We spoke to the man with many musical strings to his bow, Rob Da Bank, about War Child’s Emergence Series, Bestival and his very own record label Sunday Best.
Rob da Bank is a man of many talents, taking on the roles of DJ, record label owner and festival curator. Founding his independent label, Sunday Best in 1995, Rob has championed new artists across all areas of his work and the record label’s contribution to the Emergence Series is no exception. With Plastic Mermaids headlining the night, it is not only a showcase of incredible breakthrough artists, but is also all in aid of War Child.
Reflecting on how it all came to be, Rob explains, “I’ve always been a supporter of War Child and as soon as I got the call we signed the label up. It’s a charity very close to our hearts.”
“It’s all acts signed to our label,” he says, “Plastic Mermaids from the Isle of Wight, Holiday Oscar who an amazing artist, if you haven’t checked his track I Can’t Keep Checking My Phone you haven’t lived. In addition to this, there is Graceland who’s our very own Stevie from Bestival, they are an all girl band, and last but not least Pearl City. It’s right old mish mash of styles and acts and that’s how we like it.”
“I’m a well known jack of all trades and have at various points been a music journalist, DJ, broadcaster, record label owner, dad and festival boss, sometimes all at the same time.”
Rob continues to support Sunday Best artists through his work as a festival curator, with Plastic Mermaids playing The Big Top at Bestival this summer alongside the likes of Jorja Smith, Sundara Karma and Django Django, all breakout stars in their own genres. It seems like Rob’s personal music taste and eclectic showcases really display his broad knowledge of music from across genres, as he remembers his first live show, “I saw Pixies when I was 15 at Portsmouth Guildhall,” he says, “It was the first one where I was front and centre right at the crowd barrier, crowd surfing and getting properly involved. I still love that band.”
Having taken on various different roles throughout his career, he seems to be one of the hardest working figures in the industry, and encourages young musicians to try their hand at whatever opportunities arise, “I’m a well known jack of all trades and have at various points been a music journalist, DJ, broadcaster, record label owner, dad and festival boss, sometimes all at the same time.” He says, “I wish I could just stick to one discipline but I tend to get bored. I think people need to be doing something different to anyone else, and stick to their style even if it doesn’t seem to be translating straight away.”
“Try and believe in yourself, the music market has never been more diverse and wide open so stick to your style and go for it!”
It seems Rob has always done things his own way too, recalling past memories from his early days, “My first show on Radio 1 was pretty terrifying, standing on the stage for our first Bestival with Basement Jaxx headlining was unforgettable and jumping the fence at Glastonbury was quite an experience being chased by security on horseback!” If he could speak to his younger self he’d say, “Try and believe in yourself, the music market has never been more diverse and wide open so stick to your style and go for it!”
These words could not be more true for today’s musical climate, with acts celebrated for their own styles and methods of doing things. Sunday Best in particular champions those paving their own way. Taking Plastic Mermaids as an example, their recent performance at Citadel had audiences amazed as the group used chairs as instruments, used purpose-built modulators and had a small choir of women adored with golden cloaks singing backing vocals.
As well as using those skills and thinking outside the box, Rob encourages a practical approach to making waves in the industry, “Work hard and try and make some good contacts,” he says, “networking sounds a bit lame but it does help. Get to know venue owners, promoters and fellow DJs and bands.”
While the Sunday’s Best edition of Emergence Series may be postponed, keep an eye out for when tickets become available again as this is sure to be a stunning night of new talent. In addition to this, Bestival will be taking place 2nd – 5th August with headliners London Grammar, Silk City (Diplo and Mark Ronson) and M.I.A. There’s also plenty of fresh sounds coming from Sunday Best so have a look here, because you might find your new favourite artist.
Bestival is taking place 2nd – 5th August.