Blue Lab Beats is the brainchild of NK-OK and Mr D.M – the pair are the engine room behind many of the freshest new acts – Age Of Luna, Ruby Francis, Louis VI and also remixers for Jodie Abacus, Dua Lipa, Rag n Bone man to name a few. The production style is raw but also sophisticated – musical but not introvert. Their recent Blue Skies EP intro video caught the attention of Dazed and Confused Magazine and it’s been clocking up views ever since it was posted.
With all this music happening they decided to make their own album. Their journey began at a weekend arts club – WAC in Belsize Park. NK-OK met Mr DM invited him back to the studio and from there the two started making music in the now infamous Blue Lab Studios.
Many production rooms that produce a lot of good music historically are tiny – Motown in Detroit was one – Sun studios was another such studio and Blue Lab boasts a shortage of space that would leave scratch marks on many an elbow. Still the music is hot – and that’s what counts.
The duo site the following as influences: Mad Lib, Herbie Hancock, Thelonious Monk, Knxwledge, J Dilla, Milt Jackson, Ahmad Jamal, Oscar Peterson. Tribe called Quest. But the interesting part comes from the fact that NK- OK’s production journey started with Grime. He learnt to programme at age 12 against a background of UK Grime – Kano – Ghetts – Wiley – Wretch 32 all played a huge part in his musical upbringing. The Jazz came later. It’s this musical mish mash of Mr DM’s music instrument wizardry and a whole lotta NK-OK bottom end and programming know how that gives Blue Lab Beats the edge and takes it out of straight Jazz format whilst paying full respect to the art form.
Blue Skies EP is out on Believe Recordings.
Photos credit: Helmi Okpara