Everything Just Synchronises

Rising rapper Lord Apex performs ‘Miyagi Blueprint’ with new visuals from longtime collaborator Delphino Productions.

“With me and you it’s always been synergy, everything just synchronises,” says Luke Boriero Gendre Martins, AKA Delphino, to his musical foil Lord Apex. Synergy is a revealing word choice. There’s something spookily predestined and subtly spiritual about the relationship between these creative sparring partners, whose mutual artistry is at the core of West London’s current creative renaissance.

The pair of them met while still in their teens, bonding over the usual stuff: streetwear, smoking, skating, hip-hop. “Luke is my brother, we go back to college,” says Apex. “We actually met when we were retaking English GCSE,” adds Delphino. “He was wearing a windbreaker with a bucket hat, and I was wearing a windbreaker with a bucket hat as well.” “Before we even said anything to each other it was like that cheeky laugh of approval,” laughs the rapper, completing his friend’s sentence.

The 2018 video for Lord Apex’s ‘Null and Void’, with its kaleidoscopic shapes, African colourways and hand-drawn animations, marked the pair’s first collaboration and established an artistic kinship that goes way beyond wavey garms. “I always trust him with my visuals ‘cos I know his brain is in the right space,” explains Apex, who refers to his rapidly expanding discography as an “elevation meditation project”.

Along with their West London cohorts, they represent an undersung patch of the city’s creative underbelly, overshadowed for years by the harsher fronts of grime and drill but now reaffirming its identity through the blunted beats and oddball rhymes of artists like Finn Foxell and Lava La Rue. Apex grew up with one ear trained on the greats of US hip-hop, from Nas and Lil Wayne to DOOM and Quasimoto, and he weaves his influences together on the melancholy loops of ‘Miyagi Blueprint,’ a cut from his latest mixtape Supply & Demand. Delphino’s inspirations, meanwhile, range from the big-budget to the DIY, from Hype Williams’ fish-eye glamour to the grit of Channel U. “There’s a beautiful aspect to it when you can just take a camcorder and shoot a video for a song that goes perfectly,” he says.

For ‘Miyagi Blueprint’ he dug through a batch of old holiday photos and started weaving them into animations inspired by sacred geometry – the belief that certain patterns and shapes are connecting pathways to a higher being. “I’ve always been around sacred geometry and spiritual elements. My mum has taught me about it since I was little,” he explains. “As a creative you need to make something that resonates with you, so the inspiration was coming from a place of love more than just whether it will look cool or not.”

For Apex, the Launchpad X gives a lifelong lyricist the chance to explore his producer’s instincts. “I always wanted to get into producing,” he notes. “Launchpad gives me a different drive and it feels natural. I haven’t seen that side of me.” With the clock ticking, he focused on breaking the track down and triggering the stems while Delphino fine-tuned the visuals. Apex immediately “fell in love with” the results. Absorbing the rhythm of the cut also tightened up his performance, and “by the third or fourth take I was able to use the visuals to understand my timings on the song.” The experience may have cemented their belief in the creative partnership, but they’re keeping their gaze on the horizon, with Apex challenging himself to make a classic album and Delphino dedicated to making videos “which come from a place of truth.” It’s not always easy to find your style, he says. “We’re still in our early 20s. It should be about trying everything and experimenting.”

Words: Chal Ravens