Banshee | A Therapeutic Cacophony

Trio of Doom

Most people have little things that annoy them or they dislike about the world; odd socks, forgetting to buy milk, social media, taxes and Marmite. Yet, ever since 2016, there has been a shift in world politics, and the global views of what is right or what is wrong have become blurry.

A seemingly nonchalant choice to hold an unnecessary referendum on the future of the relationship between the UK and the European Union, has resulted in one of the UK’s most divisive times in the modern era. It has opened the flood gates to a rise in racism, fascism, a huge drop in the faith of our government, a rise in poverty and currency instability, to name a few things.

And less said about what’s happening ‘across the pond’, the better.

These things, and many other gripes, have been playing on my mind over the last few years of my life. Under the surface feelings have begun to boil up, and as most, I have needed a place to release my thoughts and tensions.

And so, Banshee was born.

It began with an idea of creating noise, letting go of inhibitions and basically screaming. Punk-jazz if you will. With elements of the anarchistic music of the 70’s, entangled with the freedom’s of Improvised Music and Free Jazz, the idea was simple…

Creation and Destruction

Joined by two musicians I greatly admire, Aeddan Williams and Paolo Adamo and provided a platform to showcase the sonic rage at The Flute and Tankard, we began to unearth new sounds and unleash them upon an unexpecting audience that relished in the chaotic symphony before them.

Therapy Session

After many months of clattering together our musical minds, inviting a few guests along the way, there was a decision to open up the bandstand to other musicians in the audience; a jam session, a conversation, an argument, a Battle Royale.

Open to all musicians and all instruments, we have enjoyed the company of violinists, cellists, poets and harpists, as well as the standard jazz lineup (Just waiting for the day a modular-synth turns up). It has become a safe place to try new things, meet new people and explore sounds that the musicians may have not encountered before.

Yet still in the spirit of the original idea, first and foremost it has become a place to release tension amongst like minded people and let the music speak for itself with boundaries and judgement.


The Next Step

And so comes the time in every project where we must think about its’ future, even if uncertain of our of personal destinies. And so I came up with the wholly unoriginal idea of releasing an EP… but with a twist.

One of the many frustrating things with modern society is its’ ever increasing reliance on technology, and this can be viewed clearly in, nowhere better than, the global music scene. The music industrys’ dependence on the digital world is growing at an exponential rate every year.

Throughout history the way we consume music has evolved, from vinyl to tape to CD, mini-disc, MP3 and now to almost unlimited access to the entire back catalogue of musical history via streaming services. Paired with the leviathan that is Youtube and social media, any upcoming artist has to be pretty spectacular to stand out.

This has led me to look towards releasing a Digital EP, however I like something to hold, a physical ‘thing’ to take home from a gig, so I had the ‘brilliant’ idea of releasing my masterpiece via the medium of a comic book.


Deciding on the content of the EP was relatively simple, but creating a narrative for a comic was a challenge that I have never previously fathomed and struggled to find a starting point. Luckily I have met many great artists, photographers and creative people over the years and decided to call upon the incredible skills of Jessy Zee to help me undertake this mammoth task.

Beginning with a setting, the coffee shop that we were sitting while brainstorming, the story needed to be relevant to the band and it’s identity. Expanding on the original ideas of modern-day gripes and personal discovery, we set out on developing a few characters, each with there own flaws and misgivings, based on a number of challenges that people face everyday, whether they conquer them or end up consumed by the very ideas they were trying to escape.

The name Percolate came from,

1. A love of good coffee.

2. When something percolates, it spreads gradually. Whether a liquid, gas or even an idea.

Change is needed is this world and many people have become lost in political tribal warfare. The urge to do good and be good to those around you, no matter who they are, has been forgotten.  It may take time for certain ideas to filter through, but hopefully these dark times will dissipate in the near future.



With the comic book almost complete and the recording date in the diary, it leaves me with little else to do but explore some more sounds for the studio day, including with my new pedals set-up (That’s for another post all together).

Keep your ears to the ground, maybe follow me on  all the ‘terrible, yet useful’ Social Media sites (links below). There will be a big event to go with the release in a few months, so watch out for that too.

And if you ever want to come and join in the beautiful mess that is our Banshee ‘Therapy Session’, we host the night every month at the Flute and Tankard in Cardiff.

Spread the word.

Joe Northwood

Based in Cardiff, Joe is at the forefront of a new wave of Jazz talent emerging from Wales. Having performed in numerous venues and festivals in the UK and abroad, Joe has gathered a great deal of experience to establish an ever growing career.

Joe was fortunate enough attend the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and be taught by some of the UK’s leading jazz musicians, including Iain Ballamy, Geoff Simkins, Keith Tippett, Huw Warren, Martin France, Steve Waterman and Martin Speake.

In 2011, Joe was privileged enough to receive some tuition from Mark Turner, George Garzone, Rick Margitza, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Jeff Ballard and Larry Grenadier at Tuscia Jazz Festival. In 2015 he participated in the Siena Jazz Summer School, receiving tuition from Walter Smith III, Ben Wendel, Dave Binney, Mark Guiliana, Avashai Cohen and Drew Gress, culminating in the award of a scholarship to return the following year.

Since beginning the saxophone at the age of 12 years, Joe has had the opportunity to play as part of many great bands, big and small.  He has constantly been developing his individual style in small ensembles, as a leader or sideman, across the the UK and Internationally, since the age of 16. Highlights include playing at Brecon International Jazz Festival (Wales), and a Welsh Government funded tour to China.

With guitarist Stuart Power, Joe helped establish a jazz promotion group, The Jazz Gallery in 2011, hosting weekly events and jam sessions.

As well as small groups, playing amongst larger ensembles has always been an essential part to Joe’s development as a musician, including playing for BBC NOW Big Band in 2012. As a member Veritas Orchestra Joe had the opportunity to perform Julian Joseph’s The Great Sage and in 2006 when working with the National Saxophone Choir of Great Britain Joe took part in a 5* show at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival .

Joe is also a keen educator, teaching privately and is currently holding the Jazz Saxophone Tutor post at the Junior Conservatoire of the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.