An Interview with Gino Banks
Born and brought up in Mumbai India, Gino has been fooling around with the drums since he was 8 years old and took it up seriously at the age of 15. He is the son of Louiz Banks, India’s legendary jazz pianist and composer. He toured Australia and China with his fathers’ indo-jazz fusion band SANGAM, playing percussion when he was just 9 years old. Gino is a versatile musician, this trait leads him to perform and record with artists and bands of all types of genres. An in-demand session artist, he is also a producer, arranger and runs his own studio production called Double Shift Productions. He has also had the Honor and Privilege of playing a few tracks on the Miles From India Album produced by Bob Belden, nominated for a 2009 Grammy in the Contemporary Jazz Category with Times Square Records, NYC; a fusion of Great Indian Classical Musicians and Miles Davis Alumni Musicians.
1. Hi Gino! Hope you are well. We've been seeing you banging the drums for as long as we can remember! Any exciting collaborations to look out for this year?
GB: I am doing great, lots of great projects in the works. A U.S.A tour coming with Ustad Zakir Hussain's crosscurrents band featuring my dad- Louiz Banks, Sanjay Divecha, Shankar Mahadevan, Dave Holland, Chris Potter and myself. I have album projects coming up with 'Merkaba' featuring Sanjay Divecha, Vasundhara Vee, and Sheldon D'Silva. I also have been playing with The Kush Upadhyay Group, Rhythm Shaw, Louiz Banks Guitar Synergy, and The Mekaal Hasan Band. I have some concerts coming up with Niladri Kumar, Rakesh Chaurasia and Ravi Chary.
2. What do you look for in a drumstick?
GB: Comfort and ease… I do not want to fight the stick. It has to have great balance and be extremely responsive to whatever I need to play. Promark makes it easy for me.
3. Tell us about the sticks you've chosen and why they're so special
GB: I am digging the active grip models in the select balance series- the rebound balance in a 5A for finesse and a light feel, the forward balance in the 5B model for that extra punch and power – I am also really loving the broomsticks. I have been using them in recordings and concerts and they sound fantastic!
4. How many gigs do you think you've played so far? Or better still if you've counted!
GB: I have not counted. I am sure it's a lot, onward and upward!
5. Why Promark? A little something for drummers who want to buy drumsticks
GB: The select balance is a great design idea, to have different options in the same stick is brilliant. If you play a 5A – the most common size – you have the regular 5A Hickory option, Japanese Oak option, select balance rebound and forward options and plus the active grip. I am sure there are more options, that is just insane and extremely useful for someone like me who plays a variety of styles of music and needs these options and to still be comfortable. I urge the heavy hitters to check out the active grip models and the lighter jazz or fusion players to check out the rebound balance models. It will help you play with comfort and ease!