Julian Banks Group Blends Tradition with Fashionable Grooves

Growing up in Canberra, Julian Banks started taking part in 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 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 Pageant in Bali. It was here that Julian was launched to Cepi Kusmiadi, a gifted Indonesian percussionist who joined the band for their Bali gigs. Enjoying the Kendang Sunda, a set of -headed drums that’s 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 was 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 house he started to write 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 nearly ‘tune’ like 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 once more 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 turn out to be an emblem of successful bilateral relationships, the friendships they’ve shaped 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 precisely the identical thing with our lives”. He attributes their profitable collaborations as a result of real palship and the band’s robust musical companionships.

Last year Julian Banks Group returned to Ubud Village Jazz Pageant, where additionally they recorded their current album. Julian describes the album as a “stunning blend 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 completing a grueling hike up Gunung Agung in East Bali. The boys decided to name their album AGUNG, in “tribute to our adventure on the nice volcano”.

With assist from the Australia Council for the Arts, Julian Banks Group is returning to Ubud Village Jazz Pageant and taking part in a number of gigs in Ubud and Candidasa in Bali this month. The band is worked up to be back and playing for the diverse and multicultural audience that’s drawn to Bali. Together with these appearances, Julian Banks Group might be hitting the road for a number of gigs in Australia in addition to recording new music.

Should you didn’t think the band was working hard enough, on prime 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 set up YPDR and has provided devices to the students to learn and practice taking part in music. Julian hopes that the band can soon broaden their interplay with Indonesian audiences, particularly with festivals in Sumatra, Lombok and Java.