Banji: rising the ranks through lockdown

Forced to focus on writing and recording, Banji honed in on their identity as a band.

Off the back of their Great Escape Festival performance in May, Banji frontman Morris Brandt speaks with abridged. About their forthcoming debut album Freshcakes. 

The iconic Brighton festival would be the band’s second-ever festival performance in the UK (following Liverpool Sound City) and they were met with a wonderful, appreciative crowd. 

Morris said: “We loved Brighton. We’ve never been there before but was super cool, everyone was really nice. It was a good day, sunny and it was fun on the beach there.

“The festival was really good – we discovered some UK bands there. It was really high energy and everyone had such a good attitude. It was a really cool scene. Every little city in the UK even, it’s always really impressive to watch.

Unfortunately, they couldn’t take in the sights for long before beating back across the English Channel but they were able to spend the day at the pier, on the beach and trying out the rollercoasters. 

Being in front of a UK audience is a completely new experience as people across the world all take in music differently. For us, we prefer to get invested in an artist and take the time to dive into the music. 

“There is a big difference. People in the UK are really paying attention, taking it seriously, looking for stuff,” comments Morris.” It always means a lot when people choose to come up to us and say that they like the show or whatever. People in the UK are really focused on the quality of the music. Whereas people in the Netherlands, overall, I’d say are a bit less serious. A bit more relaxed – people talking and stuff. There are a lot of cover bands whereas the UK is a bit more of a focus on originality.”

Banji were born and raised in the Dutch city of Utrecht and from a young age had a passion for music. From around eight or nine, Morris and guitarist/bassist Gilles van Wees were taking guitar lessons together and listening to Red Hot Chili Peppers and The Strokes which was the early foundations to how they built the band. 

I’ve always listened to music since I was young,” says Morris as he ponders in thought. “I loved that idea of escaping. I didn’t really go to many shows, only a few of the bands I was really interested in from a young age but sometimes I’d go to show and just be overwhelmed by that atmosphere and really excited about it. It’s always fun.”

Along the way, Morris and Gilles would later bring Jasper Meurs, Twan de Roo into the fold to make what Banji is today…

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