New Zealand producer and songwriter Jock Nowell-Usticke, aka BAYNK, has been on a winning streak since he started to gain major traction with his 2016 single ‘What You Need’, capturing hearts with his chill yet infectious sound. He’s seen acclaim from publications such as Noisey and Complex, and recently embarked on his debut U.S. headline tour, selling out all four shows. We caught up with Jock to talk about his latest track, ‘Settle’, which features vocals from Sinéad Harnett, as well as his artistic endeavors across numerous fields.
Your new single, Settle, features London-based vocalist Sinéad Harnett. How did that collaboration come about?
I was getting restless writing by myself in New Zealand & thought it was time to take a trip somewhere and shuffle my headspace round a little. So much talent oozes out of London & Sinead has been a favourite of mine for a while so I asked her to come to a very low budget studio I’d rented out in Shoreditch. She sat on the beanbag whilst I played piano and settle popped out.
The track comes off of an upcoming, currently-untitled EP. Can you tell us any more about that, or are you keeping your plans under wraps for now?
What’s your writing process like when working with a vocalist? Is it easier than writing solo material, or less so?
Different every time. Most often it’s a conversation for an hour or two getting to know the person and then noodling around on the piano or sifting through samples trying to find something we both resonate with. The level of ease is usually determined by the relationship with the person, if you click straight away then it’s easy, if your personalities clash it’s much more difficult. Solo material is more comfortable to write for me but often not as rewarding.
As someone who has directed multiple of their own music videos, are you ever thinking about ideas for videos when writing/producing your songs? Have you ever written a song around a particular visual concept?
All the time. The majority of the time I’ve thought of a music video concept before the song is finished, it’s not always the final one but thinking of visuals helps me create more excitement for myself during the process. Staring at a computer screen with the same program open all the time can get pretty numbing after a period.
Music was a part of your life from a very young age. Can you tell us a bit about your musical history and how/why you ended up producing?
My parents insisted I learn how to play the piano from age 5 so I’ve had that backbone for music since then. I really fell in love with music during university playing student gigs with my friends, covering songs that we loved. I ended up producing after we won a competition to record a song at a fancy studio near our college, I hated the way the final product sounded and set out to learn how to do it better myself.
It’s pretty safe to say that your musical upbringing and experiences span across a wide range of genres and style. Do you feel like there’s some sort of stigma around or lack of respect for electronic music?
I personally haven’t encountered any of that in the real-world. I’m sure there’s probably people out there that don’t respect it, in the same way that anything relatively new and hard to understand is generally frowned upon. Music is music no matter how it’s made.
A lot of DJ’s or producers – especially ones who aren’t necessarily making your standard chart-topping EDM – have made themselves stand out in one way or another, whether it be through their sound, persona, live shows, etc. What do you believe are the defining characteristic/s of BAYNK, or what do you want them to be?
I try not to spend time analyzing what makes me, me. Over long periods your tastes come through in your music and you notice patterns and motifs appearing but they’re hard to explain from the position I sit in and are probably best left to the audience to define in their own way.
You’re about to join Dutch producer San Holo on his US tour. How are you feeling about it and what does your preparation for a tour like that usually consist of?
Excited. Any opportunity to get in front of a group of people I haven’t seen before is nerve-racking but exciting. A lot of thinking about what these audiences are going to be like, how the show is going to flow, how to capture and keep interest throughout the show. A lot of stress and most importantly a trip down to CVS to buy every multivitamin in existance to not get sick *am currently experiencing a full on cold in toronto so that obviously didn’t work 🙁
You said in an interview last year that you’re more of a “singles person” rather than an “album person”. Has your view changed at all since then, and would you consider releasing a full-length project some time in the near future?
I’m beginning to warm to the idea of starting to make music with a project in mind instead of making singles and trying to squeeze them into a project. I would definitely consider that. ‘’
Check out a new track from BAYNK ft. Glades ‘Off Limits’ out now!