This Spring I jetted out to London for business. During my trip I reached out to to some of my favorite London-based artists. In the winter I came across a group called Blue Lab Beats and their album Blue Skies. I fell in love with the passion and smooth vibes. The arrangements put the listener in a trance of head nodding bliss. Immediately, I was stuck, so I reached out and set up a time to meet during my stay.
Midweek I made my way up to the the home studio, aptly named the Blue Lab to meet NK-OK and Mr DM. As I arrived the guys were working on some new cuts for an upcoming radio exclusive. Mr DM was perched at the keyboard improvising while NK-OK ran back drum beats. I took a seat in the corner of the room to observe their creation process. The room was accurately labeled the Blue Lab with blue light strung around illuminating the relics of hip-hop culture that donned the walls. Their process is incredibly fluid and raw. Both of them are so in tune with each other that is seems nearly telepathic when they create. After some variations of the keys we took a break and I got to know the guys a bit better.
NK-OK and Mr DM are younger than I imagined; definitely beyond their years. They met a few years back while taking music lessons in London and came together through their love of hip-hop and jazz. Over the years they worked on several projects and eventually the production crew came out as a group of their own showcasing their range. They released Blue Skies last September through Believe Recordings. The EP was accompanied by a short film painting the perfect picture of their artisanship. Both artists are multi-instrumentalists and showcase their talent via their no sample hip-hop beats. NK-OK is outspoken, carries himself with a funky style and rocks a trademark blue high top.Mr DM is a bit more low key and carries himself with a calming chill.
We spoke a lot about the changing music industry in a digital age, their influences and playing live. It was also really interesting to hear the great accomplishments these young musicians have had. They have created music from their bedroom to studios that have held legends like Amy Winehouse and Kanye West. It was refreshing to see how humble and excited they were about every opportunity. When we met they were in the midst of a hectic schedule, something they were looking forward to. A whirlwind or recording, live shows and festivals. They described how exciting playing with heroes and feeling the love in the response to the music inspired them. Times are exciting from trips to Afropunk to touring Europe and everything in betwteen. It’s an exciting time for the Blue Lab Beats guys as they continue to flourish and work with artists both local and international.
As I left, I felt overjoyed to be able to meet such genuine cats with so much potential.Blue Lab Beats brings together two talented people with clear life long dedication that have the wits to reach a very wide audience.
The Freedom EP just released in time for summer groove. The perfect city cruising soundtrack; 5-tracks of bounce. I was lucky enough to preview some of the tracks during my visit and they were imprinted in my head ever since. Each track is a joy filled ride of soul. Blue Lab Beats creates a raw sound with no samples utilizing live instruments to create hip-hopeque beats. The EP paints a vivid picture- both from the spacey boom-bap jazz beats to the features from talented musicians and MC’s from London like Kojey Radical, Tiana Major9, Nubya Garcia, Sheila Maurice-Grey, and Louis VI. The album does an amazing job of organizing a wide range of talents with beautiful execution.
Blue Lab Beats is also eager to find their music on its proper format, vinyl. Currently they are running a crowdfunding campaign to bless the public with their grooves on vinyl. You can get a copy and support HERE.