Society of Sound: Blue Lab Beats

Blue Lab Beats (l-r: Mr DM and NK-OK) by Helmi Okpara.

There’s a jazz revolution going on in London right now. All over the capital, in back rooms, pop-clubs and warehouse spaces a wealth of young talent is collaborating, pushing boundaries, crossing genres. Paying respect to musical elders while forging paths entirely their own.

It was in the midst of such bubbling creativity that the acclaimed duo Blue Lab Beats was born.

Blue Lab Beats are NK-OK, aka 18-year-old electronic beats programmer Namali Kwaten, and Mr DM, aka multi-instrumentalist David Mrakpor, 23. A double act with a combined love of hip hop artists J. Dilla, Public Enemy and a Tribe Called Quest; jazz heroes Herbie Hancock and Roy Ayers; soul legends Marvin Gaye and Curtis Mayfield.

They pair fuse minds as well as genres. Their new Society of Sound release, Xover, captures their sultry mish-mash, with its American source and London attitude and was recorded at Real World Studios.

“We just do what we love doing,” says NK-OK of Xover. “Whenever we’re together the work flows really fast.”

Read more about Blue Lab Beats

This short documentary on the band is also well worth a watch: