Q&A with Red Bull Sound Select Artist Race Banyon

The electronic music scene may already have its fair share of up-and-coming young talent, but Race Banyon, the alias of Wellington, Zealand, teenager Eddie Johnston, has a range of rhythms and textures that set him apart from the rest.

Race Banyon is not only a producer, but also a multi-instrumentalist and vocalist who creates diverse tracks and remixes, which stem from various influences. He was recently chosen by Red Bull Sound Select curators to play during their 30 Days in LA concert series.

He’ll be opening up for Sylvan Esso at The Fonda Theatre on November 3.

FTK: What prompted you to start your project Race Banyon?
Race Banyon: I started it because I wanted to have an outlet to start making electronic music and play it live.

How do you go about selecting the tracks you cover?
I just cover/remix songs that I love! It’s generally that simple.

I’m influenced by a lot of R&B artists like PartyNextDoor and Kehlani, but I also listen to a lot of dance music from artists like Four Tet and Boddika.

What’s it like being a rising talent on the electronic music scene?
It’s OK, but it’s hard to cut through the noise. Any kid with a laptop can make this music.

Most memorable performance thus far?
Playing Laneway Festival in NZ alongside FKA Twigs, Jon Hopkins and others was real special.

Tell us a bit about your remix of Yumi Zouma’s track “Alena”:
I’ve been friends with Yumi Zouma for a while. I tried remixing one of their earlier songs but it never really worked out. I’m stoked that I finally got to work on something with them.

When did you first realize that music was your “thing”? Earliest memory?
Pretty early on … I used to lip sync to boy bands in my room. I was probably around 6 or 7.

Struggles you’ve had to face within the industry?
Dealing with boring old white men who are still the ones who call the shots

If you had to choose, what are the 5 greatest things about growing up in New Zealand?

  1. Living in a calm, quiet city
  2. Being surrounded by beautiful scenery pretty much everywhere you go
  3. Growing up with a sense of isolation, and therefore a stronger drive to get out and see the world
  4. Great chocolate
  5. Great ice cream.

Do you happen to have a spirit animal?
‘Spirit animals’ are a real and important part of Native American religion. I don’t think it’s OK for people to appropriate it as a quirky thing to ask in interviews.

You can watch a 10-minute mini doc about the artist below, or listen to some of his music here.

Image Credit: Rachel Brandon