Genre-bending duo Blue Lab Beats are part of London’s booming contemporary jazz scene, throwing grime, hip hop, neo-soul and Carribean music into their melting pot of influences.
The pair cook up their grooves and hooks in their self-dubbed Blue Lab, with rising names Kojey Radical, Ruby Francis and The Age of L.U.N.A regularly stopping by for sessions.
Having remixed tracks for Jodie Abacus, Dua Lipa and Rag’n’Bone Man, the twosome – Namali and David, aka NK-OK and Mr DM – released their debut EP, Blue Skies, in 2016 and have since scaled jazz charts in the UK, Europe and Japan and packed out shows including London’s iconic Ronnie Scott’s.
Their debut album, Xover was recorded at Peter Gabriel’s Real World Studios and is due at the end of this month.
It features a whole host of musicians including rising saxophonist Nubya Garcia, award-winning drummer Moses Boyd and all-female jazz septet Nérija, plus the likes of Kojey Radical and soul starlet Tiana Major9 lending vocals.
Currently at SXSW where they play at The Main II today, we caught up beforehand to find out what makes them tick…
What was the first song you developed an obsession for?
David: Patrice Rushen – Forget Me Nots.
Namali: Nas – The World Is Yours.
What’s the first gig you went to?
Namali: Nas and Damian Marley.
David: Mos Def does Dilla.
What’s the first instrument you ever got hold of?
Namali: Midi keyboards with broken volume button.
David: Keyboard Yamaha psr34.
What is your worst musical habit?
David: Jam sessions till late – very late.
Namali: I hoard my beats – I literally have loads!!!
What’s your favourite venue?
Namali: Total Refreshment Center, Stoke Newington.
David: Ronnie Scott’s.
What inspirations outside of music impact your songwriting?
Namali: Seeing great architecture – for instance, Morrocco.
What track of yours best represents your sound?
You’re off to SXSW – what are you most excited about?
Just getting there! And hearing loads of different bands/acts.
What’s on your SXSW shopping list?
David: Burgers and protein shakes!!!
What’s soundtracking your long flight over there?
Ty‘s new album, Work of Heart.
What are you planning for the rest of 2018?
More gigs in different countries and new album to be released in late March/early April.
Below: watch our interview with Blue Lab Beats at SXSW.
— M Magazine (@M_magazinePRS) March 13, 2018
Blue Lab Beats have been supported via PRS Foundation’s International Showcase Fund to attend SXSW.