Growing up in Canberra, Julian Banks began playing music in high school. It was right 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 associateship and musical connection grew. The duo joined with Christopher Hale, who performs 6-string semi-acoustic bass guitar to type the Julian Banks Trio and launched their first, self-titled, album in 2014.
In 2015, Julian Banks Trio was invited to play on the Ubud Village Jazz Pageant in Bali. It was right here that Julian was launched to Cepi Kusmiadi, a talented Indonesian percussionist who joined the band for his or her Bali gigs. Enjoying the Kendang Sunda, a set of two-headed drums that is traditionally performed within Sundanese gamelan orchestra, Cepi brought a new sound to the group. “I instantly fell in love with the sound of these 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 became the Julian Banks Group.
Julian was so inspired by the sounds of Cepi and his Kendang Sunda that on his return home he started to put in writing 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 which have an virtually ‘music’ like feel to them”. Comprising of strong melodies and groove as well as some folky sounds, their eclectic and unique ‘Indie-Jazz’ sound is definitely unique to the group. The Julian Banks Group has expanded again to incorporate James Gilligan on bass guitar, who brings even more depth to the band’s sound.
Although the purpose of Julian Banks Groups wasn’t to create cross-cultural exchange or grow to be an emblem of successful bilateral relationships, the chumships they’ve fashioned and their collective passion for music is undeniably that. Regardless of their totally different mom nations and cultural backgrounds, Julian says “Cepi and I are basically doing exactly the identical thing with our lives”. He attributes their successful collaborations because of genuine associateship and the band’s strong musical partnerships.
Last year Julian Banks Group returned to Ubud Village Jazz Pageant, the place they also recorded their current album. Julian describes the album as a “stunning mix of all of the instruments and Cepi’s bubbling magic on this lovely traditional Indonesian instrument creates the right 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 determined to name their album AGUNG, in “tribute to our adenterprise on the nice volcano”.
With support from the Australia Council for the Arts, Julian Banks Group is returning to Ubud Village Jazz Pageant and playing a number of gigs in Ubud and Candidasa in Bali this month. The band is happy to be back and playing for the varied and multicultural viewers that’s drawn to Bali. Along with these appearances, Julian Banks Group will probably be hitting the road for a number of gigs in Australia as well as recording new music.
Should you didn’t think the band was working hard sufficient, on high of those gigs and recording, the band will 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 provided instruments to the students to learn and apply enjoying music. Julian hopes that the band can quickly broaden their interplay with Indonesian audiences, particularly with festivals in Sumatra, Lombok and Java.