GET TO KNOW LAVA LA RUE
We’ve been eyeing up Lava La Rue for a while, loving their future-forward perspective, genderless style and listening to their music on loop, so Lavaland really is a collab of dreams for us at Oaf HQ. And each style in the collection really speaks to Lava’s energy and spirit, which we feel matches our own. Though this is hardly surprising when we share a lot of the same values and influences: community, creativity, Y2K nostalgia and taking a DIY approach to everything.
So yeah, we’re really into Lava, and we think you will be too. Read as we catch up with them on their brand new single, musical influences, and the inspiration behind the collection.
Alexa, play “Vest & Boxers,” and let’s meet Lava.
Hey Lava, wanna give us an intro?
Hello, my name is Lava La Rue, and I am a visual artist and musician based in West London.
How would you describe your music?
It’s a very hard question because I always set out when I’m in the studio to try and make music that’s a bit of a fusion of the indescribable, so when I get asked to describe my music I find it hard. But it has been described previously by other people as psychedelic RnB, or alternative neo-soul.
Tell us about your ~brand new~ single?
By complete coincidence my next single is called ‘Vest & Boxers’, and it came about around the same time as we started working on the Lazy Oaf collection. It’s about getting into a fluttering queer/lesbian romance, and a key staple for me when I go to a gay bar is that I always wear my vest underneath. You’ve got to wear that sort of tank top vest and some baggy jeans with your boxers line showing. That’s how I’m like, “Ok, so you know.” It was a kind of a signal. So there’s a line in the song where I’m like “yeah, I’m in my vest and boxers, let me be your hubby.” It’s really cute. The video is really cute, and the cover art features the collection in it. It’s really just a fun little, indie britpop-y, mixed with alternative west london hip hop…all formed into one really catchy song. I had so much fun making it and it’s so nice to put out a song where I really enjoyed the whole process.
Who are your biggest musical influences?
I’d say Bahamadia, Bjork, and Erykah Badu. The three big Bs. I also really like Prince, and the way Prince presents himself. I have a Prince tattoo with the gender symbol, because I feel like if people ask “what do you identify as?” I’m like, “Prince.” I’m really influenced by Joan Jett, who used to be a part of the Runaways. Also grew up listening to a lot of Sade. Loads of different influences, musically.
Tell us about Lavaland:
Lavaland is just all the things that happen in my brain, manifested into a big immersive, creative world. The difference between Lava La Rue and Lavaland is that Lavaland is the clothes I wear, the parties I go to, the culture I’m around, whereas Lava La Rue is specifically the musician. Making Lavaland as a concept and working with Lazy Oaf to bring these ideas and these clothes that I wear to life is amazing. I’ve been able to manifest this energy of places I’ve been to and specific moments I’ve had and put that into actual garments. And you can wear it and look through the zine and you can hear it and you can smell it. I wanted it to be like a full environment. That’s my vision for Lavaland.
What inspiration did you draw from in this collection with Lazy Oaf?
The Lazy Oaf x Lava La Rue collection draws upon different periods in my life and different influences. When I was 18/19 I lived in Japan for a bit, and I had my own community and collective there with locals, who - because I was kind of on the cusp of adulthood - really taught me different ways to operate in my style, and my designs and my craft really. It was a huge part of the beginning of Lava La Rue. When I came back to West London I found this fusion between my West London style and my collective NiNE8, and the things I’d learnt from my Tokyo family. I wanted something that felt like a combination of my heritage and those styles that grew to become staple points in my own personal fashion. The purpose of the collection was to combine those together, but also make something that was very genderfluid because I’m a very genderfluid person. But also something very cosy, something that would work whether we’re about to go into another lockdown or whether we’re going to go partying. I can wear this to the rave and I can wear this binge watching a series at home. That’s the purpose. All of it is really cosy - for me it’s really important to have clothes that embody that, because as someone who identifies across the spectrum, it’s really nice to feel represented in those garments that are something that I can wear and my brothers can wear and my friends can wear. That was a huge purpose in the functionality.
Do you have a favourite piece?
My favourite piece right now is the one I’m wearing - the hockey jersey. But that’s probably just because I’m wearing it right now and I’m looking at it like, “yep, this is my favourite.” But then every time I put on a new item from the collection I’m like “this is my favourite one!” To be fair, I did sort of come up with them. So it’s like asking which child is your favourite. Do you know what I mean?
Tell us about the thought process behind the design of the hockey jersey:
I do really love the hockey jersey because it is quite literally my heritage. One side is my Jamaican colours, the other side is growing up in Britain. That’s the concept behind it. That’s the thing with being mixed race, is when it comes to matches or the World Cup, people are like “Oh yeah, what team are you going to support?!” And I’m glad to finally have a flag that represents both of them for me.