“You born in April?” Having turned up wearing the exact same outfit — except I’ve left my surgical mask at home — Just Banco is checking whether or not we’re twins. It turns out we aren’t, and needless to say, I don’t make camo print pants look quite as cool. Nor have I mastered “Trapanese”.
I’d heard Trapanese described as rap with Asian influences, but Banco tells me the genre can’t really be decoded with words at all. “It’s a lifestyle, you have to live it. It’s how you talk, what you wear… the swag’s got to be dripping.” As well as its distinctive aesthetic, he’s independently cultivated the movement’s experimental sound. “Every noise, every song I look at as a piece of art. It’s crazy scientist type shit.”
It goes without saying that the 24 year old diverges from the current archetype of UK rap, which he confirms is very much on purpose: “I make a point to look separate from everything else,” he explains. “I stay away from the channels and directors everyone uses.” Sure enough, the video for his most recent track “Ashleigh” was co-directed by The 1975’s frontman and fellow Mancunian, Matty Healy. A case of that famous Manchester pride? “Yeah, come on!”
Manchester’s gifted Banco endless hallmarks to decorate his music with; the idiosyncrasies of its culture, dialect and slang all inform his writing process. “People from London won’t even understand some of the words I’ve said,” he laughs, “but to me, that’s just how I speak.” And although there’s nothing more fashionable in 2018 than staunch hometown pride, Banco’s risen to the top of the ranks, repping 0161 with his ingenuous approach.
Having released his debut video just last summer, what’s been a meteoric year recently culminated in a coveted main stage slot at London’s Wireless Festival. But despite the hype, Banco still seems like a pretty humble guy from up North. “Wireless was mad,” he exhales. “I’ve never seen that many people in general. To be performing to them was ballistic.” He pauses to deliberate the next mosh he’d like to incite. “I wouldn’t mind fucking up Coachella, you know.”
With an EP — or, as Banco humbly puts it: “10 tracks of absolute excellence” — and a tour lined up before the end of the year, Trapanese is on track to go global, exactly as planned. “I want world domination. I’m coming for everyone, nobody’s safe.” Duck and cover, Just Banco’s incoming.
Taken from our Autumn 2018 issue; out now and available to buy here.