Banco de GaiaBanco de Gaia is an English electronic music project, formed in 1989 by Toby Marks (born 1964, South London, England).
The music of Banco de Gaia is mostly categorized as ambient dub and downtempo. Marks works to cross genres, often using Arabic and Middle Eastern samples against a bass heavy reggae, rock, or trance rhythm to produce deeply textured tracks that progress layer upon layer.
HistoryIn 1978, Marks began his musical career as a drummer in a heavy metal band.
Marks moved to Portugal in 1986 and played Beatles music for tourists. He first delved into electronic music in 1989, when he bought a digital sampler. The first tune he recorded on it was called "Maxwell House".
Having cut his teeth on the early 1990s ambient dub compilations, in 1994 he released his first studio album Maya on Planet Dog records, which was nominated for the Mercury Music Prize on its release. It was followed in 1995 by the critically acclaimed Last Train to Lhasa. Both albums reached No. 1 in the UK Indie Chart and featured in the Top 40 of the UK Albums Chart. In the following decade, Banco De Gaia released Live at Glastonbury, Big Men Cry, The Magical Sounds of Banco De Gaia, Igizeh and You Are Here.
In 1997, Banco De Gaia put together a five-piece band that included Ted Duggan (drums), Ashley Hopkins (bass), Larry Whelan (wind synth, saxophone and ethnic flutes), and Gary Spacey-Foot (percussion and saxophones). The band reduced in number to just Marks, Duggan, and Hopkins in 1999, and then just Marks and Duggan from 2000 until 2003, when Marks went back to being a solo artist.
On 20 September 2009, Banco De Gaia played an album launch show for his album Memories Dreams Reflections at Dingwalls in London. This show was to celebrate 20 years of Banco De Gaia. Marks was joined on stage by three members from the original five-piece band: Hopkins, Whelan, and Duggan and vocalist Maya Preece, who sang on the latest album.
He released a studio album Apollo on 8 April 2013, on his own Disco Gecko Recordings.
In 2015, Banco (Toby Marks) returned to playing with a live three-piece band, Ted Duggan (drums) and James Eller (bass).
On 7 October 2016, he released his ninth studio album The 9th of Nine Hearts, featuring collaborations with Sophie Barker (Zero 7), Tim Bowness (No-Man), Dick Parry (Pink Floyd) and his band.