Growing up in Canberra, Julian Banks started 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 pieces, their palship 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 Festival in Bali. It was here that Julian was introduced to Cepi Kusmiadi, a proficient Indonesian percussionist who joined the band for his or her Bali gigs. Taking part in the Kendang Sunda, a set of -headed drums that is traditionally played 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. Soon 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 write 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 nearly ‘tune’ like really feel to them”. Comprising of strong melodies and groove as well as some folky sounds, their eclectic and unique ‘Indie-Jazz’ sound is actually distinctive to the group. The Julian Banks Group has expanded again to include James Gilligan on bass guitar, who brings even more depth to the band’s sound.
Though the aim of Julian Banks Teams wasn’t to create cross-cultural exchange or change into an emblem of profitable bilateral relationships, the chumships they’ve fashioned and their collective passion for music is undeniably that. Regardless of their completely different mom international locations and cultural backgrounds, Julian says “Cepi and I are basically doing precisely the identical thing with our lives”. He attributes their profitable collaborations on account of genuine palship and the band’s sturdy musical companionships.
Last year Julian Banks Group returned to Ubud Village Jazz Festival, where additionally they recorded their present album. Julian describes the album as a “lovely mix of all the devices and Cepi’s bubbling magic on this lovely traditional Indonesian instrument creates the proper 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 adventure on the great volcano”.
With support 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 happy to be back and playing for the various and multicultural viewers that’s drawn to Bali. Together with these appearances, Julian Banks Group will probably be hitting the road for a number of gigs in Australia in addition to recording new music.
For those who didn’t think the band was working hard enough, on top of those gigs and recording, the band might 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 be taught and apply taking part in music. Julian hopes that the band can quickly increase their interaction with Indonesian audiences, especially with festivals in Sumatra, Lombok and Java.