Feature: Jack Foley
CHRIS Coco and Rob Da Bank have long been regarded as pioneers
and innovators in their field.
The Blue Room - on Radio 1, every Saturday between 5am and 7am
on 97 - 99FM - has led the way for forward-thinking eclectisism
since its inception in early 2002, and is the blue print for those
who love the most fantastically diverse and emotive music on Radio
Every time you hear the show you are guaranteed to hear a blend
of all that's great in the world of cutting edge eclecticism.
Now comes the double mix album that shows exactly why the formula
works - 38 songs of the highest quality, mixed over two CD's.
The Blue Room started in January 2002 as a three-hour segue of
music. It was a nice idea, but tricky to execute.
So BBC spies started looking into the nooks and crannies of Britain's
small, musically sentient clubs and discovered a pair of nightworld
individuals who could make the Blue Room their own.
They found Rob da Bank in the corner of his Sunday Best club,
and lassoed Chris Coco away from his excellent productions and
compilations. The result? Perfectly pitched horizontal chaos that
has played out live from Sonar and Glastonbury and continually
flags up the best in strangedays sounds.
"It's not really a chill-out show at all," says Coco,
whose real name is Chris Mellor, and who ran legendary 90's Brighton
event, The Coco Club.
"Because if you just play chill-out you send people to sleep
and that's not ideal.
"We can play music that sounds quite weird but seems right
at five o'clock in the morning.
"The Blue Room ethos is that we play music across all genres,"
adds Robby (real name lost in the mists of time). "We're
the link between John Peel, Gilles Peterson, Mary Ann Hobbs and
Pete Tong. It's
(long pause punctuated by addled grin) a
The Blue Room looks set to reach a whole new slice of listeners.
Aside from taking the show out of the studio and into the world's
best music festivals - the Blue Room boys have transferred their
nocturnal ramblings onto a compilation.
"On the radio," says Coco, "we put our records
together in a way that makes sense. It's like chess but not as
"We piece things together, say between Aphex Twin banging
acid techno and a mellow folky thing. We're still linking all
these unconnected pieces of music, and hopefully people'll recognise
that it's the Blue Room - of course, it's all over the place."
Chris Coco and Rob da Bank share The Blue Room, and naturally,
they share space on the compilation.
Musically they're as widescreen as each other, showcasing The
Cure's deadpan Lullaby, The Flaming Lips' delirious, brilliant
All We Have Now, cut-up merchants Cassette Boy,with Bring
Back Cloaks and - hailing from BR's favourite sonic country,
Norway - Ralph Myerz and The Jack Herren Band and You Never
"If you listen, it's all quite accessible and easy to understand,"
continues Chris. "We'll guide you through the music we like
without being patronising, just because we're so enthusiastic
"I actually think that Robby and I have quite commercial
tastes. These are left-field tunes but given the exposure, they
could easily be hits."
It's a typically anarchistic take for a show that is essentially
meant to be a post-club chill-out zone.
"You're talking to a whole other world, separated from the
world that wakes up at 7am," says Coco. "A lot of people
work at that time in the morning, watering golf courses and picking
"Midwives and milkmen," adds Robby. "You get the
clubbers but you get a whole load of other people too. We had
one woman texting in to say that her contractions had just started
and could be play some records and send out some love?
"It's really intimate and special. My 87-year-old grandpa
listens to it every week. He sets his alarm clock, makes a cup
of tea and sits in bed listening to the whole show, then dozes
"Which other show is bringing pensioners and kids together?"
"Yeah," agrees Chris, continuing the familial connection.
"My mum really liked some of the skits we did for Glastonbury.
She was like, 'I really likes those ones you did about peace and
So the Blue Room is jam-packed with exciting new projects and
a blinding compilation CD.
But what about our erstwhile presenters and their multitude of
Chris Coco is putting together an 'arty, accessible' classical
music-meets-electronica compilation ('It'll rock the classical
world,") and when he's not fulfilling DJ dates, ranging from
providing music for smart young author's book readings, he's working
on a new Chris Coco artist album.
Rob da Bank is kept ludicrously busy with his Sunday Best club
and label and is taking over Ibiza, with four Sunday Best parties
which are guaranteed to send even the tidiest person into a happily
messy spin. "My Summer is end to end," he says, "but
it's all good."
The Blue Room CD1 Mixed by Chris Coco
1. The Orb - Blue Room (CocoDaBank Remix)
2. Ulrich Schnauss - Crazy For You
3. cane141 - Sugarfoot
4. Ralph Myerz & The Jack Herren Band - You Never Come Closer
5. Calexico - Not Even Stevie Nicks
6. Ikon - The Dove
7. Static - Inside Your Heaven
8. The Polyphonic Spree - Light And Day/Reach For The Sun (The
9. Hope Sandoval & The Warm Inventions - On The Low
10. Moly - Me And Lucifer
11. My Morning Jacket - Phone Went West
12. Ja-Man Allstars - West Man Skank
13. Chris Coco - Revolution
14. Ultrafox - Cloakroom Girl
15. Ladytron - Cracked LCD
16. Erlend Oye - Ghost Trains
17. Cassetteboy - Bring Back Cloaks
18. Mark Thibideau - Distance Between
19. The Flaming Lips - All We Have Is Now
The Blue Room CD2 Mixed by Rob da Bank
1. Hubtone - Seeing Things
2. Chungking - Making Music
3. Harpers Bizarre - Witchi Tai To
4. Psychonauts - Hips For Scotland
5. Peven Everett - They So Cold
6. Impossible Beings - Dois Pólos
7. DJ DSL - Happy Bear
8. Lazyboy feat. Lee "Scratch" Perry - Penguin Rock
(Manasseh Meets the Upsetter Remix)
9. Annie - I Will Get On
10. Kraak en Smaak - Money In The Bag
11. Putsch '79 - Steam Engine
12. Uusi Fantasia - Lattialla Taas
13. Rise Ashen - Second Wind
14. Plej - Lay Of The Land
15. Spiller - Cry Baby (Röyksopp's Målselves Memorabilia
16. Blu Mar Ten - The Feeling
17. The Postal Service - Such Great Heights
18. The Cure - Lullaby
19. The Orb - Blue Room (CocodaBank Remix)