The aphorism that “your superpower is what makes you unique” is realised just by being around Lava La Rue. This is someone who has stepped into their power so boldly, so adeptly, that just looking at their art, or listening to their music, energises you to do the same. Ever since 16, the West London creative has been carving out their own musical niche - a lo-fi style that blends psychedelic R&B, rap, spoken word and diary-entry lyrics with boom-bap beats. Listen to their recent EP, “Butter-Fly” and you hear a song that merges gender-queer love with a social commentary on London politics and city life. Lava refuses to be bound by genre, topic, or gender binary. They’re influenced by everything from old Notting Hill pirate radio stations, to Harajuku style. They’re also influenced by the DIY Collective they founded years ago, whilst still a teenager in foster care. When the group of like-minded individuals met at college, they refused to be deterred by their lack of industry connections; they each put twenty quid in for a budget studio set-up, bought a mic off Amazon, and started going to each other’s flats to share ideas and make art. Ever since then, the 15 creatives have been collaborating on music, fashion, and design ventures, and honing one another’s unique styles.
As Lava explains in conversation with Rollacoaster, “it can be really disheartening for people who feel like they can't pull the nepotism card in order to get to where they need to be. But I always say, for people who come from backgrounds where they feel like they have no resources or no connections, that, as corny as it is, what you do have is your unique story - you have something that money can't buy. You cannot buy culture, you cannot buy your community, you cannot buy your story or your narrative. So knowing what that is, really, really knowing what that is, that's going to be your card to get to where you need to be. Kids who come from backgrounds like mine don’t always have the social mobility to just freely do what they want for a living. In order to do that, the first step really takes knowing who you are. And then people who think like you and want the same things normally find you, because you attract people who are on the same frequency.”
Here, Lava La Rue sits down with Rollacoaster to discuss the importance of finding your people, the need for more queer representation in the media, and why Portobello Market is an unceasing source of creative inspiration.