Talking wrestling, G-Unit high-tops and his latest mixtape, Paras Sehmar caught up with East London’s very own Yxng Bane.
Following the release of genre bending mixtape, HBK and it’s accompanying short film, The Prequel, Yxng Bane has been amongst the UK scene’s busiest talents. Currently on a nationwide tour, the young artist has collaborated with Timberland on their most recent Celebrate The Icons campaign, as well as designing his very own Timberland boot. Yxng Bane is an original artist full of passion and drive seeking to forge his own unique path into the forefront of the British music scene, mixing genres and experimenting with sounds and styles, and so far it’s working.
We caught up with the East London rapper to find out a little more about him, his new mixtape and his collaboration with boot brand Timberland.
Who Were Your main musical influences when you were growing up?
I grew up in a musical household, my dad was in a choir, so there was always ghospel music playing, but I was always playing some heavy RnB: R Kelly, Boys II Men and even some Isley Brothers too. But the first album I ever bought was 50 cent ‘Get Rich or Die Trying’. So there was always music playing around the house, but my biggest influences came from a lot of African music I was listening too back then, RnB legends like 50 Cent who I was listening to back then, even the UK Grime scene back then.
I know you mentioned, 50 Cent as one of your influences from back in the day, I remember when I begged my parents to get me the G-Unit Hightops…
Oh my days! the Reebok high tops, I remember them and the Bulletproof game too.
Which of your favourite childhood artist most influenced your style?
Why is that?
Chris Brown was someone I really listened to a lot when I was younger, he was sick, the way he moved his voice he was just the whole thing.
“I would describe my expectations going into the project being: unpredictable and authentic, and that is how I would describe myself.”
I’ve seen your merch tees and they have Shawn Michaels AKA. The Heartbreak Kid on the front, is there any link there between Shawn Michaels and the naming of your mixtape HBK?
No not at all, I was a huge wrestling fan. I remember collecting the toys and figurines as well watching it every weekend, it wasn’t just the toys I remember I’d get the ring and the cage as well.
When I listen to your mixtape I get a sense of nostalgia coming through, from the artwork to the lyrics, what did you want to convey with the HBK project?
I don’t know really, I want the listener to take away from the project whatever they feel, if you know what I mean, during the time of creation I just went into the studio with the main objective of expressing myself and honestly, I just wanted it to be authentic, so I’m very happy that the public can relate to my mixtape. I would describe my expectations going into the project being: unpredictable and authentic, and that is how I would describe myself.
So, when you go into the studio, do you have a preconceived idea in your head about what you want to create?
Not at all, When I go into the studio I aim to go into the studio open minded, because you could be going into the studio with a producer that it’s your first time meeting, or you could be going into the studio and it’s your first time hearing the instrumental, so you’ve got to be dynamic in the way you look at it. I tend to go into the studio open minded letting the instrumental align with a memory, a place a feeling or anything really.
You are obviously midway through touring at the moment, are you recording also? If so, whilst you’re on the road, what is your process for converting an idea into a track?
When we are touring we have all our recording and producing equipment with us on the road at the same time, so we record as and when we get ideas or anything we’re just making sure everything is natural and more importantly we’re not forcing it, just keeping it natural.
How was it working on the short film ‘The Prequal’ which was released with HBK? And what were you trying to portray with it?
The short film was an amazing experience stepping out into something new and experiencing being an actor, it was my second time acting, with the story being written by G Frsh and it was an opportunity Directed by the very talented Esrael Alem, it was like something that I really was interested in, and something that I really wanted to test the boundaries of. In terms of the story that we wanted to portray, it was sort of like the Brotherhood. I wanted it to highlight, you know the simple things, like how they are playing football together, because a lot of people nowadays see the image of a group of boys chilling together as linked with aggression. Also, if you look at how boys teach each other life lessons, for example in the movie when Gerome crosses the road he says ‘that’s not a young’un don’t talk to a girl like that, that’s not how you talk to a lady, and the next time you’re not to speak to a lady like that’, so basically I wanted to show the honest truth- because out here every day not everything is always big and crazy so I wanted to shine a light on the little things, more like the real world.
So did the prequel run side by side with you creating the HBK mixtape? 4:31
The mixtape was done way way before the story for The Prequel was written, despite a few of the HBK [then] tracks dropped in it.
“keep pushing yourself and your limits and keep testing things, and if you can believe than that fire and the belief will be the perfect recipe.”
How was it working on the #celebratetheicons Timberland campaign, with your recent Slip N Slide music Video?
It was an amazing, the guys at Timberland were incredible, very friendly, very open. We were able to collaborate and get creative together as a team, from the basics, of us coming together to create a music video, to collaborating with them to create my very own boot. It’s definitely been an incredible experience working with a brand that has had such rich hip-hop history, so the project came from an authentic original place.
2018 has been a bit of a crazy year for you, how has it been creating a mixtape whilst dealing with the pressures of touring?
With me, I just take it day by day and we’ll see how it goes. You know I’m just touring, making music and expressing myself through my experiences. That’s why the project was just me being me, in the back of my mind yes, I had the people in the back of my head who I knew and what they expected from me and the mixtape. But yeah in perfect timing HBK came along.
With your roots starting as a Soundcloud artist working your way up, If you had one tip to any aspiring artists today what would it be?
Nobody knows yourself better than yourself, so just keep pushing yourself and your limits and keep testing things, and if you can believe than that fire and the belief will be the perfect recipe.