BN1 Chats With…My Nu Leng

My Nu Leng’s bass-heavy sound may be notoriously hard to categorise, but it literally encapsulates UK rave culture. If you’ve ever been to a sweaty, packed out night that celebrates bass culture, listen to one of their tracks and you’ll be returned there in an instant. Their dark dance music has a gritty vibe; synths and rumbling lower frequencies feature heavily. This is not a sound for the fainthearted.

Drawing from drum and bass, garage, house, dubstep, jungle, techno and grime, the Bristol duo have taken the underground music scene by storm. Jammo and Tommy’s remixes are a now key fixture in any dance set, and they’ve been credited with pushing the boundaries of dance music to new heights.

The guys met in High Wycombe but later moved to Bristol and became ensconced in the local music scene. “The Bristol scene is just an amazing thing to be part of, only contended community- wise by possibly Manchester,” they say. “The term ‘community’ describes [Bristol] perfectly… It’s not like somewhere like London where everyone seems to be pitted against each other, but rather everyone pushes each other and supports as much as they can.” Evidently, Tommy and Jammo thrive off being a part of a larger musical community. A particular career highlight for them has been the ‘My Nu Leng & M8s’ shows earlier this year.

Although an America tour is often considered as the Holy Grail of musical success, My Nu Leng didn’t seem overly enamoured when we chatted about their recent stint across the pond. Whilst they were keen to emphasise it was, in part, a great experience they were also disappointed to have played many of the shows separately. The guys explain how after six or seven years of collaboration, they feel at their best when working together.

Whilst on the subject of America, we talk about the surge of interest in British music over there. “The UK has been at the forefront of dance music for such a long time, championing new styles like dubstep, garage, grime” they remind me. When fondly recalling the tape-sharing culture of their youths, the conversation turns once again back to community. My Nu Leng believe the very size of our tiny island has enabled underground music culture to thrive. The uniquely British underground phenomenon holds such appeal for America, Tommy and Jammo reason, because the sheer size of the USA makes having an equivalent scene impossible.

My Nu Leng are clearly very proud of our homegrown sounds, telling me “the UK underground scene is amazing right now and we have been trying hard to support up and coming producers as much as we can.” Tommy and Jammo also want to scope out new territories with My Nu Leng’s own productions, detailing how this year “we are looking forward to releasing some drum and bass and different styles… Going forward we really want to push the boundaries of what people are used to, always striving to make something completely original and new.”

My Nu Leng are certainly accustomed to pushing the boundaries of what people are used to, as theirs is a sound that has always been resistant to labelling. The guys bemoan the tendency “to label everything as though it’s in an iTunes library” which they ultimately see as an unproductive approach towards music. “We have always wanted to keep ourselves from being pigeonholed into a specific genre, but never intentionally wrote music to sound a certain way,” Jammo clarifies. My Nu Leng “always try different things in the studio,” and explain, “over the years our sound has developed and changed in BPM.”

“We are trying to be more experimental, trying a range of musical styles, and hopefully at some point in the next few years build up to an album,” say the guys. They assure me, “this year is going to be pretty hectic! We are playing so much over the summer,” with one of their biggest upcoming gigs being at Brighton’s very own Wild Life Festival.

My Nu Leng have released music through the ever expanding label Black Butter and are good friends with fellow members of the BB family and Wild Life organisers Rudimental. They played at Wild Life last year, but as part of a back-to-back set with Oneman, so are looking forward to doing their own show this time around. As long-standing fans of the newly reformed group, both Tommy and Jammo also express great excitement at the fact The Avalanches have joined the line-up.

Beyond the summer, My Nu Leng do have “a couple of projects lined up”. Until then, though, “we will be taking our sound to as many places as possible, trying to make our DJ sets as fun as possible, and enjoy the fact we are able to do what we do!” For the guys whose job it is keep the party going, this sounds like a pretty good plan.

My Nu Leng play at Wild Life Festival, Brighton City Airport on Sat 11 – Sun 12 June.

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