Oscillating between Afrobeats, Afroswing, R&B and dancehall, London’s Yxng Bane’s music has provided a perfect antidote to the wintry gloom of a lockdown. In particular, his Instagram Lives have been a bright light in the darkness as he connects joyously with his growing, fervent fanbase. His playing unreleased tunes and asking fans for their opinion lead to May’s ‘Quarantime: The Lost Files’, a 14-track mixtape that showcases his abundant creativity and potential.
It’s his first release in almost two years, and provided a breath of fresh during the first lockdown. Since then, Yxng Bane has been busy. Shut inside, he worked on music relentlessly, and tells NME: “I breathe, sleep, eat and make music.”
With new work on the way, starting with new single ‘Cut Me Off’ featuring collective London rap duo D-Block Europe, Yxng Bane is ready to elevate his status from emerging talent to an established one. If the single is anything to go by, we’re in store for more of the Bxne we were first accustomed to and loved.
For NME’s In Conversation series Yxng Bane joined us to discuss his new single, his anticipated debut album and why it was important for him to take time off to enjoy his success.
New single ‘Cut Me Off’ was recorded far from home
With a global sound that pulls from disparate strands across the world, it’s only natural Yxng Bane would look for collaborations around the world. His latest single ‘Cut Me Off’ was recorded in Toronto. When Yxng Bane was in town for two weeks, his pals 88GLAM showed him around the city, before Bane ended up recording ‘Cut Off’ at the Grindz studio with prolific producer DZL (Future, 6lack and Miguel). “I’ve recorded in different countries and felt different vibes, and what I got in Canada was a great vibe,” he says of the experience.
We shouldn’t worry when he goes off-grid
Since taking a break between projects, rumours swirled of what Yxng Bane was up to; but while fans gossiped, Bane was, well, just enjoying his success: “I’m a young boy, let me enjoy it a little bit! Being from where I am, and attaining the level of success I did at that young age… there are times where you just need to chill. There are times where you need to look around you and realise where you’re really at, and realise that nothing changes you’re still the same you.
“Don’t ever feel like when Baney’s quiet something was wrong or anything. When I go quiet that means it’s extra good, I’m enjoying it!”
There’s a debut album coming
After a quiet time enjoying his successes, the highly-anticipated debut album by Yxng Bane seems to be on its way. Though he revealing that it is coming, he remains coy about its release date and any guest features. He shied away from confirming or denying if any Canadian artists – like Drake or The Weekend – would be on the album, but considering the time he spent he spent in Toronto and Montreal, we could expect some Canadian artists to appear. And considering Bane’s propensity to surprise his fans, there can be a lot more features on there which we can only hope square with his dream collaborations.
Even he was surprised at how quickly he came up
“There are no ceilings,” Yxng Bane insists. “That’s the mentality you have in life.” Having started to make music four years ago, Bane acquired rapid success early on in his career. There have been hit singles (2017’s ‘Bestie’ with Yungen; 2018’s ‘Answerphone’ with Ella Eyre), sell-out shows and even a spell modelling on London fashion runaways. His trajectory has been nonstop.
Bane admits he didn’t expect his success to come so quickly: “I never imagined it to be this fast; but no matter what I do, I’ll always give 100 per cent otherwise it’s not worth doing,”
His early musical experiences shaped him as an artist
Bane’s dad put him in piano lessons when he was, erm, yxng, and he grew up in a musical household. “I guess that where’s I learnt my sensitivity to certain songs and certain types of music,” he says. “My dad would listen to Boys II Men, The Isley Brothers and really old school R&B, whereas the first album I bought was 50 Cent‘s ‘Get Rich or Die Tryin’.
“I guess the fact I’ve always been around music and always loved it – and even being African and always hearing African music – has played a part in how sometimes I can go to the studio and make an Afrobeats-influenced tune.”