Christian Banks, better known by his stage name, Las Flores Project, creates music that inspires listeners on a cinematic level. Combining elements of hip hop, jazz, soul, ambient and funk, his music is full of imagination. We spoke about old music videos, dream collaborations and his latest project, Walrus Ghost.
Justin Main: So, I wanted to start by asking you about your newest project, Walrus Ghost. How does this differ from Las Flores Project from your perspective?
Christian Banks: Walrus Ghost is definitely where all of my energy is going to right now, for about the past year. I think in terms of perspectives on music, the Las Flores Project album “Colores y Memorias” was a stepping stone for me. I didn’t really know much about what I was doing in terms of music production, although I wouldn’t say I know what I’m doing completely now. I had been messing around with samplers and keyboards since I was like 15, and I just knew I wanted to do a downtempo, instrumental, sample-based album and that record is what came out of it.
People like that record, I get good reception on it, which makes me happy that I can make something that people will enjoy. After finishing that album, I just started thinking about pushing myself harder musically. I wanted to do something new and challenging, so I spent alot of time trying to hone in on a new sound and experiment with new processes, which is how I got to the Walrus Ghost material.
JM: I definitely enjoyed the Las Flores Project album, but yeah, Walrus Ghost seems more mature. Was Walrus Ghost more of a collaborative project?
CB: Yeah, Walrus Ghost involves much more live instrumentation than the previous Las Flores Project release, which is also a reason for the new alias. I play several of the instruments; and then I work with several very talented players. Justin Hopkins, who releases music under the moniker of Rarebit, plays alot of the guitar parts, Chuck Palmer plays drums on several tracks, Evan Honse is a great trumpet player who helps me with the horn and wind stuff, Tim Robinson plays trombone, and David Engelhard covers reed instruments like sax and clarinet. Mark Nieto plays bass on some stuff, he has a band called COMBAT! So it’s definitely more of a collaborative process, and creatively Justin and Evan have played a role too. It’s awesome to have these really talented guys who are down to help make the whole thing come to life.
JM: What would be a dream collaboration for you? Who are some of your favorite artists out there right now?
CB: I would love to work with the guys from Tortoise or Do Make Say Think; Jaga Jazzist, a Norwegian group, too. They have an incredible instrumental arrangement. For vocal music, I’ve been really psyched on Little Dragon, a band from Sweden. Their singer is great and the music that accompanies her is perfect. It’s like this awesome weird R&B type vibe. I think they put out one of the best albums in 2010. I would love to do some tracks with a female vocalist, which is actually not far off; I’m working on a project like that which will follow the debut Walrus Ghost album.
JM: It seems like the video artists are very perceptive to your music…I know you did some music for a Nick Zegel video featuring Shepard Fairey. Are you bringing video into your live performances?
CB: Yeah, definitely. I think electronic music performed live, bare bones, is super boring; so the obvious move is to start incorporating other elements to bring more life to the show. The video content I cut up from some friends’ super 8 footage and some other random footage I found at a flea market by my old apartment, which was a lucky find. My friends Jacob and Thomas, who are in the New York-based band Beacon, helped me turn the footage into DVD material so I can project when I play. It definitely adds to the feel of the show.
I love that kind of stuff though, doing music for film. I miss music videos. Music video culture completely died out when labels crashed. There’s no money in it, and that’s unfortunate because they’re so amazing and so much fun. I go on youtube and I get nostalgic when I watch old 90’s music videos because they’re incredible. Like, old Busta Rhymes videos and stuff. Amazing. Hype Williams doing 99 Problems for Jay-z, that’s a great video. Old Bjork videos, super rad. Or Michele Gondry and Spike Jonz. There’s so many classics. That’s something I would love to bring back.
JM: What’s on the horizon for you? Will there be an official Walrus Ghost release soon?
CB: I’m currently at the point of where I feel like my brain is going to explode. Ha. I need to finish this Walrus Ghost record. It’s almost done, but I just keep coming up with new ideas, and songs that are better and better, so I want to try to fit them in on the final product for Walrus Ghost. After that, I’ll just be shopping it around to find a label that has the right fit. I’m not in a rush to get it put out, I just want to be happy with the end product. But I would say definitely within the next 3-6 months there will be an official Walrus Ghost release. Once the Walrus Ghost record is done, I just want to keep playing shows, hopefully work on some music video type stuff for Walrus Ghost and do more video content collaborations. I also have some cool remixes I’ll be working on that I’m excited about, and the collaborative project I’ll be doing with a female vocalist, which will most likely be some form of an EP. Anything else is the great wide unknown.
Hear new tracks from Walrus Ghost HERE!
– Submitted by Justin Main, Music Design