Recently our friends at Mixed Alternative Magazine had the chance to rap with New Orleans-based hip-hop duo SaxKixAve, who are rising in popularity right now in the best of ways. Most musicians are lucky to have one successful project in a world where there are hundreds of thousands of songs being released every single day and the market is oversaturated. The chances of breaking through the noise are harder than ever, and those who actually do break through and see some success with one group is a rarity, let alone those who can take on and do well with multiple musical projects. Enter these fellas.
SaxKixAve is one of those groups who are doing it all. Comprised of award-winning rapper Alfred Banks and Albert Allenback, saxophonist and flutist of the twice Grammy-nominated group Tank and the Bangas, these two artists stay plenty busy with their main gigs, but thanks to the suggestion of Tavia Osbey, manager of Alfred and of Tank and the Bangas, that the two work together at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, they started a side project that is truly something special. Their first record, “I Don’t Wear Suits,” was released in April 2020 and is a celebration of this collaboration, and the duo has been performing those songs in front of live audiences whenever they can find the time to do so.
Earlier this year as SaxKixAve was finishing up their follow-up record, Mixed Alternative Magazine had them both over to chat about that record, about how they make this project work with their busy schedule, and about some of the band’s highlights so far. This is one bitchin’ Q&A with some super-cool artists that you’re gonna want to check out. Then, once you’ve read and pondered and laughed with them, check out their music, their videos, and support them on social media. SaxKixAve is rapidly on the rise and we’re all gonna want to keep an eye on them. Their music is as fresh, funky, upbeat, intelligent, honest, and unique as the guys who make it.
MaM: I’ve heard a couple different versions of what “kix’ed” this all off. How did this insane, wonderful experiment begin?
Albert: Well, Tavia—the manager of Tank and the Bangas and the engine, the logistic and business/life-path mind behind it all—hit me up and said [Alfred] was looking for beats. She said, ‘I know you make beats. Let’s get you in the studio together and see what happens.’
Alfred: It was great … I like Alby. He’s good money. We crack wild jokes. He sent me an email of beats, I picked one, I wrote to it, knock this one out. It was right when COVID hit. So yeah, I got in the studio with this dude, [and] we laughed for about three or four hours before we even started really recording. I thought, ‘This is a good guy.’ We recorded ‘Tawny’ and I guess he liked what I did. I loved it, and we just kinda kept goin’, kept goin’, kept goin’. Then it was like, ‘Hey man, you wanna make this a thing?’
Albert: It was like a ‘Step Brothers’ moment.
Alfred: Yeah! He was like, ‘Yeah!’ I was like, ‘Aight.’ [sic]
Albert: Are we in a band?
Alfred: Are we a band?!
Albert: Yeah, I think so!
Alfred: (to Albert) Do you remember how we came up with the name? I know we joke about it.