Lava La Rue
Lava La RueCourtesy of Lava La Rue
“I want to make a documentary about the NiNE8 collective and the underground music scene around us

Lava La Rue

Age - 22
 London, United Kingdom
@lavalarue
Lava La Rue
“I want to make a documentary about the NiNE8 collective and the underground music scene around us

Lava La Rue keeps things strictly DIY and underground. Her independent spirit comes from her upbringing: bouncing around foster homes during her teenage years, she learned a lot about self-preservation. It’s an attitude she applies to her music and art, a distinctive style of rap and neo-soul that has seen her embark on a sold-out UK tour, perform a support slot for Christine and the Queens, and create a documentary for the Tate Modern.

But although Lava La Rue is determined to do things on her own terms, this doesn’t mean she has to do it alone. As co-founder of the 15-strong creative collective NiNE8 (whose other members include Irish rapper Biig Piig, producer-vocalist Mac Wetha, and more), Lava has cultivated a community of like-minded artists with a shared vision. She also runs ‘Lava Land’ events, whose line-ups spotlight queer voices.

Now, she’s hoping to win a Dazed 100 grant to make a real-time document of NiNE8’s creative endeavours and spotlight its individual members. 

How did you start doing the work you do, and what inspires it?

Lava La Rue: Both Lava La Rue and NiNE8 collective started the same day. Lava La Rue was my creative identity, while NiNE8 was the community. In short, it was built out of necessity. I was looking for a subculture where I could freely exist as a queer woman and DIY creative in UK hip hop. I couldn’t find one, so I made one.

When it comes to your work, what are you most proud of? What or who gives you hope and why?

Lava La Rue: Creating moments that bring me and my collective and my community together is so rewarding. Having kids internationally reach out to us from completely different backgrounds, but still relating to the emotion of what we sing about – it’s the best feeling.

“I was looking for a subculture where I could freely exist as a queer woman and DIY creative in UK hip hop. I couldn’t find one, so I made one” – Lava La Rue

How has the Coronavirus outbreak affected you, your work, and/or your community?

Lava La Rue: The music and visuals behind Lava and NiNE8 were created in community spaces, alongside experimenting face-to-face with my collective. Now our community spaces have shut down, including the studio we use. On top of this, most of us come from working class and immigrant family backgrounds which has us feeling uncertain about what the future will hold now that our work has been put on pause. Not everyone can have access to the financial support the government is trying to give, especially creatives. 

What creative or philanthropic project would you work on with a grant from the Dazed 100 Ideas Fund?

Lava La Rue: A documentary about NiNE8 collective and the underground music scene around us, with an original soundtrack… As much as there is a charm to the DIY nature of our sound and visuals, our style has come from the resilience of never having the right tools – so, just utilising what we could. But my dream is to drop the trade and barter and be able to actualise a vision. Imagine being able to drop the VHS camcorder and have the resources to make a real movie for the same concept.

Selim Bulut

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