Thursday, June 9, 2016

Featured Artist Interview: Annie Bananie

Featured Arist Interview - Annie Bananie
Annie Bananie is a musician who plays in Domestic Drone and her solo project Evasive Flowers. She is a rare breed who is comfortable being completely upfront with the darkest parts of herself - quick to give a sardonic grin while talking about death and sadness. Her commitment to honestly sharing herself and her depression shine through in a mixture of beautifully raw and emotive songwriting. To be sure she possesses one of the strongest and most gorgeous voices I've personally ever heard.


AT: Tell me a bit about what you're currently working on.
AB:I started doing my solo project, Evasive Flowers, a few years ago which is all just me doing vocal loops - then I was invited to do some work with Domestic Drone by Matt Clagg who is also the drummer for Mystery Blood, Blood Tide and Tantric Shakes - he has done so much for this community. All of my bandmates are such incredibly talented and adorable people. It took a while for me to actually get over there because I didn't realize when he asked me to come sing on a song that he was inviting me to join the band. They're amazing and were my favorite instrumental band before I joined it and added vocals. So it didn't even occur to me for a while that I was being invited to actually do that with them.

AT: Has being in Domestic Drone changed the way you write music?
AB: When I write for Domestic Drone verses Evasive Flowers it is different. With Domestic Drone I'm immersed in all the different frequencies of everyone around me and what everyone else is doing - so I'm writing off what they're doing. Whereas with my own project - whether I write the lyrics first or start with the vocal loops - it all comes from me. So they're different because I'm going off what they're doing and I write based off what they're making. It's a wider range of sounds - I don't have a lot of bass like they do.- Which is changing because I've gotten better equipment.

AT:How is Domestic Drone different from Evasive Flowers for you personally?
AB:I have more fun with Domestic Drone. It is more fun to be in a room full of people who're all doing the
Domestic Drone at Barleycorn's
darkest shit ever and then we're all giggling in between. When I'm working on my own shit I'm surrounded by my own loops and my own sadness and  half the time I'm just - crying while I'm writing or singing - It's easier to laugh at yourself and have to a good time when you're with other people and making things with other people - whereas you're by yourself you just, you know, wallow. I wouldn't say that I like one more than the other, they're both about suffering and I like suffering!
Around this time last year Toby went to China and I focused more on Evasive Flowers, but as soon as Toby got back though, I was like alright - this is your center, this is your purpose. I missed it so much - it's funny - I don't know how I got along before being in that band. Even though band practice is only once a week it keeps me afloat and it's such as great source of positivity. They're all so fucking talented and I'm honored to work with them. It gives me - I don't know how to describe it - it makes me feel like I am the musician that I want to be, and I must be otherwise why would these amazing people give me the time of day? That's not a feeling I can get by myself. I don't know that writing makes me feel any better, but having to go outside and into the world because I created these tasks for myself.

AT: What inspired you to work with sound loops and vocalizations - your music isn't something that I see a large amount of women in Wichita doing.
AB: My influences are woman who make music, who are progressive and have a sort of indie vibe - Grimes, Bat for Lashes, Tori Amos. So, what I hear in my head and I try to make my solo work representative of are in that same tone - but the medium I work in, pedals and vocal loops are not what a whole lot of other women in Wichita are doing. They're not in the same scene, they're singer/songwriters as well, but they work in a different medium.

Annie Bananie
AT: Being a female in a scene that's mainly dominated by men have you ever gotten any shade for that?
AB: It's an issue in the same way that it's an issue to be a woman. It's an issue in the same way that people call Living Ghost hip hop because it's a black man doing something that is solo but is so far from hip hop that it's ridiculous. The most annoying thing I've ever been called was a one woman band - I'm a solo artist - I don't have a bunch of pulleys and I'm not, like banging a drum while playing harmonica or what the fuck ever. I can't play guitar - and I find it offensive to people who ARE one person shows. Like I use an ironing board, it's really a utilitarian table and sometimes I play shows on the floor because I've forgotten it - which you can't do with a band - it's weird. So I bring my ironing board and I'll get like 'Oh what's up little missy, you gonna iron my shirts?' and shit like that.

AT: I would punch. I would seriously throat punch if someone said that to me.
AB: My general response is 'music is women's work as well'. You gotta laugh at it!
AT: That should be on a tee shirt. I would buy that tee shirt!

AT: Is Evasive Flowers more personal than your work with Domestic Drone?
AB: I wrote this song about a guy and I had only played it about three times, but I was like - god dammit I don't know if I'm ever going to see you again you're going to hear this! So I brought him to a show and then I just completely just fell apart on stage - I got the loops out just fine but then I was crying while singing the lyrics - it was amazing - but I have to perform things for awhile to get them out, not because I don't have them right but because if someone is there to throw me off kilter - and someone often is - then I'm just going to do the worst job because I'm going to be that upset about sharing it with this person who I care about and am intending to impress.

