'I’m from LA, but everyone thinks that I’m British. [Laughs] I'd been writing music for around 10 years before I started really singing stuff. It’s all very sacred to me, so I didn’t want to put it out in the world just yet. Then I started getting more comfortable and working with great people and felt ready—at some point Zane Lowe, one of the biggest radio DJs in the UK, ripped a song of mine from a private SoundCloud link that my manager had sent to his friend. He played it on his show as his next hype record, which was just wild! It’s funny—maybe that’s why everyone thinks I’m English. So then things just started to take off. I always say my music is like dark blue or black, like a punch to your gut that feels really good.
I’m on tour right now, and part of what keeps me sane on the road is trying to make a routine within not having a routine because tour is just nonstop. I definitely drink lots of water. I use this Decleor Neroli Oil to moisturize—no matter what the climate is, it always makes my skin really moist. It smells good, too. I always put it on before I do my makeup for a show, just because I don’t like a really thick face of makeup. I have freckles; I don’t like covering up too much. I like things dewy and natural, and I think that having moisture in your skin is really beautiful and youthful—sometimes that’s more important than coverage. Nars has this Light Optimizing Primer with little a bit of shine in it, and I’ll use that. Sometimes, I just use traditional moisturizer. It’s funny because all of the really expensive ones make me break out, but I have a CVS-brand oil-free moisturizer that works and doesn’t make me feel oily. I think my skin is pretty normal, in the middle. It’s mostly just making sure that when I get off stage, I always wash my face—I use Malin + Goetz Grapefruit Face Cleanser.
When I’m in show mode, I can’t even think about putting on makeup; I just have to be centered. Otherwise, I love Nars. They have really good cream-based eyeshadows—that’s another dewy thing that I love for my skin. They have this one color that they don’t make anymore, and I’m really upset about it. It’s called Decameron. I like a kind of dark, bronze-y brown smoky eye with maybe some mascara, some contouring and stuff, but I don’t like wearing black or pinks. I like it more tonal. Kevin Aucoin—he’s good; I think The Volume Mascara is the best mascara there is.
On tour, there’s dry shampoo—I use the one by Bed Head. And since I just colored my hair, I use Davines Alchemic Shampoo in Chocolate. I’m not naturally this dark-haired. I actually just went a bit darker before we shot the video for ' Brain' because I just felt like it went with the song. I love it! My approach to beauty is all about moods. If you want to feel sexy, if you want to feel feminine, or, I don’t know, boyish—it’s all about how you feel at that point in time. My mood changes. Sometimes I want to feel more feminine, other times not. I like feeling comfortable and effortless, like I didn’t try too hard. Then, on stage, I like feeling powerful, and I wear things that make me feel that way. I have this Goddess Ring by Yunus & Eliza. There’s a female face on it, and I turn the shape away from me to face the audience when I perform. And my stylist just made me this incredible coat; it’s pretty much a cape. You put your arms through it, and it has these crazy shoulders. So I like feeling very sexy and feminine, but in a more dark and powerful way than say, like, showing my breasts.”
—as told to ITG
BANKS photographed by Emily Weiss in Brooklyn, New York on June 4, 2014. Check out her website for show dates and tracks.