The many faces of Irish electronic artist Bantum

Electro wizard Bantum discusses his Choice-nominated album Move and why he’d love to collaborate with James Vincent McMorrow and Lisa Hannigan.

In just a few weeks time, the winner of this year’s RTÉ Choice Music Prize will be revealed. One of the most important events in the Irish music calendar, the annual shortlist can always be relied upon to shine a light on a wealth of great records – and this year is no different. Duking it out with heavyweights such as Lisa Hannigan and James Vincent McMorrow is electronic artist Bantum, and when we meet the Cork-born, Dublin-based tunesmith, he tells us he’d love to scoop the award for his second album Move.

“Oh I definitely want to win it,” offers the musician born Ruairi Lynch. “Who wouldn’t? Although if you’ll forgive me for being too humble or what have you, just being nominated is enough for me right now. It’s such an honour to even be mentioned and getting nominated is a huge achievement for me. This year there’s a lot of self-released acts mixed with ones on major labels, and that’s refreshing. It’s good to see a mix of the better known acts and the lesser known ones, all in the running for the same accolade. That’s a really positive thing.”

A record that’s rich in textures, ideas and guest appearances/collaborations (more on that in a bit), Move thoroughly deserves its place among 2016’s best releases. What makes the album even more remarkable is the fact that the opus’ initial seeds were sown by happenstance. Lynch’s creative muse was sparked by his February 2016 single ‘Take It’ (featuring Loah), and what was originally intended as another track to keep the Bantum name in people’s minds evolved into something much bigger.

“I hit a creative block for a while but in June/July things really sparked,” recalls Lynch. “Within the space of two weeks I’d met Farah Elle and we put together ‘Feel It Out’. Then I met with Adam Townsend, aka Weisman, for another track and also travelled to Ennis to work with Rusangano Family. And I collaborated with CC Brez as well. It was pretty insane – everything came together in about a month. By August I had the germ of an album and I then gave myself a bit of time to mix and master it.

“It was a pretty crazy month getting ideas together and working with the singers. The instrumentation was already there, it just needed fine-tuning. Looking back now, even the names of the tracks tell little stories and there’s a lot of funny coincidences in there that were never intentional, but I can see them now.”

A musician who adores working with like-minded artists, Lynch tells us that he’ll use both modern and traditional means of communication in order to create something.

“I love the collaborative process,” he enthuses. “It’s really become a part of what I do for the Bantum side of things. I try to work with people I know and respect. I love the communication of it all – I use a lot of social media, even Twitter and WhatsApp, to get ideas across. I use a mixture of that and simply sitting in the same room jamming ideas out.

“I’d love to work with James Vincent McMorrow and Lisa Hannigan in the future. Their vocal ranges might actually work with some ideas I have now... but going forward I might work with CC Brez and R.S.A.G. again. We’ve been talking about a few things.”

And speaking of the future, Lynch, who is also performing at the RTÉ Choice Music Prize, has plenty of plans for 2017, which should ensure this year will be just as memorable as the previous one.

“I’m booking a few gigs and I’m going to work on one or two short film projects. There’s a lot of maybes. Some bands approached me about working with them as a producer. That’s something I want to get into as well. I’m always learning new things and I want to get more experience working in actual studios as opposed to working from home. Hopefully I’ll make more new material too.”

Bantum performs at the RTÉ Choice Music Prize in Vicar St., Dublin on March 9. Move is out now.

 

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