Nia Archives - Silence Is Loud - Nia Archives - Silence Is Loud - Artists Nia Archives Style Jungle, Drum & Bass Release Date 12 Apr 2024 Cat No. 6500353 Format 12" Black Vinyl, Gatefold - Island Records - Island Records - Island Records - Nia Archives - - Vinyl Record

Nia Archives - Silence Is Loud

LABEL:   Island Records

ARTISTS: Nia Archives
RELEASE DATE: 2024-04-12
FORMAT: 12" Black Vinyl, Gatefold
STYLE: Jungle, Drum & Bass

Nia Archives is the star at the forefront of the latest era of jungle. Since her emergence in 2020, her collagist soundscapes have helped bring the sound to a new generation of clubgoers (though fair warning: don’t call her a “revivalist” – she’s the first to point out that the scene never went away). So when it comes to talk of the 24-year-old producer, DJ, singer and songwriter’s much-anticipated debut album, the odds are you’re thinking of a full- length record of weightless jungle tracks with basslines so intense they’ll leave your ears ringing. But the reality of the Bradford-born, Leeds-raised artist’s first ever album – while very much replete with that exquisite jungle sound she does so well – is also doing something a little different. On the thrilling and freeing Silence Is Loud, Nia Archives is looking to make music for beyond the rave. As she explains: “I think music can be experienced in different ways, and there’s different kinds of music for different scenarios. Say you’re at a festival listening to music with thousands of other people, that can feel really uniting. But then you might listen to an album on your own in the bus, or in a taxi; and this project is definitely more a record to sit and listen to than a collection of club tracks.” Nia is intent that Silence Is Loud is taken in as a full body of work of something “more song-focussed, putting interesting sounds on jungle.” It means that this is a record which finds gloomy Britpop, warm Motown, soaring indie, a love for Kings of Leon’s Aha Shake Heartbreak, skittering IDM, Madchester, classic rock, old skool hardcore and more, woven and fused into her ragga and junglist tapestry, all layered with feeling, imbued with her songwriterly lyricism about loneliness, relationships, family, navigating her 20s, and the intense potential power of silence. The vast sonic palette on Silence Is Loud comes down to Nia’s broad array of influences through her life. With her Jamaican heritage, Nia remembers hearing jungle as a child via her nana, as well as at Bradford Carnival, where she was drawn to the soundsystem culture, dancing carefree on the floats in the parade. The first album she ever bought was Rihanna’s debut, Music of the Sun, and she also went to Pentecostal church back then, and was obsessed with gospel. Aged 16, she moved to Manchester, where she didn’t really know anybody: and so, her solution to meeting people was going out. “Partying was a huge part of my life,” she says, “They used to do little freestyle cyphers at the house parties and I would join in – that’s kind of how I got into singing.” She had found music boring at school, but in meeting all these new people she became interested in making her own music as a hobby. “I was making boom-bap kind of stuff which I didn’t really like in the end,” she laughs, “My lyrics are quite deep, so on a hip-hop beat it all sounds really depressing. I wanted people to dance to my music.” And so she began experimenting with faster tempos alongside that melancholy songwriting, teaching herself how to make beats on Logic: “It’s all been a lot of trial and error, really.” Nia went to study music in London, and was also interested in visual art, making collages and VHS: “Before the music, I was trying to make a visual archive of my life and the people around me,” she explains, “And then my music was like my diary, and a sonic archive, as well.” Hence, she paired the word “archives” with her middle name, Nia. To this day, in her spare time she’s working on pulling together a documentary on the global nature of the jungle scene. Back on those first two EPs, Headz Gone West (2021) and Forbidden Feelingz (2022), she honed that junglist sound, painting it with new flecks of colour and vibrance. It was only after she started releasing work that she realised pursuing music could be a viable life path for her. The decision has been paying off ever since. Nia Archives placed third in the prestigious BBC Sound Poll for 2023, alongside garnering a nomination for the Brit Awards’ Rising Star prize, plus wins at the DJ Mag, NME, the MOBOs and Artist and Manager Awards. She has also toured the world – be it North America, Europe or Asia – and even opened a show in London as part of a little something called Beyoncé’s Renaissance World Tour. She’s renowned as a party-starter in her own right, too, with takeovers at Glastonbury, Warehouse Project and her own Bad Gyalz day event. She’s done official remixes for the likes of Jorja Smith, had a huge summer hit with her Yeah Yeah Yeahs rework ‘Off Wiv Ya Headz’, and worked with brands like Corteiz, Nike, Flannels, Burberry, FIFA and Apple. In just three years, it’s fair to say that Nia Archives has become a need-to-know name in dance music. But Nia is not interested in being one fixed thing. Building on the terrain from her third EP, Sunrise Bang Ur Head Against Tha Wall, the universe of Silence Is Loud is not totally unfamiliar territory; but it’s still emblematic of a bolder scope than we’ve heard from the artist before. Working with Ethan P. Flynn (the songwriter and producer known for his work with FKA twigs and David Byrne), the resulting record is an impressive feat of deftly-sculpted textures; sometimes big and euphoric, like the wobbly, lusty bass of ‘Forbidden Feelingz’, or elsewhere notably gentle and quiet – see: the gorgeous, surprisingly drumless ‘Silence Is Loud (Reprise)’, a heartfelt number that sits somewhere in the school of Adele. “I really sharpened my songwriting skill on this project,” Nia says, “I was really intentional about what I was writing about, and I really loved co-producing with Ethan. His process is so different to anyone I’ve worked with before, and he’s got a kind of DIY set-up like me.” Flynn’s flat overlooks the Barbican, adding that unquantifiable futurist urban quality that the area holds to the music. The pair enjoyed the collaborative process so much that the album was done within three and a half months. Perhaps this is why Silence Is Loud maintains an exuberant immediacy while still being sleek and spacious, interspersed with flourishes of metallic beats, lush melody and topped with her sugary but powerful vocal, floating over it all. There is an intimacy to the record, perhaps in part due to Nia writing most of her lyrics while sitting in bed in her flat in Bow (once a bedroom producer, always a bedroom producer). You can hear it on the refrain for lead single ‘Crowded Roomz’, which finds rippling guitar lines cutting taut through the beats as Nia refrains: “I feel so lonely crowded rooms.” The song is an examination of life on tour, constantly surrounded by people, but not necessarily those she can be herself around; more than that, the track is exemplary in the category of sad bangers. Silence Is Loud often finds itself in that push and pull between melancholy and euphoria. There’s a celebration of her unconditional love for her younger brother (the title track), a rumination of an evening with an Irish boy she met by Temple Bar (‘Cards On The Table), or a letter to herself on the light and airy ‘Unfinished Business’, even coming to terms with a lover having a past they haven’t quite processed yet (“nobody comes with a clean slate”). The latter was recorded the week after a music festival, and accordingly captures Nia’s vocal in its not quite healed, husky state. Nia’s work is always a snapshot of where she’s at when she’s making it. This might not be the debut album you were expecting, but that’s what makes Silence Is Loud so special. Nia Archives has learned the rules of her sound, and is unafraid to break them, pushing jungle and herself into new, unchartered territories that, in turn, go some way to map the history of the greats of British dance music. More than that, it plants her firmly in that lineage.

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