Simon Discusses the Influence of Music on His Life and Creativity

In 2020, Simon Banks had an interview with the Fan Flies where he shared his personal experience and listening habits regarding music. This blog gives an insight into his thoughts.

What’s your favourite music genre?

Like most people, I like all music, but over the last 20 or so years, I’ve been drawn to funk and soul. I’ve been stuck on one side that sort of blends into hip hop. The other side of that sort of blends into that sort of funky sort of soul house type of music, so somewhere in the middle seems to be where I’m drawn to the most.

What was the first album you bought, and how has it influenced your taste in music?

Growing up in a Christian family meant that my song choices had a strong Christian theme, with many Abba albums or Village people listening to my brother’s older music. Until 1986, I saved up enough for me to buy the 1986 Out Now Album, which opened me up to all this synth-pop and British New Wave Music such as The Thompson Twins and Arcadia that was coming out at that time.

Until that point in my life growing up in Hobart, I wasn’t so exposed to alternate music and I was listening to commercial radio, and that album just opened my mind to new thinking. I got more into the European style of music, especially that synth-pop as a very young boy in 1986.

What is the first thing that grabs your attention – lyrics, voice, or music?

I just explored a lot into the different types of music, and over the years, I’ve come to love music so much; I mean, with music, there’s a beat that seems to kick in and turn my brain on in a certain way and makes me want to listen to more of that.

I facilitate a considerable number of workshops, and I’m always speaking, so I love to have something on in the background when people are doing what they need to do that makes them want to tap their feet and sort of bounce their feet a little bit as well.

Of course, it has to be something which is never heard on the radio and something that people won’t easily recognise, and I’ve discovered that it has worked a great deal in all my workshops. So, for me, it has to be the music first.

I’m always listening for that music first, and that beat that comes in the background and then would be the voice followed by the lyrics.

An example of a band I listened to a lot of times just because of the voice is the UK band called The Darkness. They were around about 15 years ago and had this high falsetto voice that made me listen to them.

How much do the lyrics of a song matter to you?

For me, it’s a little of both. When the songs are a bit slower, you can tune into the lyrics a little bit more. At the moment, I’m totally into a UK artist called YEBBA because she’s got such a soulful voice, and listening to the lyrics just makes me almost cry when you combine the lyrics with the story behind the song.

So, the words mean a lot, but you might just ignore them as well and just tap your foot for some songs.

Do you go out of your way to find new artists or listen to favourites?

I’m constantly going out of my way to find new artists, so much so that it consumes a huge part of my day because I listen to so much music. The world is full of creativity, and music is a sphere where so much creativity and innovation get expressed and while it is fabulous to listen to old classics from 10, 15, and 20 years ago, it is a great disservice to stay stuck on these singles and albums from way back then.

I constantly have this discussion with my brother, a professional musician who loves listening to stuff from when he was in high school. Expose yourself to new and brilliant content being produced. Go out of your way to explore new artists and open your mind to different genres.

Do you listen to music based on your mood – how you feel, want to feel or mood isn’t a deciding factor?

I’m constantly changing the music I listen to based on the mood I’m in. For me, the music has to match the energy I need. For example, I have my lunch music, I have my music when I require deep concentration to get my mind back in control, and on Friday, I pump up the house to get me through the end of the day.

Also, when I write my book, I spend hours and hours, months and years, and so I went on a journey into that British sort of pop of around mid-2000s like Travis, Doves, and David Gray, something to open my mind and help me get into the flow of thinking and writing.

Do you listen to a whole project from start to finish or cherry-pick your favourite cuts?

Spotify has opened us to a lot of music that we otherwise might not have listened to, and while this is great, it has sort of made me lose the art of listening to a whole album because you can easily jump between songs and skip for a few different ones.

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Simon Banks is an author, podcaster, and international speaker on creativity, innovation, and design and a happily recovering artist.

He describes his geek-out spot as the intersection of creativity and design, learning, people, and passion which he sees as essential building blocks for future leaders and developing an innovative culture.  

His Big Why? To use his artist’s curiosity combined with his 20-year corporate career to build a more creative world to enable people and business to thrive in the Modern Age.  

To get in contact, email