The London-based producer by way of Manchester and Leeds speaks on her latest single 'Don't Kid Urself', her process of creating as a producer/artist and how she goes about incorporating visuals into her music.
What was the inspiration for your latest single ‘Don’t Kid Urself’ and sonically, what kind of influences went into the sound of that track?
Within my music, my main aim is to mix multiple genres, and create a new fusion of sound, 'Don’t Kid Urself' is a motif of that desire. I was primarily inspired by the iconic synths of grime, so started out with that, but I wanted to recreate that as a dance tune, so I layered over this heavy-hitting bass line. The result sounded sick to me, the sound just took me to that old school rave scene, I was vibing through the whole production process.
What were the main influences behind your debut single ‘Sober Feels’ and what kind of atmosphere were you hoping to create?
The song to me on a Sunday morning, I was consumed by that post-Saturday downer and wanted to express that unique in a track. The breakbeats are pretty mental and choppy, recreating that flashback of the night before, combined with the melodic guitar riff and soft vocals, I tried to merge that with the fragile morning after feeling. Those two elements shouldn’t work, but the outcome just did. When the whole track came together, it really reflected how sober feels to me.
When did you first start producing and how has your sound changed along the way?
I started producing around seventeen when I moved to Manchester from Leeds. The Manny music scene is proper buzzing, I started making music free-styling at house parties, and getting to know musicians. I started out creating chilled out, slow tempo tracks, but the more I worked on my production, I fell back in love with break-beats and jungle riddims I grew up surrounded by. As I grew as an artist and moved to London, my artistry just became an extension of myself.
"Manchester will always have a place in my heart, there’s just an effortless vibe up there, and so many really talented artists."
Being from Manchester, are there any local artists you would recommend?
Although I didn’t grow up in Manchester, that’s where I was born as an artist, and the city definitely shaped who I am today. I’m a huge fan of Chimpo, who has just released a bangin’ new project, 'HIA'. My favourite track has to be 'Get So Mad', it’s an absolute tune, so deffo give him a listen. I’m also enjoying the sounds of Swing Ting at the moment, I’m loving their vibe and the music they’ve been putting out recently.
What would you say is the biggest difference between the music scene in London and Manchester?
The two are so incredibly different I don’t think I could even compare them. Manchester will always have a place in my heart, there’s just an effortless vibe up there, and so many really talented artists. At the same time, I love the London scene, it’s a creative hub, there are so many different people and so many different vibes, so everyone’s creating something different. I guess the only real difference is there is so much going on in London compared to Manny, so when it comes to releasing tracks, I’ve felt a lot more creative freedom.
What is HIJINXX, for anyone that doesn’t know?
HIJINXX is a little side project that’s currently in the works, showcasing DIY UK youth culture. The project started out with me documenting mayhem and chaos within the DIY scene, through visual media. Now it’s become a collection of hijinks from events, parties, throughout the scene. It’s currently in its early stages, but I’ve got some wavy things coming for 2021, so keep a lookout for the first HIJINXX event, and I can’t say any more than that.
The transformation process was extremely liberating, Indigo Dee was a juvenile project from when I was just starting out in the scene, I didn’t really understand who I was as an artist at the time, I had the ideas there but not the skills to create it. Nia Archives was born when I moved to London in 2019 it was a metamorphosis into who I am now as an artist, and I haven’t looked back since. Nia Archives reflects my love for the merging of the sounds of jungle, break-beats and house. There is a strong visual aspect there which moves from just creating music, to creating a vision.
"You need to focus on your passion for the music you want to create and let that drive your production."
How important is storytelling to you as both a musician and a visual artist?
Massively, I arrange my beats to take the listener on a sonic journey, whilst my visuals are an extension of the sound, creating a physical, multisensory experience. When I create music I want to create a situation, a story, my music isn’t just a song to listen to, it’s a party, it’s a feeling, it’s a whole vibe.
How do you find your art influences your music and vice versa?
So a track usually starts out with a feeling, it’s sort of a vision of a melody, and what this melody represents. I build up the beat, layer the melody and try to create an audio representation of the feeling. Looking at 'Sober Feels', it started with this idea of expressing that Sunday morning vibe, so I created a track which combined the different audio representations of that emotion. That then inspires my visuals, I listen to the track, imaging how and where it will be listened to, then try to create that through my videography. It’s more of a process, the visuals are always inspired by the sound and vice versa.
What are your top three tips of producers starting out?
You need to focus on your passion for the music you want to create and let that drive your production. In terms of artistry, you need to be unapologetic about the music that you’re into, let go of the obsession of who is going to be listening to it and centre on the idea of what you want to listen to. Finally, take the time to learn, practice all elements of your craft, you’re not going to be creating the perfect beats straight away, it’s a process. I’m always learning and trying to improve what I’m putting out there. I’m personally inspired by old school jungle, so I spend a huge amount of time researching different artists, techniques and sounds. I immerse myself in that culture, and there’s always something new for me to learn.
"Flava D is also one of my biggest inspirations, she’s iconic, as a female producer myself I admire how her work is a fuck you to the
Which artists inspired you to get into music and who is inspiring you today?
My all-time favourite producer is Burial, he’s a huge inspiration to how and what I create, I love his drum patterns, the sonic world he creates, and the idea of versatility within what he puts out there. Flava D is also one of my biggest inspirations, she’s iconic, as a female producer myself I admire how her work is a fuck you to the male-dominated industry. Her beats are sick, and again she incorporates that mixture of genres, which I also try to do within my own work.
If you had to recommend five artists to your listeners, who would they be?
I’d definitely recommend Bklava, Fixate, Dean Blunt, Nookie, Remarc. I love Bklava’s unique style, I’ve recently been non-stop bopping to 'Back to then', it’s a track that will for sure get you moving. Nookie and Remark are absolute legends and their sound is impeccable. While Dean Blunt is very experimental, his music is powerful and nobody else is doing it how he is.
What’s coming up for the rest of 2020?
I’ve got a gig coming up on the 24th of September, at The Moustache Bar in Hackney Downs, I’m so excited to be playing alongside some incredible artists, so come through to that. I’m working on a music video at the moment with Drowing Carpets on Instagram, she’s a sick videographer so I’m really forward to putting that out there. Music is coming soon also, so watch out for that, there’s also an EP on the cards. Big things are coming, so watch this space.