UK act Rudimental have been driving hit singles up the charts for over five years, announcing themselves to the world with 2013 debut album Home. That album was choc-full of drum & bass with a bit of pop crossover, with tracks like ‘Feel The Love’ and ‘Not Giving In’ proving breakthroughs not only for Rudimental, but featured singer John Newman.
Fast forward to 2018 and the electronic act remains at the top of the charts, but this year for a track that feels distinctly removed from those first releases, a Macklemore feature called ‘These Days’. Rudimental have transformed in so many ways, but with album number three just around the corner, they’re sure to deliver some vintage sounds for their diehard fans.
Rudimental DJs are making a trip to Australia next month for our only snow music festival Snowtunes. They’ll play alongside an eclectic lineup featuring the likes of Violent Soho, Bec Sandridge, Set Mo
Confidence Man, Meg Mac, Amastro, The Smith Street Band and more.
We caught up with Rudimental frontman Amir Amor to chat about skiing, their crossover success from drum & bass to commercial hitmakers, and why Rudimental is passionate about shining the spotlights on young acts through collaboration.
Music Feeds: First things first, you guys are playing Snowtunes. Have you ever played a winter snow festival before?
Amir Amor: We’ve played at Snowbombing in Austria, which is a skiing festival in Eindhoven, which was my first time trying skiing but I’m pretty basic really.
MF: It looks like it will be a super quick trip down under, is there anything else you want to do while you’re here, other than play the festival set?
AA: I’m not sure but whenever we are out there we try and do as much as we can, and just take it in as much as we can and travel. This is our second time in Australia, so we’ll definitely be doing some DJ shows around as well, so it’s going to be a lot of fun.
MF: Tell us about your latest single ‘Let Me Live’ with Mr Eazi, Diplo and Anne-Marie?
AA: The track started with this idea that we put together with Mr Eazi. It was a Soca-influenced kind of thing, and when it switched into the chorus it became this mad ravey section. We had the track for a while but there was something about it, we just kept coming back to it and gradually we added Anne-Marie to sing the second verse. That gave it a whole new flavour. That got us thinking about the track potentially as a single, even though it was an unusual track. We sent it to Diplo, who we’ve known for many years. We met early on and did some gigs together, and supported him in Jamaica some time ago and got to hang our properly to get to know each other.
So when we presented him this track, with Anne-Marie on it, we thought this could be a collaboration with those guys. He took a few months to reply, he initially said “yeah yeah it was sick” so we assumed he didn’t like it, but I don’t think he’d actually heard it. A couple of months later he heard it and emailed us like “oh that ‘Let Me Live’ track is wicked” and we realised he’d finally heard it. When he came back down to the UK he came to our studio and made the song, we got together and worked on it. It became this collaboration between all four of us.
MF: The video the track also just dropped last week. It looks like it was super fun to put together, what else can u tell us about it?
AA: What not a lot of people know is that there’s another group on the track called Ladysmith Black Mambazo, a legendary old school vocal group from Durban. Having them feature on the track was such an important thing for us. They came to the UK after we reached out to them and we got in the studio together. They blew us away really, they recorded a whole bunch of stuff with us, and this was one of the tracks.
That sparked the idea of taking the video to South Africa. We put that idea together and we found a director who could help us bring it to life, but it changed a little bit from how we conceived the idea. So we ended up filming some of it in London too, where we all grew up, a market we all went to as kids, and the rest was filmed in South Africa which was kind of mindblowing.
The idea is you can’t quite tell where it is, a mish-mash between here and there. Slightly confusing about where this could be.
MF: Being a group that collaborates a lot, do you feel like you have a duty to help uncover the next generation of groundbreaking acts, like Anne-Marie for example who has burst onto the scene?
AA: We’ve always had that kind of ethos. Even on our first album, most of the artists that we worked with were unsigned, including John Newman [and] Sinead Harnett. There were so many artists on there that were new. We carried that on into our second album when we started our record label Major Toms, with We The Generation. We thought we were discovering so much talent just keeping an ear out and listening to demos, that we might as well try and start our own record label and Anne-Marie was our first signing. She came and auditioned for us about five years ago… but it didn’t start with the audition it started on tour, when we were touring with Magnetic Man and she was singing a song with them.
I remember [during] one of the gigs the electrics went out on stage and all you could hear was Anne-Marie on the mic. She started to sing an a cappella and just held the whole thing together, and it was an electronic music ground. It was a really difficult thing to do and she just held the crowd, so we were super impressed. We invited her down to audition and in the audition something happened where wasn’t quite happy with her performance and she got pissed off, threw her jacket off and started again. She killed it and we were like “woah okay she’s got some drive”. She then came on tour with us and we’ve become like family.
We carry that feeling on with this album as well. There’s some new names on there and some new voices, and this will be the first time that they’re heard by such a large audience. We’re a sucker for a soulful voice, it doesn’t matter who they are, whether they are well-known or not. We tend to be excited by new talent.
MF: The reception for ‘These Days’, has been mental this year, and it is certainly one of the lightest tracks you guys have ever put out. How do you feel about the fact that a song that is one of the least outwardly drum & bass songs has become one of, if not your most popular track to date?
AA: It wasn’t a surprise actually. Our first album all the main singles were D&B songs, and we went into We The Generation and started to experiment with different tempos. A couple of our biggest tunes on that like ‘Lay It All On Me’ with Ed was a completely different tempo for us, quite unusual and that was flying. So we’ve actually been messing around with different tempos for a while now. We still obviously do tracks like ‘Trouble’ which features Chronixx and Maverick Sabre, which is a straight out club D&B record. Classic Rudimental style. But at the same time we are quite an eclectic bunch so something like ‘These Days’ still feels natural to us. I think when people hear our album it will make a lot of sense because it’s not just D&B tempo. There’s a lot more to it.
You can catch the Rudimental DJs at Snowtunes on 31st August & 1st September. More details here.
Snowtunes Festival 2018
Friday, 31st August — Saturday, 1st September
Tickets: Official Website