Rudimental is a collaboration between four producers that is taking the UK by storm thanks to electrifying live shows and the star-making guest spots on their debut LP, “Home”, out on Atlantic Records.
Fellow KCRW DJ Anthony Valadez and I got to sit down with Piers, Kesi, Amir and Leon (DJ Locksmith) recently to chat about their origins as a group.
Leon, Kesi and Piers have known each other since a young age and were all making music as early as 13 years old, from DIY shows to the pirate radio scene.
“We did the thing where we had 20 grime MCs at the time in our basement and we would just rock it out like that. That’s how we grew up,” said Leon.
Before focusing their collective energies entirely on Rudimental, they built a reputation producing for other artists and staying open to collaboration.
“Amir has been parallel to us in a studio called Major Toms, which is now all us together, our studio. We were all working for various artists, doing briefs with labels and stuff, and we started just A&Ring ourselves so we’d go find singers and we’d write songs.
“Feel the Love” was written by us and we saw John Newman in a pub singing at an open mic night and we were like, ‘we gotta get him on that track, he just sounds amazing.’
Newman isn’t a big name, but they clued into his talent right away. He also guests on album highlight “Not Giving In”.
No one in the band sings themselves, they act solely as composers, collaborating with singers and occasionally adding backing vocals.
The songs on the album are so varied, I asked how they made them all fit together
Their response was spot on, “Thing is that we write the songs first then we think of production, so when we write in the studio, our studio is full of instruments, it’s not like it’s a technical kind of place, so the first thing we do is write the song and think about a progression, and then that dictates what the tempo is gonna be and what fits on the track. Then we’ll start to get into the production and passing it around between us and start adding kick drums and snares with other ideas.”
Beyond the vocals, the Rudimental live sound has set this band apart and helped build a devoted following in a few short years.
Yet another KCRW colleague, Chris Douridas, hosted the band on his weekly showcase Its a School Night at Bardot.
Rudimental packed the house, with 9 or so members performing on a cramped stage — a set of singers, a group of horn players, the core group jumping to different keyboards and tables, and Beanie Bhebhe’s impeccable drumming breathing life into the beats and breaks.
In all the visits to Bardot, I have never seen a crowd follow suit in singing the songs off an album that has barely touched an American audience.
Their eclectic mix has proven itself now, but their peers were not always so receptive.
“We showed it to a lot of people and they didn’t really get what we were trying to do. It was kind of hard because we were trying to explain that we were trying to put a trumpet solo in the middle of a dance track, drum and bass track with electronic sounds and soulful vocals, and they were trying to put us in the dubstep route or something like that, something a bit harder.”
They went on about the connection they try to foster with their audience that goes beyond your typical electronic group, “screaming shouting, throwing your hands in the air, and engaging with us and we feel at home and they feel at home.”
The conversation ended on the topic of tips to improve their live show. Expect loads of glitter and the odd onstage spaceship for the future.
The band has been nominated for the Mercury Prize, the UK’s best album award, and we expect big things.
Check out the video below called “Waiting All Night” ft Ella Eyre that has total over 43 million views.