We (RZA and Paul Banks) have joined forces to create a new group called Banks & Steelz. To celebrate the release of our new album Anything But Words that came out today, we're taking some time between tour stops in San Francisco to answer your questions.

We're going to try to kick this AMA off around 4pm-ish PT. We got to bounce after an hour. But we'll try to get back in later for any follow ups. Get your questions up in here now.

Need Proof? Check out @BanksAndSteelz on Twitter.

EDIT: Peace guys this has been fun... catch you in the wind...Bong Bong...Rza

| EDIT: I love reddit and this has been a blast. Thanks all! PB

Comments: 132 • Responses: 40  • Date: 

Monsieur-Cat17 karma

I have two.

Paul, I’ve heard you’re a drummer. Any places on this album where we can hear you playing? Speedway Sonora perchance?

RZA, I’ve heard you play the guitar. Any chance of an absolute face-melter on the B&S follow-up?

banksandsteelz18 karma

If I get my sword sharper there is a chance of me showing some axe chops on a follow up. RZA

granttttt116 karma

RZA, I'm guessing you've listened to Interpol now since working with Paul! If so what do you think of Turn On the Bright Lights, regarded as one of indie rock's masterpieces?

banksandsteelz26 karma

I am not yet Qualified to determine that but the song "The Scale" by interpol is my favorite rock jam right now right beside Arctic Mokeys RZA

GG30610 karma

I'm a newfound hip-hop fan thanks to this album. Interpol are the most influential band in my life and thanks to Paul's work with RZA I now have lots of Wu-Tang Clan on iTunes. Thanks to both of you for your perpetually beautiful art.

Paul, man, if it wasn't for Interpol I would have never learned to play guitar and make music which brings me the greatest joy in life. I have every single song you've released in my iTunes library and they have influenced my own music so much.

Enough gushing, I have two questions:

  • "Speedway Sonora" is by far the best song on the album. What inspired the title? P.S. The delivery of the "Bob the huntsman" [sic] line is so fucking cool and catchy. The chorus makes me want more Interpol, which brings me on to the inevitable question two...

  • Have you been working on any new Interpol or solo material, Paul? I can't wait any longer; your last albums (both El Pintor and Banks) were masterpieces. We want more!

banksandsteelz15 karma

Thanks a lot for the kind words. question 1: RZA wrote his verses first on that track back when the song had the working title "Passage." His lyrics inspired my lyrics - for some reason I couldn't shake the imagery of the desert and sunsets and a long road to the horizon. Sorta Cormac McCarthy imagery. And the actual term "Speedway Sonora" just came to me one day while I was in that headspace.
Bob the Huntsmen line is one of my favorite moments on the album. I said I wanted to make it a t-shirt as soon as he said that. I have no idea what the fuck "tiger bone" is either.

Question 2: I'm always working on solo material and Interpol is gearing up for some writing sessions in the coming months.


SeattleShane7 karma

You guys killed it in Seattle Wednesday night. Been a fan of RZA since early 90's. Now I'll have to check out Interpol. Your album is fire! 1. RZA, you get any of your vodka back Wednesday night? 2. When you coming back to Seattle?

banksandsteelz3 karma

Seattle was fun... I did see the Vodka bottle again but it was empty... I think i signed it for some one.... Thanks for hanging with us...Rza

hopes_and_fears7 karma

Which song personally touched each one of you the most and why ? And do you believe music has the power to change people ?

banksandsteelz13 karma

Are you referring to Our Album? If so The song "I'm Gonna Make it" on the album is the one that touches me the most, reason be the third verse touches upon teenage depression and Americas youth epidemic of antidepressant addictions. Seeing that my family is not excluded from this epidemic I wanted shed light on it. I think music has the power to change people because music may make us aware of things in a poetic way where regular life and TV can't...RZA

theOUTCOME36 karma

Hello, I had a chance to discover your work courtesy of WWE as it made one of their event's theme song. I guess WWE contacted you, but in this case - decision has been made instantly, by answering yes to them? Or any negotiation is considered in situation when big company wants to promote your work even if it's temporary?

banksandsteelz11 karma

We both grew up watching WWE and felt the song was a good fit. Our team handles the biz side of that kinda stuff. PB

banksandsteelz9 karma

Shout out to Andre the "Giant"....Rza

aimhhs786 karma

Enjoying your new album! Thank you! Cool guest stars on your album, any chance any will join you on stage anywhere? See you at FYF!!

