Silence Is Loud

Silence Is Loud

“It’s quite a strange album,” Nia Archives tells Apple Music about her debut, Silence Is Loud. The award-winning artist, producer, and DJ—credited with spearheading a mainstream revival of jungle music—is the first to acknowledge that the sonic landscape of the album is an eclectic departure from her early sound. While elements of the production will be familiar to fans of Archives—including jungle pioneer Goldie and global superstar Beyoncé—Silence Is Loud rings with Britpop, Motown, and alternative rock influences, resulting in a wholly original listening experience that exposes the unconventional edge to her artistry. Co-produced with rising talent Ethan P. Flynn, whose credits include FKA twigs and slowthai, the record is beholden to the late-’90s/early-2000s era of organic, experimental pop dominated by William Orbit—albeit charged with the frenetic energy of drum patterns still firmly rooted in jungle. While tracks like “Cards on the Table,” “Crowded Roomz,” and “F.A.M.I.L.Y” see Archives explore recurring themes of loneliness, self-acceptance, parental estrangement, and love—both unconditional and unrequited—with her characteristic lyrical candor, Silence Is Loud leaves fewer places for the intensity of her words to hide behind. This reality is most clearly evidenced on the reprise of the title track, which strips away her typical percussive camouflage. “Jungle is so chaotic and intense that nobody really pays attention to the lyrics that much,” says Archives. “The drums take up a lot of space in the music—they’re like the heart, and when you take that away, it’s like the brain. Which is a bit much sometimes.” For all the risk Archives has taken in releasing a body of work that resists the urge to chase trends in favor of presenting a true reflection of her own journey, Silence Is Loud succeeds in alchemizing its disparate parts into audio gold. “I played in a pub in London the other day and the people were singing along so loudly it made me think this isn’t just a viral-TikTok-moment album. It’s an album that people have to listen to, and then listen to again to take it in…[because] it’s something weird and new,” she says. “But I think I’ve got good taste in music, so that gives me a little bit of confidence in myself.” Read on to find out more about each track in Archives’ own words. “Silence Is Loud” “I wrote this song about my little brother, who is my little baby. He’s getting older and our relationship has changed so much. He’s changed so much, I’ve changed so much. I wanted to write about how I love him no matter what, and that is what unconditional love is to me. There’s no ifs or buts, it’s just pure love. I wrote it in bed and then I took it to Ethan. It’s the first song we made together. One of my favorite albums is Aha Shake Heartbreak by Kings of Leon, I’m so inspired by the Lo-fi [sound] in their music. I really wanted a Kings of Leon-meets-Radiohead moment because In Rainbows is also one of my favorite albums.” “Cards on the Table” “I wanted to make a really hardcore Britpop jungle tune. It’s quite stripped-back breaks. I was hugely inspired by Blur, Pulp, Oasis, all that kind of vibe. I love Damon Albarn. If there’s anyone I would love to listen to the album, it would probably be him. Again, I wrote this in bed—I had a bit of a situationship with an Irish boy I met after a show in Dublin last year, so it’s a real story and my first time writing a song like this. I don’t really write love songs, but I was trying to have a bit of a Natasha Bedingfield moment. I’ve really tried to think of all the best songwriters to come out of the UK and focused on studying a lot of people. This was the first time I wrote a song and I felt like it was a ‘proper’ song.” “Unfinished Business” “This is the only song I’m worried about having to sing live because I’d just come back from a festival and I’d lost my voice, which is why it sounds so hoarse and rock ’n’ roll—I don’t know if I can re-sing it like that. I wrote it about realizing that everybody else has their own life before they’ve met you. Before you even say hello, they’ve already had so many experiences that have shaped them as a person. That’s actually quite positive. The production is quite four-four because I’ve been making loads of four-four music recently. And I also really wanted to make a Foo Fighters-inspired jungle tune because I loved the Foo Fighters when I was 14.” “Crowded Roomz” “We made this in the studio and it was a bit overwhelming. I was talking about loneliness—chronic loneliness. I feel like a lot of people my age experience loneliness. For me, with what I do—where it’s really high or low—it’s so heightened and you experience that a little bit more. And it was like, ‘Oh my god, this is actually a bit much, I can’t listen,’ because we listen to the same song on loop for four hours and it’s an intense one to listen to over and over again. The next day, we were like, ‘Oh, this is actually really good.’ I’ve been playing this one out and everyone screams the words, so I’m hoping that will be the vibe across the album. More of my sets have turned from hardcore jungle to a pop concert, which is cool.” “Forbidden Feelingz” “I feel like there’ll be a lot of people discovering me [through this new sound] and I really want them to hear where I’ve come from and how I got to this point. This is a nice moment for a switch-up, to be like, ‘I do this as well and, if you want, you can go back and discover all that stuff.’ I can never recreate this song, it’s one of my favorite songs I’ve ever made, so I didn’t want it to not be a part of an album that will hopefully shape the next few years of my life.” “Blind Devotion” “This is the longest project I’ve made in my life. I’m usually a 20-minute person, max. Towards the end I was like, ‘Oh my god, for an album to be an album it has to be 35 minutes, I need three [more] minutes to complete this thing, let’s make one more song.’ It’s one of the only new songs with the ‘old me’ sound, where it’s really clubby. We were going for that Massive Attack kind of vibe. We made this one at my studio and mine’s not got a lot of equipment. I try not to spend money on too much stuff. I’ve got 10 plug-ins, which is really weird as a producer, but I’d rather be the master of what I’ve got than have everything and not know how to use any of it. As a creative, you want a challenge and to feel like, ‘I’ve only got this, how do I make it sound interesting?’” “Tell Me What It’s Like?” “I said to Ethan that I wanted to make a song a bit like The Cranberries. The middle section, which is so happy, comes from another beat—the only song that didn’t make it on to the album. The rest of the song is quite dark and it was Ethan’s idea to put the two together. It’s about unrequited love, but not necessarily in a relationship sense, more related to my own life, but I guess people will take it however they want to take it. When I wrote it, I was inspired by Natalie Imbruglia’s kind of vibe. I sampled this voice note that Goldie sent me, because he sends me voice notes every week. He’s been a great listening ear and a real supporter. He’s someone I’m so inspired by and look up to—not just as a musician but as a person. He was quite gassed about it when I sent it to him.” “Nightmares” “I had my heart broken in Tokyo, which is hilarious and random. It’s like something out of a film. I came back from Asia and I was really sad, and the only way I can process my emotions is by making music. I wrote this song at home and then Ethan’s label let us use their spare studio, and he brought his guitar. I’d been listening to loads of Fleetwood Mac to get over my upset and I wanted to make something with that vibe. I thought ‘Nightmares don’t just happen when you’re sleeping’ was quite a funny play on words because what was happening felt like a real-life nightmare, which is so dramatic. This is the only song I kind of regret. I’ve never been really mean on a song in my life and the person I wrote about hasn’t heard it. I hope they don’t hate me because we’re kind of friends again now. But it’s a good song, so what can you do?” “F.A.M.I.L.Y” “I wrote this about my personal experience and my relationship with my family. This song is the end of that era, for me. I’m 25 this year, I feel like there’s only so many times you can be so caught up in things that cause you stress or upset you, so I really just wanted to say my piece and that’s it. There’s a little bit of acceptance within the song, understanding this is just the way things are and that’s OK, I guess. It was quite therapeutic. We recorded it in Ethan’s flat with me screaming and Ethan’s friend Felix [Stephens] playing the viola. My main inspiration was Estelle, ‘1980.’ There’s just a feeling I get when I listen to that song…I don’t know how to explain it. Even the video, where she’s sat on the stairs. It’s just a whole vibe I really wanted to capture with this song. It’s quite theatrical and I feel like the production reflects the drama.” “Out of Options” “I’d just been to the Motown Museum in Detroit for the first time and it was amazing. I love Motown. All the productions they made, just with what they had in those times, is actually crazy. It was such a booming Black industry that I’ve always been so inspired by. And I love The Ronettes, one of my favorite girl groups of all time. So I was really intensely listening to that kind of music and wanted to explore that sound. It was the only song I wrote on the spot and didn’t really have much that I wanted to say, but it was really fun recording how they would have recorded—standing in different spots in the room to create that big sound.” “Silence Is Loud (Reprise)” “Ethan suggested we do a reprise and I was kind of like, ‘Oh, I don’t know about that. Feels a little bit weird.’ But I trusted his gut. This was the only song we didn’t make in the UK. I was in L.A. on tour, and I hate making music in L.A., but we were at Sound Factory and we had all kinds of equipment and he was really having fun with the sound design. Throughout this album, I wanted to have loads of voice notes and anecdotes from people who mean something to me. So the voice talking at the start is my brother. In the middle, it’s loads of different voice notes from my friends, my friends’ parents who have become a really big part of my life, and my manager Tom, who’s my best friend. At the end is a sample of a video of all my friends from my birthday dinner. It’s quite emotional actually.” “Killjoy !” “I had a really nasty interaction with somebody who was quite close to me and this was me expressing that. It was the first time I was trying to think about how to make the words interesting and I love the way I wrote it. I made it at home and took it to Ethan, and what he brought to it was so cool—Massive Attack vibes with a bit of old-school IDM and jungle.” “So Tell Me…” “Another moment from a previous project. If I didn’t make [2023 EP] Sunrise Bang Ur Head Against Tha Wall, this song would have been on the album anyway—it felt like a good end.”

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