Rudimental interview

The boys are back in town as Sandance returns

Interview

Sandance is back for a new season at Atlantis Beach on Friday October 10, with a star-studded line up featuring the likes of Rudimental, Clean Bandit, Empire of the Sun, De La Soul and Axwell – Ingrosso.

One of the most successful acts of the past 12 months, Rudimental are back on the sand after appearing at Sandance a year ago. They have since gone on to headline festivals across the globe and were named ‘Festival Band of the Year’ by the BBC in 2013. ‘We had an amazing time at Sandance last year. It’s just a great place to play and we enjoyed it so much we wanted to come back,’ says Rudimental’s Kesi Dryden. ‘We have a lot more new music to play now, our album’s coming out in February 2015 so we’ll play new stuff along with our old tracks. In the last few years we’ve become much better as a band playing together and the chemistry between us has grown.’

Describing their music as cultural and soulful, the four-piece consists of Piers Agget, Amir Amor, DJ Locksmith aka Leon Rolle and Kesi. Having grown up together in Hackney, East London, it wasn’t too long ago that the four friends were playing football together and doing regular nine-to-five jobs. ‘We’ve only had this success for a few years. Three of us were working in schools and helping out the community, so I think our roots are grounded. It’s something that we’ll always stick to. We are doing a charity project with Nile Rodgers, which focuses on getting young people into music,’ Kesi reveals. ‘It’s something that’s close to our hearts and we want to keep doing it and hopefully one day we’ll have our own charity.’

Rudimental rose to prominence in 2012 when their single, ‘Feel the Love’ featuring John Newman topped the UK Singles Chart. The band then went on to release chart-topping hits, ‘Waiting All Night’ and ‘Not Giving In’ from their debut album Home.

‘After “Feel the Love” went to number one, people asked if we were feeling pressure about the next single. But we never really felt like that, we just have so much fun making music and performing – we create music that means something to us and that’s something we are really proud of,’ says Kesi.

Since their debut album, the group have been touring festivals worldwide and have recently finished touring across America with Ed Sheeran as their support act.

‘Ed is a very talented person, he just captivates the crowd and it’s amazing to see him doing so well. We wrote “Bloodstream” together, which is on his album, and there’ll be a version of it on our new album which is quite different,’ explains Kesi. ‘We’ve been playing to massive crowds in arenas across America. We are definitely gaining a lot of new fans who have never heard our music before. We’re all good friends and when it comes to performing, it’s just a big party on stage. It’s quite infectious.’

As well as the four members in the group, there can be up to ten people on stage at any given time, from musicians who play as part of the live band to backing singers. Wanting to nurture local talent, Rudimental decided to start their own label, Major Toms.

‘The majority of the vocalists that were on our first album were unsigned, so we discovered and developed new artists, and after the first album was released, most of them got signed – such as John Newman. We love to give people a platform and somewhere to start,’ says Kesi.

Despite the group’s international success, the foursome have remained down to earth, enjoy touring together as friends and are looking forward to hitting Dubai’s waterparks and clubs.

‘The best part about knowing each other so long is that we can share anything with each other. Sometimes on the road it gets hard, but we’re like brothers, it keeps us going. The love for the music keeps us spreading our sound – we just want to be as big as we can be. When we get into a studio we like to jam out our ideas together and we sort of create music in a traditional way. It’s a very natural process,’ Kesi says.

The new album will feature fresh collaborations with iconic artists such as George Clinton of funk-rock group Parliament-Funkadelic. ‘It’s incredible to work with people like George Clinton who have legendary status in the music industry,’ says Kesi. ‘It’s sometimes surreal the opportunities we’ve been given but we are just enjoying every minute of it, making music that we love. We grew up listening to De La Soul too so it’s great to be on stage at Sandance with people that you really admire.’

Rudimental were nominated for a Mercury Prize last year and won several awards, including the Best Single Brit Award for ‘Waiting All Night’ and the Mobo Award for Best Album. ‘I think winning a Brit Award took us back. I remember receiving the award thinking, “Is this real?” The success is more than we ever imagined. Growing up, our dreams were to either be in music or playing football. We followed those dreams and we’ve been together a good few years, but the success is a long time coming. We never really imagined that we would come this far in the past five years.’

Having achieved international success in just a few short years, who knows what’s next for these four boys from Hackney? What’s not in doubt is that the future certainly looks bright for Rudimental.

The Line Up

De La Soul, Empire of the Sun in concert, Clean Bandit and superstar DJs Axwell and Sebastian Ingrosso will join Rudimental on stage at Sandance.

American hip-hop trio, De La Soul are best known for their eclectic sampling, quirky lyrics, and contributions to the evolution of jazz rap, while electronic duo Empire of the Sun rose to fame with hits ‘We are the People’ and ‘Walking on a Dream’.

Clean Bandit burst onto the dance music scene in the UK and US with the infectious chart-topping single ‘Rather Be’, arguably the song of the summer. The four-piece fuse classical elements with deep hypnotic house beats.

Axwell and Ingrosso formed two-thirds of the Swedish House Mafia and the pair are currently performing side by side as Axwell – Ingrosso. Fans can expect to hear tracks, ‘The World Is Mine’, ‘Save The World’ and ‘Don’t You Worry Child’, as well as new tunes from their forthcoming album out later this year.

Sandance. From Dhs295 (early bird), Dhs325 (regular), Dhs375 (on the door), Dhs500 (VIP). Atlantis The Palm, Palm Jumeirah. www.timeouttickets.com

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