AT: So with that is your music then a cathartic avenue or is it your naturally emotive state?
AB:  When I was younger, like 24 or 25, my mom would say to me 'Annie, you're an artist and you're not making anything and that's why you're crazy.' So I know that making music helps me and I finally feel like I have a purpose - not to make money or to start a family or anything like that - it's just about getting songs out. Creating a new song and feeling accomplished, having a good band practice, getting out of the house because you have a show - I show up to shows even when I'm sick or am wanting to kill myself. It's like, do you go to work or do you kill yourself? Well I don't want to disappoint people so, I can do the death thing later! I said I'd be at this show, so that's what I'm going to do. My word is my bond, so I have to show up. You're accountable to more than just yourself when you're in a band or have set up a show.

Interview with Evasive FlowersAT:What's been going on lately? I saw that hilariously dark screen shot on Facebook about boys not liking you and it cracked me up, but damn! Shit was dark!You're one of the few people that I see who is very upfront about your depression on social media without any vaugebooking or whatever it's called - and it's actually super nice!
AB: Ha! Thank you! I actually just heard that term recently, someone said to me 'I can't tell if you're vaugebooking about me' and I was like, 'girl if it were about you, you'd know. You'd be tagged in this post!'
I feel like I'm feeling right now mainly because I'm not recording. I feel like my whole life has been an emotive state, especially the last year, but I've always been an open person - you'll never get an 'I'm fine' out of me unless I mean it. I am releasing Ice Queen on a tape- so that's good. Kyle Cramb released it like a year ago online, but those songs are so far from anything that I'm doing now. I'm so ready to record - I guess I have about 20 unrecorded songs - so I'm kind of frustrated with myself about that. It's been a really, really rough year. I was seeing someone who I was very, very in love with and it didn't work out. So the songs that I write for Evasive Flowers now are about moving on, letting go, and progressing. This last year will -the heart break - will always be something that affects me. Just like everything other thing that's been hard that I've ever been through it's all making my music better.

AT:What has this past year been like for you?
AB:I look back - Facebook memories -I've always posted on there super actively and when I feel like 'I've never been this sad before' and then I'll see a post from 2013 about just the same sentiment and I'm like 'Okay, bitch you are depressed and it's not because of this breakup - it's you. It's who you are.' I feel like every time I've gotten my heart broken it's been worse than the last time. My friend Travis has said as you love more your ability to love increases and so it hurts more every time it doesn't work out because your capacity for love is greater - and that feels true.

AT:Have you ever thought about being on medication?
AB:I took Prozac during high school for a few months and I couldn't write. I've written poetry since I was 12 - and everything I wrote while on medication was just shit, so for me it's not an option. I didn't like it, I wasn't any less sad, the sun didn't shine any brighter - I was numb and there are more fun ways to feel numb if that's what you're going for. I would never tell anyone not to take medication, but for me any kind of medication slows my process in healing, where as making music speeds it up - sometimes to rates that can be uncomfortable at times.

I feel bad for people that love me and are in love with me, having to see me you know, just bawling and them thinking it's their fault. It's hard to explain to someone 'no baby, it's not you, I'm going through this thing because it's me.' So I'm very open in relationships about it, I'm not going to be in love with someone and let them think that they're the reason that I'm ultimately sad. I think it's harder for them though because I'm used to it. I feel like lovers struggle with it because they feel like they can't make me happy, but they do make me actually very happy when I am able to feel that.

AT: What do you think has been your biggest realization related to playing music?
AB: Being in plays, active in theater, choir - I was always trying to get a band together too when I was younger - but if I had I wouldn't have been forced to work out these songs on a loop pedal. I really like that I can make entire songs all by myself. I know that I'm not the first person to do it, but when I make what I make it's my shit and that's why I do it. I have people send me videos - one of my favorites is Arianna Grande covering Imogen Heaps' Just for now' - I'm pretty sure the original is all vocal loops - then Arianna Grande does it on her little loop station and even though those two songs are the same song, with the same methods -they sound completely different.

AT: We're all unique fucking snowflakes
AB: We are also the same decaying organic matter as everything else.
AT: I knew you were gonna take it there!
AB: Ha sorry! You said Fight Club, I said Fight Club.



Keep up with Annie via social media - Domestic Drone and Evasive Flowers  and follow her on SoundCloud - also check out Vegan Wednesday at R Coffee where Annie makes tasty vegan meals. (Next Wednesday she's promised a sassy and fresh mushroom dish! "Go Vegan and stop killing everything!") Let Annie and I know in the comments if you have any questions - I don't know if she'll give up her recipe for Vegan fettuccine Alfredo, but you can ask!









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