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Stööki 'Self-Made' Spotlight Series: The Knighthood Society

Sunday, 28 March 2021

**The Stööki ‘Self-Made’ Spotlight Series shines a spotlight on independent creatives who are doing bits with their craft. The third installment in our 2021 ‘Self-Made’ Spotlight Series continues with the mad talented Knighthood Society. We linked up with the music makers and the best dressed duo @NickiKnightz & @HennyKnightz 👑 🏰🔥 We chilled in Hackney and found out why being self-made artists is important to the duo. Check out the photoshoot and Q&A below… ⚡🔦👀*

  • Stooki 'Self-Made' Spotlight Series: The Knighthood Society - Nicki Knightz & Henny Knightz

Name: Henny Knightz (Left) Nicki Knightz (Right)


1. What’s your craft?

NK: I am Nicki Knightz, an artist and songwriter who uses rap to express herself.

HK: I am Henny Knightz 1 ½ of The Knighthood Society. I am a rapper, a producer, designer and amateur pro Bmxer.

2. What’s your story?

NK: I’m a young female, who grew up like a lot of other people, really, in the ends – Hackney, single parent household etc. I grew up fighting a lot of inner demons and often feeling out of place and misunderstood. I started off using poetry as a way to express myself and to somewhat help with situations I was going through, which led into spoken word and then into music.

HK: I started off as a graphic designer and illustrator, when I was younger I was fixated in escapism and the idea of vocalising the voiceless, so things like an idea In your mind or feeling, I was hyped to try turn that into a character or a logo. Slowly that evolved into designing clothes. I started rapping because I was tired of being unseen. I was the outcast who wasn’t troublesome enough to be neither noticed nor academically brilliant enough to be praised. I generally felt voiceless and without purpose. Growing up in Hackney at the time no one was really talking about what I was going through in music. It was either hood or pop music. So I started rapping about silly mischievous things my friends and I was getting up to. Do not get me wrong. I was SUPER TRASH, but I finally had a reason to get out of bed other than, school/college or chilling on road. I started producing because well, everyone thought I was trash and didn’t see anything in me. Which honestly, finding a producer was the best thing that never happened to me.

Stooki 'Self-Made' Spotlight Series: The Knighthood Society - Nicki Knightz & Henny Knightz

3. How did the Knighthood collective come about?

NK: Lol. I feel like I’ve retold this story about a million times. Well, Henny and me actually went to the same schools both primary and secondary, he’s a few years older than me so we never really spoke during both. I remember back in the days when everyone used to add everyone mutual on Facebook, we somehow became “friends”. I’m not sure if he added me or I added him, but I remember I put my BB pin on my status asking people to add me etc, which Henny did. At the time of him adding me I had a status as “writing a song”, he then sent me a message. He told me he was putting together a team and asked me if I wanted to be a part of it. I agreed and he sent me loads of “Knighthood” imagery. Fast forward ten years and here we are.

HK: The Knighthood Society came about because I wanted to create something for other likeminded outcasts who longed for a family or a sense of purpose. At the time people were being recruited in gangs left right and centre it was like the cool thing to do. I also went for the job but I was declined because my street CV didn’t hold enough references. So group less and rejected by what seemed to be the societal norms at the time I found myself listening to Jay Z’s Reasonable Doubt in my older brothers apartment in Chobham road Leyton (I think its Leyton) Hearing Roc-A-Fella records being mentioned in the songs inspired me. I had to create that, a label that people were proud to stand with, a family. The Knighthood Society was born. The group was originally myself, Caj Knightz and S.K. Then shortly after I bought Nicki, Krem and a few others. After Caj passed away people started to distance themselves and Nicki was the only one who remained so yeah. That’s a short version of the story.

Legacy 2

4. What is your creative / writing process as a duo?
NK: Normally, I’ll go to Henny’s with a juice, and we’ll have a conversation about whatever it is that is on our minds. He’ll then make a beat, I’ll listen in, we’ll find out what works and what doesn’t and from that there is normally a skeleton, that I’ll have to write lyrics to. When we’re making Knighthood tracks, we bounce off each other. If I’m struggling, he’ll show me his verse so I can get a better idea of where to go and vice versa.

HK: Usually I’ll make a beat and we create a vibe from that. A lot of songs and ideas come from several hours of conversation. It’s funny because sometimes people think being a rapper is everyone’s heads rocking and drinks are flowing, like a mini party every time. We’ve had sessions where we’ve been sitting in silence for a few hours lol. Once the beat is made it really dictates where we go from there. Then Nicki and I will talk, build an idea then we’ll start humming or writing something.

Stooki 'Self-Made' Spotlight Series: The Knighthood Society - Nicki Knightz & Henny Knightz

5. How would you describe your dynamic working with each other?

NK: I’ll say in terms of working with each other we’re very similar yet also very different. We’re like Yin and Yang, there’s a balance. Henny is very much the ‘dreamer’ and I’m more ‘action’ based and about bringing these sometimes crazy ideas into fruition- mix both together it normally creates an amazing product.

HK: The best way I can describe it is it’s like Yin and Yang, Nick helps keep me grounded. Like I can be driven by emotion a lot, I’ll do things for the feeling then the logic catches up. So when I’m off on my stream of emotion, feeling and creativity Nicki helps decipher what’s actually good and what’s utter nonsense. But in turn I like to help encourage Nick’s ideas and help turn them into a reality. I really get on board with it until the point her project becomes my project. We’ve also broke the roles into I’ll worry about the musical process and output and Nicki focuses on the styling, social and visual process.

Stooki 'Self-Made' Spotlight Series: The Knighthood Society - Nicki Knightz & Henny Knightz

6. What’s important to you about being Self-Made?

NK: Being Self-Made is important to us because it gives you control over your product. It also gives you the freedom to make and to create without the pressure of say a label etc. Everything we have done to this point has been very much us, with no backing, no management. Whilst it may be difficult at times to be your own manager, your own PR, your own stylist etc, there are a lot of pros. We don’t have to wait for anyone to tell us when or when not to go. Everything we do is on our time.

HK: Being self-made is important because that’s when you can have the truest representation of yourself. You worked on your craft and worked through the good and the bad. It teaches you to trust the process and pretty much that you get out what you put in. You answer to yourself and it can really test your love and faith in what you’re doing but when you get to the finished product and you’re proud of it that is a feeling like no other. A negative that can come with it though is you don’t ever really switch off. A lot of us have to start out of our homes so being able to disconnect and setting boundaries is something that you need to establish quite early.

Stooki 'Self-Made' Spotlight Series: The Knighthood Society - Nicki Knightz & Henny Knightz

7. What’s your main source of inspiration?

NK: For me, I get inspiration from a lot of different places. If I had to answer what my main one is, it will be from be from experiences. A lot of the best songs I’ve made are from significant moments in my life. ‘India Arie’ for example was about my parents dealing with their child’s ‘untamed’ hair. Experiences 9/10 make the best songs because you as an artist just write it thinking you’re just telling your truth without even acknowledging that a lot of people might potentially be able to relate to this. It’s always pretty cool when someone tells you they can relate to a song you wrote sitting in your bedroom.

HK: Honestly, at this moment it’s been a lot of art and fashion documentaries. Learning about iconic art movements or how people can take a concept and create some of the most mind warping things out of it inspires me. I’ve also become obsessed with rock music and the macabre, how you can take something that is often labelled as gross or dark and creating beauty out of it.

Read the full Q&A here 👀 –