Robert Del Naja

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Robert Del Naja
Robert del Naja performing with Massive Attack in Sydney, 2010.jpg
Robert del Naja performing with Massive Attack in Sydney, 2010
Background information
Also known as 3D, Delge
Born (1965-01-21) 21 January 1965 (age 50)
Origin Bristol, England
Genres Trip hop, electronica
Occupation(s) Musician, singer-songwriter, graffiti artist
Instruments Vocals, piano, keyboards
Years active 1988–present
Associated acts Massive Attack, The Wild Bunch, UNKLE, The Battle Box

Robert Del Naja (pron. /ˈrɒbə(r)t dɛl ˈnaja/; born 21 January 1966), also known as 3D, is an English artist, musician, singer and songwriter. Initially gaining notoriety as a graffiti artist and member of the Bristol collective known as "The Wild Bunch", Del Naja went on to become a founding member of the band Massive Attack, with whom he is still active.


Del Naja is one of the founding members of Bristol trip hop collective Massive Attack, who have released 5 studio albums and 2 compilation albums, and has often featured as a vocalist on their releases. In addition to his work with Massive Attack, he provided vocals to "Invasion" on Unkle's album Never, Never, Land, and "Twilight" on War Stories.

In December 2012, Del Naja released the first single of his new project called "The Battle Box", which fuses music, art and discourse across one-off live events, exhibitions and exclusive vinyl releases. He counted with the collaboration of artists such as Guy Garvey, and the Higgins Waterproof Black Magic Band.[1]

In December 2014, Robert donated ten unreleased music tracks to the Game Jam site "Ludum Dare", for a game event taking place in December. The songs will be used by the site developers to make soundtracks for the games. This new music material is also available for free download to the general public.[2][3]

In February 2015, Robert and Thom Yorke released soundtrack for documentary "The UK Gold". The songs are available to the general public for free download.[4]

Art work[edit]

Del Naja was a graffiti artist before becoming a vocalist. His work has been featured in magazines and on record sleeves.[5][6] The graffiti artist Banksy cites his work as an influence.[7] Del Naja is credited as one of the people who brought the American hip-hop and graffiti culture from the USA to Bristol in the early 1980s.[8]

Del Naja took part in a group show in 2007 called 'Warpaint' at the Lazarides gallery, London, featuring his art from the Unkle album "War Stories". He also created an exhibition of flags at "Massive Attack's Meltdown festival" on London's south bank in 2008. The installation was called "Favoured Nations". Alternative flags of the British commonwealth recoloured in the anarchist red and black, were hung from the ceiling of the Royal Festival Hall main floor.[9]

Del Naja has co-designed all of Massive attack's lighting shows with UVA; the shows have been overtly political, always dealing with current local and international issues.[10][11][12]

Robert Del Naja's art

In a 2010 interview, Del Naja said "Painting is difficult for me because I'm colour blind. Back in the day, I had to label my spray cans with what colour they were because I couldn't tell ... It's like the emperor's new clothes: [people] telling me it's great, and me pretending that's what I intended."[13] Del Naja's first solo art show ran in the Lazarides gallery, central London from 24 May to 22 June. The show featured many of the works he created for Massive Attack, reinterpreted especially for the exhibition. The show also featured three one-off 'digital infinity mirrors' two of which contained phrases supplied by Reprieve extracted from drone pilot dialogues. Del Naja and Grant DJ'd at the opening night on 23 May.[14]

Del Naja had a solo art show at the Lazarides gallery in central London, UK from 24 May to 22 June 2013. The show's content spanned a period of over twenty years and featured many of the art pieces that Del Naja created for Massive Attack. Each piece, reinterpreted especially for the exhibition, was hand-printed and finished.[15]

Massive Attack vs Adam Curtis[edit]

A multi medium show conceived and designed by Del Naja and filmmaker Adam Curtis (filmmaker) – in collaboration with United Visual Artists (UVA) – premiered in Manchester in July 2013. The show featured Curtis' film, unofficially titled 'The Plan', which was projected on huge screen surrounding the audience. The lighting and LED elements which surrounded the film and players was designed by Del Naja and UVA.[16]

Musical scene and artistic peers[edit]

Robert Del Naja's music has been associated with the Bristol Sound.

