UNSW Art & Design

Ant Banister

z3444445_ant_banister_profile

Ant Banister

Technical Assistant - Audio Visual

Phone: 
+61 2 8936 0632
 
Qualifications: 
Audio Engineering

Raised in Darwin, Northern Territory, Ant attended Casuarina High School as a student of the music curriculum, studying trombone, euphoneum, piano and choir. After a brief dalliance with the Commonwealth Bank and the CSIRO, a Community Arts Worker postition was secured at Browns Mart Community Arts Centre. As part of his duties at Browns Mart, Ant went on tour as technical support through all the settlements of Arnhem Land with Kids Convoy, a childrens entertainment show.

During this period Ant was involved in a number of bands, ran an alternative music night club and hosted a weekly alternative music radio show. He also helped establish The Performing Youth Assn, a volunteer organisation that supported young unsigned musos by hosting live events and lending out equipment. Jo Ward who worked with Ant on this project now runs Soundwave.

In 1986 Ant moved to South Australia to work at The Port Adelaide Community Arts Centre. Shortly after Ant arrived there, the funding was pulled for his position and he ended up working at The Adelaide Entertainment Centre building sets and refirbishing lighting for Cats.

At home he set up a recording space in his shed and recorded Demo tapes for many independent bands including The Mark of Cain. Ant also rented out and operated his PA system for live shows. While on tour mixing sound for The Mark of Cain, Ant discovered Sydney and wanted to move there as soon as he could.

The end of 1987 saw Ant move to Sydney where things were a lot more difficult and expensive than Adelaide. While living in a bedsit, he delivered furniture by day and studied Audio Engineering at night, this often meant there was not enough money for food to last the week. After a few months he managed to get a room in a share house in Chatswood and secured a job delivering mail for Aust Post.

The posty job left Ant with enough time and money to start networking with other music minded people and form a band and then a collective of Electronic musicians. This collective was called The Kollektiv and addressed the then current issue of electronic music being ignored by the record lables. The musicians pooled their money and released a cassette compilation called This Tekno Fear, which sold at local record stores and did very well. Ant answered an add in The Drum Media street press posted by musician/producer Albert Martinez and they decided to form a band called Eidolon. A couple of Eidolon tracks appeared on the above mentioned compilation. Eidolon never officially broke up with Ant and Albert both starting side projects, Alberts one being of note the fabulous internationally recognized Synth-Pop band Neuropa.

In 1992, Ant went to the second meeting of another electronic collective that was advertised in the local music press. Convinced it was a waste to duplicate efforts and resources, the members of The Kollektiv agreed to merge with the then fledgeling Clan Analogue Collective. Clan Analogue went from strength to strength, releasing vinyl EP's and then full CD compilations and VHS video works as Clan Analogue had quite a few video artists on board as well. Clan artists performed at many cultural events and venues including the MCA, The Art Gallery of NSW and The Goethe Institute. Clan was given its own stage at The Big Day Out for 6 years running. Wharehouse parties grew larger with crowds well over the thousand mark and Clan spread to every capital and it boasted members from as far away as the UK.

Ant formed a band Nanotech, with James McParlane (who cooincidentally also answered Alberts add on the same day) was at the cutting edge of video art and used live video manipulation and 3d rendering which was still very rare at that stage. They played regularly in Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne and managed to secure some support slots with such internationals as Bjork, The On U Sound System and Sven Vath.

During this period, Ant met Dave Smith from Boxcar and Tom Ellard from Severed Heads and started working for Boxcar as a roadie and lighting operator, then he started working for Severed Heads as tech and sound guy, a position that still gets dusted off from time to time to this day.

