Hi Binoy, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?
Hi there, thank you so much for having me! I’ve been good, just keeping myself very busy with this new project that I’m working on.
Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Hunger”?
For sure. “Hunger” is the lead single off my next EP. When I was thinking about how I wanted to introduce the project, I knew I wanted to make a song that really lent itself to a striking music video, so I wrote and produced this big, bombastic and really dynamic lead track. In itself, the song is largely about the thrilling addiction of the creative process, and how the hunger we have to create new content and bring our ideas into the world is insatiable once we fall down that rabbit hole.
Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?
One night I couldn’t fall asleep and started thinking of lines that would make clever lyrics. I landed on “And If I lose myself, let it be to the creative hunger that keeps me up at night.” At the time I hadn’t really started thinking about names for the EP or even song titles, but the simplicity and truth of that line stood out to me enough to spark a whole new world in my head. Couple that with the vision I had for the music video and the track really began coming to life.
How was the filming process and experience behind the video?
Difficult! I had actually never danced before this, not even at parties or concerts. I don’t know what possessed me to come up with this idea, but I remember how hesitant my choreographer Nick was when we first met. I ended up rehearsing for about 2 hours everyday for 5 weeks, picking up quite a few injuries and bruises along the way. There were days when we would run out of studio time but Nick wouldn’t be happy with where I was, so we would go out onto the street and rehearse on the sidewalk using shop windows as mirrors. The preparation was well worth it though, because the shoot day itself was one of the most exciting and fulfilling days of my life. It just felt amazing to let go and be completely in the moment, to the point that the only other person I noticed in this huge warehouse was the music video director.
Why name the album after this track in particular?
I think I just love how open-ended the word “Hunger” is. The album as a whole really focuses on the self, and I believe that we as individuals constantly yearn to be the best version of ourselves. To that end, “Hunger” is synonymous with ambition, introspection, self love, lust, longing, and other themes that I explore throughout the project.
How was the recording and writing process?
I must have rewritten the chorus 6 or 7 times before landing on one that stuck. For me, it’s always either the verses come easily and the chorus is hard to find or vice versa, there is no in between. I’m also a very slow writer, and it blows my mind how some songwriters can sit down and churn out a finished song in less than an hour. I took my time and wrote everything on the piano while simultaneously working on the song’s production, which really allowed me to play around with different chorus ideas. Generally, I like to produce about 75% of the track before recording vocals, and then I finish off the instrumental and make little changes based on the nuances of the vocals. “Hunger” pretty much followed that recipe, but I will say that I used different approaches for other songs on the album.
How has your upbringing influenced your writing?
As peculiar as it is, I think my songwriting was heavily influenced by my very unmusical mother growing up. As a successful and independent woman in a patriarchal society, she taught me the importance of speaking my mind and being unapologetic about what I feel. As a result, I don’t look at vulnerability or sharing my emotions as negative at all, but instead as something to be proud of.
Having lived and travelled to different places and getting to come across different cultures – How have these experiences influenced your music?
Growing up in Kenya to South East Asian parents, I was exposed to a wide array of cultures and subsequent genres of music. I think the biggest impact this had was helping me understand how exciting diversity can be, as eastern and western sounds can often complement one another. Now in order to make my music stand out, I try to incorporate different rhythms and instruments that aren’t often heard in western pop music today.
Where did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?
I had a pretty chaotic end to 2018 where I really felt like a lot of my life was out of control. I think it’s a bit of a myth that writers tend to produce their best work during a crisis, because I think the best material comes afterwards when you can look back with hindsight. A lot of this project was inspired not necessarily by that tumultuous time itself, but instead by the months after it where I truly had to sit down with all of my thoughts and come to terms with them. The lyrics are genuine, honest, at times hyper self aware and at times longing to be introspective but with rose-coloured glasses on.
Any plans to hit the road?
Right now I’m just focusing on finishing the rest of the project and shooting visuals. I haven’t started planning any shows but it’s definitely on my mind.
What else is happening next in Binoy’s world?
Maybe I’ll pick up a new instrument. I love the trumpet and wish it could be in all of my songs, so surely learning it is the obvious next step right? Then again my neighbours probably wouldn’t be too happy with me… Maybe I’ll adopt a dog, sample some barking noises and make a dog concept album? Who knows. All I can say right now is I’m just so excited to launch into this new era of music.
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