Pop & Hiss

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The Bangz on jerkin', not wearing bangs and boys with tattoos

August 13, 2009 | 11:39 am

Like New Boyz and numerous jerkin’-affiliated artists that have risen to prominence over the last six months, the members of the Bangz first learned about the dance-rap movement via YouTube. Yet their introductions came independent of one another, with the duo initially minor rivals for an ex-boyfriend’s affections.

The conflict, let's just say, was soon resolved and the Los Angeles-raised pair of Ella Ann and Sabi quickly became fast friends and sonic collaborators, teaming up with an extended musical clan -- their production team, the Co-Stars, and their songwriting team, the Handle Bars (of which Ella Ann is a member).

The Bangz’s first single, “Boys With Tattoos (We Jerkin’),” was an overnight success, earning them instant radio rotation and shortly thereafter, a deal from Warner Bros./Asylum. Currently recording their debut album, the outwardly eclectic pair headline one of the most comprehensive showcases of jerkin' artists yet, along with fellow Asylum-signed artists Cold Flamez and the Rej3ctz, the highly touted Pink Dollaz, recent Interscope signees Audio Push and Oakland’s the Pack.

In advance of their performance at the Roxy tonight, Pop & Hiss spoke with Sabi (who describes herself as more quiet and reserved) and Ella Ann (a self-professed “wild rock and roll” type), about their forthcoming record, why they don’t have bangs, and whether or not they’re inspiring the youth of America to get inked up.

So, how did you guys settle on the name the Bangz?

Ella Ann: We were looking for a name for three or four days, and we shot down everything that had been suggested. We wanted something that was fly, something that everyone would remember. We thought the Misfits were dope, but someone had already done that.

Sabi: We wanted something that would cut across all genres of music: hip-hop, rock, pop and R&B.

Ella Ann: Finally, we were like the Bangz. It was catchy, something people would remember.

How can you be the Bangz without wearing bangs?

Sabi: We did. We always switch up our high style. People always ask us what we mean by that name.

Ella Ann: It can be like the bangs, like as in hair, or like "We go out with a bang."

Sabi: Or we bang, or we write bangers.

Have you been besieged by teenage boys who are furious that you only date boys with tattoos?

Sabi: Yeah, people hit us up on MySpace all the time, telling us that their song inspired them to get tattoos.

Ella: I’m OK with it. I’m hoping our next president can be tatted up.

What made you guys decide to write a song about jerkin'?

Sabi: Well, it’s a lot of fun and we love to do it. But it actually came about because the Handle Bars decided to write it for another group with the intent to create something big that could kill radio. The other group passed on it and said it was "just OK." But we were like, "This is a killer song,” so we ran with it and it took off.

What do you think it is about the jerkin’ movement that has caused it to be such a phenomenon?

Sabi: I think it’s the way in which everyone uses digital media and Internet. That’s how we first found out about it -- it’s so much fun and it embodies the whole youthful rebellious attitude. It makes you want to speak your voice, share your attitude, your tattoos, your skinny jeans, your bright colors, your swag. Every generation has their thing.

Ella Ann: It needed to happen. We needed something fresh. This is something that everyone can be a part of — even moms and dads are trying to do it. Although, don’t jerk, Moms and Dads. You won’t look good.

Sabi: It cuts across all ethnicities, it’s inclusive, and it’s something everyone can be a part of.

What should people expect from your debut album?

Ella: Don’t expect a jerkin' album. Don’t expect the kind of R&B or rap that you’ve already heard — expect the Bangz, two crazy girls that want to have fun.

Sabi: That’s what we try to do, just have fun. We want to do everything, a little bit of pop, a little rock, a little R&B and a little hip-hop. We love to do the jerkin' thing, but that’s not all that we are.

-- Jeff Weiss

The Bangz, the Rej3ctz, Cold Flamez, Pink Dollaz, Audio Push and the Pack at the Roxy, 8433 Sunset Blvd. 8 p.m. tonight. $12

Photo: The Bangz. Credit: MySpace.com screenshot