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Paul Banks (musician, born 1978)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Paul Banks
Interpol - Rock am Ring 2015-9006.jpg
Banks in 2015
Background information
Birth namePaul Julian Banks
Also known as
  • Julian Plenti
  • DJ Fancypants
Born (1978-05-03) 3 May 1978 (age 41)
Clacton-on-Sea, Essex, England
OriginBloomfield Hills, Michigan, United States
  • Musician
  • singer
  • songwriter
  • DJ
Years active1997–present
Associated acts

Paul Julian Banks (born 3 May 1978) is an American musician, singer, songwriter, and DJ. He is best known as the lead vocalist, lyricist, and guitarist of the rock band Interpol. Banks released an album named Julian Plenti is... Skyscraper in August 2009 under the name Julian Plenti. His solo material is now recorded under his real name. As a singer, Banks' voice lies in the baritone range.[1]

Early life

Banks was born in Clacton-on-Sea, Essex.[2] His father worked in the automobile industry and took on positions in various countries.[3] Banks' family left England when he was three years old, moving to Bloomfield Hills, Michigan,[2] and then to Spain when he was around 12, where he studied at the American School of Madrid, and back to United States to New Jersey.[4][5] His father was later transferred to Mexico, where Banks finished high school at the American School Foundation,[6] where he was involved in theatre productions, and played the lead role in the musical South Pacific.[citation needed] He speaks Spanish fluently.[7]

After high school, Banks attended New York University where he studied English and Comparative Literature,[8] and after graduating, he worked at magazines such as Gotham[citation needed] and Interview.[9] Banks later took a data entry job at Scholastic News [10][11] and worked in a café[12] in order to devote more of his time to music and rehearsals.[13] Banks was inspired to become a musician by Nirvana.[14]


In the summer of 1997, Banks ran into fellow NYU undergrad Daniel Kessler, whom he had met previously on a study abroad program in Paris.[3] Kessler then asked Paul Banks to join the band he had started with drummer Greg Drudy and bass guitarist Carlos Dengler. Banks was initially not inclined to join a band as he had been writing songs as a solo artist, but eventually joined Interpol as a guitarist and vocalist after listening to the type of music they were writing and playing.[15][11]

Banks' voice, singing style, and lyrics have been strongly compared to, most notably, Ian Curtis of Joy Division.[3] Banks has said that he does not try to emulate his greatest influences because he thinks he cannot live up to them, saying "I would never try to sing like Frank Black or Kurt Cobain because you just can't do it."[16]

Beginning with the recording Interpol's fifth album, El Pintor, Banks has assumed bass duties.[17] In the music video for the album's lead single "All the Rage Back Home", Banks can be seen playing a Fender Precision Bass.

Solo project

Banks released a solo album under the name Julian Plenti on 4 August 2009 entitled Julian Plenti Is... Skyscraper. Banks claims to have multiple solo projects and monikers in mind. He released a five-song EP entitled Julian Plenti Lives... on 26 June 2012.[18][19] His second full-length studio album, Banks was announced on 6 August 2012[20][21] and was released on 22 October 2012.

In addition to the full-length albums, Banks self-released a mixtape[22] entitled Everybody on My Dick Like They Supposed to Be in 2013, which included contributions by Talib Kweli, El-P, High Prizm and Mike G.[23]

Other projects

In June 2016, Paul Banks and RZA announced a joint album Anything But Words as "Banks and Steelz",[24] with guest appearances by Kool Keith, Ghostface Killah, Method Man, Masta Killa and Florence Welch.[24] Two singles were planned: "Love + War" and "Giant".[24]


During Interpol's early years, Banks typically played a black Les Paul Custom guitar.[25] He then started using a Fender Jaguar (primarily due to the use of the tremolo in songs such as “Pioneer to the Falls”) and a Gibson Flying V (for a time with the word "breasts" spelled out in white tape on it)[26][27] for songs from Our Love to Admire and his Les Paul for songs from Antics and Turn on the Bright Lights, although some songs like "Obstacle 1" were played with Banks' Fender Jaguar because of the impracticality of switching and songs like "Mammoth" were recorded using his Les Paul for the same reason.

Banks did use his Fender Jaguar as his primary guitar for the end leg of the Our Love to Admire tour and was also seen using a Gibson ES-135 for songs such as "Not Even Jail", but since the 2010 tour leg, he has not been since using the Jaguar or Gibson ES-135 and has only been since using his traditional Les Paul, though the Flying V can be seen in the music video for "Barricade" with the tape no longer present. His Gibson ES-135 was his primary guitar during his live performances as his alter ego Julian Plenti. Recently, during live shows of his solo work, he has been playing a Dave Murray signature Fender Stratocaster with two humbucker pickups and a middle position single coil possibly so he doesn't have to change guitars between songs for the diverse sounds on his solo records. In the studio, Banks has been seen using a black Fender Precision Bass with a maple fretboard.

His pedalboard includes:[25]

  • BOSS TU-2
  • Z.Vex Super Duper 2 in 1
  • EHX Micro POG
  • MXR Micro Amp
  • MXR Bass Octave Deluxe
  • Way Huge Swollen Pickle
  • Ibanez TS9DX
  • BOSS DN-2
  • 2 MXR Carbon Copy Analog Delay (one set at higher repeats)

His pedalboard on the Julian Plenti tour:

  • BOSS TU-2
  • Way Huge Aqua-Puss
  • BOSS DN-2
  • EHX POG 2
  • Blackstar HT Dual Tube Distortion
  • MXR Carbon Copy

Since Antics (2004) he uses two Fender Pro Reverb amplifiers.

