Banco De Gaia has been performing and releasing now for 30 years, making him one of the world’s most respected digital audio artists. His legacy is as glittering as it is diverse, ranging from Hollywood film sound credits to the critically acclaimed Last Train to Lhasa, first released in 1995 to a rapturous reception.
All these years on, still one of the music industry’s most maverick innovators, his ‘timeless’ sound continues to deliver. His live act persists in packing out venues and festivals all over the world, with live audio visual performances renowned for their explosive, cutting edge quality: from sampling wizardry fused with haunting vocals and poignant acoustics, to genre-hopping musical instrumentals, all curated to socially-engaged audio visuals shining light on global issues. He went back to basics in 2014 with a sold-out 20th anniversary CD-only – no streams or downloads available – re-release of Maya, followed by Last Train To Lhasa’s 20th anniversary release (‘seductive’ – Q Magazine) flying off the shelves in 2015, and then Live at Glastonbury (which inlcuded a live set with his 3-piece band recorded in 2015) and Big Men Cry.
Behind Banco de Gaia, is artist, Toby Marks. Starting out young in the industry as a drummer in a metal band, after falling in love with electronica in the 1980s acid house scene he started using sampling kit to cut his own tunes. By the early 1990s, after winning respect for a clutch of credits on early 90s Ambient Dub compilations – he released his first studio album Maya, on Planet Dog records in 1994, and Tibet-inspired concept album Last Train To Lhasa, in 1995, both shooting to No. 1 in the UK Independent Charts. His astonishing performance of Last Train To Lhasa on the Avalon Stage at Glastonbury ‘95, was released the following year as Live At Glastonbury (‘a joyous triumph’ – Melody Maker). This visceral sound, a cocktail of textured samples and live instrumentals lifted from across the world, is fused with compositional brilliance. It swept the international electronica scene, making him, along with the likes of The Orb, one of the early pioneers of ‘chill out’.
Pink Floyd and psychedelia remain a constant influence, Banco’s cover of Echoes in 2007, shaping a new album in 2009 – Memories, Dreams, Reflections. Pink Floyd’s legendary Dick Parry is one of Marks’ special industry guest collaborators, and he appeared again on 2016’s album ‘The 9th of Nine Hearts’, along side James Eller (The The, Teardrop Explodes), Sophie Barker (Zero 7, Groove Armada) and Tim Bowness (No-Man). These collaborations only add to Banco de Gaia’s enduring, contemporary appeal.
Since 1994, Banco de Gaia has released 12 studio albums, 7 compilations, 3 live albums, 1 DVD and 19 Eps, plus he also runs his own record label Disco Gecko. In his 30th year, it has become clear that Toby Marks, legendary trail blazer of hybrid electronica, is here to stay.