Photography by Mike Williams
Rudimental. A West London quartet with a unique crossover sound of dance, dub-step and bass. Together and practically overnight, Rudimental have achieved meteoric success. Their second single, “Feel the love”, hit #1 on the British charts, and also entered the top 5 in Australia, Belgium and Holland. Not bad for four friends who grew up in a community scarred by violence and drugs, whose dangers they avoided thanks to their shared passion for soul, blues, jazz, hip hop, house and rave culture.
Dry Magazine met two of the guys, Kesi Dryden and Piers Agget, just a few hours before their big perfomance at the mainstage of Sonar By Night, Saturday, 14th of June.
Although the interview was interrupted by various and weird offbeat experiences such as the deafening trumpet solos, sing-along, and shouts of joy from the room next door as England equalizes in the World-Cup game against Italy we managed to get the following safely back home to you. Enjoy.
How are you guys feeling? How is your tour been like so far?
Rudimental: Tour has been going great so far. We’ve just kicked in a couple of weeks ago. We’ve done some amazing shows already and the crowds have just been crazy.
Yeah, you’ve done The Parklife Weekender in Manchester last weekend?
Rudimental: Which was amazing. That’s must be one of our favourites so far. We did the Isle of Wight festival yesterday. Which was insane – on the main stage. That was our first festival show, nearly 2 years ago. Crowd was huge, crowd was buzzing from start to finish. It was definitely a nice moment for us, and yeah, excited about tonight.
You are excited about Sonar?
Rudimental: Yeah, big time. Sonar – I have always heard about it, never actually been. We have had lots of friends who have been visiting. It is a festival that I have always wanted to go to. Never have been. So excited, definitely.
Do you have any rituals before going on stage?
Rudimental: It’s like everyone has a kind of zone they get in to. But we like playing music – we go through stages of different tunes to warm up to. Sometimes it’s old skool garage – it really varies. But when preparing for a gig everyone has their own little thing. Leon goes off into his own little world. Amir’s always on his guitar warming up. But we’re all pretty quiet before the storm I guess.
How many of you are on stage?
Rudimental: We are ten people on stage so it’s a big crew. We are all good friends and grown up together. I had a look at the airport today and I just saw a mob of about 20 people and I was just thinking: “wow, this is really what makes Rudimental happen!” It’s just crazy.
Do you ever get nervous before shows?
Rudimental: We’re getting excited, I wouldn’t say nervous because we’ve done so many shows now. It’s more like excitement. We really do enjoy being on stage. We love what we do!
We’ve read that you are working on your second album while you are on tour?
Rudimental: Yeah. We’re continuously making music, jamming between gigs and onstage, and that’s how we work. We write all the time in between tours and in weekends we’re back in the studio so it’s non-stop for us right now. But second album is underway and we’re really excited about it. It’s probably some of the best music we’ve made so far – we can’t wait to share it with everyone.
You’ve won several awards including the Brit Award and the Mobo Award for Best Album – How are you able to maintain the same high level all the time?
Rudimental: We’re professionals and we always want to better ourselves. We are constantly trying to push the limit a little bit further. Every experience we get as a band inspires us to say “we wanna make it even better next time!”
Are you a festival band – could you say that?
Rudimental: I think so, yeah. We love festivals. We’ve been festivalgoers for many year. Our dream is to headline Glastonbury Festival in a couple of years.
Do you experience any differences between European crowds and crowds in the US?
Rudimental: At the English festivals it seems like the crowd is really up for it from the start, but I mean we’ve been a bigger name for a while now and our name is spreading around Europe. In America – maybe a little bit behind, but the reaction every time we go out and play live is pretty amazing and when we go back there the crowd is twice the size the next time, so it’s definitely going – the Rudimental sound.
Who are influences in music at the moment?
Rudimental: We’re actually listening to a lot of Parliament-Funkadelic artists like George Clinton. We actually managed to do two tracks with him for the new album. It was a dream that became reality! It’s pretty amazing.
What’s the most fucked up thing that ever happened on tour?
Rudimental: I tell you what – I washed this girl’s feet. Her feet really really stank. We were partying in a hotel room and her feet smelled really badly so I washed her feet and that was it. You normally hear about big rock n roll stars having crazy sex parties. I just fell asleep and woke up the next morning and said goodbye to this random girl. It was a pretty odd experience to me.
Interview by Jacob Friberg Nielsen & Ask Christian Riis