The guys of Rudimental have been busy since they all came together only a few years ago. Rudimental describe themselves as brothers, and since they formed their group, they've released an album, which went to number 1 in the UK, and includes their hits like "Feel the Love," "Not Giving In," and "Right Here."
They have also spread their eclectic "Rudimental sound" by performing live at some of the biggest festivals in the world, including the famed Glastonbury Festival. The guys also recently played Jay Z's Made in America Festival in Philadelphia, among many more.
Amir, Kesi, and Piers stopped by iHeartRadio HQ in New York City, where they talked to us about their music, their eclectic sound, their album Home, Ed Sheeran, and having the support of Jay Z and Beyonce! Get to know Rudimental below:
How did you all get together?
Amir: Rudimental has been around for 6/7/8 years, doing various things. DJing on pirate radio was one of the main things the guys did before I joined. That’s kind of how Rudimental got their name out in terms of people hearing about them. And then about a couple years ago, I was a producer, I had a studio in East London, in Hackney - all of us are from Hackney in East London - and I met the boys through Black Butter Records, we hooked up. Initially it was just to kind of help with production stuff and then we just became friends and everything we were doing, the first few songs that we did together were just smashes, all of them were really good.
How would you describe your sound?
We’re influenced by club culture. Jungle music, house music, all of that stuff is a heavy influence on us, especially because of where we grew up in London, a big mixture of cultures there. But it’s not entirely electronic music, it’s just soulful dance music. I mean, we grew up with club culture and we have the soul music influence, so it’s a cross between those two things. And we all sort of play music, cool instruments ourselves, so it’s mixing that as well. The whole live element - a lot of our album is just live instruments with an electronic sound in.
We play entirely live when we perform. All the kind of electronic sounds are triggered by samplers and stuff that we play all the instruments and things, so yeah. So yeah, that’s a nice easy way of putting it but we aren’t entirely electronic, that’s the thing.
What did you listen to growing up, that made you want to start producing music?
We went to clubs and things like that so jungle music, house music, house that came from America really. We were really heavily influenced by it. And also garage music. Where we grew up is a really eclectic area. Very diverse musically and culturally, so you’re surrounded by lots of different influences the whole time. Blues and jazz music and soul music, people like Marvin Gaye, and Otis Redding.
Mixing live electronic is a passion that we all had. But the soul influence, the soul culture, and the sound system culture, there are a lot of sound systems in the U.K., reggae sound systems. And soul culture which comes from America like Marvin and Sly and the Family Stone, we take a lot of influences from that, especially live.
Tell us about your single, "Right Here," with Foxes?
We knew Foxes through a friend, and we did a writing session with her. She’s got a wicked voice. We wrote this song together and had it there for ages, and kind of constructed the beat really really quickly. We played it live straight away because we were touring at the same time. [We were] influenced by the crowd reactions and Amir put the guitar solo on it.
Piers started the initial idea, and it was on the computer recorded with a piano and just really basic. Most of our songs just start with chords and we write them on instruments. That’s the thing we don’t write them with beats, we write them on instruments. We’re song writers, we’re a band, and that’s the thing that sets us apart from most, what you’d call, electronic groups. We write the music on instruments and they usually always start with just the traditional way, the guitar or piano, vocals.
The video is full of tigers and martial arts. Did you guys have any part in the creative process for the video?
Yeah, all of our videos, because we don’t want to be in our videos at this point, we’d like to let the music speak for itself. You’ve got four minutes to express yourself and try and get an emotion across. It’s a lot more interesting for us to do that using like a mini-film basically.
We used the same director as "Not Giving In" a guy called Josh Cole, and obviously he’s very good at sort of capturing a story in 5 minutes and it was really really fun to work with him, on both videos.
Tell us about your album Home?
When we first started, we came out with “Feel the Love.” We already had a few singles out before that, but “Feel the Love” suddenly went bangin’ and just took us to the stratosphere. So everyone was listening to us, and we were being put in different raves and things saying, “Oh play drum and bass, play dubstep,” and it’s like, we’re not really a drum and bass or a dubstep group. Then we brought on, “Waiting All Night,” and again, it was successful. The album going to number one in the U.K. and in Europe and in Australia and places like that, that really set us in stone in terms of, we’re an eclectic group - we’re a live act firstly - and have a lot of influences.
