INTERVIEW: Rudimental

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Piers Agget, Kesi Dryden, Amir Amor and Leon Rolle make up RUDIMENTAL; a bunch of dudes from the UK who together create a type of music where live recordings are blended with electronic production. Featuring a tonne of instruments in their work, they end up with quite a textural sound that preludes an inviting message.

Rudimental have just dropped their debut record Home through Warner Brothers Music – which we’re super excited about.

The album features the bands’ debut single ‘Feel The Love’ which has surfaced both the UK’s single and dance charts! It’s also been added to Triple J and has received some serious airplay. To top it all off, the track’s film clip has reached over 20 million views on YouTube!

As the band are currently on tour, we were very lucky to be squeezed into Rudimental‘s busy schedule last week as we spoke to one fourth of the band, Amir Amor. (They were actually on the tour bus when this phone call was made.)

So how exactly did Rudimental become a band?

“Three of the guys used to be on pirate radio station, they used to shut off stations, you know, get arrested, do it again [laughs]. I actually joined the group about a year and a half ago. I was running a studio in East London; I was producing for other artists, Plan B for example and other people like that and the guys were also making other music behind the scenes. And we all knew each other, we all grew up with each other, but we got together as a musical four piece about a year and a half ago. And yeah, started to work on the first two tracks, which were ‘Spoons’ and ‘Feel The Love’. It kinda just went from there.”

Piers Agget of the group labelled the band’s sound as “organic” as a result of Rudimental’s influential musical upbringing. Whether it was a radio program or a single track, I tried to source the most inspirational piece of Amir’s upbringing. I guess there’s just way too much to pinpoint anything specifically!

“Oooh we grew up with so many different influences. We grew up listening to so much bass music that it would be hard to kind of get through everything that’s inspired us on that side. Our sound is like a cross between garage kind of house and soul music.”

As mentioned, HomeRudimental‘s debut album – has literally just been released. How long did it take for this body of work to write and record?

We wrote in a few months really in a burst of energy early last year, and a lot of it came from the energy that we were getting from playing live and playing for crowds. It actually came together really quickly when I think about it, cause it still feels like the beginning of our work, you know what I mean? It feels like the start of something. Although we’re just about to put this album out next week, you know we’ve already started working on ideas for our second one. And it kinda just feels like the beginning of Rudimental really.

Sifting through Home‘s tracklist, you’ll notice the array of guest vocalists that feature on the record. I asked Amir for his favourite track in which one of these vocalists appear.

“Oh you’ve got me [laughs] picking one.. We all have our personal favourites and it always kind of changes, you know, especially when you make a song sometimes, but at the moment I think my favourite is ‘Powerless’ and it’s actually got a girl called Becky Hill singing on it. It’s quite a different sort of track because it’s based on strings, and it’s got a sort of jungle feel to it as well but it’s another one of the songs that we wrote as a kind of traditional song before putting on the electronic element. But yeah, that’s my favourite one at the moment.”

I’m forever curious of which artists musicians would love to collaborate with. I gave Amir the freedom of choosing someone alive or dead that he’d like to work with.

“Aw man [laughs], it would be.. [Asking bandmate Leon Rolle] ‘What artist would I like to collaborate with me, anyone alive or dead’ I’m just confirming with Leon.

You know what, we actually got to meet Bobby Womack when we did Jools Holland shows. That was amazing, he came up to us afterwards and was like, [in Amir’s best American accent] “Aw man, you guys are so good” and started complimenting us and stuff it was really surreal! We’d love to work with him. We’d also love to work with Stevie Wonder, Sade.. There’s so many really.”

Upon listening to Home, you’ll gain a sense of thematic concern in terms of the instrumentation and lyricism. Do these themes suggest a storyline to Home?

Yeah, I mean we called it “Home” for several reasons. The first thing that we always say really is you know, we feel at home on stage and we feel at home at the festivals, so we wanted to make something that unites people and makes them feel at home when they’re listening to it really. You know, we come from Hackney, and we like to bring our backyard everywhere we go so, if you’re at a festival and you’ve lost your mate and you know, you walk into a tent and you hear a track and all of a sudden the strangers around you are your mates you know [laughs], that’s part of the reason why we called it Home.

The other reason is because we don’t want to forget where we came from. The mural on the cover for example, that’s an awesome piece that we’ve been walking past since we were kids. So it does represent where we come from, but it’s also a universal message really, as you can see in the videos as well. It’s starting to make everyone feel at home, wherever they come from really, whether it’s Philadelphia or San Francisco, LA, or wherever.”

After ‘Feel The Love’ hit the UK’s number one spot for both the single and dance charts, ‘Waiting All Night’ has recently climbed into the number one spot also. Obviously the guys must be buzzing with bliss, I asked Amir how they’ve been celebrating their ongoing success.

We’ve been saving our celebration for the tour; we’re actually on tour right now. I’m in the tour bus as I speak to you [laughs] so we’re about to play a gig tonight and yeah we celebrate on stage really. We save the energy and let it out then. And we might have a few drinks before and after as well [laughs].”

Rudimental have been known to work with troubled youth, allowing them a voice through music. A massive deal for anyone emotionally to be involved with something so special, how have these experiences impacted upon the band?

“Massively really. I mean there’s so much talent and it’s not just for that reason, obviously it’s for other reasons as well. For example, one of the artists that might feature on the next record was one of those “troubled youth” as you say that a couple of the guys in the band used to mentor in school. So it’s something that’s really dear to us, we all come from a background where we may not have necessarily got into something positive. A lot of our friends ended up in negative places. So it’s something that’s really dear to us; and we’re lucky and thankful that we had a parent or parents who raised us right and set us on the right path. You know, all parents try to do that but there’s a lot of pressure so these kind of schemes were vital really in getting us to where we are now, and it’s just important that it carries on that way. So yeah it’s something that’s really dear to us and it’s actually part of our theme of our videos as you can see there’s a lot of ideas about youth and about struggle.

With their very first full length record fresh on the shelves, surely the dudes must be coming back to Australia to see us at some point!

“Oh definitely. Specifically [turns to Leon again] ‘Lee do you know when we go back to Australia?’”

Leon in background, “October hopefully.”

Amir, “Yeah we can’t wait to get back there. We just did, as you’d know, the Future Music tour which was unbelievable really. As long as we get out there. The love we have for Australians is ridiculous man. We just can’t wait to get out there. So hopefully October we’ll be back there. The WEBSITE is probably the best place to check.”

Rudimental‘s debut record Home is now available through Warner Brothers both physically and DIGITALLY!

Words by Hannah Galvin.

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About:

An avid fan of Sydney’s jazz and found sound scene, as well as eating peanut butter from the jar.