An interview with Aussie musician Banoffee for Wonderland Magazine.
THE FIERCELY INDEPENDENT PERFORMER WHO’S MELBOURNE’S SWEETEST EXPORT.
“SORRY! I SPILT porridge down me at breakfast!”The saccharinely-named Banoffee has arrived, bursting through the door with E-number energy and a happy-go-lucky demeanour. Melbourne-based Martha Brown, aka Banoffee, is the Australian mastermindcreating new wave electro-pop with smooth synths and syncopated beats.
Brown’s influences aren’t exactly what you’d expect. Sure, she looks to her favourite, much-cited artists — Lauryn Hill and Gillian Welch — to harness their energy and as she puts it, “create a fierceness in my own, more melodic sense.” Equally, she looks to her everyday surroundings, finding narratives in mundanity — “whether it’s cups of coffee or electric blankets” — to inspire her deeply personal and evocative lyricism. Growing up as a 90s/00s girl on a diet of classic R&B, Banoffee found inspiration in the honesty that the artists she adored shared in their music. “It was all about having an instrumental that matched the emotions of the lyrics,” she reminisces. “I think that’s where R&B really resonates for me.”
That integrity channels its way into each lyric of Brown’s tracks, where she explores everything, from “internal relationships, between different parts of you” to her “own personal idea of feminism and what it means to be [making music] as a woman in the world today”. On June release “I’m Not Sorry”, Brown’s defiant refusal to be a wallflower, she asks, “How long is too long to live under your hate?”
“If I can communicate things that are important to me through my own music I feel satisfied,”Brown explains.“Empowering women is something that is very important to me.” Active in the Melbourne music community, Brown uses her platform as an active, touring musician, to involve women in her project, whether that’s supporting her fellow female musicians or getting dancers involved in her Australian shows and using their choreography to support the messages of her songs. “I think art is a really important medium to start conversations and keep communication going. A lot of communication has been lost through politics and through policy and through the media. Art is one form of communication that isn’t going anywhere.”
Brown’s local Melbourne music scene is a major source of inspiration, partly because it’s so detached from any other major city in the world. “Limitations can really do a lot for creativity. There’s less effecting the scene there in terms of commercial music and popular music,” she says, pointing out that despite the internet and radio, she isn’t under the spell of commercial, popular music. Between performing her tracks solo in her stripped back live performance and taking herself on a Europe tour without a manager, Brown is doing things her way. “I like the idea that this year, I’m looking at the things that people told me I couldn’t do and proving them wrong,” she exhales contently. Never before has sticking it to the man seemed so effortlessly badass.