Nia Archives, the 21 year old who is paving the way for electronic music with her jungle roots, and sense of nostalgia for the rave scene that celebrated culture and history; aiming to rebirth the scene in a way we haven’t seen for decades with her breakthrough talent.
The rave scene of the late 80s was one of exploration, sexual promiscuity, and hedonism; genres still explored when the sun goes down. The Second Summer of Love was a global phenomenon, and its impact is still prevalent today. Meet Nia Archives, the junglist who is pioneering the way for a newfound sense of 80s dance music. Charting the origins of the scene in the late 80s, All Junglists: A London Some’ting Dis is a documentary filled with lasers and MC anecdotes, which visualises the music and its history and is one of Archives’ favourite representations of the scene – so what has she got to offer and how is she inspired by this?
The aforementioned jungle documentary features an overwhelming majority of black ravers, which is a stark juxtaposition to what we see today. “There is a really big culture in the DnB community where it is just a bunch of young white males under 24. The lack of Black women in those spaces is really a problem”, she explains, which is what led her to the work she does now. Driven by the fact that she can inspire a new culture of ravers, opening her space and playing sets to a diverse crowd is what Archives does best, feeding a different energy and new light to the scene. Being a black woman though, she is prone to misogyny, recalling negative comments on her work; “girls shouldn’t DJ” etc, but this only drives her passion more, creating more of a desire to inspire others like her.
“If I wasn’t making music but there was someone who looked like me, loving the music, vibing, I would want to be a part of that as well.”
What sets Nia Archives apart from some other artists is that she is not only focused on the music, but also – if not more so – on the art and culture of her scene, acknowledging the importance of the history and diversity, stemming from what she had seen in the documentary.
Being part of the Caribbean community, and inspired a lot by her family, she was introduced to disco, rare groove, soul and funk from a young age, as well as influences from her step-dad who was a rapper and producer. Her roots have clearly inspired her success and from this she likes to give back to the area she’s in, donating all the release money to Hackney Night Shelter, as well as being set on making room for other Black women in the industry, too.
“I’m not making music for the moment, I’m really trying to build a legacy and pioneer this new wave of what it means to be a junglist,” she says. “I really hope that other Black girls will see themselves in it and be inspired to take space because it is music of Black origin. All the original Jungle Mania events, they were like white people, Black people, Asian people, gay people, straight people. I think it should be for everyone – it should be united in the music. I hope I can change that.”
Community is also a huge part in Archives’ mission. As part of the Brighter Days Family, there is a huge sense of collaboration and inclusion in her craft. The Brighter Days Family is a collective of musicians based in London showcasing their own productions and sounds of broken-beat, UKG, Jungle, Grime and beyond at sell-out shows.
Presented by Night Tales Loft, the Brighter Days Family are set to play another event on Friday 29th April, at an intimate club and terrace space overlooking the East London skyline, after their first sell-out party. While tickets have sold out already, you can join the waiting list here.
Since being brought onto the scene by the EQ50 mentorship that helps women progress in Jungle and Drum and Bass, and with collaborations with artists like Lava La Rue, Nia has become a groundbreaking artist with her dreamy neo soul vocals, and influences from Caribbean sound system culture, she produces music for the masses, describing making beats “like playing a video game where I’m trying to get all these little sounds to match. It’s like going through levels. Especially with the way I make my drums, I have this formula I do to create the sound I want”.
NME award for best producer went to Archives and it’s no secret why. Her EP was influenced by her love for all genres, and so by fusing breakbeats and old school jungle with guitar leads and indie rock gave the sound her own spin, influencing it across the genre of jungle. In the process of experimenting and chipping up sounds she produced her debut EP Headz Gone West, and more recently, a new EP; Forbidden Feelingz.
This new wave of jungle fusion is bound to set the way for dance music, and alongside her Brighter Days Family, Nia Archives is set to dominate the rave scene, like what was seen in the 80s. Her sense of nostalgia for the time is clear in what she produces and we are excited to see the rebirth of a culturally inclusive community of ravers, and we can’t wait to see what’s next for her.
Words and infographic by Jordan Ricketts