Julian Banks Group Blends Tradition with Modern Grooves

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 mateship and musical connection grew. The duo joined with Christopher Hale, who plays 6-string semi-acoustic bass guitar to kind the Julian Banks Trio and released their first, self-titled, album in 2014.

In 2015, Julian Banks Trio was invited to play on the Ubud Village Jazz Festival in Bali. It was 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 two-headed drums that’s traditionally played within Sundanese gamelan orchestra, Cepi brought a new sound to the group. “I immediately 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 formally 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 jot down music that incorporated guitars, saxophone and drums to highlight the traditional Indonesian percussion. Shying away from any inflexible labels, the Julian strives to “write tunes that have an virtually ‘music’ like really feel to them”. Comprising of strong melodies and groove as well as some folky sounds, their eclectic and distinctive ‘Indie-Jazz’ sound is definitely unique to the group. The Julian Banks Group has expanded once more to incorporate James Gilligan on bass guitar, who brings even more depth to the band’s sound.

Although the aim of Julian Banks Groups wasn’t to create cross-cultural alternate or develop into an emblem of successful bilateral relationships, the friendships they’ve fashioned and their collective passion for music is undeniably that. Despite their different mom countries and cultural backgrounds, Julian says “Cepi and I are basically doing precisely the same thing with our lives”. He attributes their successful collaborations on account of real associateship and the band’s strong musical partnerships.

Final yr Julian Banks Group returned to Ubud Village Jazz Festival, the place in addition they recorded their present album. Julian describes the album as a “lovely mix of all of the devices and Cepi’s effervescent 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 determined to name their album AGUNG, in “tribute to our adventure on the good volcano”.

With help 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 excited to be back and taking part in for the varied and multicultural viewers that’s drawn to Bali. Together with these appearances, Julian Banks Group can be hitting the road for a number of gigs in Australia in addition to recording new music.

If you happen to didn’t think the band was working hard sufficient, on high of those gigs and recording, the band can be giving workshops at Yayasan Pendidikan Dria-Raba, a not-for-revenue school for blind children in Bali. The Australian Consulate in Bali arrange YPDR and has supplied devices to the students to be taught and practice playing music. Julian hopes that the band can soon develop their interaction with Indonesian audiences, particularly with festivals in Sumatra, Lombok and Java.