There is no doubt that we all miss the organic sound and vibe of the 1990s era of Hip-Hop. Many of us reminisce over the days of innovative rap artistry and classic unforgettable rap albums. With artists such as Kendrick Lamar and J.Cole, we are seeing a return to the days of Hip-Hop past, with socially aware lyrical content and imagery. London based Hip-Hop group, The Age of LUNA, also fall under this exciting resurgence category. With their conscious flow and old-school style and aura, members Butch Arkas, Kyote Noir, NK-OK and vocalist Daniella Thomas, have come together to form a collective that true Hip-Hop heads have been waiting on for a long time. Taking us back in a Hip-Hop time machine whilst adding some UK flavor; their tracks ‘Indigo’ and ‘Six Feet Deep’have caused quite a stir, receiving excellent reviews and heavy rotation on radio. With an average age of 19, the group most recently supported Hip-Hop legends, DJ Premier and Royce da 5’9” at their London show. With company like that, these guys are definitely the real deal and are set to shutdown the industry.
How did you guys come up with the group name The Age of LUNA?
Butch Arkas: Well, we wanted a name that really represented us as three individuals (before the addition of member and group vocalist, Daniella) and we had been going over name ideas for a while. One day we were just chilling and happened to look up at the moon. From there we settled on the word, ‘Luna’, meaning ‘moon’ and then Kyote came up with the acronym Live Under No Authority.
Kyote Noir: The acronym really represents our rebellious nature. We don’t conform. We are true to ourselves- individually and as a group.
How did you all come together to form this collective?
BA: Kyote and I have been rapping since we were roughly 13 years old and were in various groups during our younger teenage years. We met NK-OK through his manager; we thought his production style was sick and we started experimenting over his beats. We met Daniella as a photographer through a mutual friend- we didn’t know she could sing! One day she dropped by one of our studio sessions and started singing- we were blown away! We asked her to sing on a couple of hooks and it was a wrap. We were officially a group.
What are your current projects? Anything our readers should watch out for right now?
Daniella: Our album is nearly done and we are also looking to release an E.P very soon. No names or titles as of yet.
BA: No names right now. We are just strictly focused on making good music. We are working on something very special.
D: We’re really excited about performing at this year’s Boom Bap Festival (Suffolk) in June. We have a few other shows coming up around the UK – so watch this space!
Daniella, how is it being the only girl in the group?
D: I love it! (whole group laughs)
BA: She’s one of the mandem!
D: Haha! Yea, they forget I’m a girl sometimes!
What are your hopes and goals for the future as a group?
BA: Just to keep making good timeless music…
D: To keep moving forward and developing our craft. We are something new, but at the same time we are inspired by the past and that’s what I think people like about us. We may be young but there are no gimmicks. We want to build on what we are now and like Butch said- keep making good music.
KN: To grow as people and grow as a family.
Anybody that you guys would like to collaborate with?
BA: There’s so many people we would love to work with, but not just yet. At this stage, we want to focus on growing as a group.
KN: I would love us to work with Prince. Who wouldn’t want to work with Prince!
THE BEAT MAKER (PRODUCER)
‘My parents influenced me to get into music and my grandma was a really big Jazz fan. My dad got me into 1980s and 1990s Hip-Hop; where I started recognizing snippets being sampled from songs I had heard in my grandma’s Jazz collection. That mixing of genres and sounds- that’s where my love of music production stemmed from. I started experimenting with beat making and then eventually got into this group. The day that changed everything for me was when my Dad took me to a Public Enemy concert in London. I got a chance to go backstage and meet them after the show and that was it. I knew that I wanted to create Hip Hop Music. The same feeling I had at that concert, the same feeling I had when I first heard ‘The World is Yours’ by Nas- that ‘feeling’…I wanted to create that for others.’
THE STORY TELLER (MC)
‘I personally feel like conscious rap is definitely coming back with many great artists leading the way. The reason why I feel like its important is because if we lose the conscious element of rap, then we lose the ability to communicate powerful messages. Don’t get it twisted- I love getting gassed to music that is stupid as hell, but the great Tupac Shakur once said ‘I may not change the world but one day I might spark the mind that will’ . Conscious music moves people and is the whole point of rap when it really comes down to it. It’s unifying and provokes thought. It can tell a story and create change’
THE VISIONARY (MC)
‘The world’s biggest power is the Youth and beauty of a woman.’- Chanakya
This is all over my music. I’m all about inspiring the youth and making sure woman remember their worth and that young females coming up today grow to know their worth. I have a younger sister and I have nieces and a nephew who are growing up into today’s society. CHANGES need to be made and music is the way to make these changes happen. The same way in which my heroes (Tupac, Fela Kuti, Nas and Bob Marely) inspired me- I want to inspire the youth of today. The youth just need to remember to never back down and Live Under No Authority! Always shock your parents, as in ‘wow’ them! Stay in school and then decide on your next step. Education comes in many forms. Two important things: ‘respect’ and ‘dreams’
THE SHY SONGSTRESS (VOCALIST)
‘Right now I’m deeply in love with Kate Bush. I always knew about ‘Wuthering Heights’, but I’ve recently bought her albums “The Kick Inside”, “Lionheart” and “Never Forever”. She’s simply amazing, original and there’s something about the difference between her character in music and her character that I see in interviews. I love that. She found a way to express herself through her music clearly, but often says how she personally may not have anything interesting to say in person. That reminds me a lot of myself. I write most of the group’s hooks and I get inspiration from everywhere, especially through growth. Due to my shyness, I try to disguise my emotions in my lyrics. I’m learning to incorporate myself and how I feel into my lyrics and this is especially apparent on the Age of Luna EP coming out this year…but you probably wouldn’t expect the same expression from me in person’