Assuming a position to not wanting to be pigeon-holed, California-based DJ and producer Banksia is quickly breaking the global ranks through his DJ sets and highly appraised releases. Notable releases from the producer with an insatiable palette include a remix of Australian duo Lastlings 'Last Breath' on Rufus Du Sol’s imprint Rose Avenue Records in 2020, as well as his recent single ‘It’s Been Done’ on Electric Mode.
As a DJ, Banksia has supported the world’s top players including Black Coffee, Peggy Gou, Disclosure, Tale of Us, Rufus Du Soul, Zhu and Moodymann. When he's not touring for festivals across the US, Banksia hosts his residency gigs at the prestigious Ayu Day Club at Zouk Las Vegas for their Moonbeam party series.
And just ahead of massive shows coming up this month with Overmono and Zedd, Banksia drops in to Mixmag Asia Radio with a fine selection of house and dance cuts.
Where are you based and how did you get there?
I was born in the UK, grew up in Zambia, and now currently live in America, in California to be precise. I came to the US originally for my university education and that is how I ended up being based here.
What’s your favourite thing about the music scene there?
So many things to name! One thing I really love about the music scene out here is that there is so much musical diversity as you travel across the US. Hip hop, jazz, soul, r'n'b, house, techno, disco, world music, and so much more. I really love how so many genres of music are accessible in the US. Also, I think the US is one country where you can always have an opportunity to see your favourite music. Many times it is hard to see your favourite artists in different markets, in Zambia I never really had a chance to experience electronic music because there is just no scene or market there for it. However, when I came to the US, I was able to see all my favourite artists and discover more! The US has a diverse music market and I guess that is why many artists have “touring the US” on their bucket lists.
In five words, what do your DJ sets sound like?
Underground, worldly, open-format, and edgy!
And in three words, how would you describe yourself?
A music nerd!
What recent trends in music have you been paying attention to? Have you caught onto them?
To be honest, I don’t really care about catching on to trends, it is more about me doing my own thing. However, I can say I have been paying attention to really old archives of music and getting back in touch with my roots in the history of music from Africa and India. Hint hint, gold mines of samples haha!
Are there any producers and DJs in Asia that have recently caught your attention?
So I would change this up to say three Asian producers that have really caught my attention are Baalti, Rachika Nayar, and Succhi. I am loving all of their music!
Well, Baalti are my mates, their music is out of this world, and most importantly they are such humble and genuine dudes! If you ever get a chance to talk to them, ask them about how we ran into Jamie XX and had a full-on conversation about folk disco with him (note that all three of us are such big fans and so inspired by him). After the conversation, we dashed into the back kitchen and sat there for an hour just trying to comprehend what happened haha! In the moment we didn’t come off as fanboys but in that kitchen, we were frothing!
Rachika Nayar, I don’t even know where to start. I don’t know Rachika personally, however, her latest album ‘Heaven Come Crashing’ is absolutely insane. Since it came out, I have listened to it countless times, and each time I hear it, I experience something new. Literally leaves me speechless!
Suchi is a G! Hahaha I just love what she is doing musically. The production is really on point and I saw her Boiler Room which was epic. I love how techno driven and deep her sets are!
From pre to post-pandemic, what has changed & what hasn’t changed about your life in the music world?
My phone on a show night! The number of guest list requests I get since the pandemic ended haha! On a more serious note, post-pandemic I have started playing a lot more shows and festivals, also I am really excited to be back out at shows. Being back out has inspired me as I hear new sounds, see different reactions live, and getting the opportunity to test new tracks on the dance floor is really a game changer.
Tell us about the inspiration behind this mix - what drove your thoughts and emotions, and how did you curate your selection?
I actually wanted to show more of my open-format but underground style of music choices with this mix. I tried to include something for everyone. Additionally, it is a mix that showcases my musical inspirations, music from friends, my own music, and some throwbacks. In this mix, you’ll hear a couple of unreleased tunes, some that just came out, and some that have been out for years but people are only really catching onto them now.
I intentionally played out tracks for much longer on this mix, at least for me when it comes to radio mixes I want to really hear tracks out, and hope that the people that listen to this get to appreciate the progression of each track for a longer time than in a club.
What equipment did you record this mix on?
I recorded this mix on CDJ 2000NXS2s and a DJM V10.
Where can we hear you playing next?
All across San Francisco. 8 October at Bill Graham Civic Auditorium with Zedd, 14 October with Overmono at Monarch, and 21 October at 1015 Folsom with Partiboi69 and Oliver Dollar.