Kiwi elec­tronic mu­si­cian Baynk is be­com­ing a wanted man in Los An­ge­les.

New Zealand Listener - - CONTENTS - by James Belfield

From Baynk and Kings

You might think a few friendly and fa­mil­iar faces would help when ­set­ting up as a mu­si­cian in a huge city such as Los An­ge­les. But for Jock Now­ell-Usticke, who ­per­forms as Baynk, it’s the dis­com­fort of new ­sur­round­ings that is help­ing to spark his cre­ative en­ergy.

The 24-year-old’s rapid rise from ­Univer­sity of Can­ter­bury chem­i­cal en­gi­neer­ing stu­dent to jet-set­ting mu­sic pro­ducer, via a de­but EP and two US tours in two years, seems to have caught even him by sur­prise.

Just five days into his lat­est LA trip, he’s al­ready had busi­ness meet­ings with Nike and Red Bull, been wooed by

“It makes me su­per un­com­fort­able and I get su­per anx­ious. But it gets me re­sults so I have to go through with it.”

­key­board man­u­fac­tur­ers and com­pleted three record­ing ses­sions – in­clud­ing one with Kacy Hill, a signee to Kanye West’s GOOD Mu­sic la­bel. “It all makes me su­per un­com­fort­able and I get su­per anx­ious about it,” says Now­ell-Usticke, who is orig­i­nally from Have­lock North.

“But it gets me re­sults, so I have to go through with it. I just know that if I’m too com­fort­able I just don’t make any­thing re­ally in­ter­est­ing or fresh so, in­stead, I love putting my­self in a ­sit­u­a­tion with a new per­son know­ing that I have to work some­thing out.

“And that’s the whole thing with be­ing in Los An­ge­les. It cre­ates a vibe of be­ing in a strange place without a lot of friends and find­ing new ex­pe­ri­ences and in­flu­ences that can make a dif­fer­ence to what I write about and the sounds I’m go­ing to make.”

Now­ell-Usticke pro­fesses not to un­der­stand ex­actly how his cre­ative process works. He ad­mits to hav­ing learnt pro­duc­tion through YouTube tu­to­ri­als and e-books, and still turns to on­line self-help to hone his song­writ­ing.

But there’s a pre­ci­sion to Baynk’s ­dance­floor­friendly tunes that rely on cruisy, min­i­mal beats, smooth, soul­ful vo­cals and the odd horn to stand out from the crowd – ­es­pe­cially state­side.

“A lot of their elec­tronic sound here gets wa­tered down and it takes peo­ple from far away, such as New Zealand, to sort of shake the mould a bit,” he says. ­“Def­i­nitely a large part of be­ing able to do what I’ve done is that I’ve ­de­vel­oped away from all of this and not been brought up in this crazy city with mu­sic ev­ery­where.”

All of which has par­al­lels to LA-based Kiwi pro­ducer Joel Lit­tle, who has had chart suc­cess this year with Imag­ine Dragons, Khalid, and his sec­ond out­ing along­side Lorde on Melo­drama.

So it’s no sur­prise that the La-la-land new­bie has al­ready hit him up for ad­vice. “Yes, ac­tu­ally I was at Joel Lit­tle’s house yes­ter­day to ask him some ques­tions and it was amaz­ing to see how he did ev­ery­thing, how he works in the stu­dio and how he builds his re­la­tion­ships with peo­ple like Broods and Lorde and all the artists he’s with now.”

So, the odd fa­mil­iar face does help in LA? “I still re­ally don’t know how it all works and ev­ery time I ask ad­vice I get a dif­fer­ent an­swer. Joel’s got so much great ad­vice to give and that’s the sort of thing that helps you find your own path.”

Baynk ap­pears at Rhythm & Vines, Gis­borne, on De­cem­ber 29 and Laneway, Auck­land, on Jan­uary 29.

Jock Now­ell-Usticke: learnt pro­duc­tion through YouTube

tu­to­ri­als and e-books.

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