11 years deep… Tommy and Jammo My Nu Leng have come out of the last few years with a rejuvenated outlook and perspective.
Kicking out of the lockdown gates last summer with an August takeover residency at Bristol’s iconic Thekla venue to celebrate their 10th year together as a duo, they’ve since spent the last year enhancing their lane. Not just with their releases, but developing a label concept and going deeper with their position of influence putting even more emphasis on encouraging a more diverse community of artists and peers while supporting artists they want to see flourish.
Wavelengths is the result. A label, monthly residency where the music is debuted and plenty more big plans; it kicked off this month with the full line up for July announcement including Redlight and Dani Whylie and the first release dropping on the same day – This Sound. The duo’s first release of the year, the Kaya and Dread MC-fronted release marks the start of a whole new wave of sounds that bring together every area of electronic music the duo have been known to explore from techno to drum & bass. We called them up to find out more.
Wavelengths… This is a whole new chapter for My Nu Leng, right?
Tommy: That’s the idea of it. We felt we’d been put in a box, which is kind of our own creation. We were getting typecast and we want to get away from that. So Wavelengths is freedom in that way. Doing what we want. Making our statement of who we are and what we do.
I’ve never typecast you guys. You’ve done D&B, bassline, breaks, house.
Tommy: We do. But that doesn’t translate to line-ups and bookings as much as we’d like. A lot of rooms people want bassline over and over.
Jammo: While we’ve been writing over the last three or four years we were trying to figure out what labels we should put our music on and it ended up with five or six different labels we could consider. So we thought our music is our music, we’ve got our own sound across different tempo’s and genre’s, why not put it all on one label and do a night to represent the different genres and sounds we like and provide a platform for other artists like us as well?
Yeah totally. Joining dots on the dancefloor. But how about your time away from the dancefloor. How did that impact how or what you were writing?
Tommy: It had a big impact. We wrote so much. We’ve got a folder of over 300 unfinished tunes. We were writing every genre. Half of them are 30 second ideas that might not go anywhere, others we’re really excited about. We were writing different genres every day. One day an ambient thing, the next some tear-out drum & bass tunes.
Freedom. You didn’t feel you have to write bangers for the weekend. Double edged sword there though isn’t it?
Jammo: Yeah we couldn’t test anything in the club that weekend and know where to tweak it. So we were sat on a year’s worth of music when we first came back and tried to play as much of it as we could to hear it through soundsystems and watch the reaction to it. That whole time was very challenging for all of us. There was this universal feeling we’d been left in the dark and it was a very tough time for us and all other DJs and producers we know.
Tommy: I did enjoy the creative process we found ourselves in though. We were writing for ourselves and writing what we wanted to hear. That was a unique situation and we tried to embrace that as much as we could and Wavelengths was born.
Totally! Another silver lining was that I saw a lot of artists helping and supporting each other.
Tommy: Yeah there was a sense of community and we did help each other out. You’d get random calls from someone you’d see in the club every week and that was nice. But it was hard. I didn’t see Jammo for a long time and we didn’t see Dread for years.
Speaking of Dread… It’s great to hear him with you on This Sound!
Jammo: We’ve been mates with him for such a long time and we’ve only actually done one other tune with him, Worldwide on Hospital a few years back. It’s great to have another track together that we can play and he can do the vocals on stage. We love him to bits and send things over to him with ideas quite often. We knew he’d work really well on this one with a couple of lines on the drop.
I associate him with you. Like the third member of My Nu Leng- this is only the second time you’ve done a tune?
Jammo: We’ve got some unfinished bits from years and years ago but just two that have been released now. There’ll be more though.
What Wavelengths are we catching next?
Jammo: We’ve got a year’s worth of music ready to roll, they’re out every 3rd Friday of each month digitally then on vinyl we’re doing every four releases in volumes. Pre-orders have already gone up for that alongside some tees and other bits. We’ve got masters back for Wavelengths 002 and 003. The next one is a house and techno number. So it’s different flavours each month. The third one is a D&B vibe. And alongside all of these that we’ll be running our Thekla residency with the line-ups reflecting the releases. Me and Tommy have curated artists we love and searched for exciting new talent.
Cool. Legendary venue right on your doorstep!
Tommy: It’s great. We did a residency there last year and it really opened our eyes to what you can do there. Last time it was weekly, which was pretty full on, so we’re spacing it out more this time. We put together some amazing line-ups though. The b2b with Eats Everything and Doc Scott was gold! This time we want to do even better and make the most exciting and diverse events as possible.
Jammo: Yeah it’s really important to use our platform to spread awareness of artists of all genders and styles and backgrounds and make sure who’s on stage is a reflection of everyone that makes up the dance music community. When we’re being booked for promotions we’re not involved in it’s hard to have your say on the line up, but with something we can do ourselves then we can make that a priority.
Yes! Tease us with your line-ups!
Jammo: The first one has Redlight playing with us, J.O.S.H.U.A live who is an amazing electronic producer from Brighton who has this amazing energy about him. He does this incredible live show where he makes the music on the spot. We got Alexisitry, she’s wicked, Dani Whylie we’ve wanted to share a line up with her for a long time. A for Alpha is taking over the top deck. Other headliners include Baby T in August, that’s B Traits’ alias. So sick electro techno type stuff.
Throughout the residency we are really trying to focus on inclusivity and diversity each month and expanding on that in September where we take a step back in to room 2 for the night, showcasing some amazing talent in the main room we love and can’t wait people to vibe out to! That’s an exciting experiment where we can use the Wavelengths spotlight to shine on other people going beyond just making sure the line ups are reflective of the community. Then in October we have Krust who will be playing for the drum & bass night and in November we’ve got Special Request with an exciting twist, which we’re really excited about.
Brilliant. This is a whole new masterplan! I like the idea of taking over the top deck and putting the spotlight on others. Like Wavelengths is bigger than My Nu Leng…
Jammo: Yeah we want it to be a club experience people want to attend whether we’re there or not. Just a quality night. As the label progresses we want to be able to support new music and artists we love too. But we’ve got a lot of music of our own we want to release first.
All 300 tunes!
Tommy: Ha. Yeah. We’re gonna empty the hard drive a bit.
What else can we say about Wavelengths?
Tommy: We just need to be more bold about things, I think, and experiment with the different types and styles of music we want to see in the world and not get bogged down with expectations and pigeonholes. If we really love it, then it’s probably got something to it that others will like too.
Jammo: Yeah and not get bogged down by numbers and constantly check how our music is doing and instead be more about releasing the music we enjoy ourselves. If it connects it connects, but at least we’re staying true to ourselves and our vision of the project. It’s a brand new project and early days. Over time we hope it turns into the monster we want it to become and become a new home for all our dancefloor stuff and stuff that can be listened to in other contexts and at home. We’re really loving exploring that sound and hopefully we’ll be able to reveal it.
Love it. Is that your dog on the cover, Tommy?
Tommy: It is!
Jammo: And the next release is mine. There’s a big dog theme going on. The third release has got the artist’s dog on the cover too.
My Nu Leng Feat Kaya & Dread MC – This Sound is out now on Wavelengths