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MUSIC CHATS *EXTENDED*: Introducing J B & Nice Nath

Emerging onto the music scene last year; as a result of lockdown, Alternative Hip-Hop and Rap artists Jack Bradley and Nathan Hubble began on their collaborative journey, introducing us to their brand new artist project – J B & Nice Nath. Both hailing from Essex, with the pair attending secondary school together; 2020 saw the duo reconnect nearly 6 years later through a mutual friend, with this leading to their newfound creative endeavor. Experimenting with different sounds and styles, they emerged with something that sits across an eclectic array of indie, rap, hip-hop, R&B and jazz-inspired genres, as they premiered their debut release – their inaugural single Modern Day Fairy Tale – in October; swiftly followed up by their debut EP Greenhouse Romantics the following month. 

“Me and J B went to school together but we weren’t really close or in the same friendship group at school, so we didn’t stay in contact. It was only when we were put in contact by Jack Miller who did the music video [for Modern Day Fairy Tale] that we started exploring ideas and progressively developed into music. We’re solo artists but we’ve come together for this project.”

Nath talking about the backstory between himself and J B

With a sound reminiscent of artists such as Loyle Carner and Dominic Fike, the pair’s relaxed and vibrant artistry is both familiar yet entirely new, presenting a sound that is immersive and utterly enchanting. Showcasing their original and idiosyncratic sound and style, their discography so far perfectly showcases their artistic skill and talent; with its sonic maturity, expertly crafted production and captivating lyricism. And drawing audiences in with their authentic energy and vibe, they have already began garnering a wave of critical acclaim and support, including from the likes of BBC Introducing and BBC Radio 6 Music. 

Last week, in typical 2020/2021 fashion, we caught up with the pair over Zoom to chat about their journey in music so far, plans for post-lockdown life, and how they have navigated being creatives and emerging artists in these crazy and unprecedented times. Such a pleasure to chat to J B and Nath, keep on reading for the full interview down below. And with more to come from the duo over the next year, they are certainly one of 2021’s “One’s To Watch” and will be filling our playlists with more incredible music very soon!  

With the UK having just gone into lockdown 3.0; of course, our conversation started in the ever familiar manner of talking about the current situation and how we’re all coping. And with Nath and J B beginning their musical journey last year; we got chatting about what that process has been like for them during these unprecedented times, and what the pandemic has meant for them as artists.  

TSU: How have you guys been; and how have you managed with beginning your artistic journey, and starting out as creatives, during these crazy times?

Nath: So I think obviously where some would consider it a curse, it’s also been a blessing, because it means we’ve been stuck inside with nothing else to do, so all of our focus is on that one creative pursuit. And also where some doors close creatively, others always open. At one point we were looking into do a music video based on lockdown. We didn’t get round to doing it but I mean, where people have been cooped up indoors; it’s given our music time to thrive, as well and people having time to listen to it. 

J B: it’s hard to make that connection though I think, because actual artists have the blessing of, before lockdown, being able to go out and do shows and stuff like that and generate a fanbase. But we’ve had to do it all purely off of the music we’ve put out. 

TSU: I feel like lockdown’s been such a good time to hustle and really be able to hone in on what you want to do, and get creative while we’re all at home. 

Nath: Yeah, definitely! Everybody’s got time to do things. I think why we fell into music. We’ve wanted to do it for ages, but now we’ve had the time to do it. We’ve been able to make it a priority whereas it wasn’t a priority in standard life before. And I think the way everyone’s approached the lockdown is going to change everything after. 

J B: It forces you to do things your passionate about because all the other bullshit just doesn’t matter anymore.

Nath: Exactly; it just puts everything into perspective. 

With so much missing for artists at the moment, with live events and tours all currently suspended; we looked to the future, and J B and Nath’s plans for when tours and concerts are finally able to resume, which included some exciting plans for vibrant concerts and unexpected cheese festivals. 

TSU: It must be quite hard and frustrating to be missing out on things like touring, being able to meet fans, and engaging with them in a human way.

Nath: Yeah, I’d love to do a show. We nearly got a show booked but that fell through with everything that’s going on. 

J B: It would have been cancelled anyway I suppose!

Nath: Yeah! I still can’t wait to do one though. The first opportunity we get; just get crazy drunk and get up there and start cutting some shapes!

TSU: Haha yeah! I think everyone’s already got massive plans for the first show back and are definitely going to be going all out.

Nath: I miss music festivals and the chance to see a range of artists!

TSU: Are there any festivals you were planning on going to, or you would love to play?

Nath: Oh there’s loads I’d love to play at. I hadn’t really been planning on going to any because summer’s been shutdown. I would have probably gone to Reading and Leeds this year and seen a few bands. For me and JB both, there are festivals we dream of doing and want to do, but we’d be happy doing anything at the moment. 

J B: Any opportunity; it could be South End Cheese festival and I’d do it, haha! 

Nath: That’s what we’ll look to do after lockdown is a cheese festival.

J B: 100%. As long as they give you a free complimentary cheese board, that’s it I’m in!

Delving further into their music and artistry; J B and Nath also gave us a deeper insight into their creative processes and how they’ve been able to stay inspired and creative over the past year.

J B: it is a struggle to find that inspiration, especially when you’re in the same four walls all the time, there’s only so many places your mind can go. 

