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“I’m making stadium rock, I don’t want to be on Instagram Live,” Mrley says with a grin. “When I was growing up I thought musicians ate gold and breathed champagne. As soon as I know what someone eats for breakfast I completely lose interest.”

From the very start, Marley Rutherford has been creating his own mythology. The rough, exhilarating video to his rapid-fire debut single My Side of London distorts the grainy aesthetic of 90s MTV and shows the Lewisham local rampaging through his hometown. Accusatory, articulate and firmly tongue-in-cheek, the track takes the piss out of people who appropriate the culture of south-east London’s working class, with Rutherford wagging his finger at the camera while he sunbathes by the River Thames. “The dominant thing right now is being hard,” he says. “No one’s having fun!”

Equally influenced by Madonna, Playboi Carti and Joy Division, he credits his gravelly, raw vocals to a teenage love for Guns N’ Roses (“it made me not scared to take it to the full, to burn my voice out”) and is deeply nostalgic for when rock ruled the charts: “In rock, you can be uncool and it’s the coolest thing ever.” But with his debut EP, Love You London, Rutherford’s also making up for lost time.

“It was a laughable offence to be a Black kid in south London who listens to rock,” the 23-year-old shrugs. “People would say, ‘Why are you listening to this white boy music?’ It was so frustrating when people would box me off.”

It turned him away from his guitar – he has a feeling he traded it in for an Xbox – and for a few years he toyed with rap instead, before a chance encounter changed his mind. Sat in a fancy studio (“I won’t say where, but it was a major label”), a producer encouraged him to record a few riffs. “I was like, ‘Mate, if anyone’s making money from me, it’s gonna be me. I’m buying another guitar.’

“And then!” Rutherford yells, throwing his arms in the air. “I found out that Black people made rock! Sister Rosetta Tharpe, a Black lady, a queer Black lady, made rock!” He pauses. “I wish I’d known that back then. Maybe I’d have felt more empowered to say, ‘Nah, fuck you guys.’”

The same breathless adrenaline – and joy and frustration – runs through Love You London’s disarmingly direct five tracks. Nature of the City is fuggy with reverb and heavy with anti-tourist board sarcasm, and confrontational punk song So Much to Say brings stuttering 808s and a flat-out metal guitar solo to start a full-on fight: “Who ARE YOU?”

But it’s on the softer, sadder On a Boat that Rutherford takes the biggest risk. His breathy vocals are vulnerable and questioning – “am I here just to entertain?” – but to Rutherford it represents total creative confidence. “All my rapper mates said it’s the best one,” he beams. “And to just think: once, I would never have shown it to anyone.”

Sounds like: Bratty 70’s punk, industrial 80’s soundscapes, gritty 90’s glamour
Soundtrack for: Skateboarding down a flight of stairs
Our favourite tune: On a Boat
File next to: The Clash, Young Fathers
Find him: @mrley