banksandsteelz4 karma

We have a open invitation to all of our collaborators...Rza

Thefriendlyfaceplant6 karma

Only found out about this today. Never bought tickets this fast.
Conceal is a masterpiece! Where did the sample it kicks off with come from?

banksandsteelz7 karma

Thanks! Conceal may be my favorite track. That's no sample - it's just me with my voice pitched...doin a lil Sinatra thing. But we did sample RZA in that track. We pulled him saying "Bobby Steelz keeps steels concealed, na'mean?" from the Wu-Tang song "Evil Deeds." PB

HotChipotleTaco6 karma

Yo ! How high are the chances of having you in Mexico !?!?!?!? I can help !!!!!! And Im a cheff, so tacos, ceviche and chilaquiles wont be a problem !! Yes RZA, I can cook vegan too :) just come ! Please ?

banksandsteelz3 karma

Vegan Taco's... count me in...Rza

Anything_but_words6 karma

If you could only use 5 words to describe this project and convince people to listen to it, what words would you use ?

banksandsteelz12 karma

That's a funny question because the album is titled "anything but words" but here are 5...refreshing entertaining eclectic atmospheric fun...Rza

christinaahlsen5 karma


sounds of nyc: which are the most inspiring?

conspiracy theories: any favorites?

intersection between other art forms and music: which other art mediums do you like to create in? do you ever feel desire to create 'total art' experiences?

craziest thing you've ever seen on the street?

favorite instrument outside of your primary? and why?

thank you mr. banks and mr. steels for your time. the album is magnificent. thank you for all you create. I love you deeply.

banksandsteelz6 karma

cool question! This is PB answering for now. Sounds of NYC: street performers in the subways and parks. Conspiracy theories: sooooo many. I get a kick out of Mandela effect but that isn't really a conspiracy I guess. Intersection of art: I like to paint and want to try some acting. I think film is the most total medium. Music, literature, photography, dance...everything can come together in film. Craziest thing you've ever seen: RZA says "a naked dude hog tied in the snow." Apparently the dude was tied to his own nuts so if he tried to escape...you get it. Favorite instrument outside of your primary: DRUMS!!!!!!!!

AliS835 karma

Hey Paul! Two questions- 1 - Whats been the biggest difference creatively with working with Interpol, Julian Plenti, and Banks and Steelz 2 - Any updates on new Interpol music? Whats up RZA!!!

banksandsteelz7 karma

hmmm. Well Interpol and Banks & Steelz are collaborations where I feed off of artists who inspire me - and we make something together that none of us could do alone. That is a privilege. And there's magic in collaborations. Alchemy. Working alone is probably the most therapeutic in the sense that it is a pure personal expression. I like having both outlets. PB

MoveOverGrandma5 karma

I love the album and love the choices for the features!

You guys are the only music act that I know of to be a mix of indie and hip hop besides WHY?. How does it feel to have one foot in each of those genres? Is it ever uncomfortable?

banksandsteelz6 karma

For me music has evolved just as, food, fashion, culture,etc. So we are in a generation where hybrids are becoming normal. This collaboration has been fun and inspiring....Rza

teckloglo5 karma

RZA, It is obvious that Banks and Steelz' music contains political statements, but I have noticed not too many on the Vegan front. Being a Hot, proud Shaolin Vegan I wondered why? Any response? P S Please notice the hot SHaolin Vegan mamma at the show Sept. 1 muah!

banksandsteelz5 karma

Shaolin world wide... dietary subjects didn't make their appearance while writing this album...but much Vegan food was in the studio while working even my partner Paul had days where he ate vegan with me...Rza

aerokevv5 karma

Question to Prince Rakeem, Ruler Zig-Zag-Zig Allah himself.

I have read all of your Wu-Tang books and i have to say, they're life changing. They gave me a whole new perspective at life. So my question is, after your new experiences and artistic expressions will you be writing a new book?

Also i would like to say thank you for the knowledge you gave me. You brought me to the right path, just like GZA brought you to yours.

Can't wait to see you guys in Amsterdam!

banksandsteelz6 karma

Thanks for absorbing the wisdom... I do plan to do more writing in the future if I'm blessed to do so...Rza

_LikeAFlower4 karma

To PAUL What do you want to give people when you create music ? Or is it something more like, a personal necessity to express your thoughts and feelings without necessarily wanting people to react or change after listening to it ?

