There's a strong history of the studio pioneers of British dance music becoming household names in this country; from Basement Jaxx to Groove Armada, Massive Attack to Chase & Status. The hottest new collective making their mark are the East London quartet Rudimental - and their mission - to bring soul to electronic music. With support spanning from Zane Lowe, The XX to Mistajam and Fearne Cotton, they're set to dominate dancefloors and airwaves in the coming months.
Comprising songwriters and producers Piers Agget, Kesi Dryden and Amir Amor, together with DJ Locksmith, the four men draw on their eclectic musical backgrounds and sense of teamwork to keep their finger firmly on the pulse of dance music.
"We aren't just electronic bedroom producers, and we're not just guitarists and pianists who don't know much about making a beat," they affirm together. They grew up on everything from grime to jazz and blues; from hip-hop to house.
The original Rudimental trio go back a long way: Piers and Locksmith grew up on the same road in Hackney, with Kesi living just around the corner in Stoke Newington, where he went to the same school as Labrinth and Professor Green. (Amir joined the collective in mid-2011 after working with them on some remixes: "Everything we did together sounded good; it was a no-brainer to join the group," he says.) They've been everywhere and done everything in the London music scene from young ages: at 15, Amir was producing hip-hop and garage beats at Camden youth studios alongside Plan B. Piers, meanwhile, co-managed a Tottenham studio that housed the likes of Wretch 32 and Scorcher alongside his own DJing and producing. Rudimental first made their mark in the burgeoning UK funky scene of 2008-09, with Locksmith and Piers cutting their teeth on London pirate radio station Deja Vu - the former home of names as big as Dizzee Rascal and Kano. But Rudimental have always set their sights beyond just one genre: "You can't really box us into a category," says Piers. "We're more about musicality, songwriting and broader influences." Pressed, he comes up with a unique combination: "We are Sly and the Family Stone, Todd Edwards and Dr. Dre in a cheeseburger!"
This is borne out in the variety of their work. "Spoons" is a blissed-out, soulful-house duet, perfectly capturing a lazy, laid-back summer vibe. In stark contrast, their next single "Feel The Love", released on May 27th, is a maximalist organic D&B monster with a soaring trumpet break and an unrestrained, magnificent vocal performance courtesy of John Newman - no wonder, then, that Zane Lowe has labelled it a "potential number one" and "summer smash" whilst making it both his Hottest Record and Single Of The Week. Last year's club anthem "Deep In The Valley" was propelled by house piano and syncopated garage beats, with MC Shantie's voice treated to give it an extra demonic twist, while their recent remix of Ed Sheeran's "Drunk" found Rudimental flipping between skanking reggae and drum n bass. "The unifying thing is the soul influence and the bass influence," says Amir "those two things are always there."
Rudimental are keen on the idea of setting up musical workshops to help kids and young people in the future. First, though, there's the small matter of their 2012 takeover. "We want to make an album where each track brings something new to the table, where you're not going to sit down and get bored," proclaims Piers. And that's not all. "We definitely want to be a festival big stage band," he continues. "And the music's starting to sound like it's heading that way.
INCLUDING BASS STAGE FEATURING:
June 30: Rudimental I Fort Knox Five I NC-17 I Thesupermaniak I Spyne I Mr. Brown & Spinz I Grimm I Miss Bliss I Rick Toxic
Hosted by Caddy Cad, JD
July 1st: London Elektricity & Dynamte MC I Nu:Tone I Terravita I Marcus Visionary I Rene Lavice I Hydee I Everfresh I Lush I The Blizz
Hosted by JD & Trajady