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Natty Wylah

Musician — London

Name, where are you from?
Natty Wylah, NW5, Gospel Oak, Queens, Kentish.

Describe your style in three words?
Probably matching socks.

What’s the best gig you’ve ever been to?
So hard to remember/choose one, but I saw Sun Ra’s Arkestra at Band On The Wall in Manchester about 4 years back and it was a journey, man like Marshall Allen, age 90 something, blowing some mad flute synthesiser with the whole band all looking extraterrestrial, fly, silk-suited and sending us skyward with the vibes. Plus, after the show, I remember burning one, undercover from the Mancunian hail with the trombonist Dave Davis!

If you could be on the line up with any two artists in history?
ESG - gritty, raw, stripped-back sisterhood energy from the Bronx to make you MOVE. Celestine Ukwu - Earthy serenity, with wailing guitar-bends and just generally blissful, spiritual sonics. With ESG bringing the rough, Celestine would most certainly be the smooth.

Which subcultures have influenced you?
Growing up with non-conformative parents helped trickle some seeds into a young Natty - Mama was a painter on her punk-ish: boasting her attendance at that infamous Sex Pistols gig at The 100 Club, I remember her spinning the sweet sounds of Coltrane wetting the morning air. Then followed by my pop’s avid Upsetter admiration, early reggae and rocksteady really warmed the tones of my younger days and to this day those seeds planted back then have propagated to the point where I’m now digging out tunes even my Dad hasn’t heard! That period of time on the island of Jamaica holds a lot of allure for me, and Lee Perry’s uniqueness in particular. Prince Buster’s 'Judge Dread' (to which Lee can be heard as the voice Emmanuel Zachariah Zacchepon) condemning the Rude Boy hooliganism rife in Jamaica in the '60s onwards, definitely has parallels to today. However, wise beyond time, Perry can be heard defending the Rude Boy in 'Set Them Free' –outlining the issue being one of the system's failures: "Can’t get a job, they have been forced to rob… A hungry man is an angry one… That robbery was from creation, for it was robbery that befall the black nation… Who stole the gold? Your Honour, could you answer me that question?" Seeing the wider picture, a vision evermore needed today. But nah, the above subcultures have been massively influential to me, through my folks, through the Windrush bringing the musical fusions that had hailed from a history of African drum come American soul. The DIY nature of Punk, the '90s jungle rave days, through to the UKG Sundays, that through the urgency of hip-hop and the spoken word, with traditions taken from sound-system culture, grime was born. This being a clearly tangible and imperative musical movement my generation has lived through and the evolution continues as we speak.

If you could spend an hour with anyone from history?
Bruce Lee. Iconic for people of colour, specifically for yellow people like myself - he shattered the stereotypical image portrayed by the ignorant. He defied the rigid, like water. His style, was no style.

Of all the venues you’ve been to or played, which is your favourite?
The Total Refreshment centre holds a special place for me, floating around Shambala festival I met a wonderful lady who was adamant I went, I pencilled in The Seed Ensemble and a date in my notebook. As with the nature of festivals, the memory seemed like a million miles away once I had returned back to London with a deathly headache and a million unattended responsibilities, but none the less the date came round and I made it to the spot. On entry, the feeling of the place was properly bohemian but not too flowery, a great balance of realness and magic. The space holds a lot of history and it’s closure (bun the council) has come to represent a greater issue of our creative communities lacking the buildings in which to unite. This is elaborated in Emma Warren’s 'Make Some Space: Tuning into the Total Refreshment Centre' where she explores the history of the building itself and the culture that it went on to become the home of. My people’s at Root 73 have a studio space on the upper floor which continues to operate as rehearsal space and studios, so the fire is most certainly still a-flame!

Your greatest unsung hero or heroine in music?
Junior Byles AKA Chubby! A visionary and unsung hero of mine. His baritone voice so unique with a message that still turns to be heard.


Watch exclusive panel talk on ‘Music & Identity’ featuring Natty Wylah from All Our Tomorrows Festival 2020. Find out more here.

For more about Natty, visit linktr.ee/nattywylah.

The first track you played on repeat?
'Many Men' by 50 Cent. I remember rapping the lyrics to Rakeem at community centre one Summer claiming they were my lyrics haha! ‘He got hit like I got hit but he ain’t fucking breathing!’

A song that defines the teenage you?
'Weed' by Jehst.

One record you would keep forever?
'My Conversation' by Slim Smith 7". I played this out to see the eternal image of my mate Harry grinning ear to ear with a spliff in his mits.

A song lyric that has inspired you?
"Every man, every woman, every boy, every girl. In this world, now… to do good, I wish you would… try to do good."

From 'It Pays' by Desmond Dekker. So very simple, sung with a severing force. And tight Desmond and his gyrating hips LOL.

The song that would get you straight on the dance floor?
'Hey Girl' by Ear Dis - could dance to this one endlessly…

Best song to turn up loud?
'Damaged Goods' by Gang of Four (the EP version). Dirty and gritty.

A song people wouldn’t expect you to like?
'It’s Not Unusual' by Tom Jones - I mean I dunno - it’s a banger really.

Best song to end an all-nighter on?
'The Whistle Song' by Frankie Knuckles.

Any new music you are listening to right now?
'Pheobs - Come with the ragga (SE MIX)' by Maxwell Owin. Maxwell is a visionary no less.
'Euclyptus' by Jkarri, Natty Wylah. Hardest, youngest older - many big bombs in the artillery you just wait till they surface!
'Lowlife' by Joseph Efi. The greeziest blend of all your favourite styles yet unique and pure!