The mid 90's also saw the birth of his daughter Anastasia. In 1998 Nanotech were forced to call it quits after only finding the time (due to a hectic live schedule etc) to release a cassette tape and a couple of songs on Clan EP's. James became very busy working on the development of Television Set Top Box technology which would become common place only ten years later. Ant moved on and formed The Flow with a local DJ Marty Batfreak and released a critically acclaimed album Chai.4.2 in 1999 and achieved the highest number of mp3 downloads at Chaos music before even I-Tunes had come along. Ant regularly worked a guest presenter on Clans radio show on 2-SER Electro-Plastique and was actively involved with the test broadcasts of FBI Radio. A bone tumor in Ant's foot meant that he twice had to take more than twelve weeks off work to have the tumors removed and get bone grafts. Fortunately the tumors while aggressive turned out to be benign. Ant used that time off to work on his album for The Flow and to write a self help book on consciousness and meditation, subjects that intensely interested him, with Ant regularly interpreting dreams and performing I-Ching readings for friends and clients. The turn of the century saw Ant get engaged to long time friend Maja and together they bought a home in Canterbury in Sydneys inner west. Shortly after, Ant left Australia Post and started working for a small Audio Visual company, finally engaging full time in work that was closer to his passion for events and sound. The Flow was not working out due to personality differences with Marty, so Ant engaged in a set of musical collaborations with like minded artists like Deep Child, Andy Rantzen and The 5000 Fingers of Dr. T. under the name Pempek. A number of Pempek tracks were used by Hot Buttered in their surfing videos and US based cable channel Blue Water Sports also purchased Pempek tracks for television use. After a small number of live shows, Ant met Saman Jebeli-Javan an Iranian Australian who also had a passion for electronic music and they formed a new project called Lunar Module. Ant had not sung at all during the 90's and really missed it, so he started writing pop songs in the 80's style which was starting to come back into fashion and was really where his heart lay. The first Lunar Module song Turn The Key appeared on the Clan Analogue compilation Doppler Shift and was playlisted on high rotation by Sydney FM station FBi and continued to be played regularly for over six months. Encouraged by this, Ant continued to write pop songs and perform with Saman. Producer Albert Martinez from the band Neuropa (whom Ant had worked with earlier) came on board to play guitar, sing backing vocals and produce for Lunar Module. Saman was increasingly interested in Trip Hop and Electronic Dub music and was writing quite a bit of material with Ant in this style, it was decided to split off that music under the name Galactic Gangstars and keep Lunar Module pure Synth-Pop. The Galactic Gangstars appear on the Clan Analogue Dub compilation In Version and performed at the Sydney and Melbourne launch parties to critical acclaim, with Saman rapping about homelessness and the environment. The Melbourne show was recorded and released as a live CD.

Ant encouraged Saman to start networking with Sydney's hip hop community to take the band further, but a new marriage and career meant he decided to stop making music full time. Ant continued on with Lunar Module, with more people joining the project, Video Artist Grant Muir came on board with live video effects and eventually bass guitar, Peter Davies as a drummer and, then swapped to guitar (when Albert moved to Melbourne) and Mel Grogan started playing live keyboards and singing backing vocals. Lunar Module played many shows interstate and released three EP's. Interest started to come in from Europe, the UK and the US, but with Ant working full time as an AV Manager, with a new son and the commitments of the other band members, all that meant that touring internationally was out of the question. Lunar Module continued to play regularly until late 2012. Ant was increasingly getting live mixing and production work and was asked to tour manage for Severed Heads on the Gary Numan Australian tour 2011. Then Ant was approached by Fiona Horne and asked to rebuild a set of backing tracks with an eye to taking 90's band Def FX back on the road after a fifteen year break. The original keyboard player/producer Sean Lowry was not interested in reforming the band and had none of the backing tracks left in a suitable form. The fourteen backing tracks took nearly a year to reproduce. The tracks contained all the drums, synth parts and samples from the original hits, with only the guitars and vocals performing live in a typical show. Ant learned all the male vocal parts and introduced some live keyboard parts and remixed a couple of the songs. The tour was held in October 2012 and was a huge success with large enthusiastic crowds in every capital city. A follow up tour was organised in 2013.

January 2013 Ant started working at UNSW Art & Design in Audio Visual Support Sevices, looking after video and sound in the lecture theaters, video edit suites and recording studios, an absolute dream job in his mind. 2013 saw Ant invited to join the band Sounds Like Winter with Ash Rothschild from 90's band Caligula. Three months was all it took for the new songwriting pair to write nine strong alternative pop songs, a video clip was arranged for The Dark, shot and edited by Lachlan Peterson who had previously made a clip for Lunar Module. Then extra band members were brought on board to allow the band to play live, Ryan Mortimer, Rueben Sakey and from The Church, Jorden Brebach.

2014 saw Ant settle into his position at the Paddington campus of UNSW. The new campus enjoyed an unprecedented amount of public events, that saw Ant in his element providing sound, projection and lighting on regular basis.