From Leeds to London, Nia Archives Says Focused on Her Path

Photography by Dan Wilton

The state of the UK is fantastic right now. Not necessarily if you look out the window at life on fire, but the fact that jungle is back. Arguably the shining jewel in UK dance music, it’s unmistakably from the island. Jungle’s hard-edged, no-fucking-about, fast-paced urgency was a precursor to garage, drum n bass, dub- step and the soundtrack to the mid-late 90s rave scene. This current resurgence is being spearheaded by a crop of fantastic female producers and artists. And 22-year-old Nia Archives is one of them. She specializes in jungle and drum n bass and her star is on the rise. “I went to Brighton recently for a gig and I was kinda headlining and it was the first time I had people coming up and fanning over me, asking for selfies and stuff. It was cool to see,” she explains over the table in an East London diner.

She was born in Leeds, an industrial city in the north of England with a rich history of reggae and sound system culture, and then moved across The Pennines, to Manchester. The legendary home, of course, to rave culture as well as renowned nightclub venue The Haçienda and many others. She’s currently studying music production at university in East London. She juggles this with writing new music and playing sets. It’s fair to say her musical influences are vast. Her education in British dance music is rich and varied. “I love the 90s old school jungle and the 90s in general,” she explains. “I really wish I was there. I’m never trying to make a 90s track but I’m definitely influenced by that, all my favorite artists and music come from that time, so you can definitely hear that in what I do. I love Roni Size, the King of the Amen (aka Remarc) and Lemon D.” Nia’s also quick to reference the mercurial producer Burial as an influence to assure us she’s not totally living in the 90s. It was so cool to meet him, definitely a dream come true.”

Nia’s wary of the excitement of the music press as they write about the vanguard of this generation of jungle and drum n bass artists and producers identifying as female. Of course, the original pioneers of the genre included Kemistry & Storm whose music is a major influence, and Nia was part of DJ Flight’s EQ50 mentoring program, which aims to get fair representation for women in drum n bass. But she’s leaving the cur- rent female focus for others. “For me, I stay in my own bubble with my own music because otherwise you just start comparing yourself with what everyone else is doing,” she explains. “So I just stay in my own world and listen to my own stuff and just keep it there. That’s how I make the best stuff when I stay with what I’m doing. In terms of production, no one else has the same influences as me, no one else has had my journey or had my story. I just want to do it for me.”