Personal life

In contrast to Interpol's smooth and melancholic sound, Banks has been a fan of hip hop music since he was in seventh grade.[28] He has worked as a hip-hop DJ under the pseudonym DJ Fancypants.[28]

In an October 2012 interview, former supermodel Helena Christensen described Banks as her boyfriend.[29] In July 2018 Banks confirmed that he had split from his long-term girlfriend Christensen.[30]

As a result of his stay in Spain and Mexico, Banks speaks Spanish at a high level, this with a Mexicanized way of speaking.[31]


Solo albums

List of studio albums, with selected chart positions
Title Album details Peak chart positions

US Indie
Julian Plenti is... Skyscraper
  • Released: August 4, 2009
  • Label: Matador
  • Released under the name Julian Plenti
103 1 16
  • Released: October 22, 2012
  • Label: Matador
175 7 41


Banks & Steelz


  1. ^ "Interpol | New Music And Songs". MTV. Retrieved 24 August 2014.
  2. ^ a b Harrington, Richard (5 November 2004). "Interpol, Dressed for Success". The Washington Post. Retrieved 31 December 2013.
  3. ^ a b c "Interpol: Princes of Darkness". Rolling Stone. 14 October 2004.
  4. ^ Kuipers, Dean (25 September 2003). "Interpol calling". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 13 January 2018.
  5. ^ FaceCulture (2 November 2012), Paul Banks interview (part 1)
  6. ^ Magallanes, María José (2009). "A Picture of Success". Focus. American School Foundation. p. 35. Retrieved 24 June 2015.
  7. ^ "Interpol Eye Up The Indie Crown". ShortList. 8 December 2010. Retrieved 13 January 2018.
  8. ^ "Julian Plenti - Julian Plenti Is...Skyscraper - Album review - Time Out Chicago". Time Out. 13 August 2009. Retrieved 20 August 2009.
  9. ^ Murphy, Tom (27 November 2012). "Paul Banks on the joys of getting "Logic-ed up" in his hotel room instead of liquored up on tour". Westword. Retrieved 13 January 2018.
  10. ^ " Exclusive: Interpol". MTV. 31 July 2007. Retrieved 20 August 2009.
  11. ^ a b Goodman, Lizzy (1 August 2017). Meet Me in the Bathroom: Rebirth and Rock and Roll in New York City 2001–2011. Faber & Faber. ISBN 9780571337996.
  12. ^ "FILE UNDER...NEXT BIG THING". Entertainment Weekly. 14 June 2002. Retrieved 24 August 2009.
  13. ^ Johnson, Neala (27 February 2008). "Interpol singer Paul Banks talks about fame and music". Herald Sun.
  14. ^ "Paul Banks (Interpol): "Os Nirvana são a razão que me levou a ser músico"". Blitz. 12 November 2010. Retrieved 18 May 2012.
  15. ^ LLC, SPIN Media (April 2005). SPIN.
  16. ^ Umbrella TV (22 July 2005). "Interview with Interpol's Paul Banks". Google Videos.
  17. ^ Foster, Matthew (15 July 2014). "No Hidden Agenda: The Return Of Interpol". The Quietus.
  18. ^ Alex Knott. "Interpol's Paul Banks covers Sinatra on new EP". Frost Magazine.
  19. ^ "Julian Plenti Lives... EP". Julian Plenti. Archived from the original on 10 May 2012.
  20. ^ "Paul Banks lamenta no haber grabado concierto de Interpol en México".
  21. ^ "Julian Plenti Lives...EP". Matador Records. Archived from the original on 1 July 2012. Retrieved 25 June 2012.
  22. ^ "Paul Banks: Everybody on My Dick Like They Supposed to Be Album Review". Retrieved 20 April 2016.
  23. ^ "Mixtape featuring El-P, High Prizm, Mike G and Talib Kweli". Archived from the original on 20 April 2014. Retrieved 19 April 2014.
  24. ^ a b c Lilah, Rose (9 June 2016). "RZA and Paul Banks Team up". Hotnewhiphop. Retrieved 9 June 2016.
  25. ^ a b "Rig tour: Interpol". MusicRadar.
  26. ^ "Stylish and shy, Interpol left a lasting mark". 31 July 2007. Retrieved 18 July 2009.
  27. ^ "Interpol at the Orbit Room, Grand Rapids, MI, July 27, 2007". 2 August 2007. Archived from the original on 1 March 2012. Retrieved 18 July 2009.
  28. ^ a b Pitchfork Media (6 August 2007). "Interpol's Paul Banks Interviews with Pitchfork". Pitchfork.
  29. ^ "Helena Christensen, Queen of the Runway". Wall Street Journal.
  30. ^ Smyth, David (6 July 2018). "Interpol interview: 'We've never made a record that didn't have some strange things on there'". London Evening Standard. Retrieved 5 August 2018.
  31. ^
  32. ^ "Paul Banks – Chart History: Billboard 200". Billboard. Retrieved 18 February 2019.
  33. ^ "Paul Banks – Chart History: Heatseekers Albums". Billboard. Retrieved 18 February 2019.
  34. ^ "Paul Banks – Chart History: Independent Albums". Billboard. Retrieved 18 February 2019.

External links

This page was last edited on 19 June 2019, at 08:24
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