Del Naja has said of the Bristol Scene: "We all grew up listening to punk music and funk stuff and those attitudes sort of snuck into our music. That sort of brought people from different circles together and maybe it wasn't as 'cultural melting pot' as it all sounds but because Bristol is quite a small place, it becomes a lot more focused then."[17]

Political stance[edit]

Del Naja has been critical of the government policies of the United Kingdom. He was strongly opposed to the 2003 war against Iraq, and with fellow musician Damon Albarn personally paid for full page adverts in the NME magazine.[18]

Del Naja supports the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel and his band will not perform in Israel, a stance Del Naja qualifies as being "not an action of aggression towards the Israeli people" but "towards the [Israeli] government and its policies", arguing that "the Palestinians [in Gaza and the west bank] have no access to the same fundamental benefits that the Israelis do."[19]

Del Naja and Thom Yorke of Radiohead threw an unofficial office Xmas party at the occupied UBS bank in the city of London in December 2011, in recognition and support for the international Occupy movement.[20]

Having previously boycotted playing at Bristol's Colston Hall due to its connection with the city's historic slave trade, in October 2012, Del Naja heavily criticised Bristol Mayor candidate George Ferguson because of his membership of a local organisation the Society of Merchant Venturers.[21] The organisation dates back to the 16th century and had many connections with the Bristol slave trade, continuing to this day as an elitist private organisation, open to very few by invitation only.[22] In November 2012 Del Naja then took a surprising stance to reverse his position and endorse the politically independent, wealthy, ex LibDem parliamentary candidate, George Ferguson. Del Naja was cited by local media as saying that the other candidates had only party political agendas at heart and a newly elected mayor needed more imagination to help implement creative projects for Bristol.[23]

Del Naja and Icarus Wilson-Wright used the LED light show to make Gaza statement using headline stage at Longitude Festival[24]

In July 2014 Del Naja and Marshall visited the Bourge-El Barajneh refugee camp in Lebanon to meet with Palestinian volunteers at an educational centre.The band's profit from the show in Byblos was donated to the centre.[25]


  1. ^ "Massive Attack's Robert Del Naja unveils new Battle Box project; Guy Garvey features". Retrieved 22 September 2014. 
  2. ^ "Del Naja's donates new music material". Ludum Dare. Retrieved 10 December 2014. 
  3. ^ "New music from 3D of Massive Attack". Retrieved 10 December 2014. 
  4. ^ "Thom Yorke and Massive Attack's Robert Del Naja Release UK Gold Soundtrack for Free". Pitchfork. Retrieved 25 February 2015. 
  5. ^ "Filthy Modern Art – Street Artists, Stencils, Graffiti – Originals and Prints". Retrieved 29 January 2013. 
  6. ^ "Red Lines: Bristol, England". Retrieved 29 January 2013. 
  7. ^ Swindle magazine, issue No. 8
  8. ^ Steve Wright, "Banksy's Bristol: Home Sweet Home", Tangent Books, Bath (2007), pp. 3–4. ISBN 978-1-906477-00-4
  9. ^ "Meltdown | FAVOURED NATIONS BY ROBERT DEL NAJA". Retrieved 15 September 2012. 
  10. ^ "Massive Attack per Stefano Cucchi &#124 Global Project". Retrieved 15 September 2012. 
  11. ^ "Massive Attack". United Visual Artists. Retrieved 15 September 2012. 
  12. ^ " issue 16". Issuu. Retrieved 15 September 2012. 
  13. ^ Nosheen Iqbal. "Massive Attack's art of darkness". the Guardian. Retrieved 22 September 2014. 
  14. ^ "Lazarides – Fire Sale". Retrieved 19 July 2013. 
  15. ^ "Exhibition 3D: Fire Sale". Lazarides. Retrieved 2013-10-26. 
  16. ^ "Massive Attack v Adam Curtis at Manchester International Festival". 9 July 2013. Retrieved 29 August 2013. 
  17. ^ Dave "the Wave" Dresden, Interview with Massive Attack, Retrieved on 16 June 2009.
  18. ^ ""Massive Attack: the beat goes on"". 8 July 2010. Retrieved 22 September 2014. 
  19. ^ ""The silent treatment"". Retrieved 22 September 2014. 
  20. ^ "Dazed Digital". Occupy 2012. Retrieved 15 September 2012. 
  21. ^ Staff (9 October 2012). "Massive Attack star criticises Bristol Mayor candidate George Ferguson". This Is Bristol. Retrieved 8 May 2013. 
  22. ^ Nash, Andrew, "The Society of Merchant Venturers", Bristol Slavery (Andrew Nash) 
  23. ^ Brown, Christopher (14 November 2012). "Bristol mayor: Massive Attack give vocal backing for Ferguson". Bristol 24–7. Retrieved 8 May 2013. 
  24. ^ "Massive Attack make Gaza statement using headline stage at Longitude Festival". The Independent. Retrieved 22 September 2014. 
  25. ^ "Massive Attack visit Palestinian refugees in Lebanon: 'All of them have a right to a life of dignity and beauty'". The Independent. Retrieved 22 September 2014. 

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