Aug 25, 2014

Drum & bass. House. Soul. U.K. sensation Rudimental have been classified as just about everything except predictable. We had the chance to chat with the genre-bending foursome at HARD Summer, where they discussed their upbringing, their sources of inspiration, and exclusive details on their new label and upcoming album.

Rudimental feat. John Newman - Feel The Love (Original Mix) [Black Butter]
LessThan3: Let’s go back to the start–how did you guys all meet and launch the band?
Piers: We’ve known each other since we were like five. We grew up in school together, lived on the same street, played on the same football team together. We all made music from an early age, and it kind of grew naturally. We started making more music together, and then we started Rudimental about eight years ago. So we’ve been doing it for quite awhile, and the last couple years have been really good. We made our first album and had a #1 single at the Brit Awards.
LessThan3: Did you expect that?
Kesi: It was only three years ago we were still working day jobs and then trying to get to the studio after to make music, so at that point we didn’t expect us to be where we are now. But we had our breakthrough, which was probably Feel The Love, our first number #1 in the U.K., and things just exploded from there for us.
LessThan3: How did you guys come up with your name?
Kesi: When I was a kid I used to go to piano lessons. There was a book called the Book Of Rudiments, and my teacher would always have a go at me for forgetting it. I always used to hear “rudiments, rudiments, where’s your rudiments?” When I was a teenager, I was looking for a producer name for myself, and I would call myself “Rudiments.” And when we started collaborating and sharing music together, Rudimental sort of felt better for a group name.
LessThan3: What exactly are “rudiments”?
Kesi: Rudiments is the theory of music, drum rhythms, things like that.
LessThan3: When you initially got together, were your musical tastes and styles similar, or did they combine to make something new?
Kesi: I think we all had sort of similar musical tastes. We all grew up in Hackney. Our parents are all very into soul music, so we listened to a lot of Marvin Gaye, people like that.
Piers: When we grew up in the ’90s, there was hip hop and Lauryn Hill, The Fugees, and then obviously drum & bass, jungle, house, and garage. That was all happening at the same time.
Kesi: When we were starting out as teenagers making music, we would test it out on the pirate radio scene, and that was a great way to get a taste of what people were thinking of your music.
LessThan3: You guys are known for dipping into various genres and having a very unique, hybrid sound. When you’re in the studio producing, where do you draw your inspiration from?
Piers: When we’re in the studio, the inspiration comes out naturally, and we just jam. We write music traditionally with instruments, like Amir’s on guitar and bass, I’m on keyboard, Kesi’s on keyboard and percussion, Leon on keyboard. The influences are what we’ve been listening to recently or what listened to growing up. In the last year, we’ve been listening to a lot of funk and reggae, and even more soul music. We’re massive fans of good vocals, and blues, jazz, and gospel. That soul was a big part of our upbringing, so it just naturally comes out in our music.
LessThan3: Any real life experiences that have influenced particular songs?
Kesi: Not Giving In was written about a friend who was in a bad situation. It was a mutual friend of ours and John Newman, so it was nice to write something so meaningful.
LessThan3: How do you find your vocalists?
Kesi: We always look for a soulful vocalist, and the vocals have got to be right for the piece of music as well. John Newman’s an amazing singer and sounds perfect on Feel The Love and Not Giving In, but if he was on some of our other songs, like Baby, it probably wouldn’t feel right.
LessThan3: You guys seem to always find the best singers!
Kesi: Part of it is luck. John Newman–we met at a pub. He was just playing his guitar and singing.
Piers: We went and made friends with him, and made sure he went on the song–it’s a lot of determination on our part. It’s massively important to us as artists.
Kesi: We’ve also got another very talented writer who shares the studio with us, MNEK–he’s got an amazing voice as well. He’s an artist to look out for in the future because he’s going to be huge.
LessThan3: What’s the crowd like in London vs SoCal?
Piers: America’s crowd is pretty much just as good as London, but you guys wear very high shorts…
Kesi: I think Americans pay more attention to the music. In England everyone gets drunk and they can’t remember what happened.
DJ Locksmith: I’d like to disagree with Kesi. I feel like in America all they do is get drunk and don’t pay attention to the music. In the U.K., they actually pay attention to the music.
Amir: (Sarcastically) I’m an alcoholic. I like to get drunk and listen to music. And I don’t care about what I’m hearing.
LessThan3: The question everyone wants answered: What’s next for you guys? Is the sound headed in any particular direction?
Piers: We’re working on a new album, and it’s going to be really, really, really…fun.
Amir: We feel like we’re so much better now as a band, so we feel like it’s the best music we’ve ever made. It just feels like electronic and live music together–it’s a lot more unified. It’s just…better.
LessThan3: When can we expect the album to be released?
Amir: At the moment, we’re roughly saying maybe February next year, but we might change our minds.
LessThan3: Do you want to drop any hints as to who’s on the album?
Amir: We like to work with unsigned artists, new talent. That’s a really important part of the Rudimental culture.
DJ Locksmith: I’ll let you share a bit of exclusive info, we’ve just created our own label. It’s called Major Toms. One artist that we’re really looking forward to unleashing is Anne Marie Nicholson–we’ve signed her as the first act on the label. She’s actually our live vocalist at the moment. So that’s definitely one to look out for.
LessThan3: If the world was ending in LessThan3 minutes and you had an iPod with every song ever made on it, what would you listen to?
Amir: I’ll go with anything Marvin Gaye, because I love him.
Piers: Sexual Healing by Marvin Gaye… while I’m having sex.
Kessi: Ready Or Not by The Fugees.
DJ Locksmith: Fly Bi by Sparks & Kie.
Airplay enabled