Sophia Medina / Assistant Entertainment Director
Banana Chant is back with the release of their latest music video “Bluu,” one of the tracks from the band’s latest album “Paying Off Student Loans.” The pandemic isn’t slowing these rock gods down, as they are hard at work in the studio and promoting their newest record.
FIU alumni Singer Giovanni Negron and Drummer Ander Perez are the founding members of the local Miami band. Brought about from their common love for music, the two have been inseparable since they first met in high school.
“It started in high school where I met Gio,” Perez said. “He was skipping class and I completely distracted him. We talked about music… That was when we knew we wanted to start making music.”
The two members and guitarist Tanis Perez were the first to start the music group. Later, bassist Vanessa Faith joined the band after meeting Negron at work.
Although Banana Chant consider themselves to be an alt-rock band, their sounds fluctuate from funk and reggae to psychedelic indie. They combine their core rock elements with funky rhythms while tying in a rich set of musical influences.
“Everyone has a different idea of what [genre] we are, but individually, we’re all different,” Faith said. “That’s what makes it [their sound] so cool and different.”
The band released their 5-track album, “Paying Off Student Loans,” on March 20.
“Throughout our college years, we were actually creating this album,” said Negron. “When I graduated [from FIU], that’s when it started to become a reality. It compares to what we’re feeling right now, graduating and paying off student loans.”
The album follows themes of maturity and being open to the unknown. Banana Chant aimed for these concepts as they wanted to create something original and unordinary.
“‘Paying Off Student Loans’ is about things that are almost larger than life…” Perez said. “A lot of that is what you start to experience in college. The fact that we all must be off student loans is kind of this grounding factor that brings us all together. We’re all struggling through the isolation.”
Prior to the pandemic, the band had plans to perform at events, such as the Miami-Dade Youth Fair, and were set to release their album in the summer. However, due to safety precautions and quarantine, they were forced to push the record release date and cancel their performances.
Faith recalls how she felt when she heard about the Miami shutdown and how this would affect the rock band from progressing forward.
“Everything was shutting down and I was heartbroken. I think the whole band kind of knew that this was going to take us back from progressing. Preventing our album live shows, getting tighter as a band, hanging out more, and just staying in playing all day. All of that was thrown out the door.”
Although the effects of the sudden pandemic spelled doom for the band members, they also saw it as an opportunity for growth.
Ander Perez shares how time in quarantine brought the band closer together and led them to improve their sound.
“The pandemic made everything feel small–we had built up this community that was just shipped away due to fear and it hurt us–but it also made us tighter. When people started getting used to it and adapting, we realized there’s still a lot of work we can do and how we can improve.”
Once quarantine was over, Banana Chant spent time relistening and recreating “Paying Off Student Loans” and even added an additional song, “Floating.” The track had been under debate to make before the pandemic. However, the recent events solidified its place on the record.
“It’s an ambitious song and we compare it a lot to Limbo [album track],” Negron said. “There was a moment where we were thinking, do we even make the song? And then the pandemic hit and we’re like, we have time to make the song.”
The band aspired to make a record with sounds that create emotion among the listener. Tanis Perez explains this process when making the album.
“Every single thing that you hear in every single song, noise, or sound that you hear is intentional. Every single lick on the guitar, every single bass riff, every time Ander hits a fill, Gio hits a note. It’s a feeling right?… we made sure that we’ve tried to make the best album available, and to really convey what each song is meant to convey.
Banana Chant released their latest music video “Bluu,” one of the tracks off the alternative rock record. The track’s story sets up the inspiration for the video, a man trying to seduce a woman for a one-night stand.
“It was a great experience doing the music video with actual help. The videos for the first album were just Gio, me, and Tanis behind the camera,” Andre Perez said. “This time we actually got Conjured Films to shoot the video, she helped storyboard it while Gio wrote and guided most of the story.”