Manchester’s Just Banco Talks His Journey Thus Far, His Latest Single “Bisto” & More

Elle Evans

By Elle Evans

Elle Evans

24 Sep 2021

Let’s get into the nitty gritty. Is being “underrated” a legitimate concept or is it just down to a lack of exposure to a wider audience? If there’s one artist who’s name always crops up, it’s Just Banco. Hailing from the Northern hot-spot Manchester, the hotly-tipped artist over the years has become a reputable force to be reckoned with. From gaining recognition after his debut release several years back, Just Banco has since carved out a lane of his own that has seen him accumulate a cult-like support system with tracks including “Ahh Damn”, “Sweet Like Sorbet”, and more.

Following a brief hiatus as we being to step into some form of normality, Just Banco made his highly awaited return earlier this year and is showing no signs of slowing down! Fully independent and raring to go, he has gifted supporters with three quality drops, from “HARLEY QUINN”, to the “HAYFEVER FREESTYLE”, and his more recent drop “Bisto”, could Just Banco be warming us up for a forthcoming project? *inserts eye emoji*

Amidst “the last four days of summer” we were recently acquainted with, Mixtape Madness got the chance to catch up with Just Banco over Zoom for a quick chat about his journey thus far, his latest “Bisto” drop, and more. Tap in below to see what he had to say!

How have you found the past 18 months now we’re beginning to step back into some form of normality?

It was kinda dead you know. I was just trying to figure out what to do when it came to dropping music, I was in a bit of a weird void figuring out whether it was worth it or not. Halfway through the pandemic we just had to crack on but at the start it was annoying! I make tunes when I want to, I control everything I do, Covid didn’t matter.

Talk me through your upbringing and how you were introduced to music?

I wasn’t the best behaved, but it was alright! I listened to a lot of music growing up. You know how some people liked football, I liked music, not making it just listening to it. Everything from 50 Cent, The Game, Jay-Z, Snoop Dog and Missy Elliott. I never used to like the music my mum listened to but now I’m older I do really like it.

At which point did you start writing bars?

I used to write bars when I was around 12 in Year 7, they were so dead! *laughs* I wasn’t an artist, I just had dead bars – everyone did! If you were around the guys that had studio access – not even a real studio, I mean a man with a mic in his room – that’s all we needed. I wasn’t even good, I just had bars for the sake of it, just to join in on the fun.

What artists, if any, have helped to shape your sound over the years?

I’ll be real, I used to answer this question with a list of artists but it’s all cap! I just went to the studio and tried to create something. People used to say I sounded like certain people, but I wouldn’t even listen to them, so it was just a coincidence. I just tried a thing in my voice to see what it would come out like, there’s no direct influence. I influence me, init! Life sh*t you can talk about! *laughs*

When did you decide to start taking music seriously?

I dropped my first tune called “Can’t Stay” and Jamal Edwards from SBTV hit me up and wanted to manage me. I thought “Rah, f*ckin ell’. I’ve dropped one tune and my man from SBTV wants to manage man already!”, I dropped my second tune and I got straight into a deal. I was thrown into the deep end from that. It all happened so fast, I didn’t really get a chance to decided if I wanted to do music, but it was too late I was already in it!

You just said you were signed to a deal, are you independent now?

Yeah, of course! I’d be open to another deal but I’m not one of these guys that will jump into it because it’s a label. It has to make sense! I don’t want to sign a stupid deal; I’ve been in one already. Luckily, I was in and out pretty quickly because I’m a g like that but for other people it’s not that easy! Furthermore, labels can slow down the release process, if you want to drop a track and you’re talking to a label it can postpone your release. I’m not in a position where I can be doing that because I’ve not been dropping for a while, so I have no time to be waiting!

What were you doing in your time away?

Just living! It’s not like I had a hiatus from earth, I was still on earth I just wasn’t dropping tunes! Im still in the studio and cooking up, I know when something’s sh*t, if I don’t like it, it’s not coming out.

You’ve paved a lane of your own, even down to your flow and all-round sound and this is something you’re known for! How would you go about describing your sound?

I call it Northern Trap with pain in it – I don’t even know what the f*ck it is! *laughs* It’s just hard! Better than everyone else, I said what I said. Man can learn, if they watch my videos and take in my bars, you can learn the formula, that’s all I’m saying!

You’ve dropped several tracks this year! Talk me through your latest track “Bisto”. How did this one come about?

I was just in the studio high… *laughs* Nah, do you know how it started really? I put a picture on Instagram time ago with the hook as the caption. It wasn’t a song, I literally just put it there and people were commenting on the picture asking me to make it into a song. I just went to the studio months later and made it into one.

One thing I’ve noticed about your music is that you don’t tend to do a lot of features! Why is this?

I’ve got one feature! I work better alone and no one is even levels like that so I’m not really bothered. I don’t rate man like that! The guys that I do rate, we’ve not done any tunes so they mustn’t rate me, or I’m not a level where they think it would be beneficial for us to do a tune.

I’ve also noticed that under a few of your videos that people like to refer to you as “underrated”. How do you feel about this? Do you agree with them, or does it bother you?

I would rather be “overrated” than “underrated” I can’t lie. It’s still a compliment and I can’t dislike it; however, I do want to change that narrative. Who wants to be underrated?

What’s your creative process like? I know you said you like to work on your own…

Sometimes it’s just me, my notes, and my bars. I won’t smoke weed all the time because I’ll get too high and forget what I needed to. More time, me, water, and my notes is all I need. Sometimes I will go the studio and freestyle the whole thing. For most tunes I just get yacked up. All the sober thoughts give you a sober sounding tune, who wants that? If I f*ck with a producer, that’s the only producer I will use that year. When I made “Sweet Like Sorbet”, it was mainly me and Maniac that whole year, this year it’s Midi Millz.

What are your current thoughts on the UK scene as it stands?

It’s on it’s arse, let’s be honest! There are a couple good guys don’t get me wrong. More than anything, I’m happy man are making life changing money. We can chat to some of the American’s which I like, but if we’re just talking about the talent, it’s not in a great place. However, music is subjective so you can’t tell someone what they like and don’t like.

What else can we expect to see from you this year?

More tunes, more slaps! We’re near the end of the year though, I’m giving you all a little Autumn pain but it’s January when we’re coming with the slaps!

Keep up to date with all things Just Banco via his Instagram here. Keep an eye out for his clothing line PAKALAN here.