By Christina Croucher
Rudimental are heading to New Zealand next year to play shows at the Vector Arena in Auckland on March 4th and the TSB Bank Arena in Wellington on March 5th.
I spoke to Amir Amor from Rudimental, it seems that bass, passion, and a vision to spread good music is a faultless equation to success.
Currently in his East London studio, they are spending a week there before heading off to New York. Working on a new track that Nas will also be on; Amir says it's a work in progress, no release date yet. I heard some live vocals in the background, and I'm sure we have something else to look forward to from the Rudimental studio.
What been the biggest moment for Rudimental so far?
Oh... everything, it keeps on getting bigger. We started off playing for 200 people doing DJ sets in Ibiza with Disclosure, then when Feel the Love came out we played for 8000 people in Hackney Marshes which is actually just around the corner from where we grew up. Playing there before the likes of Jay Z, that was the first massive moment. There's been so many, but I'd say the biggest thing has been the recent Mercury nomination, that was pretty amazing. Stepping back and realising what's happened.
Personally how has your life changed since joining Rudimental in 2011?
Basically, we're still sitting in the exact same studio where I was before 2011, doing exactly the same thing. The only difference is that we're working as a team now the four of us. Essentially my studios merged into the Rudimental studio. The biggest difference is touring, we always wanted to do that as soon as I met the guys. We wanted to be a live act and to go to heaps of difference places and get the Rudimental message across. That's been the biggest thing, playing for massive festivals with sold out gigs in Australia and America - it's been an unbelievable ride really.
So you guys actually did have a group vision to become that big? Did you see it in your future?
Yeah. I mean we had a quiet confidence, a little bit of stubbornness goes a long way. We just wanted to play live, but really what it came down to is that we wanted to have fun. We wanted to play the live show that we as kids always wanted to see; you know that energy of like, James Brown or Sly and the Family Stone where there's so much energy on stage and everyone knows each other and has fun with each other, that's what we wanted to do. Our goal was to make people feel the same way as we do and the effect that happens live is that when we enjoy it then everyone enjoys it too.
Amazing, and we'll get to see the full live set here in NZ in March.
Yeah man, I can't wait to come to New Zealand. So eager, it's being really anticipated. I've been trying to get out there for so long but keep getting tied up by other local countries. It's going to be wicked man.
We do party quite big for a small country. Are you going to be here for the New Year's set at Rhythm and Vines as well?
Yeah, it's going to be me and Piers doing the DJ set on New Year's, that's going to be pretty amazing. It's kind of the only New Year's really as it's the first place that hits it!
Do you feel most at home on the stage or in the studio?
Well after a month of touring we've just been dying to get back into the studio to finish off some ideas that we started while rehearsing on the road. We feel at home as the extended family on stage with the full band, it's a different entity that really none of us could live without. At the same time you need to create and write music in your own little space sometimes. We do write collaboratively in the studio as well. You can't have one without the other, so we feel at home with both as they are completely different worlds. We make music to perform and the studio sets us up to do more gigs and tours...
You've collaborated with and created a platform for many outstanding singers. What vocalist has been most enjoyable to work with so far?
It's all been really fun, it's hard to pick as they're all mates. The process of making the album was based around songs that we'd written withvocalists that we've known for a long time. Not Giving In with John Newman was really brilliant, that's one of my favourite songs on the album along with Hide feat Sinead Harnett. Spoons is a big standout because that was such an impromptu track. I was literally eating my lunch with a spoon then we started banging spoons together and making a percussion sound and that became the reason why we called the track Spoons, we did the whole thing in about half a day - it was just so smooth. I think that was probably one of my favourite sessions.
Despite the variety of genres Rudimental blends together, what would you say is a signature sound that runs through Rudimentals music?
Rudimental is a mixture of bass music- whether that be Jungle, House...etc crossed with Soul. The records that we used to listen to from our older brothers and parents were soul records. All of us have that common theme and love for soul music; we love Marvin Gaye and all that, that's that soulful, emotional side. Then we bring a bit of our influence growing up in London which was dance music, rave culture, DJs and Pirate radio. So it's a cross between those two things.
You've covered The Fugees ‘Ready or Not' and Ed Sheerans ‘Drunk' are there any others in the process?
We're thinking about doing Gabrielle by Roy Davis, Jr. It's not so well known but it's one of the pioneering Garage tracks. Ready or Not was impromptu as we were just jamming it in the rehearsal room, so it was made up just before that live show. We also do a cross between The Beat's ‘Mirror in the Bathroom' which is a Ska group from the 80's with the lyrics from Paramore's ‘Now'. It works well; we've been playing that live recently. There's a few surprises in the live set, the tracks don't sound the way they do on the record. We play them truer to the original concept of the songs, their more broken down. It's entirely live so it's got a different energy to it. We love playing the tracks live.
The shows have been described as Dynamic and Carnivalesque.
Yeah I think people may expect just a whole lot of Drum and Bass but like what made James Brown special is that he bought everything down then raised it back up again. That kind of dynamic is what we try and have in our music, that's how we write our songs. The energy is really there when you take people down then you bring them back up, so it is a dynamic show. There's three different singers, we swap instruments and play all sorts of different things so it a very varied and interesting show, again were just having as much fun as possible.
Rudimental has shot some epic videos in international locations, which one has been the most fun to make so far?
My favourite video so far is Not Giving In, which was in the Philippines. For me it's the most emotionally strong video and it fits into the song perfectly even though it's not directly what the song is about. The song is about something more personal to us; the video is a true story about these two kids and we met the guy whose situation it was when he was growing up. We got some really wicked shots from a helicopter. I'm really excited about our next video for our new song Free that will be coming out soon. That's going to be my new favourite, but I'll let people see it for themselves.
Rudimental in three words?
Bass, soul and love.
The ingredients for great music that we can look forward to seeing here in NZ soon, I'd get along as it will be one not to miss!
Rudimental NZ Tour with guests Naughty Boy & Gorgon City
March 4th: Vector Arena, Auckland - Tickets via Ticketmaster from 9am, Tuesday 29 October
March 5th: TSB Bank Arena, Wellington - Tickets via Ticketek from 9am, Tuesday 29 October