RZA I would like to know where does your inspiration come from ? I have read some musicians say they feel like God or a Universal force dictate them the songs... Have you ever experienced something like that ? Or where does ideas come from ?

Im so in love with your music guys, thank you so much for saving my life and for taking the time to reply all this !! You are very special.

banksandsteelz5 karma

For me many inspiration comes from living life. Everyday is new so everyday is an opportunity for a new inspiration. Still capturing it and recording it is a whole other thing...Rza

banksandsteelz5 karma

It's chasing beauty - the urge to make music. The world is full of it, and there's a compulsion to try reflect some back. PB

Frajer4 karma

What's your favorite song the other person has done?

banksandsteelz3 karma

The Scale -RZA

banksandsteelz7 karma

Bells of War -PB

bostonrules123 karma

Paul and RZA...do you think that your fellow bandmates/group members will listen to Anything But Words? Have they given either of you any feedback? What is their support level like?

banksandsteelz6 karma

Yeah, with Interpol we all listen to each other's works outside of the band. It's all love. PB

banksandsteelz6 karma

A few member from my team appear on the record and more have heard some songs... They gave me 2 thumbs up...Rza

Caramel_macchiato_3 karma

Now that you are touring, I would like to ask what's the most difficult part about it and how much luggage you bring with you... Haha, do you bring enough undies or do you have to wash every night ? :P

banksandsteelz10 karma

The most difficult part is probably just the actual travel - airports and buses and what not. I strike a balance between having enough underwear while also being able to carry on my luggage if I fly. Which is like some expert-level shit, to be honest. No easy feat. PB

andythecurefan3 karma

Paul/RZA, I didn't get a chance to see you guys at the Roxy and I'm not going to FYF. With a newborn baby, haven't really had the time to go out like before. I've been eagerly awaiting this release for months and heard every new song as it was released.

I'm not too familiar with Wu-Tang, but being a huge Interpol fan, I gave this a shot. I'm really impressed and I can see how versatile Paul is as a musician. I wanted to ask if you guys were going to allow the Austin City Limits to webcast your performance? Might be my only way to see you guys. I often hear that webcast rights are up to the artist themselves.

Thanks for allowing us to ask questions today and wishing you both success. Paul, I'm hoping for Interpol LP 6. Take your time, I know how you guys like to record. You did a hell of a job on bass and the live shows were amazing. I got the red Vinyl, white vinyl, Target edition cd, and standard cd. Been trying hard to support you guys since 2005.

banksandsteelz5 karma

Don't know about ACL yet but quite a few of the festivals do live streaming and we are down - we authorize, yah. PB

malditamiga3 karma

Hi, guys! I can't tell you how excited I was about you two working together. It's amazing! I wanted to ask you if you'd like to make the soundtrack for a movie. Your music would be perfect for it. Which director would you like to work with?

And Paul, you lived in Spain and Mexico, is there any Spanish or Latin American bands/musicians that you like?

banksandsteelz3 karma

Thanks for the ear... We actually had a chance to play some music for a hollywood director who said it was refreshing and futuristic...Rza

thisisabracelet3 karma

I have several lengthy compliments and exclamations of praise you two no doubt hear every fucking day, but my biggest question goes to both of you guys:

What's the worst piece of advice you've ever received as musicians?

And if I can be greedy, part two for Mr. Banks:

I've been lucky enough to be a fan and enjoy what you've been doing as a solo artist and as a part of Interpol for a decade and a half, and I'm really curious as to how you approach touring. You're with Banks and Steelz now, you've toured with Interpol, and you've done your thing as a solo artist. Do you have approaches to performing or touring with Bobby that differ from your tours with Interpol, or your Julian Plenti performances? Like, do you separate these experiences, these performances, as different entities, or do you really just get out there, regardless of who you're playing with or what you're playing, and just do it? I guess I'm asking if it's all just music to you, or if each tour is different and treated/felt differently.

That probably sounds ridiculous but I'm at work with a broken hand, literally hiding in the fucking bathroom because I didn't want to lose this opportunity to ask you. I can't wait for tomorrow's show at the Independent, guys.

banksandsteelz5 karma

RZA: to worry about the key of a song while creating hip hop. PB: someone told me after an early Interpol show, "you should just stick to playing guitar."

