Having good music is one thing, but often it takes more than that to convert casual listeners into faithful supporters. We’ve seen artists like Tyler, The Creator paint vivid pictures, create immersive worlds and provide a sense of escapism through his pen game, eye for aesthetics and consistent and complementary imagery. In turn, he’s acquired a legion of fans that relate to his approach.
Now, more than ever, this ability to whisk listeners away from the perils of the most turbulent time in recent memory is worth its weight in gold and London outfit NiNE8 Collective have that knack in abundance.
Made up of Biig Piig, Lava La Rue, Mac Wetha, NAYANA IZ, Lorenzorsv, Nige, Bone Slim, L!BAAN and Kxrn, the crew is led by a collaborative and DIY approach that spans art, music and fashion. With some making clothes for each other and shooting videos, while others produce tracks and contribute to their trademark dreamy and grainy style.
The culmination of this multifaceted approach is a world that lives beyond the confines of modern streaming services that has a raw and endearing sense of immediacy.
Ahead of their forthcoming mixtape, founder Lava La Rue, Nige and Lorenzorsv tell us about everything that inspires them outside of music from sustainable styles to the escapism from the nine to five grind.
Lava La Rue
“My main function in NiNE8, funnily enough, isn’t actually as a musician, but as art direction, styling and video editing.”
“My day to day life is spending heaps of time on photoshop, pulling ideas together on mood boards & drawing out graphics more than anything else. I do a lot of logo-work too (including the NiNE8 logo/all the merch) and the cover art on every collective release to date, it’s deffo a passion of mine.”
“Often the inspiration behind the images you see from the collective involves gathering loads of discontinued rave/psychedelic magazines (which I have a disgustingly big dusty pile of in my room), collaging the imagery together then redoing it all from scratch to emulate the same vibe. I’m also a big, big hoarder of clothes – I see any old garment on the street and I’m like ‘ooh I can DIY that’ so whenever you see our group press photos or we’re at a show about 60% of the garments worn (especially all the boiler suits and graffiti’d tees) are something from my DIY pile that I bring in a big suitcase for the crew to wear and take home with them.”
“Outside of NiNE8 I help NIGE with the art direction for the 90s rave heritage apparel branch of MAP, often casting and art directing for them and I’m part of film direction/production duo with my partner called “LUCKY LA RUE” – we produced and directed the music video for ‘SHEDONTEVENKNOW’. Lights, Camera, Action, my darlings!“
“I manage a recording studio, venue and café in Kentish Town called MAP Studio Cafe, which involves lots of exciting creative things such as events programming and studio engineering and sessions, but also deeply mundane activities like book-keeping, stock-taking, invoices and so on.”
“I find this polarity between a creative life and a common office-style work-life a good inspiration for songwriting. I have always dreaded a 9 to 5 and a feeling of desperation that you’re wasting your days, especially your young years, in an unfulfilling workplace instead of chasing your dreams. I often exaggerate those aspects of my work life to evoke a common feeling people have of wanting to escape and find their calling in life.”
“I’m pretty much a family man. Anything to do with friends and family is what keeps me going. I’m quite a bit of an extrovert so I have to see my friends every other day to stay happy. Doing this definitely helps me find solace.”
“Aside from this, I’m usually working out at home or designing random graphics which would look good as tatts or even on garments in my spare time. I enjoy watching old movies such as ‘The Matrix’, ‘The Godfather’, ‘Menace To Society’ and others along those lines as I always find some sense of underlying relativity which reflects today’s society.”
“My brain works at quite a fast rate so not staying occupied isn’t good for me – I can tend to get into a dark place and not speak to anyone about it but that’s life I guess. I think everyone experiences these feelings as we get older, so I just stay busy and surrounded by loved ones.”
Watch ‘SHEDONTEVENKNOW’ below: