In August, North Carolina-raised, Brooklyn-based artist binki was one of our picks for Best New Artists and he only had two songs out. He followed it up with "Sea Sick," and his unique style is starting to become clear. Like many new artists, that style is an eclectic, constantly morphing mish-mash of genres that's impossible to define without making up new words, but it's consistent. What else do you expect from a young artist whose taste in music ranges from Tyler, The Creator and Childish Gambino to Pink Floyd and King Krule?
Today, we're premiering the new music video for his fourth single, "Heybb!" From the outside looking in, binki appears to be the type of artist who's planning out everything down to the details. From the sound to the presentation to the timing of releases (his last single just came out last month), it feels like the rollout of a seasoned professional. According to binki, it's not that complicated: "I really don’t like planning shit," he says. "A lot of the best shit is just improvised. I just feel like the magic comes in the moment."
There may not be a lot of planning involved, but be ready to hear more from binki soon. He's on a roll, and there's a sense of urgency to take advantage of the moment. And for an artist who has only been putting out music for a year, binki's certainly having a moment. See the premiere of the "Heybb!" music video above, and read a short Q&A with binki below.
You mentioned influences like Childish Gambino, Tyler The Creator, and Jamie Foxx, but your music has this kind of vintage, funky feel to it. Where does that come from?
Yeah, definitely a testament to the production for my songs so far. Funk is incredible. I just love the way it makes me feel, the simplicity of it. I really lean towards minimalism with my writing. I try to strip things and just get to the point. But again, it wasn’t necessarily my intention, me and [producer] Chasen kinda just connected in this way for these tracks.
You started out as an actor, right? Do you think you'll ever go back to that? Or like Will Smith and Jamie Foxx do you want to do both music and acting?
Yeah it's strange. I have a bit of imposter syndrome or something regarding my career in music, because I really identified mainly as an actor up until maybe a year ago. I'm still the same but I’m stepping up more, and expanding my artistry. I’m still open to everything in that world. I’m just working on whatever is the most interesting. Right now that’s music.
I really don’t like planning sh*t. I prefer things to have some urgency to them. A lot of the best sh*t is improvised. I just feel like the magic comes in the moment.
Coming from North Carolina, what's living in NYC like? How has that affected your music career?
It’s been a lot of things. NYC was always the dream. I knew I needed to get here, and it would kind of mark the point where I had no more excuses. All the opportunity is here. It kinda felt like do or die. Like I was jumping into a much larger pool and let's see how I do.
That sounds so dramatic—it wasn’t that heavy. It was more exciting, but there’s always doubts. A lot of artists struggle with self-worth. Myself included. It's a lot of rejection. A lot of second-guessing. But it's been helpful going to all these shows. I get to see people I’ve looked up to, in real life, sometimes even getting to meet them. Then they become human.
What can you tell us about the new song/video?
Yeah so this was my first stab at directing, so I took inspiration from a lot of things. Me and my collaborator Lou just made it happen one day. I really don’t like planning shit. I prefer things to have some urgency to them. A lot of the best shit is improvised. I just feel like the magic comes in the moment. If planning and structure is hindering the moment, then you’re better off just dropping it.
What's next for you? Are you working toward an album?
Next is whatever comes next. I’m really just following my instincts as the music comes. These past two singles were written relatively close to each other and it was important for me to just get them out quickly. I’m going to keep following that and I’ll continue to be active going into next year.