Potted History: Toby Marks set up the label in 1998, initially to release his own music. Better known as Banco De Gaia, Marks had come to the end of his initial record deal and was struggling to find anything else that appealed.
“Despite coming to the people’s attention on the ‘Ambient Dub’ compilation series,” offers Marks, “many still regarded Banco De Gaia as a purely dance act and a number of offers came in from dance labels who weren’t interested in the ambient or dub side of the project.”
Eventually, he decided to build on the relationships he already had with distributors and the like, and create his own label to ensure his music was released in the way that he wanted, without limitations put on them by others.
Mission Statement: The ambient side of Mark’s interests has become more prominent and the label is now mainly focussed on ambient and downtempo electronica (as well as the Banco De Gaia catalogues, of course), with a little “world dance” thrown in for good measure. In Toby’s words, he is only interested in releasing music that he considers has “heart, integrity and depth, with beauty at its core”.
Key artists & releases: “There are a number of ‘key’ releases in Banco’s back catalogue,” says Marks, “including 1994’s ‘Maya’ 1995’s ‘Last Train To Lhasa’, 2006’s ‘Farewell Ferengistan’ and 2016’s ‘The 9th Of Nine Hearts’. Andrew Heath’s ‘Evenfall’ from last year is a stand-out and last year we celebrated being 20 years old by getting all of the label’s artists to remix each other for the compilation ‘In The Blink Of An Eye’.”
Future Plans: “Plans are for losers” laughs Marks, “or something like that. As I will now never be on ‘Top Of The Pops’, there’s not really much left to dream for… However, when suitable music pops up we’ll be happy to release it. Existing label artists are working on new material with albums coming from Banco De Gaia next year and Animat have their latest film re-scoring project scheduled for autumn 2019.”
Any other business? “Running the label for the last 20 years has been, frankly, bad timing! Looking back on the 1990’s, it was a golden age when people were willing to spend money to hear, and own, the music they loved and seemed to really care about it. The relentless march of technology – CD-Rs, Napster, iTunes, Spotify, YouTube – has gradually devalued music and turned it, for many people, into something to be consumed, preferably as cheaply as possible and while doing something else. Thankfully there are still plenty of people who still take music seriously and are passionate about it, and it is those people who we will continue to serve.”