Banks Arcade “Behind The Scenes of Making A Muse” with Joshua O’Donnel

June 22, 2024 - Exclusive Feature

Banks Arcade are set to release their highly anticipated new EP “Making A Muse” this Friday, June 28th.

Tiana Speter caught up with vocalist Joshua O’Donnell to find out why they ran with two EP’s (Death 2 and A Muse) rather than a full length album, Re recording the EP, their videos, influences and a surprise fact about working with Sleep Token on one of the tracks!


Both DEATH 2 and A Muse were done at the same time, but it became apparent that they were going to be released separately throughout the writing period. As we were writing, we were going back and forth initially as to whether or not it was going to be an album or not. At one point it was going to be an album, but then we realised: “nah, there’s two very different sounds here”. Then it split, and all of the songs still hadn’t been written. A Muse has all of the older songs, the ones we’ve had the longest. For DEATH 2, we filled in some of the gaps to make it a whole thing. But it definitely wasn’t intentional in the beginning.


As we did with DEATH 2, we recorded the whole EP twice for A Muse. We weren’t happy with the first one we recorded in the UK when we did it over there.


A Muse was written in New Zealand right before lockdown, and then the rest of it was written in lockdown. When we wrote Alive, I was actually sitting there playing the riff for it, and I pretty much recorded the whole first section of the song, just freestyling it with a guitar. James [Feekes – Drums] got out his phone and recorded it, and then we built the whole song off of that, which for us – that’s really crazy.

We don’t write songs like that. I know that’s how normal people probably do it all the time, but for us it was like, “oh, we did the thing that musicians that write together do!”. And it actually worked.

It was cool for us.


With our videos, we’re doing a lot of it in-house, Harlan [Allen-Jones – Bass] edited the video for Heartstop, and he had to upskill massively to do it but we’re really happy with the result. And the video for Self Help was done by one of my really good friends Phil [Mountfort], and we shot that video on New Year’s Eve. Phil actually used to be in Banks Arcade when we first started, he was our drummer. I called him on New Year’s Eve, or the day before, and I was like, “can I come and shoot a music video with you up at Mount Maunganui”, which is in New Zealand. And he said yes, but he knows how I am. Anytime he gets a call from me, he’s kind of a bit concerned (laughs). But we went out and we started shooting this video, and it was pouring with rain.

Usually me and Phil have always gotten together and just made stuff work; but this time around, nothing was working. It was raining and there were drunk people everywhere. And not in a good way either, because all of the normal people that were going out had decided to stay home. There was a storm, so it was only psychos out and about, and we were just failing to get any shots.

We went into a Burger King, and Phil convinced me that he wanted me to get up on a table and do a take in front of this packed Burger King. He was like, “you have to do this bro! This is your Hannah Montana moment. Get on this table and everyone’s going to love it!”. I was like, “no one’s going to love it!”. He had this speaker with him and I was like, “I do not want to do this, I do not want to do it!”. But he convinced me to do it; and it was fucking horrible. It failed miserably and no one liked it. Everyone was sitting there like, “what is this guy doing?!”. I just sent it, and Phil has the whole thing on footage.

Afterwards I told him, “don’t you dare put any of that in the video!!”. But some of it is in there, there’s a shot of two girls in wet weather gear in the Burger King, and I’m about to get up and do it. Then it kind of cuts away, and you wouldn’t know what it is. But that’s the story behind that little three second shot for everyone who’s been wondering! I did it all for Phil. I was like, “this guy is going to go around saying I bitched out on getting up and doing it”, just in case it would’ve been great. And in some ways I proved him wrong because it was the biggest failure.

As soon as I finished, I jumped off the table and walked straight out.


This EP was inspired by more rock-y bands. In all honesty, it really did feel very organic when we were making it. We weren’t necessarily looking to influences the same way that we have in the past. And I feel like that shows in the nature of the songs, they’re very rock-y.

For example, No Future was definitely a lockdown song. It was just about being in that situation and feeling like everyone was going a little bit crazy and everyone was writing music from the one side of that at that time. There was something about the whole thing, even though it was obviously bad, but I like a little bit of chaos and I was very inspired at that time because I thought it was going to be way worse.

I was like, “war is coming and I’m ready”. But then it just was like, “oh, we’re just stuck in here”. There are songs on A Muse that were definitely inspired by that.

To be honest, the EP is just kind of like a heavy metal Taylor Swift breakup album, sadly. And most of that really did centre around one weekend. We played our first ever big festival and I had this situation with a girl who broke my heart. I was at this festival, and I was down. Bad. It was our big moment to play this festival and I was so sad. And she was also at this festival because she was playing there, we were both going through it at the time.

We’re actually friends now, which is even more funny. She listens to the music now and she’s like, “this is so messed up” (laughs). Which is funny on its own. But at the time, I was at this festival and everyone was having a good time; and I was not having a good time. I literally went home and pretty much wrote all of the breakup songs on the EP, they were all written straight after that.

Because of how spread out and because of how hectic the times were, a lot of these stories blur. But I wrote a few of the songs at that point, and then we went to Melbourne and I wrote in the midst of lockdown too. And alongside that, us coming into being a band and touring and doing all of those things, all of that was happening at the same time as well and also lent inspiration to the EP.


A little known fact is also that we worked with the Sleep Token vocalist on one of the songs on the record, the song Lost Cause. When all of this stuff was happening, it was about two and a half years ago. And interestingly, it’s a very modern Sleep Token song in terms of how it turned out, and working with them was very cool.

Banks Arcade “A Muse” Track List:

01. Alive
02. Heartstop
03. Faded AF
04. Lost Cause
05. No Future
06. Self Help

Keep up to date with Banks Arcade:

Listen to “Heartstop” on our new “Amped” Spotify Playlist:

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