A Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee as a member of Genesis (2010), 5 is Tony Banks' tenth album outside of the band and his third orchestral album following the releases of Seven: A Suite for Orchestra (2004) and Six Pieces for Orchestra (2012). 5 is a collection of five compositions written by Banks and produced by long-time collaborator Nick Davis. Nick Ingman, renowned orchestrator and conductor, agreed to be involved in the project immediately after hearing the demos played to him personally by Banks. Ingman has worked with a plethora of artists and musicians from David Bowie and Oasis to the London Symphony Orchestra and Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.
The recording was built up over various sessions, the first in London's Angel Studios where solos and percussion were recorded before a transfer to Prague for a week where concentrated sets of three sessions a day with the orchestra and choir. Recording section by section is a more rock/pop method and seen as unorthodox for an orchestral album, but this method allowed Banks, who also played all of the piano parts, to use his vast musical experience and give himself greater creative control.
The impetus for 5 was a commission for the 70th Cheltenham Music Festival in 2014, for which Banks composed the original version of what now appears as the opening track, "Prelude to a Million Years." Then it was entitled "Arpegg" and received its world premier on Saturday, July 5, 2014 with Maxime Tortelier conducting the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. Following some consideration, Banks and Davis worked on four further pieces to join "Arpegg" and form this new album. Feeling incomplete as an album of four compositions, Banks pulled inspiration from an earlier piece composed during his Genesis days and named it "Renaissance" which completed the album.