The Mating Dance

Purple Look Play

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A mix of old school pop, rock, rhythm and blues.

There is a meaning behind the name Purple Look Play. Purple is an important color representative of ambition, independence and creativity. I am influenced by a wide range of musical genre: music from the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, Motown, Rhythm and Blues, Rock, Punk, Pop, Synth.....and Country. In the future it will become obvious each Purple Look Play project has a different flavor; I will not be constrained by style boundaries often dictated by a record companies. Look is that 'lens' I use when writing and recording music; I have a way I view the world and I put a personal stamp on music recorded by Purple Look Play. Last and not least is the term Play. I credit my sister for that word, but in fact that is really what i do and what we do in Purple Look Play. A vital part of making music is playing instruments and singing, but playing also encompasses having fun, and that, is the main reason I make music.

Jay Banwell, founding member: W. Jay Banwell Music LLC and Purple Look Play

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The Mating Dance - background

In the late 1980s I knew my days of playing in cover bands were coming to a close; it was not fun anymore and I knew it was not a career.  In the early 90s I continued drafting lyrics and music for original songs.  I also did some recording and enjoyed it, but upon entering full active military service in 1996, I put full focus into my military profession, which I still love to this day and will for the remainder of my life.  When I moved to Kansas City, Missouri to start duty, I knew at some point I would take my music, instruments and equipment out of mothball status, but was not sure when.  From 1996 to 2010, I dedicated my time to military duty and worked on a graduate degree.  Every great once-in-a-while I picked up a guitar and barely started to write lyrics, but I did not rekindle my favorite hobby until later in 2010.                                                    

I was on military tour in DC and had one acoustic guitar with me.  I had practiced a chord progression and ordered some manuscript paper; I almost finished a song.  Even then, there was no serious commitment about getting involved with music again.  The spark really ignited in 2011 and after I moved to the very small town of Lexington, Missouri to start another military tour.  In Lexington, there are definite limitations to what one can do in their spare time, so one day I decided to open up an old storage case I had stored song lyrics and chord progressions in.  The case had not been opened for about 15 years and had a musty smell.  As I started to look through notebooks and sheets that were over 20 years old, I was hit in the chest by emotions.  My conscience was telling me I should not let these compositions and drafts from the past go to waste; it was evident the songs had something to say and I was the only one that could ensure they would be prepared and readied for debut.  I realized there was a lot of work to do, but was very excited by the potential of the songs (many finished and many not) that could be introduced to family, friends and people I have never met.  Later that same day I made the exciting choice to bring songwriting, performing and recording back in to my life; it was the right decision.

The Mating Dance is a compilation about relationships; mostly relationships with people, but there are relationships with places and subjects as well.  Approximately half the songs on this record were inside the storage case I mentioned earlier and the other half composed between 2011 and 2013.  Some of the compositions will create an atmosphere fit for a party and dance floor. There are also works made to provoke thought and simply enjoy.  Two songs will be familiar to some listeners:  A Night Out is a reggae-influenced song I wrote and performed in the 80s.  Sheridan School is a song I thank my sister for; she helped inspire me to write Sheridan School, which I recorded and played years ago as well.  It is amazing what can happen when I am asked to assist with writing a sixth-grade graduation speech.

A number of thanks are in order to musicians and friends I played with years ago.  Tom Ficke, thanks for showing me examples of digital recording and taking time to get with me; I much look forward to getting with you again down the road.  Terry Olson, thanks very much for introducing me to Digital Performer © and advising me on the right way to set up a studio.  Thanks also very much for laying down great guitar tracks and adding character to Black Boots, The Capital City, Stop Fighting Destiny and Don’t Look Back.  Obviously, I’ll be seeking your help on future projects.  Peter Moore, it has been great reaching out to you and thanks for your professionalism on arrangements.  Our second runs through Sheridan School and Another Girl were fun; I’ll be in touch.  I give huge thanks to Shareiff Robinson, who I met and have worked with consistently since 2012.  You have taught me a ton about recording, trouble-shooting and have given sound advice on music and the music business.  Thanks also for laying down high quality keyboard tracks and vocals on several of these compositions.  It will be great continuing work with you.  

To Mom and Dad, I can’t thank you enough for your support over the years and being the greatest parents.  I would not be where I am without your guidance and help.  You introduced me to music at the young age of nine and have been in my corner ever since.   Your patience is a great example.   To my Sister Maren and Brother Max, it has been great growing up together. 

Finally, thank God.  I am a true believer and never take for granted the chances and opportunities I have been given in life.  

I dedicate this first record to the many musicians and fans I grew up with in Lincoln, Nebraska.  There are some old school influences in this music I hope you enjoy.  Looking into the future, it will be one exciting ride !