Also with the album, it wasn’t just one style. A lot of people knew us through our singles as drum and bass, and would call us a drum and bass act, but there’s house vibes on there, there’s hip hop vibes, there’s reggae vibes, there’s all sorts of stuff on there so it was great to show everyone the "Rudimental sound," and what we’ve been working really hard on for about a year and a half.
And obviously there’s different vocalists on there, and what was good about the album was that it had so much up and coming talent, and I think we managed to kind of kickstart, [and] fuse it all together. It was a platform for not only us, but for the vocalists as well.
You guys worked with Emeli Sande and Alex Clare, and even remixed Ed Sheeran! They are all pretty prominent figures in the pop world. Do you guys see yourself putting more music out in that genre?
Well we’re doing a session with Ed next, we’re on the same label, we’ve known each other since before that as well. But for us it’s so much more interesting to work with up and coming talent. [With] the up coming people, you’re more open to do whatever you like musically, you know you’re not inclined to try and fit it to what they do or anything like that. But we didn’t necessarily intentionally go out and do that, it was just kind of more fun for us to work with people we knew already.
It’s a case of having different styles of songs on our album, so it’s all about having the right voice for the right song. So whether they’re well-known or up and coming talent, if the song and the sound is right and the voice matches the song, then that’s the most important thing. But one thing [we] always say is, why would you have one lead singer, one front person when you can have as many as you want? You know, we’ve got so many different facets to our music that it’s good to have the ability to draw on different singers and different artists to express that.
Are you big Ed Sheeran fans?
Yeah, he’s a really talented guy, he’s an example of good, hard work. Before he got big he worked really hard, doing the live circuit and he’s a wicked guitarist, so we’re looking forward to getting into the studio with him.
He [once] played a birthday party, and there were about 20 people there, and he just whipped out his guitar and started playing! There was just a vibe, you know. He was doing that for years before he got signed and he built up this huge following as a result of doing things like that. So now to see him so successful, it’s wicked, it’s amazing.
We hear Beyoncé is a fan of yours, and likes your song, "Feel the Love." And it seems like Jay Z is a big fan of yours too, being that you're part of the Made in America lineup. How does it feel to have support from two huge figures in music?
It’s amazing coming from where we come from, definitely you know cause we grew up listening to Jay-Z and people like that so.
Yeah, like Destiny’s Child you know, they were like the big pop group. So for those kind of people to give us their [support], it’s an amazing feeling.
Where do you guys see yourselves in five years?
About a year or so ago, we were talking about how it would be great to headline Glastonbury, sort of one of the biggest music festivals in the world. Or maybe Coachella or something like that? Those are definitely big dreams. Also, lots more albums! We feel like it’s just the start of Rudimental, really. We wanna do lots more albums, and tour the world, and spread the music really. We feel like this first album has done well, but there’s a lot more legs in it, and as a live act I think we can do a lot more touring with it.
We’re really just scratching the surface. We were saying in five years we wanna headline Glastonbury, but you know, this year we played Glastonbury. We weren’t headlining but we’re getting there a lot quicker than we thought. So we’re just gonna keep on moving. We wanna have those kinds of albums that are gonna be around forever. For people to remember us as a live act, once we’re all dead, hahaha.
What's next? Are you looking forward to anything in particular?
There’s a lot of things lined up that we’re looking forward to. But everytime we go on stage it’s a vibe. We’re usually quite calm before the show and then it all comes out when we go up there. People might interview us before [a show] and then say, "Wow you’re completely different up there," so every festival, every stage is a moment for us, and we feel at home everywhere we go. We bring our backyard to the stage, that’s what we do, and we want people to feel that way. We have such a good time on stage, we genuinely enjoy it so much, when our best friends from when were kids are there with us, it’s like a school trip without a teacher kind of thing, and it rubs off on the crowd and people feel the same way we do.
Photo Credit Katherine Tyler for iHeartRadio