INTERVIEW | INTRODUCING MVNGO X LASHES (@MODUPEADEYEYE X @EMMAMALYSZCZUK)

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Before the uni­verse brought them togeth­er, Mvn­go X Lashes indi­vidu­ally both lived and breathed music from a very young age. This East Lon­don duo met in col­lege six years ago, and it was then that their solo music dreams became a joint one. They spent all their even­ings after col­lege rehears­ing songs togeth­er. They would song-write and rehearse each pro­ject to per­fec­tion, until it was at a level that they could present it to an audi­ence. The moment they were given an oppor­tun­ity to be on stage, they blew every­one away, and it was at that moment that they prom­ised each oth­er to ded­ic­ate their careers to music.

These soul­ful, hip-hop and R&B influ­enced ladies have a lot to offer the music industry with their unique, ‘old skool meets new skool’ sound, and they’re com­pletely ded­ic­ated to work smart and hard until they reach the top. They believe in music that teaches people some­thing, and music that people can vibe to, and their biggest goal is to spread these mes­sages togeth­er, all over the world. So far, the girls packed out a head­line show in 2016, as well as being recog­nised by BBC Intro­du­cing as Artists to watch.

As they gear up to play at the Round­house Rising fest­ival, we catch up with them to find out more! 

You’ve kicked off 2018 in a huge way – you recently were fea­tured in the BBC’s Music Intro­du­cing show­case (the one at Haver­ing Col­lege). Let’s start from the top: tell us about your music and your sound!

Mvn­go:

A lot of the songs we write are very heart­felt, reflect­ing on real life situ­ations and its nor­mally situ­ations to do with myself or people around me. I find as a song­writer, nat­ur­ally I’m very obser­v­ant which sub­con­sciously comes into my writ­ing. Our sound is very R&B soul with a hint of old school because we’re inspired by the likes of Lauryn Hill, 2Pac, Big­gie etc we’re inspired by old school music and artists and music, which played a major role in my life and in my youth grow­ing up.

Lashes:

Haver­ing was really good and a nice exper­i­ence, all the stu­dents were super tal­en­ted and they have a lovely set up down there. Our sound is very dif­fer­ent – we’re on our own road doing our own thing, it’s vibrant, it’s heart­felt, it’s emo­tion­al and it’s real – def­in­itely real.

 Last year you released two EP’s, Soulu­tion and Dis­or­i­ent­ated. What was your approach to each of these pro­jects?

Mvn­go:

People don’t know who we are, so we thought it was very import­ant to give a piece of ourselves to the audi­ence with both EP’s. We wanted them to be some­thing for people to get to know us. I have def­in­itely struggled with shar­ing my vul­ner­ab­il­ity in the past, but as time goes by I find it very import­ant to express a piece myself in the music because that’s art, and this is all about art, and that is why we have these two EP’s. There are some things that I haven’t even sat down to speak with my friends about, that is now in my music, and I think that is very inter­est­ing because that shows how per­son­al it is.

Lashes:

We’ve got these tracks, they’re real, they’re authen­tic, they’re dif­fer­ent, they’re Mvn­go X Lashes, let’s get them out there, let’s intro­duce ourselves and let’s do it, let’s stop hold­ing back and let’s just get it!

Who are your main music­al influ­ences?

Mvn­go:  Main influ­ences are Aliyah, mis­sy Elli­ot, J Lo, Bey­on­ce, Destiny’s Child, Mary J Blidge, 2pac, Big­gie, Lauryn Hill, foxy brown – so much, but those are the main ones.

Lashes: I would say, Erykah badu, SWV, Flo­etry. All of these artists are people that speak the truth through their music, that’s what they all have in com­mon, and that’s what we have in com­mon with them. You can relate to what they’re speak­ing, and if you haven’t been through it, someone around you has. Most of the female artists that we’ve men­tioned are all influ­en­tial, hard work­ing strong women who when they want some­thing they go and get it. My Mum influ­enced me a lot with that also – just bob­bing along in the car with my mum, listen­ing to gar­age, rap­ping and singing along to all the tracks she used to play, know­ing all the words. Spice Girls, because whatever type of women you are out there, you could relate to at least one spice girl. I was scary spice – love scary spice haha they’re all influ­en­tial women going out there and chas­ing their dreams, so to me, they were super influ­en­tial grow­ing up. Also, influ­ences from the UK scene for me are Craig Dav­id and Miss Dynam­ite – they’re legends!

The lyr­ic­al con­tent in your songs is really pro­nounced. You sing and rap about provid­ing for your fam­ily, deal­ing with trust issues, and stay­ing pos­it­ive among­st oth­er things. Do you feel it’s import­ant to get a spe­cific mes­sage out with your music?

