Growing up in Canberra, Julian Banks began enjoying music in high school. It was here that he met band mate (and real life mate) James Hauptmann. With James on drums and Julian on tenor saxophone and writing the items, their buddieship and musical connection grew. The duo joined with Christopher Hale, who performs 6-string semi-acoustic bass guitar to kind the Julian Banks Trio and launched their first, self-titled, album in 2014.
In 2015, Julian Banks Trio was invited to play at the Ubud Village Jazz Pageant in Bali. It was right here that Julian was introduced to Cepi Kusmiadi, a proficient Indonesian percussionist who joined the band for their Bali gigs. Taking part in the Kendang Sunda, a set of -headed drums that is traditionally performed within Sundanese gamelan orchestra, Cepi introduced a new sound to the group. “I instantly fell in love with the sound of those drums and I used to be blown away by Cepi’s sense of musicianship”, says Julian. Quickly after this gig Cepi officially joined the band, which grew from a trio to a quartet and have become the Julian Banks Group.
Julian was so inspired by the sounds of Cepi and his Kendang Sunda that on his return dwelling he started to write down music that incorporated guitars, saxophone and drums to highlight the traditional Indonesian percussion. Shying away from any rigid labels, the Julian strives to “write tunes that have an nearly ‘music’ like really feel to them”. Comprising of sturdy melodies and groove as well as some folky sounds, their eclectic and distinctive ‘Indie-Jazz’ sound is actually distinctive to the group. The Julian Banks Group has expanded once more to include James Gilligan on bass guitar, who brings even more depth to the band’s sound.
Though the purpose of Julian Banks Groups wasn’t to create cross-cultural exchange or turn out to be an emblem of profitable bilateral relationships, the friendships they have formed and their collective passion for music is undeniably that. Regardless of their completely different mom nations and cultural backgrounds, Julian says “Cepi and I are basically doing precisely the same thing with our lives”. He attributes their profitable collaborations as a result of real mateship and the band’s robust musical companionships.
Last yr Julian Banks Group returned to Ubud Village Jazz Festival, the place they also recorded their present album. Julian describes the album as a “stunning blend of all the instruments and Cepi’s bubbling magic on this stunning traditional Indonesian instrument creates the perfect bed for the fashionable grooves and melodic sensibility of the compositions”. Recording the album the day after finishing a grueling hike up Gunung Agung in East Bali. The boys decided to name their album AGUNG, in “tribute to our adenterprise on the great volcano”.
With assist from the Australia Council for the Arts, Julian Banks Group is returning to Ubud Village Jazz Pageant and enjoying a number of gigs in Ubud and Candidasa in Bali this month. The band is worked up to be back and taking part in for the diverse and multicultural viewers that’s drawn to Bali. Along with these appearances, Julian Banks Group will likely be hitting the road for a number of gigs in Australia as well as recording new music.
If you happen to didn’t think the band was working hard enough, on prime of these gigs and recording, the band shall be giving workshops at Yayasan Pendidikan Dria-Raba, a not-for-profit school for blind children in Bali. The Australian Consulate in Bali set up YPDR and has supplied instruments to the students to be taught and observe enjoying music. Julian hopes that the band can quickly expand their interplay with Indonesian audiences, particularly with festivals in Sumatra, Lombok and Java.