Nath: And when you’re trying to be creative, you’ve got to bounce ideas off of other people and their ideas. I feel like I’ve honestly been more creative than ever during this lockdown simply because I’ve had the time to sit there. I do things quite independently most of the time anyway, so I can sit down at a desk and think “now I’m going to write some lyrics to this track”. But me and J B got together when we could for a few sessions, and we were able to write stuff down bouncing off each other and there was definitely a fluidity to it which was really nice. So I can definitely understand how people are struggling creatively just being cooped up at home because you do need other people around you and other ideas and other stimulus. 

TSU: How have you found it as well with everything being done online and via zoom, and things like recording sessions being few and far between? How has that influenced your creative process?

J B: it’s the new normal in the pandemic isn’t it, it’s the new everyday.

Nath: Also, because me and J B are brand new artists, we’ve never actually been to a professional studio. So what we’ve done is we end up going round to J B’s and we’ve turned his mom’s office into a recording studio; so that’s all we had and that’s all we really know. If we went into a professional studio now, we’d be a bit bewildered. I’m quite prideful of that as well that we’ve managed to produce the project that we have with the limited recourses that we have. It’s a huge learning curve having to do it all on your own. 

And on that note, we got onto the topic of their debut EP Greenhouse Romantics, released at the end of last year, and spoke a bit more about the incredible project. Consisting of 6 tracks, including their debut single Modern Day Fairy Tale, the EP is the perfect introduction to the pair’s sound; with each song drawing upon different and individual sonic influences and elements, yet coming together as a vibrant and cohesive project. 

TSU: What was the inspiration behind Greenhouse Romantics, and were there any particular goals you had going into it in terms of the type of music you wanted to put out, or what you wanted listeners to get out of the EP?

J B: I don’t think we had that, I think we were just having fun creating the songs and each one was getting better and better and it just burst into the whole project. 

Nath: We originally came together to create a couple of tracks as a soundtrack for a short film, that myself and a mutual friend of ours were writing. When the film couldn’t happen, we were enjoying doing music so we just carried on rolling with it and carried on doing more and more. And then the more we were doing it, the more serious we got about it; and we started thinking about what sound we wanted to create, what’s the niche that hasn’t been exposed in our area. We started off doing a bit more generic rap and stuff like that. 

J B: Then it took that indie turn, that Dominic Fike kind of turn. 

Nath: Yeah, we did some stuff that was a bit more indie-rock which was fun. Then we went into the jazz-rap, chill-rap sort of thing. I think we’re still definitely experimenting with sounds, for the next lot of stuff we put out we’ll just carry on doing that. 

J B: At least we’ve tested the waters, we know what works for us, what sort of style is good for us and what people like. 

Nath: And In terms of goals, we didn’t really have any goals. We started to develop goals subconsciously as we were working on the tracks we were making and they were getting better and better. I think it’s really benefited us going in with an open mind because we haven’t been expecting anything, we’ve just been absolutely gassed by any good response that comes through. 

TSU: So are you guys currently working on any future projects, or are you just experimenting and figuring out your sound at the moment?

J B: We’re still experimenting with our sound but yeah, we have a couple of bits that we’re working on.

Nath: I think what we’re going to do for this next stage is release some singles, get three or four tracks together first, work on them over a period of time and then decide which ones we want to release and give them a bit more time to be worked on. Try and sort out collaborations with different artists as well. 

In addition to the release of their debut single and EP – Modern Day Fairy Tale and Greenhouse Romantics, they also delivered a stunning new music video for the single to accompany the track. Delivering Cinderella vibes, the visuals are a perfect depiction of the concept and theme behind the song and a classic modern day fairy tale. 

TSU: What was that whole creative process like, and actually filming the video and coming up with the concept?

J B: It was so fun to be honest. We’ve never done anything like it before so to see the track come to life visually was so much fun, and it was so much fun to film.

Nath: That was actually during the lockdown. In Essex where we’re from about 80% of Essex went into lockdown which meant the maximum of six people couldn’t meet up. But there were a couple of areas in Essex that you could still meet up with six people, and luckily we booked an Air B&B in one of those areas and we were able to go over there and film. The music video was a lot of fun, credit to Jack Miller, the cinematographer and director on the video. 

And of course, we also got chatting about the what’s next, as we dove into discussing future collaborations and what 2021 holds for the pair.

TSU: Are there any artists or creatives who you would love to collaborate or work with?

Nath: 100%. So many, and from so many different fields of media as well. For our next singles I’d like to get some people to do the artwork for example. We’ve sort of got a plan of people we want to work with over the next year. What we’re hoping for is just more opportunities. That doesn’t just mean musically; it’s stuff like this, like interviews with other creatives, like journalists, costume designers, anything really. 

J B: I mean if they can help us build up this thing we’ve already got started and adding their creative input into it; any help from local collaborators, we just love it!

Nath: Local is a big focus for us as well. We like getting together with local artists and local creators, influencers and stuff like that.

TSU: That sounds amazing, it will be really cool to see some collaborations in the future! Do you guys have any plans for 2021 as of yet?

Nath: In my bedroom I have a board and I wrote down eight, a rough eight to twelve songs I want to get out this year I’d say. What do you reckon J B?

J B: Yeah definitely! As many as we can really. Obviously we’re working on a few right now but you never know how things will look for us at the end of this year. 

Nath: 100K all time streams this year, that’s what I’m going for on Spotify for sure. I want to learn guitar properly this year as well, something I’ve started doing from the break of new year. I’d like to advance myself on a few instruments as well, learn a bit of piano, a bit of drumming, a bit of producing. Just advancing our artistry and where we’re at. 

With exciting things ahead, we can’t to see what J B and Nath have in store for us next. To keep up with the pair, and their musical journey and latest releases; find them both on their socials: 

Edited for length and clarity.

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