Mvn­go: It’s def­in­itely import­ant to get your mes­sage out there, I think the most import­ant thing for me is to tell your truth and be as authen­tic as pos­sible. Music is spir­itu­al and some­times there are things you’re going through and you might not want to talk about it but the beau­ty is there is someone else going through that and if you can speak up about it through music and someone else has been through some­thing sim­il­ar, you auto­mat­ic­ally relate and you think “oh my gosh, someone felt that, I felt it too”. It’s some­thing that can bring us closer togeth­er. As human beings, we all think we’re vastly dif­fer­ent from each oth­er or we think some­thing we’re exper­i­en­cing, nobody else has exper­i­enced but I find that the more people speak up about things, and situ­ations that have happened to them, there are more people out there that have been through sim­il­ar situ­ations, and it just shows us how sim­il­ar we are and brings us closer togeth­er. It’s a close­ness in human­ity I wish to achieve with our music.

Lashes: Def­in­itely get­ting your mes­sage out there, but most import­antly, tell the truth.

Mvn­go X Lashes are very inter­est­ing names! Is there a mean­ing behind them?

 Mvn­go: Funny story! My iden­tity that I had for music a few years ago was just stu­pid, the name that I had was Coco Darls, and when I was ques­tioned about the name, I didn’t know how to explain why the name meant any­thing to me or why it described me. It didn’t really have a mean­ing for me – Coco because I’m dark skinned, and darlin’ because, well, just because lol any­way, so one day I was walk­ing home and I was think­ing about a new name that would actu­ally mean some­thing to me. So I asked myself, if I had to be a fruit and fruits rep­res­en­ted per­son­al­it­ies, what fruit would I be? And Man­go came straight to my head, so I’m going to be called man­go (but replace the a with a v because I don’t want people to mis­take me for the cloth­ing brand lol). I remem­ber think­ing “Mvn­go is a nuts name”, but it works. And at the time, I used to eat man­gos so much, and I was like “how have I nev­er thought to call myself that before?”. I’ve got a per­son­al attach­ment to Mango’s. When I see one or eat one, I’m like “yeah, that’s my G”. lol.

Lashes: Haha it’s so funny we always get asked this ques­tion! People are so intrigued to know where these names came from – it’s def­fo our most asked ques­tion. I am Lashes because I used to do eye­lashes for my friends, and I con­stantly always wear them – I am a lashes queen. I love Lashes.

MVNGO&LASHES

You both have impress­ive act­ing and drama resumes. Mvn­go, you’ve appeared in East­Enders and Hollyoaks, and Lashes you’ve writ­ten and dir­ec­ted a You­Tube series. Are you involved in any oth­er cre­at­ive endeavors at the moment?

Mvn­go: Yes I’ve def­fo had a jour­ney. Apart from that, I’m doing music full time now, song­writ­ing, and I’ve star­ted to actu­ally release some solo pro­jects, so watch out for that!

Lashes: Act­ing, drama, love it with a pas­sion, I always have and always will. That’s where it all began for me, drama was some­thing that I clicked with when I was very young, I loved it and still do. I am prom­ising, that you’re going to see us act­ing with our music real soon, because we’re going to have videos for you soon – and we’re going to be act­ing in those videos.

 You’ve been work­ing with each oth­er since col­lege days. What’s the cre­at­ive pro­cess like between you? Does one per­son lead on the song­writ­ing or is it dual approach?

Mvn­go: The pro­cess is nor­mally me come up with a con­cept, or I’m already in a cre­at­ive mood, so I would have writ­ten a song and present it to Lash, and then we find a beat or a pro­du­cer and we jump on it. Or some­times I come up with a con­cept, and I write the chor­us and my verse and then lashes writes her own verse. But yeah, most of the time as far as cre­at­ive dir­ec­tion on a song, I’m nor­mally in charge of that.

 Tell us a bit about what we can expect from your per­form­ance at the Round­house Rising fest­ival?

Mvn­go: We’re such free spir­its. A lot of energy, emo­tion – it’d going to be a roller­coast­er. That’s it in a nut­shell.

Lashes: All I can really say for this one is, work is work, play is play, we don’t mix the two. We’re not play­ing, put it that way!

 What is on the hori­zon for 2018?

Mvn­go: This year we have some singles com­ing out this year that we’re really, really excited about. Very grown and mature sounds. As we’re get­ting older, I think we’re form­ing into a nice shape music­ally, and we’re excited for you guys to hear the new stuff.

Catch Mvn­go X Lashes at Round­house Rising on Wed­nes­day 28th Feb­ru­ary. For tick­ets and fur­ther details check out: www.roundhouse.org.uk

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Mark Mukasa

Mark Mukasa

Mark is a South Lon­don based writer and avid fan of all things hip hop. He’s also an MMA and his­tory enthu­si­ast who tries to keep his love of animé under wraps.

About Mark Mukasa

Mark Mukasa
Mark is a South London based writer and avid fan of all things hip hop. He's also an MMA and history enthusiast who tries to keep his love of anime under wraps.