Around 2016, London’s Neverland Clan were the talk of the town, attracting the attention of Skepta and Virgil Abloh while drawing comparisons to icons with their irreverent music, art, and fashion — according to multiple sources, they would be the next collective to blow up.But despite the occasional music release and successful solo projects, Neverland Clan have been quiet since the initial spate of hype and truth be told, we wondered if Neverland Clan had disbanded. We couldn’t have been more wrong. All great artists know there’s time for talking and there’s time for putting your head down and doing the work. Turns out, over the last two years, Neverland Clan have been patiently doing the latter. Whether in the music studio or design studio, core crew members Ryan Hawaii, Daniel Triple OG, and Omelet have been in training and crafting mode, perfecting their skill sets and readying themselves for the next wave. Daniel Triple OG has even named his upcoming music project Preseason as a reflection of the heavy lifting he’s been doing in preparation for what’s to come. Neverland Clan doesn’t have a label telling them what to do next or imposing unwanted deadlines on their work. Instead, they encourage and motivate one another, constantly inspired by one another’s tireless output. “When I see these two doing stuff, it’s motivation. That’s why I go into hiding ‘cause I’m just like ‘let me just work,’” explains Omelet. Like New Balance, Neverland Clan represents family, related not by blood but shared passions and goals. They find solidarity in their vision but encourage fearless independence. To celebrate the release of New Balance’s 997 Sport, we visited Neverland Clan at one of their South London studio spaces to capture them in their natural habitat and discuss what they’ve been quietly working on.
“I do what I love. I know I do what I love. I love music.”– Daniel Triple OG
“I create a new way of seeing the world and a new era of art.”– Ryan Hawaii
“I make music that’s sick and interesting and different.”– Omelet
In ConversationTell us a bit about the Neverland Clan origin story. What are your individual backstories and when did your paths first cross? Ryan: I started Neverland in 2011. I thought of the name in the middle of a Spanish exam and then at the beginning it was like me and a couple other members making music and stuff. Me and Omelet met through a mutual friend who’s also in Neverland and he started sending me beats, we started working on music and made a project together. Around that time, Daniel was doing styling and I was designing clothes and stuff, he pulled one of my hoodies from my first brand and the rest is history. Omelet: So I was making music before I met Ryan, I started playing piano but I used to get taught by this bland guy. I was probably in year six, so what you’re like 10? Me and my friends used to chat on Skype all the time and share music and someone had a crack for Fruity Loops, so I downloaded Fruity Loops on this shitty laptop, and started making beats there and that’s when I started. I probably met Ryan a year after. Daniel: I’ve always been into music, I was in the church choir when I was younger, apparently at my little brother’s christening, I took the mic from whoever was on the mic and started singing. That was my first time doing music. But I’m also into a lot of other things. Fashion, like Ryan said I used to style, I interned for stylists and PR agencies. I’ve been getting into modeling recently as well, I want to be a representative for plus size people.
What do your parents think you do? What does society think you do? And what do you think you do? Ryan: My parents know what I do but they think I mess around a lot more than I do. Society thinks I’m crazy and just make art and don’t sleep and do mad stuff. I think I create a new way of seeing the world and a new era of art. Omelet: My parents think I make music with no aim. Society, I don’t know, they probably think I make music but I hope they think I’m a nice guy. I think I make music that’s sick and interesting and different. Not a different perspective, but not what’s going on right now and talking about different things. Daniel: Well, my mum thinks I’m a rapper, and society, that’s for them to decide, but they probably think I’m a troublemaker. I think I do what I love. I know I do what I love. I love music.
If a movie was being made about the Neverland Clan, who would direct it, who would play each of you and what would be on the soundtrack? Ryan: Tarantino. Daniel: I was going to say Tarantino, I promise you I was going to say Tarantino. Soundtrack, us, we’d build a soundtrack ourselves. Omelet: Who would play me? Lenny Kravitz Daniel: I know who would play me, the guy who played Biggie in Notorious. If he’s still active, if he’s still looking fit and don’t look too old. Daniel: I’m tryin’ to get the guy from Moonlight, Mahershala Ali.
