Paul Banks and RZA Come to The Bowery Ballroom as Banks & Steelz

August 30th, 2016

Introduced by a mutual acquaintance, Interpol frontman Paul Banks and Wu-Tang Clan head honcho RZA first bonded over tequila (in the East Village), noodles (in Chinatown) and chess (everywhere) before they began to make music together, as Banks & Steelz, that “balances chilly post-punk and hard-hitting hip-hop in ways that are equally indebted to and distinct from its members’ past work.” The collaboration “came about because I met Paul and I dug his style, and we hung out a few times,” said RZA to Esquire. Banks told the magazine that “I think lyrically I’ve always taken a lot of influence from hip-hop and a lot of influence from, especially, the hip-hop that RZA’s been a part of.” Their first album, Anything but Words (stream it below), dropped last week: “Cross-genre collaborations don’t always land as expected. When combining riffs and rhymes, there’s a high risk that descriptors like ‘rap-rock’ and even ‘nu-metal’ will creep up to cloud objectivity, recalling ghosts from the late ’90s,” according to AllMusic. “On Anything but Words, the debut effort from Banks & Steelz, two seemingly disparate forces mesh so well that it sounds like they were meant to be together all along…. Anything but Words is a stellar and truly collaborative endeavor between two creative energies, the result of an organic songwriting process that is anything but thrown together.” Now touring behind the new album, Banks & Steelz (above, their video for “Giant”) play The Bowery Ballroom on Thursday night. Kool Keith, who appears on Anything but Words, opens the show.