After their remix of Lonyo’s UK garage classic “Summer of Love” became one of 2016’s summer anthems, London-based collective Vibbar have continued to make their ascent through the UK’s underground dropping bangers including “La Di Dah” and most recently, “Sweden.” Now, the collective are taking their talents away from the studio and bringing the vibes to PUMA‘s recently launched RS-0 SOUND.
Vibbar is the brainchild of lyricist Poet, who founded the collective to pool his and his friends’ talents in sounds and style into one creative force. The name he chose, Vibbar, means vibes in Swedish (his girlfriend hails from the country) and perfectly sums up what the collective is about. Whether in music, fashion, photography, or production, Vibbar generate positive vibes with everything they create. The crew currently counts 15 members, among which are Skits, Joe, Yinka, and Dorian, who PUMA has tapped alongside founder Poet to test out its latest sneaker, the RS-0 SOUND.
PUMA’s RS-0 SOUND is the latest release in the brand’s roster of reinvented Running System (RS) designs. The RS technology was developed in the ‘80s and in honor of its recent revival, PUMA looked to the cultural pillars of gaming, photography, and music for inspiration. Taking cues from ‘80s drum machines, music videos, and bright-colored fashion, the RS-0 SOUND taps into our nostalgic musical yearnings with its throwback vibes. However, its design—which features a sleek lacing system, subtle perforations on the vamp, and a tonal embossed formstrip—ensures the sneaker meets all of today’s aesthetic and functional requirements.
To celebrate the launch of the RS-0 SOUND, we caught up with Vibbar when they were on set for the shoot to talk about why the ‘80s were so great, sampling, and remixing Michael Jackson.
Tell us about Vibbar and how it started?
I went to a show with a couple of boys from Confect and Jordy to watch our mate Joel Baker. It was at a small venue in Hoxton Square and I was quite upset that I was watching a great display of talent and everyone else just spoke. I felt they disrespected the act on stage. I remember me and Jordy weren’t too happy and my mind started ticking. I decided that we should put on our own night with all the people we think are mad talented. We called the night Natten av Vibbar, which means “night of vibes” in Swedish. The main inspiration behind it being Swedish was the mother of my kids—she is a massive reason that I rediscovered the meaning of love not just for a single soul but everything I put my energy into creatively. After the first night was a success we decided to keep the group and abbreviate the name to just Vibbar.
What projects are in the works for Vibbar?
We have a project out right now called “The Package” which we released fairly low key. We respect the world of music so much and we want to build an organic fan base, so we were giving out hard copies and placing loads of nostalgic elements within the package to give it an old-school feel. We literally put the music on CDs and wrote with a felt-tip marker on them. This is how music was handed out back in the day and it was about us remembering why we do music and taking it back to a time when it was fresh and enjoyable to be part of.
Do you think it’s important to look to the past to push forward in the future?
“It’s very important to look back in order to move forward. I think naturally as people we get caught up in situations occasionally and get lost. I myself still talk to people I’ve known since I was five or six, which is very humbling for me because if I ever forget myself they remind me: Your name is Kyle Stewart, a working-class council estate boy who is working hard and making his family proud. It’s important to me.”
Do you ever draw on musical influences from your childhood when you create music?
Of course. Musical influences are what started the group. After we had done the first show, I spoke to my father about keeping the group going when he informed me that he had a sound system too when he was younger. We took on that same story. There are 15 members in Vibbar, we are a family and we all draw from our musical interests in the past to create music, videos, and just art in general, as we feel that was a time when art was a more respected craft.
How has the internet affected music and the way it is made and consumed?
The internet has made music more accessible. So unfortunately for musicians, some genres have to put out music more often than others. Before you know it, after a month you ain’t relevant. But that’s a task every musician is faced with now and we have to just deal with it—there are positives and negatives in anything in life. At least with being an independent artist, there are more opportunities financially as well as platform-wise for exposure.
Do you think sampling, remixing, and musical mashups are more common in music today?
“It’s always been a thing. I grew up on Just Blaze and Kanye who were sample gods. Even in the early grime days, one of my favorite beats was a Timberland sample, which myself and my cousin ended up doing a song for called “Never Gonna Blow.” Samples are dope, it’s a great way of capturing a vibe from an era when that style was so authentic.”
Tell us about remixing Lonyo’s UK garage classic “Summer of Love.”
We sampled the Lonyo song because it was a song that I felt was amazing when it dropped and wanted to bring my own vibe to it. The song has an energy. I remember where I was when I first heard it—Denise Van Outen, Big Breakfast, 8 a.m. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.
The RS-0 SOUND pays homage to ‘80s music and sounds. What was the best thing about music in the ‘80s?
‘80s music had a freedom, it was almost what we needed to prepare us for early ‘90s sounds. Sometimes I wish I had grown up in an era that had the likes of Marvin Gaye, Luther Vandross, and even the Blackbyrds. They were lit.
If you could remix any ‘80s track…
Michael Jackson’s “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’.” We did a freestyle to it in our first show and it went off. It’s got this gentle aggression that I think would bang today.
Check out the shots of Vibbar flexing the RS-0 SOUND on this page and then head to PUMA’s website to cop a pair.