As far as your second question: yeah, it's all just music. I love writing and performing music, and it's great to play live with top notch musicians.

wawastein3 karma

Hello guys, question for Mr. Banks.

I really enjoy your cover of "I'm a fool to love you", it was pretty unexpected choice and your voice was excellent on the record. I'd like to ask:

1) Is there any other song you'd like to cover, but it didn't work out for some reason?

2) Is there any your song you would like to be covered by any artist of your liking?

Personally I'd like to hear "Rest My Chemistry" by Placebo, but that's dreams

banksandsteelz4 karma

Thanks. That's my favorite Sinatra track - and I later found out that it's one of the songs he actually co-wrote. I also heard that he was dealing with some heartache when he recorded it. Apparently he walked in, did one take, and walked out. I think you can hear real real passion in his delivery in that version.

I'd like to cover lots and lots of songs... I just did some Beck covers and I covered White Iverson actually! But those are just for my laptop! Sometimes it's fun to recreate music you like to get in touch with its DNA and learn something new. That's why I covered Dilla when I did the Sinatra EP. I tried to learn from masters. As far as someone else doing a cover...nothing comes to mind. But it's always an honor when someone does. I loved that the Killers did Ob1. PB

stasia_onyx73 karma

RZA, would you say your previous work as a film composer influenced this album? Is your process of composing for film different from when you produce an album with no pictures/film?

Paul, first off, I have to say not a single one of your projects are disappointing. Q: Where do you get your ideas for these projects? Would you say you try to differentiate your projects from each other?

To the Both: You guys did a wonderful job on this album! Can’t wait to see y’all down in ATX at the Late Night Show. Hopefully, you guys can do some signings and pictures. Otherwise, really digging this project!

banksandsteelz2 karma

I do feel my composing experienced helped me while working on this record. My classical progression merged with hip hop and rock sensibility gave me and Paul a cool landscape to work with....And yes the process is different....RZA

syst3mic3rr0r3 karma

The genre-bendiness of hip hop and alt-rock is bringing two of my favorite genres together. This project could not have been spearheaded by any two people in the game who have my utmost respect as musican's, artists and veterans in their respective genres and the industry in general.

Being someone who acknowledges it's kind of awkward to be "that person" that annoys their friends by bouncing around from playing post-punk, post-punk revival music to hip hop. Paul, I know for a fact you've always loved hip hop—you made me feel like I wasn't the only one out there who loved both genres—you're also my hero. So, thank you for being a source of inspiration for me the past 10+ years.

My first question for Paul: Your lyrics, circa your solo work and with Interpol are of the greatest, most meaningful, and sometimes vaguely "tongue in cheek" lyrics I have ever read. Being also so witty, it seems like you will be a natural crossing over into the hip hop realm with RZA, no less!

So, how has your previous creative process changed when blending genres with RZA?
What has this experience been like creatively compared to your process with Interpol as well as your solo work? Have you learned anything new from this experience as an artist?

RZA, much love to you! (Wu Tang Forever) Your verses on Giant were so fierce and powerful—I started choreographing to Giant, the song inspired me deeply, message wise, and mostly what drove it home was both your passion as well as Paul's. I felt the force and speed behind your lyrics, I could tell you meant what you were saying and that authenticity is what I love most about an artist. What was the inspiration behind Giant?

How has it been for you creatively adding a more organic "rock and roll" feel to the music? Has it altered your usual creative process in any new ways? What new things have you learned from this collaboration? Do you have any advice for people who aspire to be a hip hop artist and/or ghost write?

...Ok now for silly questions:

  • Do you guys ever argue with each other about the creative direction of the music? How do you settle it?

  • Paul, are you going to rap a few verses and do a little hip-hop dancing?

  • Why no ATL on the tour list? I'm super bummed about that.

  • What are your personal favorite tracks on the album, in terms of meaningfulness?

