Banoffee Pies: Top 5 deserts, polyphonic ringtones and channel U

banoffe pies crew

“It’s funny because when we travel to other countries, sometimes people don’t even know what a banoffee pie is.”

According to Wikipedia, a banoffee pie is an English dessert pie made from bananas, toffee, cream and biscuits. This pie, consisting of fruits and condensed milk, is a portmanteau of toffee and banana. A delicious, fruity dessert, best served chilled. The boys recently embarked on a tour of Australia and to their amusement find people often have no idea what a banoffee pie even is. In a world of serious labels and serious music the the label wanted something playful and fun. Ell and Sandy, label owners have given numerous definitions and anecdotes as to why they named their label after a dessert. But truth be known, it is not that deep.

“At the time i was looking at label names and thinking they were pretty serious. We wanted to do something that was not serious and just a bit a fun really.”

Banoffee Pies has forged a delicious back catalogue of treats, ranging from Romanian minimal on their Black Label series to hip hop on their Beats tapes series. The recipe for their continuing success is ‘collaboration’ and the duo often work with friends, bringing a number of producer pals together on their limited series and bridging artists on projects such as Clifford Brown and Jeen Bassa’s forthcoming LP with Ella Mae, a collaborator on the beat tape who was brought on board for this project to reignite a previously instrumental only piece to a full album with vocals. Recorded on karaoke microphones and arranged on Garageband, the record has shades of Erykah Badu in Brazil fusing R’n’B, Latin, and Soul grooves. We caught up with Ell and discussed their forthcoming releases, polyphonic ringtones, Channel U and their top 5 deserts.


Banoffee Pies Top 5 Deserts

  1. Ice Cream
  2. My housemates Banoffee Pie
  3. Brownies (all types)
  4. Sticky Toffee Pudding
  5. TrifleWhat is that about? Cheers Nan

*note to reader 5 is actually the worst – this can be read as top 4 and the worst

The release is incredible, what is the story behind it?
“I knew Ella, we had done a record on the Beats Series before with “Stop Rewind” from BPBEATS01. I met her through Slim (a friend), he had done a track with her and we stumbled across it, she came to Bristol and was really sound, we got along. We spoke about doing more stuff and ideas flew from there really. Jean Bassa of Mo Kolours ws also living in Brighton with Clifford Brown and Ella at the time and randomly showed her the music (that himself and teo aka CB made roughly 5 years ago) and then the idea of some vocals came to action. She sent instrumentals and said what do you think? We had stumbled across a massive gem. Then Ella jumped on it. It was random to be honest, it just happened!”

What was your reaction when you heard it?
“It was super fresh and we were really interested. It reminded us of Mo Kolours, just with more a different spice. Latin, percussive record that is perfect for listening. It is a record record. One that you will put on when you are making dinner or something.”

The record was recorded on Garageband, which is a free music DAW, do you think it adds a certain aesthetic to the record?
“It adds a simplicity. Anyone can get Garageband, it comes free with your laptop. They had two microphones from family members and a free DAW – the microphones were literally karaoke mics, like the ones you had with Playstation 1!”

The record has Caribbean and South American influences and they meet in a hip-hop, soul middle ground. If the record was a dish, what would it be?
“Maybe a stew – lots of flavour and spices but hard to tell where it exactly came from. A surprisingly well spiced stew with lots of different flavors. I am going to say a Tagine. A deep vegetable tagine with a nice rice on the side.”

You guys have a lot of sister and brother labels, each with a different sound. What is it you are looking for when you find new music?
“We get sent a lot of demos and I make sure I listen to all of them. I have friends that make music and, If it feels good, you have to put yourself out there. It’s all about collaboration. For example, Limited Series – rather than making artists do 5 tracks, and thinking how will this sound as a piece we are able to be diverse and think more about the music. It is almost a DJ approach. You wanna hear good music and make it work together. Hearing your mates music and thinking it will go well with your other mates. In a way it is like a DJ mix. Listen to the whole record all the way through, as you would with a mix. Merging different peoples sounds or style and seeing how it sounds with something else. Pushes creative people together.”

Banoffee Pies Top 5 Fruits

  1. Banana
  2. Mango
  3. Kiwi
  4. Watermelon
  5. Pear – you can make cakes with it. Pear cake, pear crumble, pear trifle 

    banoffee pies - logo

DJ or Live Set?
“It’s nice seeing a band. I like going to a gig but only if they are real good. I find the most. Inspiring DJ sets can be few and far between. I went to see African Headcharge a couple weeks ago, and they are so good. They’re a dub band, Adrian Sherwood is also a boss. The lead bass, guitar, drums, vocalist. One of the best gigs i have been to in Bristol. Also Khruangbin, fuck have you heard them? You need to!”

OK, you are Simon Cowell and you are creating a superband. Who would be in your band?
“They would be called Fan Boy Business. Prince is on lead vocal, D’angelo is sat on the side clicking his fingers (no one knows when he’s going to sing), Laura Lee of Khruangbin is strumming on bass, Miles Davis makes a late entry and Fred Wesley is jamming on a trombone.”

Fan Boy Business?
Laura Lee
Miles Davis
Fred Wesley

You guys have a wide scope when it comes to the releases, from hip hop to jazz and even Romanian minimal stuff. For me, my watershed moment was not vinyl. Vinyl is nostalgic, yes. But I remember Sony Walkmans and cassettes. I couldn’t afford a record, so I bought tapes. Random hip hop and garage tapes. What was your watershed moment?
“It is interesting because we are part of the internet and everything that came with it. Channel U, Limewire, Polyphonic ringtones. There is still an option with our distributor to convert songs to polyphonic ringtones. Imagine hearing a polyphonic ringtone of your release now? But yeah man, I remember watching channel U / mtv all that jazz, old dnb podcasts, minimal house shows, punk pop bla bla and downloading music for the first time and discovering it, then making cd’s etc. Cassettes too, but they would skip and break easily.” 

The release is out on 22nd June**** and available at all top record stores or support local here:

Interview by Sameed.