Name, where are you from?
Natty Wylah, NW5, Gospel Oak, Queens, Kentish.

Describe your style in three words?
Probably matching socks.

What’s the best gig you’ve ever been to?
So hard to remember/choose one, but I saw Sun Ra’s Arkestra at Band On The Wall in Manchester about 4 years back and it was a journey, man like Marshall Allen, age 90 something, blowing some mad flute synthesiser with the whole band all looking extraterrestrial, fly, silk-suited and sending us skyward with the vibes. Plus, after the show, I remember burning one, undercover from the Mancunian hail with the trombonist Dave Davis!

If you could be on the line up with any two artists in history?
ESG - gritty, raw, stripped-back sisterhood energy from the Bronx to make you MOVE. Celestine Ukwu - Earthy serenity, with wailing guitar-bends and just generally blissful, spiritual sonics. With ESG bringing the rough, Celestine would most certainly be the smooth.

Which subcultures have influenced you?
Growing up with non-conformative parents helped trickle some seeds into a young Natty - Mama was a painter on her punk-ish: boasting her attendance at that infamous Sex Pistols gig at The 100 Club, I remember her spinning the sweet sounds of Coltrane wetting the morning air. Then followed by my pop’s avid Upsetter admiration, early reggae and rocksteady really warmed the tones of my younger days and to this day those seeds planted back then have propagated to the point where I’m now digging out tunes even my Dad hasn’t heard! That period of time on the island of Jamaica holds a lot of allure for me, and Lee Perry’s uniqueness in particular. Prince Buster’s 'Judge Dread' (to which Lee can be heard as the voice Emmanuel Zachariah Zacchepon) condemning the Rude Boy hooliganism rife in Jamaica in the '60s onwards, definitely has parallels to today. However, wise beyond time, Perry can be heard defending the Rude Boy in 'Set Them Free' –outlining the issue being one of the system's failures: "Can’t get a job, they have been forced to rob… A hungry man is an angry one… That robbery was from creation, for it was robbery that befall the black nation… Who stole the gold? Your Honour, could you answer me that question?" Seeing the wider picture, a vision evermore needed today. But nah, the above subcultures have been massively influential to me, through my folks, through the Windrush bringing the musical fusions that had hailed from a history of African drum come American soul. The DIY nature of Punk, the '90s jungle rave days, through to the UKG Sundays, that through the urgency of hip-hop and the spoken word, with traditions taken from sound-system culture, grime was born. This being a clearly tangible and imperative musical movement my generation has lived through and the evolution continues as we speak.

If you could spend an hour with anyone from history?
Bruce Lee. Iconic for people of colour, specifically for yellow people like myself - he shattered the stereotypical image portrayed by the ignorant. He defied the rigid, like water. His style, was no style.

Of all the venues you’ve been to or played, which is your favourite?
The Total Refreshment centre holds a special place for me, floating around Shambala festival I met a wonderful lady who was adamant I went, I pencilled in The Seed Ensemble and a date in my notebook. As with the nature of festivals, the memory seemed like a million miles away once I had returned back to London with a deathly headache and a million unattended responsibilities, but none the less the date came round and I made it to the spot. On entry, the feeling of the place was properly bohemian but not too flowery, a great balance of realness and magic. The space holds a lot of history and it’s closure (bun the council) has come to represent a greater issue of our creative communities lacking the buildings in which to unite. This is elaborated in Emma Warren’s 'Make Some Space: Tuning into the Total Refreshment Centre' where she explores the history of the building itself and the culture that it went on to become the home of. My people’s at Root 73 have a studio space on the upper floor which continues to operate as rehearsal space and studios, so the fire is most certainly still a-flame!

Your greatest unsung hero or heroine in music?
Junior Byles AKA Chubby! A visionary and unsung hero of mine. His baritone voice so unique with a message that still turns to be heard.


Watch exclusive panel talk on ‘Music & Identity’ featuring Natty Wylah from All Our Tomorrows Festival 2020. Find out more here.

For more about Natty, visit linktr.ee/nattywylah.

The first track you played on repeat?
'Many Men' by 50 Cent. I remember rapping the lyrics to Rakeem at community centre one Summer claiming they were my lyrics haha! ‘He got hit like I got hit but he ain’t fucking breathing!’

A song that defines the teenage you?
'Weed' by Jehst.

One record you would keep forever?
'My Conversation' by Slim Smith 7". I played this out to see the eternal image of my mate Harry grinning ear to ear with a spliff in his mits.

A song lyric that has inspired you?
"Every man, every woman, every boy, every girl. In this world, now… to do good, I wish you would… try to do good."

From 'It Pays' by Desmond Dekker. So very simple, sung with a severing force. And tight Desmond and his gyrating hips LOL.

The song that would get you straight on the dance floor?
'Hey Girl' by Ear Dis - could dance to this one endlessly…

Best song to turn up loud?
'Damaged Goods' by Gang of Four (the EP version). Dirty and gritty.

A song people wouldn’t expect you to like?
'It’s Not Unusual' by Tom Jones - I mean I dunno - it’s a banger really.

Best song to end an all-nighter on?
'The Whistle Song' by Frankie Knuckles.

Any new music you are listening to right now?
'Pheobs - Come with the ragga (SE MIX)' by Maxwell Owin. Maxwell is a visionary no less.
'Euclyptus' by Jkarri, Natty Wylah. Hardest, youngest older - many big bombs in the artillery you just wait till they surface!
'Lowlife' by Joseph Efi. The greeziest blend of all your favourite styles yet unique and pure!

Natty Wylah | BRUCE (2021)

Natty Wylah | Yestermoons (Joseph Efi Remix) (2020)