You may know the 2020 “Best New Artist” Grammy nominee, Tank and the Bangas as the group who went viral with their NPR Tiny Desk Concert back in 2017, or you may have seen them perform live at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in 2015, 2017 or 2019. Maybe you attended their drive-in concert in New Orleans this summer at the UNO Lakefront Arena. Either way, Tank and the Bangas is a group that you can not miss (and honestly, you don’t want to).
This week I was able to attend a virtual press conference with Tank and the Bangas as they discussed their latest single, their upcoming EP, making music in quarantine and more.
Self Care: The Quarantine Anthem
During these days of mask wearing, social distancing and staying at home, Tank and the Bangas dropped a relatable, feel good anthem that you probably didn’t know you needed. The track features Jaime Woods and New Orleans’ own Orleans Big and Anjelika ‘Jelly’ Joseph. “’Self Care‘ is THE quarantine song to get you moving,” vocalist Tarriona ‘Tank’ Ball said, “It shows that some of the best things can come out from solitude, especially when the beat hits this hard.” Fun fact, band member Albert Allenback created the beat for “Self Care” while at home in quarantine with COVID-19.
When asked about what self care meant to them and what they do to take care of themselves Ball noted, “You know I think [self care] means different things to all of us…during quarantine I was really exercising a lot and eating right. Not only watching your diet or intake of food but what you watch, see and talk about all of that is diet and all of that is self care.” Band member Norman Spence revealed “Self care for me this quarantine personally is having the time to step back and look at the type of person I am, what type of impact [I make] and refuel spiritually.” If this pandemic has taught us all anything, it’s how important it is to show up for yourself first and take care of yourself.
Their New EP, Friend Goals
“Self Care” is one of six tracks on their new EP – Friend Goals – which will be released on Friday, November 20th! Most of the music that appears on Friend Goals was written and recorded during the band’s time in their various quarantine locations using virtual platforms like Zoom.
“Mixing over the internet was interesting. Thank God for our friends in Chicago that had software so we could mix in real time. And personally, I think we needed it,” Tank Ball revealed when asked about the adjustment to making music during the pandemic. “We were on the road so much that we really needed this time to get together and create music because it’s hard to be on the road constantly…we needed this time at home to create. So for us, it was a challenging and exceptional [experience],” Ball added.
Friendly, Fantastic and Featureful
When I asked the band to describe their upcoming EP in three words, they responded with three F’s: friendly, fantastic and featureful. Let’s break down each adjective and how it relates to their latest project.
Friendly is pretty self-explanatory since the EP itself is titled Friend Goals. It also ties in with the second f — featureful. The guest-heavy EP features a multitude of different artists. And not just any artists. The group collaborated with some of their friends they’ve made throughout their career including CHIKA, Duckworth and some local New Orleanians such as Pell, Hasizzle, PJ Morton, Keedy Black and Big Choo. Band member Joshua Johnson noted that when the four of them collaborate with friends, “[it] brings a whole nother vibe, it’s a whole nother energy, it’s a whole nother space, it’s a whole nother dynamic.”
As for the last f, I can personally vouch for fantastic. At the end of the virtual press conference, I had the chance to listen to a preview of two of their tracks “Fluff” (feat. DUCKWRTH and Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah) and “TSA” (feat. PJ Morton). Both tracks were indeed fantastic, especially the horn outro on “Fluff.”
The Meaning Behind the Music
There is no denying that with each track, the vibes and the personality of each member of Tank and the Bangas shines through. When asked about the vibe and message of their upcoming EP, Ball disclosed, “It’s fun, it keeps you moving [and] it’s got a sexy little vibe to it almost.” Johnson added, “It’s got a little bit of everything.”
Similar to their lead single “Self Care,” “TSA” is a very relatable track. They somehow manage to make the stressful and aggravating experience of TSA throwing away your items sound funky and fun. Whereas, “Fluff” is about Tank’s first experience at Coachella. “To Be Real” which features Hasizzle, Keedy Black and Big Choo was described by the band as an essential New Orleans song that everybody at home could bump. “From Bourbon Street to the 9th ward to the 8th ward. We needed that moment for everybody at home,” Ball proclaims.
Performing Virtually in 2020
In 2020, virtual concerts are more popular than ever. With live streams, artists are able to reach their fans from the comfort of their own homes. On Tuesday, October 20th, Tank and the Bangas held a live virtual concert with StageIt at Preservation Hall in New Orleans that allowed fans to enjoy and support their music.
As someone who attended a minimum of two shows a month for the past three years, I can personally admit virtual shows just are not the same as experiencing music live. Tank Ball mentioned during the recent press conference that it’s the same way for artists. “You have these moments in your live[stream] where it’s just the camera crew and you’re like ‘this is just not what it’s supposed to be’,” Ball explained. Spence revealed his three essentials to make sure livestream performances are great for both the audience and the artist are angles, lighting and great sound.
Next Stop? BANGAVILLE!
I’ll admit, I’ve never seen Tank and the Bangas live in person. I know…how un-NOLA Concerts of me considering they’re literally from New Orleans. After attending their press conference, I can honestly say they will be one of the first artists I see live once the world opens back up. Their energy was truly unmatched and undeniable as they answered questions about their upcoming project. It was evident they all have a passion for music. Plus, during the Zoom call, they sang a little bit of Tevin Campbell’s “I2I” from A Goofy Movie and it was EVERYTHING.
With that being said, get me a one way ticket to Bangaville, immediately!
Get ready for Friend Goals dropping on November 20th. Until then, check out the Fat Happy Media-directed video below and stream “Self Care.” You can re-orders and pre-save their new EP- Friend Goals now at: https://TankAndTheBangas.lnk.to/FriendGoals.