NUXXE is a London-based label and collective producing cutting edge club sounds. Prior to its formation, the group’s four members hailed from different parts of Europe: Coucou Chloe and Oklou are both from France, Sega Bodega is originally from Glasgow, while Shygirl is a born-and-bred Londoner. Their music embraces both seductive melody and body-shaking percussion, but it’s always future-facing. Get to know the Dazed 100-listed crew below as Shygirl releases her new EP, Cruel Practice.
Shygirl was raised in south London, and you can tell. The deadpan vocals that define her tracks (which she calls “seductive, emotional club music”) contain no hint of an American affectation. “My next release brings British rap vibes as well as the weird, dark underground club scene,” says the musician, real name Blane Muise. “But the way it comes together is more pop.” Muise had a “classic noughties childhood”, listening to new music from the UK alongside more obvious teen pop hits. “There was a lot of garage and trip-hop, but also the Vengaboys and Steps,” she laughs. Grime was an influence on her lyrical style – particularly the genre’s forced economy, where MCs fit their ideas into as few bars as possible. “What you say has to be to the point and also hit three different levels. It’s like when a kid and an adult can watch a film and get different jokes out of the same line. I want to be able to do that in my lyrics.”
She cites Massive Attack and Björk – artists who introduced sounds from UK club culture to the masses – as inspirations in both her own music and her approach to the NUXXE label she co-runs. “I don’t think any of us want to be seen as just underground artists,” she says. “It’s about bringing that to the general public.” In fact, says Muise, NUXXE was created in part so its artists could clear up misconceptions about their sound: “We had all been on lineups that didn’t make sense. I was like, ‘People don’t understand where our music should be placed, so let’s just tell them.’”
Listen to Shygirl's EP, Cruel Practice above.
Marylou Mayniel lists “melancholia and nostalgia” as two of her biggest inspirations. You can hear these feelings at play in The Rite of May, the singer, composer and producer’s new EP as Oklou. Mayniel crafts a world of sound that’s intimate, inviting and emotional – but it’s one that’s tinged with a certain amount of saudade, too. Mayniel enjoyed an idyllic but otherwise ordinary upbringing in the French countryside. She learned to play piano and cello as a kid, something you can hear in her music’s beautiful melodies, but Mayniel considers her classical training secondary to the sensations that she wants to convey. “My classical past obviously plays a role, but not as much as my friends, or people I’ve been in love with,” she explains. “What remains most important are the emotions you want to express.” After moving to Paris in 2014, Mayniel immersed herself in the city’s thriving electronic underground, co-founding the DJ collective TGAF (These Girls Are on Fiyah) and spinning on radio stations like PiiAF and Rinse France. She later moved to London, where she linked up with previous tourmates Sega Bodega and Coucou Chloe to release The Rite of May via NUXXE. The EP features Bodega and producers Bok Bok and Sampha soundman Rodaidh McDonald. Right now, Oklou is unsure what the future holds. “When you make art, you can’t answer that question,” says Mayniel. “I can just say that I’m gonna be a mother one day, hopefully. And then I will die.”
Sega Bodega, real name Salvador Navarrete, specialises in cybernetic club tracks that hit you like a truck, with hyperspeed tempos, bass frequencies so deep they could pierce concrete, and giddy, gurning synths. “People fuck around in music at the moment, it’s all very drawn-out,” says Navarrete. “I’m very anti-that. It’s a lot more exciting to have complete transparency.” Navarrete was born and raised in Glasgow, home to legendary club nights like Optimo and labels like LuckyMe that encouraged an open-minded approach to electronic music. But despite formative experiences at venues like The Art School (where you could discover “new shit every week”), he found it difficult to find his footing in the local scene. “In Glasgow, everyone has their crew,” he explains. “I didn’t know where I fit in.” Moving to London in 2014, Navarrete established himself with a series of ambitious and diverse projects, including an EP released alongside a custom tracksuit, and a mini-album rescoring cult film trailers by David Lynch and Wong Kar-wai. “I kind of used that to stay in and watch films all day,” he laughs. Navarrete teamed up with Shygirl on the explosive single “CC” after meeting the London vocalist at a gig. The pair co-founded NUXXE alongside Coucou Chloe, partly as an excuse to work and play shows together. “We didn’t really talk about working with other labels,” says Navarrete. “There was nothing they could offer that we couldn’t do ourselves.”
Coucou Chloe’s club constructions are cold as ice, featuring rhythms that snap with whip-like precision and murmured vocals processed and twisted till they sound downright demonic. But the French-born producer, real name Erika Jane, insists she’s got a sunny disposition IRL. “I have strong, dark eyes,” she says, “but I’m not really into the darkness vibe, even if I know my music is quite dark.” Growing up in Nice, Jane went on to study contemporary art at the prestigious Villa Arson, where she started making audio experiments. “I was making a kind of puzzle with all of those sounds,” she explains. “At first, I was more focused on the concept rather than the sound itself, but with time, I realised that I just wanted to make music.” Jane dropped out of art school and moved to London to pursue music in 2014, just two months after visiting the city for the first time. There, she formed a creative partnership with producer Sega Bodega, linking up on the Y1640 project (named after the door code to Bodega’s old flat) and co-founding the record label NUXXE alongside Shygirl. NUXXE quickly found fans in the fashion world, with Fenty × Puma by Rihanna using some of the label’s tracks – including Chloe’s own “Doom” – in two of their runway shows. “It was so surprising – I’d just started making music, and I was hearing my track in the Fenty show,” says Jane. “I remember how happy I was. I just wish I soundtracked the whole show.”
Photography Leon Mark, styling Peghah Maleknejad, hair Teiji Utsumi at Bryant Artists using TIGI, make-up Rebecca Wordingham at Saint Luke using Shiseido, photography assistants Asuka Ita, Lucas Bullens, styling assistants Ruairi Horan, Clémence Rose, hair assistant Kanae Kikuchi, make-up assistant Lily Mae, production Elise Lebrun at D+V