Julian Banks Group Blends Tradition with Fashionable Grooves

Growing up in Canberra, Julian Banks began playing 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 friendship and musical connection grew. The duo joined with Christopher Hale, who performs 6-string semi-acoustic bass guitar to form 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 Competition in Bali. It was here that Julian was introduced to Cepi Kusmiadi, a gifted 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 immediately 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 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 home he began to write 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 virtually ‘tune’ like really feel to them”. Comprising of strong melodies and groove in addition to some folky sounds, their eclectic and distinctive ‘Indie-Jazz’ sound is definitely distinctive 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.

Though the purpose of Julian Banks Teams wasn’t to create cross-cultural trade or change into an emblem of successful bilateral relationships, the friendships they have formed and their collective passion for music is undeniably that. Despite their different mother international locations and cultural backgrounds, Julian says “Cepi and I are basically doing exactly the identical thing with our lives”. He attributes their profitable collaborations as a result of real mateship and the band’s sturdy musical companionships.

Final yr Julian Banks Group returned to Ubud Village Jazz Festival, the place additionally they recorded their current album. Julian describes the album as a “stunning blend of all of the devices and Cepi’s effervescent magic on this beautiful traditional Indonesian instrument creates the right bed for the trendy grooves and melodic sensibility of the compositions”. Recording the album the day after completing 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 support from the Australia Council for the Arts, Julian Banks Group is returning to Ubud Village Jazz Festival and taking part in a number of gigs in Ubud and Candidasa in Bali this month. The band is happy to be back and enjoying for the various and multicultural audience that’s drawn to Bali. Along with these appearances, Julian Banks Group shall be hitting the road for a number of gigs in Australia in addition to recording new music.

If you didn’t think the band was working hard sufficient, on top of these 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 arrange YPDR and has supplied devices to the students to study and follow taking part in music. Julian hopes that the band can quickly increase their interaction with Indonesian audiences, particularly with festivals in Sumatra, Lombok and Java.