Interview: J B & Nice Nath on their debut EP, developing their craft, & experimenting across styles
We caught up with the newly formed Hip Hop duo from Essex, J B and Nice Nath, following their debut EP Greenhouse Romantics...
What ideas did you want to explore on the new EP and how did you approach writing this record?
This project came from a sort of ‘fuck it, why not’ mentality. We kept making songs and eventually made enough to think about the idea of an EP. For the most part, the emotional feel of the instrumentals guided the lyricism. We’d either discuss potential themes, ideas and that before picking up the pen, or one of us would propose something we’d already written, then we’d decide. We got the ‘Romantics’ part of the EP title from the romantic ideals that tended to run through all of the songs as a commonality. But overall, this project was about testing and developing our songwriting abilities, and seeing what enjoyment we could get from it all - and we did get a shit-load to be fair, hence why we’re still doing it.
Through mutual friends, you were working on a film soundtrack which led to this EP collaboration, so what was it that drew you both to developing an entire project together?
The short film that we were creating a soundtrack for pretty much flopped because of ‘rona, but the music side of things was still possible. At this point we’d both sort of dipped our toes in the water of music, so to speak. J B was developing music production experience, and we were both developing writing and vocal/rapping experience. We were both gassed that we were turning a possibility into an opportunity; becoming artists was something we’d both wanted to do for a while, and through the whole soundtrack situation we were able to realise it was doable and then make it happen.
Loyle Carner, Easy Life, and Mike Skinner are listed as some of your comparables, but who inspires you and where do you take your influence from?
J B: Personally, my main influence and inspiration is Mac Miller, but right now I'm also really fucking with Nix Northwest, Finn Foxell, Danny Sanchez etc.
Nath: I agree with J B, we’re both influenced and inspired by more established artists within our genre and style. Beyond that, I take influence from here, there, and everywhere. We’re both still experimenting with different sounds and styles so it’s real useful to be open-minded and inspired by a variety. Loyle Carner is defo a big idol though, in terms of sound and artistry - I found out the other day that we both had a spell at the same Acting School as well. Found that pretty cool.
As hip hop artists, are your beats self-produced or do you enjoy utilising and exploring samples as well?
The beats we used for this EP were all from other producers. We’d both love to say it was entirely self-produced but, like we mentioned previously, this whole project happened almost on a whim really, so the industry and all of its components are new to us. We’re both progressively learning music production though, as well as advancing our playing of instruments. We’ve set ourselves a goal to be mostly self-produced by the end of the year, or to be proficient enough with music production that it aids collaboration with other producers and that. It’s been bless to start building relationships with producers and other creatives so far, so collaborations are definitely something we’ll look for and be open to moving forward.
What else can we expect from you in the future? Any projects or live shows to look forward to?
New music is in the works; we've got a couple collaboration projects with other artists we’ve met along the way - super excited for those. Couple of solo bits en route too. Hopefully, a couple shows by the end of this year - providing Boris gets the country in order and COVID does one. Apart from that, fingers crossed this year will see us grow as artists, musicians, and producers… as well as publicists, managers, agents, promoters, and all that independent artistry jazz.
Finally, what does the word ‘groove’ mean to you?
J B: For me as a drummer, groove is the swing and rhythm that drives a song.
Nath: If your head is bobbing, or your foot is tapping, that right there is groove.
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