Coin Banks walks us through his personal new EP, Outside Looking In
The Perth MC discusses the processes and stories behind his six-track EP, which he's set to showcase at a round of national tour dates starting next month.
Perth's Coin Banks has always been one of our favourite West Australian hip-hop staples, with the long-time MC slowly rising on the national scene with a score of brilliant releases, starting off with 2013's Ta-Ku-produced Home EP which he's since followed up with two more stellar releases - Heads and Tails. Last Friday saw Coin Banks return with his first EP for a while now, teaming up with names such as The WAAPA Gospel Choir, Ezra James and Atom for the guest-heavy, six-track Outside Looking In. The EP is quite a personal release, with the Perth hip-hop gun wearing his heart on his sleeve above some seriously slick production work, which slides and glides between sounds incorporating elements of jazz, trap and gospel-soul as it plays. In order to get our heads around the EP, we got Coin Banks himself to walk us through the stories and processes behind each of the EP's high-energy tracks which he's done in great detail; luckily for us. Dive into the EP below, with his track-by-track account underneath that:
I don’t think I have ever spent more time on a song than I have with Forgive Us, and it’s definitely been my most collaborative effort to date. I personally had been upset with a few people, and also upset a bunch of people over the past couple of years and was thinking how everyone has that someone that they are still holding a grudge against which causes huge ripple effects in society. The message of the song is simple: forgive, apologize, and let’s keep moving forward.
I took the concept of forgiveness and some raps that I had written to the amazing Chris Foster and he came up with a few rough ideas. From conception I thought the song needed a choir as the message is forgiveness, the backbone is gospel soul, so I contacted the very talented Matt Allen (leader of the WAAPA Gospel Choir) and sent him the song. After some back and forth we finally came up with the chorus that we have now – he walked into RADA studios with about 20 people and they absolutely killed it. It was breathtaking, I mean it was spiritual!!
I hit up my homeboy Atom to do some magic as the song was sitting at 5:22 and something wasn’t quite right. After a couple days with the song he sent me a rough version and I played it for the first time in the car and maaaaaaaaaaan. I hadn't felt that way about music in such a long time. I got that spine tingle that I got when Ⅰ heard Gangstarr’s Moment of Truth or Common’s Like Water For Chocolate for the first time. I re-recorded my raps, mixed it down, and sent it to the man with the golden ears at Spectrum Studio, Damien Bolo, to master the song as we did for the whole EP.
Actually, I lied. I think I have been working on Problems the longest. This amazing piece of music was produced by the genius that is 20syl. He sent me a beat tape with a bunch of incredible rough edits, and he told me to choose 1. I noticed that there were two really similar beats, but at completely different tempos. My idea was to write and record my raps to both beats at the different tempos, and then mash it together and create a new song out of it. 20syl was down with it, so I hit the studio, recorded some rough vocals and sent them through. A few weeks later I get an email from 20syl and what he did with my vocals and with the music was incredible. The production on this track is incredible; it constantly evolves throughout the track. So, as always, I decided I hated my raps, and I needed to step up to do justice to the beat. I re-recorded my raps, and then sent the song over to the homeboy Ezra James, a super talented and extremely humble dude. He did his magic on the hook, Atom laid some dope cuts and mixed down the song, and done.
The message behind the song is that we all have problems and everybody is dealing with some sort of drama every day of their life. I think sometimes people get so obsessed with their issues they fall into a trap of negativity. Face your problems head on, and whatever you are going through, there is always someone worse off than you and someone better off than you.
As I get older the concept of time has become a big part of my actions and thoughts. When I was younger, I didn’t think about time at all, a day felt like a week and I just wanted to do what I wanted to do. Then in my late teens I started bugging out about how much time I have on Earth, and for me it was a little counterproductive. Now, I’ve come to appreciate the beauty of time and age.
The song is a struggle between the lack of time that we all have whilst at the same time finding comfort in the fact that I am and always have been a bit of a late bloomer. This song is one of my most recent, and I don’t know how but somehow I have been blessed to work with amazing beat makers that are waaaay out of my league – 20syl, Atom, and this time it was the incredible Monte Booker. If you haven’t heard of Monte Booker, he is an amazing producer out of Chicago, doing a lot of stuff for Soulection and working in the Chicago scene. He sent me this beat and I immediately fell in love with it, it was super easy to write to. I got Ezra on this track also and he absolutely killed this one. Just skip my raps, and put the chorus on repeat!
There is a famous b-boy from Perth called Edit and I was talking about hip-hop culture and a lack of representation of b-boys in the culture, at least in the way it was in 80’s and 90’s. He said it was partially because of the beats, the new stuff doesn’t excite the b-boys the same way it used to before. I grew up with hip-hop as my religion and as my culture, before rapped, I wrote graffiti and was a breaker, so I wanted to a song that honoured the culture – a song for the DJs, for the b-boys, and for hip hop.
I hit up Atom, a world DMC champion with C2C, explained the concept for the song, and he put some crazy drum breaks together. I wrote the raps, and sent them back, Atom stepped up the production, threw in some modern vibes and more of his incredible cuts. We thought something was missing from the song, so we decided to try some old school Beastie Boys/Run DMC style group rap for the adlibs and outro – I got the Perth homeboys Alex Ford and Marksman to come through and in that moment in the studio doing the group raps, I felt sooo hip-hop haha. It was such a fun track to put together, and Edit, if you read this, I hope this makes you want to body rock my bro.
Stay In Bed:
Speaking of incredible producers that are way out of my league, I don’t know how but I managed to connect with the super dope Cam O’bi for Stay in Bed and Handlebars – he has produced for Chance The Rapper, Vic Mensa and most recently the new SZA song featuring Kendrick Lamar! Anyway, this dude has sooo much vibe on his tracks. He sent me the beat, and it felt perfect for a song concept I had been sitting on for a few years.
I saw that photo of John Lennon and Yoko Ono when they stayed in bed as an act of protest, and I thought it was so dope that they brought attention to some serious issues by doing something so simple. Also, the song deals with the lack of motivation and confidence that I struggled with in the past couple of years – true story, there was a fan who posted something really meaningful on my page, and it really woke me up and got me back on track. I really appreciate that person, you know who you are!!
This is another song produced by Cam O’bi and another song concept that I have been sitting on for a few years. It was inspired by the sample “ride you on my handlebars” that plays through the chorus. There have been bike songs, but only bike songs about bikes, I’ve never heard a song about the way we used to be as kids riding bikes, taking our first crush/girlfriend on our handlebars and giving them a ride home. I’m sure it is a universal experience that has happened to a lot of different people around the world, and I wanted to put that feeling in a song.
Much love to Atom for the incredible cuts on this record also, he made that hook work sooooo incredibly well. There is something special about our relationship, and I really appreciate everything that he does in all my songs, you wouldn't know the amount of detail he goes into. Also, we share the exact same birthday, but he lives in France, and I live in Australia. But we make it work, and it works so well.
Sat 19th August - Belleville, Melbourne
Fri 1st September - Transit Bar, Canberra
Sat 2nd September - Chippendale Hotel, Sydney
Fri 15th September - The Rosemount, Perth
Sat 16th September - Rocket Bar, Adelaide
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