I know this was long, but thank you for reading. I am so excited that Banks + Steelz is happening and I can't wait to hear the album in full!

banksandsteelz3 karma

Thanks for the Ear... I discovered while making this record that my verbal energy is probably the most compatible to rock than my comrades and my energetic sporadic style can fit into both worlds. Seeing it come together on this record has been fun and I look to doing more in the future...Rza

packer_gunner3 karma

Dear RZA, I grew up with hip hop and that's all I listened to growing up. Big fan of the Wu and many other positive influential artists of that generation. One day in high school, a friend gave me a burned,heavily scratched CD of Interpol's first album. Only 3 songs played properly. Out of the unfamiliar melodies and atmosphere, i remember thinking how the vocalist's blend of range,mood,and lyrics was unlike anything playing on the radio. As a hip hop fan, I was oddly ok with that. I've been a huge fan of Interpol and Paul's solo work ever since. Years later, though, I was surprised to find out he went to school in Mexico/Spain. What I enjoy most about Paul's work is that his diverse background is pretty evident musically and lyrically. Once you know what it's like to fall in love with girls and culture in a different country, something changes in you. RZA, to go through with this project, I imagine you must respect Paul's work. What aspect of Paul's 'game' do you admire most? and Paul, as a hip hop connoisseur yourself, what about RZA or his work/legacy let you know that this project was going to be a major success? Thank you both for your time and consideration


PS: "Gonna Make It" is fire

banksandsteelz2 karma

Paul's aesthetics musically and work ethics professionally are very commendable. His band help expand the NYC indie scene...RZA

coachmethruit3 karma

BONG BONG! Love Wu-Wednesdays, what other up and coming artists is the Wu Family looking to promote??

banksandsteelz3 karma

There is a female artist we discovered Named Chanel Sosa...Very Promising....Rza

PatateTony352 karma

Hi, do you plan to do an extended world tour or just the dates you already have? Great album by the way!

banksandsteelz5 karma

Europe is in the works thus far.... thanks for the ear...Rza

coachmethruit2 karma

This question is for RZA: when will you be writing another book? Your teachings thru music, movies and Tao of Wu and Wu Manual has influenced my entire community JPHiP!!!

banksandsteelz3 karma

Thanks for absorbing the Wu energy... More books will follow...Rza

Vain97312 karma

Hi Paul, I wanted to ask what are some of your favourite books and films? Also, what do you think influences your creative process the most?

banksandsteelz3 karma

oooh...i answer this a lot but I love talking film and lit. Henry Miller is my favorite author. All of his works had an influence on me. Genet, Nabokov, Hamsun, Mann, Dostoevsky, Celine, Bukowski, Hemmingway...all favorites. Film definitely inspires me. I recently saw "Hell or High Water" and that was great. I love the moment when shit gets REAL and the stakes ratchet up... no spoilers. PB

Cellophane332 karma

Paul, I read you hunted with Donald Trump Jr., when did you start hunting ? What is your favorite animal to kill and what do you do later with them ? Do you stuff them ? How often do you go hunting and what's the most pleasurable part of being a hunter ? I really would love to read your answers ! Thanks man !!!

banksandsteelz4 karma

I don't hunt - I don't even like to fish! I was along for the ride. It was a zany experience. Anything killed that day was cleaned and eaten.

kaigem2 karma

I am a huge fan of rock and roll, particularly early prog rock like Floyd, Genesis, Moody Blues, and Jethro Tull. I know very little about hip hop. Given that the music I like most is densely arranged and heavy with meaning, what hip hop artists would you recommend I listen to in order to get into the scene?

banksandsteelz5 karma

Wu-tang, Gang Starr, Mobb Deep, Blackstar, Tribe Called Quest, Run the Jewels (Anything El-P has been a part of) PB

Dominic19832 karma

Any chance you guys will play some shows in the UK, London maybe? I'd be there in a heartbeat! Cheers, Dominic

banksandsteelz2 karma

london in the fall...Rza

inothatswrite2 karma

RZA, I heard a story about you at the McDonalds tables from your youth. True story?

banksandsteelz2 karma

ha ha ha .... true indeed...Rza

HopelessLittleOne2 karma

Ok ok, let's talk about some esoteric stuff: Do you believe in Karma ?? What about the Oblivion !?!?! Do we have a destiny !? Just share your wisdom with us wise men !!!

banksandsteelz3 karma

Karma is proven through the scientific expression "for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction" thus the way of Tao or peace is in Stillness..Rza

mooseonethemic2 karma

If you were to describe your album as a food dish, what would it be? Tea leaf salad from a Burmese restaurant with a side of spring rolls is what I'm feeling. And put some of that chunky Chinese hot sauce on those spring rolls.

banksandsteelz3 karma

Bong Bong...Rza