Lava La Rue is an exciting up and coming rapper and founding member of NINE8 collective based in Forest Hill, south east London. We managed to grab a few words with her ahead of her show supporting ZOEE at Kamio London to find out a little more...
When and how did you get into making tunes?
I come from a kind of “party" background. My parents met really young on the 90s rave scene and I was a product of that. They both never grew out of it and kept partying well into their late 30s, so growing up, I was constantly around the culture of people who just lived for the music. On the contrary, I’d stay with my grandma who took me to a gospel church on Sundays. In that church they lived for the music too but in a completely different way - it opened my eyes to soul, reggae, rnb, blues and just getting into a trance like state with a live gospel band… I guess being a musician came as second nature to me as I saw from all the people around me as it made them truly happy.
I went on to secretly song write/join a couple bands through my early teens but it didn’t go anywhere so I took a year out to focus on my visual art. Then when I turned 17, about a year ago, I really got into the lyricism/poetry side of things and decided to start my side project ‘Lava la Rue’ where I could combine my art with loads of musical/lyrical ideas.
Who are some of your influences, musical and otherwise?
I have a lot of influences, I’d be here all day! Majorly a lot of female hip-hop/r'n'b/soul lyricists like Sade, Les Nubians, Floetry, Erykah Badu. Then bands like Homeshake/inc. But also the people around me, local communities and creatives. Recently I've spent a lot of time kinda being mentored by rapper/producer Rago Foot, his laptop broke so I spent hours watching him produce analog on an MPC, vinyl hunting in flea markets and getting samples from them, then recording straight to tape. It's a method of creating music I knew very little about before I met him. He has like an encyclopedic knowledge of random stuff and showed me loads of music, film and even clothes. After that it completely changed my outlook on how I wanted to pursue my creativity for sure. It definitely helps as a musician watching someone older on the scene do what they do.
Any recent projects you've released or anything upcoming to look forward to?
Yes! I’ve been working on a personal narrative EP called "4:44." I was supposed to release it ages ago but it's like an abstract diary and I wasn’t quite ready to put it out. But I’m glad because since then I’ve had time to focus on my ideas as a musician and I’m ready to release it real soon, so stay tuned for that. Now I’m currently working on a project with my friend Nile (Twin Crown) who I’m playing all my shows with and this is a lot more live instrument based- live jazz guitars, live sampling, drums and bass, the lot. I kinda wanted to push my music and show how I could merge genres and create weird sounds to go with my lyrics. It's really fun to perform the kinda music we’re making and definitely taking my stuff in a different direction to what I’ve currently got out there. I’m excited for it.
You are one of the founding members of NINE8 Collective, tell us more...
Yeeeeee. Just over a year ago I found myself surrounded by an amazing group of DIY creatives - to cut it short I was like “lets get our shit together and start collaborating under a name." It can be proper disheartening being a young creative in London, when everybody your age is acting like they’re the bee's knees and the kids who normally get noticed are the exclusive low-key rich ones who can afford the cool clothes and studio time/space. But I saw authenticity, intelligence and talent from the genuine kids around me and a lot of them just needed a push/platform with a family of creatives telling them “you can do it!” and thats what the basis of NiNE8 is supposed to serve as.
Most of us met in college and we all chipped in and bought a decent mic to put in my mate Lloyd's (Mac Wetha) flat where he has a makeshift bedroom studio set up we call Complimentary Tea Studios and it all went on from there. We started making more music, clothes and visuals for each other, and after we put it out under “NiNE8” it really took off! We got the opportunity to perform at a few shows/festivals, put on an event which was crazy and have a few people reach out back to us. We’ve grown massively since then, and have a lot of plans to really develop our artistic ideas on contributing to the underground UK creative scene, I wish I could talk about every person in the collective but we are over twenny man deep! You’ll have to check us out here...
Tell us about your live shows?
Every show I've played recently has a pretty weird/funny story, mostly because I’ve only just started sorting out my own shows, so all the shows I’ve played so far have either been random favours/opportunities that have popped up for me/NiNE8.
I performed in this weird hippy forest stage my dad had set up at a festival for his strange psytrance music and there was like giant fish-head entrance you had to walk through to get in the place - with a fake kitchen between the trees filled with colourful fake fish guts. That was pretty surreal.
The last show I did was for my friend’s thrash metal band in Kingston. I was playing a Hip-Hop set as main support. After soundcheck I went up the road to smoke/grab some food with my DJ (Johnny) and girlfriend (Orla) and this lovely older guy with a strong West African accent starts talking to us about his wife and kids. He sees we’re billing and pulls a giant fat sock out his pocket and starts sprinkling the contents into our roll. It was hilarious but I trusted him and we still smoked it. The moment I got back to the venue I had to play my set and the placed had filled up with kids ready to mosh to some metal. I kinda just got up on stage mellow as hell like “I hope you kids dig this” and luckily they did!
Do you have any shows coming up or anything else you would like to promote?
Yeah, I’m doing a show with my boy Twin Crown in Kamio, Red Gallery as support for ZOEE's EP launch (which you can buy tickets for here)! Thats going to be a wicked female fronted night with some gnarly acts! its going to be one of my last shows of 2016 and I want it to go out with a bang!
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