How did you get started? Tell us your story!
My name is Luther Banks and I was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia. I grew up listening to a lot of different genres of music including R&B, Gospel, Country, Rock, Folk, and Reggae. I've been involved with music as long as I can remember. I played bells in elementary school, clarinet in middle, and as a teenager played the drums briefly. After graduating high school in 1993 I started Clayton State University as an architectural major. After a chance meeting with some people from the music department, I changed my major to voice. Doing this opened my eyes to the possibility of a career in music. However, I still did not know what I wanted to do. In 1995 I got my first piece of gear which, during my research into other gear, lead me to discover what a recording studio was and that the guy running all the gear was called an engineer. Once I had that information my next task was finding out how to become an engineer. I quickly realized that money was going to be an obstacle that would be damn near impossible to get over. But, because I didn't give up and continued to research alternative ways to get educated on the field, I came across the Recording Connection. Through the Recording Connection, I was able to connect with a local mastering engineer and learn in an actual studio.
In 1998 I started the first iteration of my home studio and I continued to learn and to grow my understanding of audios as well as the gear and the software used to capture it. Between 1998-2007 my studio was broken into twice. I kept going knowing that engineering was what I loved and that even with the setbacks I would still find a way through. In 2009 a client I was working with at my studio asked how we could take his album to the next level and my first thought was to mix the project at Patchwerk Recording Studios. I had known of Patchwerk and had been to an event there, but I had never worked in any of their rooms. Once I did, I knew that that was where I wanted to be. The professionalism and business philosophy fell right in line with mine. I felt it would be a perfect match. Once I was inside the building, I went about quietly making a good impression by being reliable, hard-working, and focused. Even though I already had been recording for more than 10 years I stayed humble and took my internship seriously. I sat in on sessions and learned from the staff engineers so that when I was given the opportunity to engineer a session, I would be ready.
The first session I engineered at Patchwerk was for the Kandi Burruss “Kandi Koated” Album. These sessions were a great test of some of the basics I learned in routing, patching, session organization, and file management. I made it a point to sit in on live sessions as well so that I would be prepared when it came time for me to track bands, choirs and string quartets. I was able to do all of this with confidence as a result. In 2014 I received a Grammy nomination for tracking vocals on the Faith Evans “R&B Divas” album. A year later I began the net phase in my career by officially becoming a mix engineer at Patchwerk. I have had some fun and amazing sessions with artists like Regina Belle, Patti LaBelle, TI, Ludacris, Bone Crusher, Dave Hollister, Gucci Mane, Rocko, producers such as J.U.S.T.I.C.E League, Tha Bizness, Zaytoven, Drumma Boy as well as clients like Disney, VH1, in addition to hundreds of amazing independent artists at the beginning of their careers.
What is your experience in the music industry? Do you have any formal training or schooling? If not, are you self-taught and how did you learn your craft? What is your learning style? What are your favorite educational resources (ex. college, YouTube, etc.)?
I an engineering certificate from the Recording Connection. Since engineering requires continuous learning, I follow a few of my peers on YouTube and I also constantly learn new things from my fellow Patchwerk engineers.
What are some credits and achievements that you have? Who have you worked with? Who have you collaborated with?
In 2014 I received a Grammy nomination for tracking vocals on the Faith Evans “R&B Divas” album. A year later I began the net phase in my career by officially becoming a mix engineer at Patchwerk. I have had some fun and amazing sessions with artists like Regina Belle, Patti LaBelle, TI, Ludacris, Bone Crusher, Dave Hollister, Gucci Mane, Rocko, producers such as J.U.S.T.I.C.E League, Tha Bizness, Zaytoven, Drumma Boy as well as clients like Disney, VH1, in addition to hundreds of amazing independent artists at the beginning of their careers.
Who are your biggest influences growing up and why? Who do you like to listen to now and why? Who’s on your playlist right now?
Some of my biggest influences growing up were the various old school artist I was introduced to by my family. Because of my upbringing, I listened to a lot of different genres of music. Artists in my playlist now include Tank, Dave Holland, Anita, Shoshana Bean, and Travis Scott.
What are some of the biggest obstacles you’ve encountered or faced in this industry?
The only obstacle I faced when doing this on my own was financing, gear costs money, and while running a home studio the threat of someone robbing you is a real concern. It happened to me twice, but I was able to move past it and continue down this path.
How would you describe your sound and style?
I'm a purist when it comes to tracking. I want to record reality and then bend and distort it only if the song dictates it. When mixing I always start with the vocals editing, crossfading, removing troublesome frequencies, and controlling the dynamics. The rest is dictated by the musical genre and the client’s vision for the record/project.
What are some of your goals this year?
My goals this year are the same as every year, to keep learning, and to continue to get better at my craft.
Who are the top 3 artists, producers, engineers, videographers, or others you would want to work with that you haven’t worked with yet?
I've met my immediate goals when it comes to the clients I've always wanted to work with and see every client as an important part of my musical journey.
What is your creative process like?
We are trained to work very fast whether we are tracking or mixing which means my creative process is always evolving. Creatively I don't have just one way of doing things the music dictates where I take it.
What’s your favorite go-to order?
Turkey Burger w/ Avocado, Lettuce, Tomato, and Sweet Potato Fries.