Binki | Live at the Roxy

Charm, energy, and rhythm all in one performance

Written by

Cerys Davies

Photographed by

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Styled by

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Sunset Boulevard isn’t its usual lively self. The Roxy’s neighboring restaurants and bars are slowly emptying out as the Happy Hour crowd begins to dissipate. A mid-July Wednesday night seems to be coming to a close, but the crowd within The Roxy begs to differ. The emptiness of the Boulevard More and more people continue to pour into the intimate venue all waiting to see Binki perform his fast paced, funk-based tracks.

In dark shades and a beanie, he appears and grips the mic stand with two fists and begins to bounce while belting the often repetitive, yet witty phrases that make up his lyricism. The crowd bounces with him, hitting every ebb and flow of his punchy guitar chords. These high spirits never left the stage nor the pit of the Roxy. 

When listening to his recorded catalog, his vocals are pungent, smooth and are constantly walking the line between singing and speaking. The quality of his voice, even throughout his performance, lives up to the same expectations of his recorded vocals. From engaging the crowd with his signature “hey hey”’s to never abandoning an ounce of energy, Binki has executed a formula for success when performing. We speak with Binki about his ongoing tour and relationship to music.

There's definitely a sense of change between "MOTOR FUNCTION" and "Antennae." How do you feel you've developed as an artist in between these releases?

I think for a while I felt like anything good I made was like a fluke. I had a bit of imposter syndrome. Now I think just after putting in more hours and collecting more experiences, I feel more validated, for better or worse. I feel like I understand my process more and it’s not so mysterious. There are things I can control and there are things I can’t, and I’m cool with that. I feel less frantic, more or less. 

Your songs often tell stories of love and offer a sense of vulnerability in an unexpected way. How do you find the balance between being vulnerable and being playful with your sound?

Yeah, I think the vulnerability and levity is just kinda a taste thing. I think as writers, we emulate the things we like to see as fans. I do write a lot about love, mainly because I think songs ought to be high stakes and love is sort of what we’re all after at the end of the day. It’s very democratic I’d say, love.

Making music can be an arduous process. How does it feel to put so much effort and care into making music, knowing that it will eventually be heard by a wider audience? 

Yeah, it can be very taxing but I don’t know. I’ve got a really high tolerance for humiliation. You just have to be comfortable with who you are and then you have the freedom to say whatever. It’s just words, they don’t define you. Even thoughts don’t define you. So, ultimately it’s not that serious.

Do you ever feel like you want to save some tracks just for yourself?

I only want to save tracks for myself if I think they’re bad.

LA is about halfway through your tour, what has been the most valuable or memorable experience so far?

Our van broke down in the middle of the desert leaving Texas. Luckily we made it to this shady gas station. The inside area was closed off and we had a limited water supply. It just felt like an adventure, like “Little Miss Sunshine.” There were these cats living in the area, it felt like an oasis. 

Getting on stage in front of a crowd every night can be a lot. How do you find yourself staying present on and off stage? 

I think performing is really a reflection of how I’m feeling personally that day. I just try to take care of myself on the day and do my best to not worry too much or over analyze afterwards. For a while, it was this really fun thing I got to do every once in a while, and it had this novelty to it. Now on tour, it’s impossible to bring the same excitement to every show, but I do think the fans make it special. Seeing them out there truly does give you energy and there’s a renewal. I can enjoy this thing I’ve done a hundred times like it was my first time.

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Binki, The Roxy, Cerys Davies