Clash sits down with the London collective...

Collective identity, that's the thing.

It's an old saying but a good one: we achieve more together than we ever could apart, and that's why we stick together.

London collective NiNE8 offer yet more evidence of this. A supremely gifted squad of artists from the capital, they include creative force Lava La Rue, Irish born artist Biig Piig, producer Mac Wetha, rapper OG Slim, and more.

Loose-knit but working with purpose, NiNE8 dropped their new EP 'No Smoke' a matter of hours ago, a forceful release that fuses soulful vocals with pared down electronics and quick-fire flows.

Clash tracked down NiNE8 to their base, and spoke to them about the making of the new EP...

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'TAKE OFF!'

Lava: I feel like 'TAKE OFF!' is such a perfect introduction to the tape, it is an audio reflection of the vibe we were all feeling when Me, Biig Piig, Bone Slim and Kxrn caught a vibe together over a couple tinnies when the gang went over to Mac Wetha’s flatshare [in Nunhead at the time] - the moment Mac showed us this syncopated summery beat and KXRN sprinkled some additional magic on the track I knew it was going to be a rooftop-in-the-summer soundtrack. 

Biig Piig: Yeah, we were just at Lloyds (Mac Wetha) chilling playing around with some beats and this one just clicked.

When I was writing my verse I think it was like an ode to the people in room, (most of NiNE8 were there) and the verse kind of chats about how our team has made me believe in myself and brought hope out of darker times (without getting too deep...) just being inspired by the way I watch my friends create beauty out of small tragedies, in a city like this where things can be sterile and hostile we’ve found a family with a mad energy. It’s sick.

'PUSHA'

Nayana: 'Pusha' was one of those songs that came to BONE SLIM and I instantly, Mac made the infectious beat and soon as we heard it the music just fell out of our mouths, off our vocal.

The meaning behind the song: some people just don’t know your worth until you’re gone. When it’s time to go , it’s time to go. No sticking around low toxic energy.

'IGNANT'

Nige: 'IGNANT' was the last track we made together for the tape and captures our excitement for the project and year to come. It also speaks to how we interact together and have a laugh out and about.

Lorenzorsv: Mac played the beat and straight away I came up with the hook for it and could hear myself singing it alongside Biig Piig over my vocals, I just remember everyone getting proper gassed when Nige walked and layed his verse down which was completely out of the blue

Lava: Fun fact but the audio you hear right at the end of the song is the genuine reaction from the first time we all heard Nige lay his bars down in the booth haha…it’s kinda a little insight to how we all work together because we were packed in this tiny studio room all present/sat there while we record our creations together, gassing each other up.

Normally before we record we’ll show snippets of our lyrics as to each other just sharing as we write together, but I remember Nige had been sat in the corner just quietly writing something down, then suddenly gets in the booth and sprayed those very bars you hear — it was a powerful moment.

'TREFLIP'

Lava: Imma let the lyrics of this song speak for itself, but its genuinely one of my favourite songs I’ve ever made and by far my favourite to perform…Mac showed me the beat the same day we were recording Ignant while everyone was outside having a fag outside the studio.

The first eight bars was a freestyle I recorded there and then before everyone else walked in - and the rest is history. 

'ALL DEEZ'

L!BAAN: While I was making the beat, I was constantly singing/humming the melody of the chorus then eventually the words made its way to me. Couple days later, I went round to Lava’s and showed her what I had & she really vibed with it.

Afterwards we both wrote down our verses then spat them to each other and what was really nice was that after sitting in the same room in complete silence, we both came up with verses that are completely different in style but speak on the same theme: Not letting the negative energy of the world get to us, to love ourselves and to only keep doing what we do best: make music.

'TWC'

Mac Wetha: 'TWC' (which stands for Thug With Class) was one of those beats I made with a live performance in mind; as soon as I clocked that main 80s stab style sample and started playing with it, I knew it would go off and be one of those group tracks that goes crazy. Everyone delivered exactly as I expected. One of my personal favourites from the tape.

'CHECK BEACH'

Mac Wetha: Bone Slim walked in the room as I was halfway through making this beat - and it was, like a lot of the tunes on this tape, a very spur of the moment track. Slim dropped his verse and Nay wrote an incredible melody, probably my favourite she’s written on the project.

Lava: This song is such an incredible outro for the tape too, its like the calm after the storm vibe, especially after the three high energy rollercoaster songs that come before it - it sounds like the end of the afterparty when the sun is rising and everyones falling asleep/going home together after a good night.

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'NO SMOKE' is out now.

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