Banks & Steelz is the collaborative effort between American musician Paul Banks (Interpol) and American rapper RZA (Wu-Tang Clan). The duo began making music together in 2011 and began recording a full album in 2013. They will release their debut studio album, Anything But Words, on August 26, 2016 through Warner Bros. Records.
Early stages and recording (2011–15)
Banks and RZA first began recording music together in 2011; a demo was created. Banks had provided vocals for a beat created by RZA. During this time, however, the two were not planning on making an album together. RZA later regarded them as just "buddies playing chess"—Banks and RZA had played chess together at that time—who sometimes made music. Their demos caught the attention of an A&R, which is when they began recording longer compositions for an album. The duo began work on an album in 2013, which is when the first public mention of the two's collaboration was made, during an interview that RZA had with Rolling Stone. In this interview, he explained that when his manager asked for who he would like the work with musically, he responded with Banks, saying that he "just has an energy about him" and that if they were to combine their musical talents, "it [would] be great." RZA expected the album to take about a year to finish. During 2014, Banks' main project Interpol were recording a new album, later to be titled El Pintor. The album was released in September 2014. Banks and RZA were planning on releasing their album in 2015, but had realized that they weren't completely finished with it.
Anything But Words (2016–present)
On May 18, 2016, it was announced that the duo, under the name Banks & Steelz, were releasing music in 2016. The duo's first single, "Love and War", featuring fellow Wu-Tang Clan member Ghostface Killah, premiered on the Apple Music radio station Beats 1 the following day. A video for the song, which pays tribute to a scene from the film Reservoir Dogs, was released on May 20. On June 9, it was announced that the duo would be releasing their debut studio album, Anything But Words, on August 26, 2016 through Warner Bros. Records. A song from the album, titled "Giant", was premiered on Beats 1 on the same day. Also announced on that day were dates for a tour across the United States. On July 14, the duo released "Speedway Sonora" as the album's third single. "Sword in the Stone", featuring rapper Kool Keith, was released as the album's fourth single on July 28.