30 August 2007
With A-Level results having come back, a lot of kids are considering their career options. Sadly, most advisors will never recommend 'renaissance man' but that seems to be working out very well for East Dulwich resident Rob da Bank, writes Jon Surtees...
As head of a record label; boss of one of the UK's fastest growing festivals; widely lauded Radio 1 DJ; regular compilation compiler and globe hopping club DJ, Rob has a finger in many pies.
He and his young family have been resident in East Dulwich for five years now. "To be honest, we moved out of Clapham because it got too full of rugby boys and All Bar Ones" he reveals. "We really like East Dulwich because it has a real community vibe, which is great, especially considering it's surrounded by some quite lively areas!
"It kind of feels like a village and I think a lot of that is because of the fact there's no tube. Lordship Lane has got a White Stuff and a Café Nero now and Foxtons is just on the way, so there's the sign of things on turn. I don't think it's necessarily all negative though. As long as there's no tube we won't get all the City Boys and the commuters!"
Despite his musical empire - which goes under the name 'Sunday Best' - now spanning the globe, Rob is very connected to his south London roots.
"I first came to London and went to college at Goldsmiths. It's fair to say that New Cross was a bit of a shock for an eighteen-year-old from the sticks!"
Sunday Best was born at a popular Sunday night chill out session at the Battersea Tea Rooms des Artistes, frequented by superstar DJs such as Fatboy Slim and Andrew Weatherall.
Sunday Best became a record label, introducing Groove Armada and Lemon Jelly to an unsuspecting world before travelling in a more leftfield direction and welcoming bands such as Grand National and Misty's Big Adventure.
Next came Radio 1, where Rob started hosting the 'Blue Room' show, a mix of electronic and indie oddities playing at the unsociable hour 4-7am on Saturday and Sunday. He now has an 'In New Music We Trust' show that goes out midnight to 2am on Sunday.
The final part in Rob's empire was Bestival, founded after he realised the popularity of Sunday Best tents at other festivals around the country.
The first Bestival happened on the Isle of Wight in 2004 and since then artists such as Scissor Sisters have played headlining sets. With other achievements such as holding the Guinness World Record for the 'most number of people in fancy dress at one event', Bestival is now firmly established with Beastie Boys and The Chemical Brothers headlining this year's event.
However, Rob is keen to point out the main stage isn't the be all and end all. "Go and check out Seasick Steve on the bandstand. He's an 80-year-old hobo bluesman. Sportsday Megaphone in our new venue, 'The House of Bamboo' will be brilliant and I think the Mighty Boosh are coming down, so watch out for them!"
As for the future? He seems content to let things happen organically: "We've got these teenage rock 'n' rollers called Kitty, Daisy and Lewis at the moment who are really exciting a lot of people."
Bearing in mind the way his career has gone so far - including sitting in for John Peel after the death of the legendary DJ, "I was in the right place at the wrong time", he explains - the future looks bright for East Dulwich's old fashioned renaissance man.
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