are strings that tie everything together sonically in a way that I’ve never done before. I won’t spoil too much right now, but when the EP comes out I know I’ll have a great time explaining all of the Easter eggs and invisible threads that run through it so deeply.
Keep up with Binoy here: