“I really miss the days when I missed the rock star concept,” recalls Lava La Rue. “I think one of the last black rock stars that I was really inspired by who didn’t rock music but had that mentality was André 3000. It will be really interesting to see who is the equivalent in 2021… “
If you’re looking for modern pioneering talent, you won’t need to venture much further than Lava – aka Londoner Ava Laurel – herself.
The singer grew up surrounded by soul and reggae artists; with their parents, both certified ravers, they introduced Lava to music as an alternative way of life. “A lot of my friends in school grew up with The Beatles and Fleetwood Mac and things their parents listened to, and turned to hip hop to rebel,” they note. “As I grew up with a lot of soul, R&B, rave music and free party culture, then I rebelled and started listening to old bands again. I did it backwards – most people rebel against daddy’s music!
This love of different genres is clear through their discography, which has gone from old-fashioned hip hop to the more psychedelic indie-rock sound seen on the famous February EP “Butter-Fly”. “This was the first workgroup I was like, OK, that’s the sound I try to focus on: more alternative hip hop, psychedelic R&B mixed with indie… Lots of words fashionable ! ” they laugh. “From the first EP I dropped to the most recent, there’s an audible change in the sound, and I feel like my last project was a gateway to this new area where I’m trying to take things. . “
A sunny collection of psyche-tinged queer love songs, “Butter-Fly” saw Lava not only find her footing musically, but also establish herself more as the queer voice they sought out when they were growing up. “I want there to be a time when you listen to the UK Top Ten where there are as many queer love songs as there are straight songs,” they say. “Growing up, I am non-binary and half Latvian and half Jamaican and I have never heard a musician from the same background as me do a love song! I was just thinking of how many other kids want this … “
“I used to have fun and do some flexing. Now I’m like, wow, damn it, even though I hadn’t written this song, I’d like to listen to it.
Now switching to album mode, Lava has a “catalog” of music that should form their highly anticipated debut album. “It is all very strange, just like the last project, with elements of observation of the world around me and of life in London and my point of view,” they explain. “I feel like I’ve grown a lot and now I’m making the music that I always wanted to do, whereas before I had fun and I had fun. Now I’m like, wow, shit , even if I did not write this song, I would like to listen to it.
Elsewhere, Lava always keeps the fun and sonic experimentation at a high level when working with NiNE8: the creative collective they helped found in 2014. “When I write music under Lava, there is a concept, a narrative and references that I might be the only one who understands, “they’re smiling,” whereas with NiNE8 we look to the studio like, ‘What the fuck are we doing today ? ‘ And then we have as much fun as possible.
Made up of other creatives and musicians (including DIY favorite Biig Piig), the group met at college and started creating genre-blending bops for fun on a Friday night. Fast forward seven years and they are some of the most talked about young artists on the alternative scene. But when did Lava realize they were onto something special? “It would be around the times when we were having our own parties, and I was barely legal!” How the hell did these people let us use their rooms ?! “they laugh.” The result would be so bad and we would be like, ‘Where are all these people coming from?’ The thing about NiNE8 is that we don’t We’re not an elite collective, so when people would come in it was so sick, like people really cared! And they would come and sing our songs and I was like, fuck shit. , let’s keep doing it.
By killing him both in the collective and flying solo, Lava could just relax and soak up everything, but they are already preparing for what the future holds. “I think about the project that happens after this project”, they smile. “I’m already thinking about three years in advance!
2024 better be careful.