Why do you think you guys gelled? What was it that helped you all get on? Omelet: We’re not like everybody else. We mix with people who aren’t into the same shit as we are but we’ve always been the ones who’re a bit more experimental. “Neverland” brings to mind escapism, a desire to never grow up, and mythical/imaginary beings, how does that metaphor relate to all of you? Ryan: The concept behind Neverland is eternal youth. Trying to stay young and youthful and healthy and curious about the world. That’s how to stay creative, remain curious. What does it mean to be independent? Why is it important to remain independent? Daniel: It’s good to think for yourself. When I make a decision I only have to think about me and my close circle, it’s more clear and concise. I don’t have to think about a bunch of other things and that enables you to trust yourself and trust your decisions.
What are the biggest challenges in taking the independent and DIY approach? Omelet: Money, 100%. Daniel: Yeah financing new ideas, but then it doesn’t make it impossible, it just makes it harder. It’s about how much you love what you’re doing. If you’re passionate about what you’re doing and want to make a positive change you’re going to do it. You’re going to do whatever it takes to make it happen. Ryan: For me, I cut out a lot of spending habits. It’s discipline and knowing, “cool maybe this weekend I’m not going to go out because I need money to do X, Y, and Z.“ I like it to be honest because it means I’m in control, no one is telling me what to do and if I want something to happen it’s me who’s going to have to do it. What do you think are the biggest positives and negatives of living in a hyper-connected, digital world? Daniel: Social media reflects reality but it multiplies it by 100. People on social media try to show their best life, the perfect life. But social media is great too, like anything, you have to use it how you feel fit, how it works best for you. I like to take breaks off social media. It’s a great tool but it’s also dangerous. Omelet: I don’t like social media because I feel like I’m in someone else’s mind all the time. Especially on Twitter, I’m always reading someone else’s rubbish that has nothing to do with me and I don’t like being in someone else’s brain. So sometimes I take a break from it. At the same time, it’s the way everyone connects, it’s the way I found music, it’s the way I found people who are interested in the same shit I am. For me, I try to filter out the crap and keep the stuff I want to see.
What are the biggest things you’re all working on right now, independently and as a group? Daniel: I’ve got this project I’ve been working on for two years, maybe more. I’ve put a lot of work into it and it’s called Preseason, there are loads of tracks, loads of big features but I’m going to wait for it to come out and let it speak for itself. Ryan: My brand is probably the biggest thing at the moment. It’s what I was on the phone about, I’m going to Turkey tonight to go to factories, get my samples and that. I’ve also recorded 20 songs for various projects, I’m getting that out, doing videos and stuff. It’s a reintroduction for people to my music because I’ve mostly been doing art and fashion. Omelet: I’ve just finished a project I’m calling Duality. I’ve been making beats for it for like two years and I literally finished it a couple days ago. The last project I put out was instrumentals and on this one, I’m going to be rapping. Omelet, in a 2016 interview you said, “I make beats when I’m most sad. I think with dark music there’s more angles with it, whereas there’s not so much you can do with happiness. When you’re sad you can be frustrated, angry, it can take you to so many places.” Is this still the case? Omelet: That’s jokes. I was going to call this new project Static but I changed it to Duality because those times when I was talking like that I was in a completely different headspace. I was trying to be happy but I don’t think I was compared to the way I am now. Most of the music I’ve made from there to now is two-sided, some of it is happy but there are dark moments too — that’s why I changed it to Duality. It’s funny you pulled that up. What does family mean to each of you? Ryan: Always sticking up for your family, always sticking up for people when they’re down, looking after people. The family values your parents teach you like being kind, sharing, and all of that stuff. That’s what family means to me. Omelet: Not necessarily being blood-related but having the same morals, having a certain vision and helping each other get to that vision. Always trying to keep each other on the same path whether it’s music-related or friendship.
- Photographer & GIFS: Salim Adam
- Talent: Neverland Clan
- Styling: Atip Wananuruks
- Styling Assistant: Savannah Jones
- HMU: Alice Howlett