Name: Magali Banga Bareyt aka Banga aka Petit Piment
Occupation: Producer, DJ
Recent release: Banga's Latitude 0° 0′ 0″ is out via lavibe.
Recommendations: I watched the Disney/Pixar movie Soul with my little brother and sister and I really loved the scenes were the jazzman is playing vibing and he gets in a place out of space where that’s just his holly inspiration zone. Also make sure to check out Pongo’s album Sakidila, the queen of Kuduro metamorphosis
If you enjoyed this interview with Banga and would like to find out more, visit her on Facebook, and Instagram.
When did you start writing/producing/playing music and what or who were your early passions and influences? What was it about music and/or sound that drew you to it?
I started music with piano lessons around 7 years old, I did a bit of guitar in Nigeria too, tried ballet but quit for soccer. (laughs) l was good at running, too.
My mom was a huge influence in my music culture she use to give African dance classes, she was singing in a Rock band and later she joined a gospel choir. My grandfather use to sing in a disco band in Gabon, at home we used to collect CDs so I guess music was part of my daily life since an early age
Some people experience intense emotion when listening to music, others see colours or shapes. What is your own listening experience like and how does it influence your approach to music?
I think emotions are the main driver of my listening experience. Since a young age I understood I was sensitive to them and I had instinctively to find ways to channel them. I had good grades at art and sports cause that was helping me a lot.
I find echos of my emotions in music and it feels like healing. I believe it helps me to balance deep emotions. I think that’s how I create too, for me music is a strong remedy that can help you heal yourself and others
How would you describe your development as an artist in terms of interests and challenges, searching for a personal voice, as well as breakthroughs?
I feel like a few years ago when I was playing afro electronic music in France, Neo Baile, it was still hard for some promoters and crowd to understand. I was auditioning to play on a national radio weekly but didn’t pass the test cause they thought my music was too raw. I was frequently asked to “play smoother” which I always declined, canceled a lot of gigs. But hopefully things are switching after Covid and black live matters.
I guess the Internet also helped in terms of familiarising people with the type of sounds I play. So, yeah, parties are way more open to it now and the local scene and support bounds between artists have become tighter.
Tell me a bit about your sense of identity and how it influences both your preferences as a listener and your creativity as an artist, please.
As a mixed person who grew up in different places, my notions of identity are really scattered around the places that have made the person that I am today.
I lived in Nigeria at the time of P Square and 2 Face. I was listening to a lot of hiphop at that time too, then moved around and lived in Angola where my teenage years were all about chasing hits through street CDs. I learnt about Brazilian Funk and Kuduro at that same time, while electronic music was something big in Europe with groups like Buraka Som Sistema.
I feel like since I started going out these have remained the main type of music I enjoy dancing to and the music I compose resonates with it too
What, would you say, are the key ideas behind your approach to music and art?
I think I was used to living between different cultures and I easily find out similar patterns, shared stories. So I think I like to hear common patterns in music, I like to create links between rhythms and instruments, I believe the African diaspora carries a story that can be heard following the instruments of the world if you listen to them. Some sound similar from one place of the globe to another because they all came from the Motherland at first.
In other ways I like to find connecting dots cause it reminds us how close we are from each other no matter the language or culture.
How would you describe your views on topics like originality and innovation versus perfection and timelessness in music? Are you interested in a “music of the future” or “continuing a tradition”?
I think I like the new and risks so I would always go for innovation / experimentation. I think there’s no need to have an etiquette of either past or future in music. I enjoy timelessness, the limit can be more subtle. I’ve been shaken by some music that has something ancestral in the drums but melodies are from a out of space future
Over the course of your development, what have been your most important instruments and tools - and what are the most promising strategies for working with them?
I think it’s a privilege to be able to afford music equipment.
For a long time my headphones sucked and my laptop was half broken. (laughs) I just always had a midi keyboard and I had to become a pro at cracking plugins, too.
I have been upgrading my studio and I am learning the MPC. The next step is now to practice SPD as well.
Take us through a day in your life, from a possible morning routine through to your work, please.
I wake up early, eat and shower, meditate, then try to work on something creative or just do sport (I enjoy outdoor boxing, bike and workout). At some point my manager catches up with me for the mail part, then I try to have a break / cooking moment.
Then I am back at work until I’m very tired. (laughs)
Could you describe your creative process on the basis of a piece, live performance or album that's particularly dear to you, please?
Lambarena - Bach To Africa by Hughes de Courson & Pierre Akendengue (1993) album and particularly the song "Snkanda" are precious to me because it was probably one of the first song blending 2 opposite music genres together that I was listening to: German orchestral music and traditional Gabonese music.
Until today I think I share that same approach of experimenting by gathering opposite things together.
Listening can be both a solitary and a communal activity. Likewise, creating music can be private or collaborative. Can you talk about your preferences in this regard and how these constellations influence creative results?
I don’t have much preference regarding the way I enjoy listening or creating music. For me, it's more about the circumstances and inspiration, they are some opportunities for music to be shared together and some moments are more introvert.
I like to work from home but I also have fun when collaborating with artists in studios.
How do your work and your creativity relate to the world and what is the role of music in society?
I believe my music gathers and unifies. It links people and cultures together.
I believe when people are dancing together they are not fighting. Music is a pacifying gift for societies
Art can be a way of dealing with the big topics in life: Life, loss, death, love, pain, and many more. In which way and on which occasions has music – both your own or that of others - contributed to your understanding of these questions?
As I said as we sometimes find echoes to our own feelings when creating music. It's a way for us to heal. It is important to express ourselves or evacuate overwhelming emotions.
I started Djing and experimenting with stuff at a time where I was going through a lot personally. Music was helping me find peace of mind without me realising it.
There seems to be increasing interest in a functional, “rational” and scientific approach to music. How do you see the connection between music and science and what can these two fields reveal about each other?
I’ve learnt with times that diseases can be triggered or linked to emotions. For me, a tool that can help regulate emotions like music should be studied to help people on a scientific level like health.
Creativity can reach many different corners of our lives. Do you feel as though writing or performing a piece of music is inherently different from something like making a great cup of coffee? What do you express through music that you couldn't or wouldn't in more 'mundane' tasks?
Art is the use of the imagination to express ideas or feelings. I find beauty in a lot of daily life things like nature and I have respect for a lot of different art visions. What would change from coffee art to music is just the way to convey the message, different senses are used - taste for coffee and ears for music (which I am more receptive to). But both senses appeal to memories and feelings!
Music is vibration in the air, captured by our ear drums. From your perspective as a creator and listener, do you have an explanation how it able to transmit such diverse and potentially deep messages?
I always thought there’s by definition a part that we'll never be able to understand when it comes to music since it’s something we can’t see.
The possibilities of chords and harmonies are infinite and there’s no rational explanation as to how a message is built. I will just leave that part to the divine.