Banx & Ranx On Hitting 2 Billion Streams: 'Those Trophies Look Great on Walls, But It’s Not the End Goal'

"We’ve worked hard on having an identifiable sound that’s ours," the powerhouse Montreal production duo says.

Neil Mota

Montreal duo Banx & Ranx made it big outside of their home country first when they dropped the UK smash hit “Answerphone” in 2018 with Ella Eyre and Yxng Bane.

Nowadays, they’re fully invested in Montreal and Canada, with their own imprint 31 East and Universal Music Canada. Their latest is “The Birds,” a collaboration with rapper Zach Zoya about the walk of shame after a wild night out.

Like a lot of what Banx & Ranx does, the song is tailor made for the summer. The pair, Zacharie “Soké” Raymond and Yannick “KNY Factory” Rastogi, have been blending reggae, soca, and dancehall music with pop elements for some time, and their music always seems to find more ears in the summer.

For a Canadian production team, the numbers are impressive: over 2 billion streams and over 1 billion YouTube views globally. They also won a Juno, and got Grammy and Latin Grammy Award nominations.

Complex Canada caught up with the Banx & Ranx to talk “The Birds,” what makes a summer hit, and becoming family with Sean Paul.

Tell me about new single “The Birds.”
KNY Factory: We wrote it in 2018.

Soké: We had some great writers on it: Linnea Sodahl, Iain James, Jacob Manson. We had the song, but we weren’t sure about the production. We flipped it into a funky, reggae vibe.

KNY: We pitched that song to so many places, even the acoustic version. Then our A&R guy at Universal said it was ‘our song,’ and to flip it in a way that makes sense for us.

S: But we didn't have an artist to drive the song.

KNY: We worked with Zach numerous times before, he’s a good friend of ours and a great songwriter on his own. It fit the record completely, but we weren’t sure at first. He brought a soul to the record. It was a pop record at first, but he brought it to life. It’s a song about partying and not wanting the night to end, but then the sun comes up the next day and the birds are singing. That’s your wake up call. It’s a walk of shame. We’ve got something else pretty big coming with him, not too sure yet when.

How would you describe the Banx & Ranx sound?
S: The core of the sound is electro caribbean music—ECN—and we both have a common vision of mixing Caribbean music and electronic music to create a different kind of mix. That's all trap, dancehall, even house music, and just blending with caribbean sounds, reggae roots, and even soca and reggaeton. We’re just making a big melting pot out of that, but then expanded into pop music, hip-hop, and even rock.

KNY: Banx & Ranx as singles, “The Birds” is where we’re going with the reggae sounds and the pop sounds. It’s something we’ve been doing naturally for the last 10 years, and it’s in the DNA of everything we do.

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S: We’ve worked hard on having an identifiable sound that’s ours.

KNY: It was originally defined by a genre, but we get bored easily. We couldn’t just do one thing all day long.

S: When we were learning about the craft, we had to go purist with every genre to truly understand it, and now we’re more open.

KNY: We want to create music with no fences or limits. Art can be anything you want, and that’s how we see it.

What makes a good summer anthem?
KNY: Something you can dance to, definitely. It’s all about the topline, it’s all about the melody. You’re probably not releasing a piano ballad during the summer.

S: You have to picture yourself blasting it in a convertible on the way to the beach.

KNY: It’s something to create memories.

S: It’s tied to memories. You can listen to the song and instantly be transported back to that place and time.

KNY: You can feel what you were doing in that moment. I remember when Kendrick Lamar released “Swimming Pools,” and that dark drone sound at the beginning. I had a really wild night out that took me days to recover, and every time I listen to that record, it takes me back to that night in 2012.


Montreal duo Banx & Ranx get taken back whenever they listen to Kendrick Lamar's "Swimming Pools." New single "The Birds" with Zach Zoya out now. #banxnranx #banxandranx #zachzoya #montrealtiktok #complexcanada #kendricklamar #tbt

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What does it mean to you to hit two billion streams?
S: We’re grateful. It’s confirmation you’re doing the right thing.

KNY: Everything is a milestone, and you’re always looking at what’s next. You’re happy, but you’re looking more at the journey, which has been so great so far.

S: You can’t get too attached to results. We have some songs we love so much that don’t hit the same level, it’s out of our hands.

KNY: Those trophies look great on walls, but it’s not the end goal.

Why is it so important for you to work with and build up Canadian artists?
S: We were based in the UK for so many years, and we gained so much knowledge there. That’s where we started our careers, and we came back, bringing back all that knowledge because there’s so much raw talent here. There’s a French expression that basically says ‘no one profits in their own country,’ and we want to break that stereotype. We can make an impact in Canada and Montreal.

KNY: We were inspired by what’s happening in Stockholm with Max Martin. It’s the capital of the pop world, and still relevant to this day. If we can create that template in Montreal for the world, that would be goals.


Montreal's @banxnranx give us their favourite poutine spots in their hometown. "If it doesn't squeak, it ain't it." #poutine #poutineday #montreal #mtltiktok #banxnranx #mtlmusic #canadianfood #labelleprovince #labanquise #poutineville #quebec

♬ original sound - Complex Canada

What's it been like working closely with Sean Paul?
KNY: We’ve been a few times to Jamaica to work with him. He’s like family now.

S: Every time we work with him, we build a bit more. Now we’ve met his mom, his wife, his kids. We’ve stayed at his place. He’s family. We feel at home and we feel welcome.

KNY: Since 2016 this relationship has been going on. Sean is such a loyal person. In this industry, with the level of success he’s had, he could totally be arrogant—he’s Sean Paul—but he has the same core team since the beginning.

S: He was such an important inspiration for us when we were growing up.

KNY: The first CD player I ever had, I played Dutty Rock. We respect him so much. In our career, when no one gave us a chance, he liked what we were doing and didn’t care that we were nobodies. We’re trying to respect the codes of the music we do, and really understand it before we do anything.

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What lessons have you learned from Sean Paul?
S: You gotta be quick and efficient. We’d do three rhythms, he’d choose the ones he likes, get warmed up, and spit the lines right there in the booth. It’s an interesting method.

KNY: He’s a true creator. He’s always impressive. He can really sing. A good drummer too, so he knows what he wants, and he’s very specific.

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