There are those who strive to be cutting-edge – and then there are those who bring the cutting-edge to their doorstep, accost it and make it their own. London dance outfit Rudimental belong in the latter camp. In the band’s seven-year, two-album trajectory lies a narrative of reinvention and redefinition, not just of the dance world it so animates, but of the larger pop cosmos it thrives in. That’s why, when we spoke to DJ Locksmith about his band’s drum and bass affiliations, he was adamant in affirming that no single sound can contain Rudimental. Before you get blasted skyward at Sing Jazz 2017, let him school you some more.
How do you feel about your return to Singapore for Sing Jazz 2017?
We’re really looking forward to playing in Singapore. We’ve been there before and we had a great reception when we were playing there, so it’ll be good to be on a line-up amongst the likes of Basement Jaxx. We can’t wait to play there. We’ll bring our trumpet player along, and we’re going to give you a DJ set. It’ll be energy and good vibes. It’s going to be electric.
There have been rumours of a Rudimental album in the works. Is there any new music we can expect?
Fingers crossed, our album will be out later this year. We’ve been working hard on it. We’ve got some single ideas ready. For the third album, you can expect a Rudimental sound that’s going to travel further than any previous Rudimental record. I feel like it’s going to hit territories we’ve never hit before. It’s been a really cool process so far. Over the last year, we’ve managed to work better with each other when creating music. It’s always very organic, but now we know each other inside out, more than ever, so we know what works and what doesn’t. And we’ve managed to work with some amazing artists. We signed a vocalist called Anne-Marie, who’s touring with Ed Sheeran right now, onto our label recently. She used to be our vocalist at our live shows, but now she’s pursuing her own career. There’s no doubt she’ll be featuring on our third album. Overall, we’re just really excited to share it with you guys really soon.
Speaking of Ed Sheeran, you guys have worked with him a lot. What was that like?
It’s always been a pleasure, you know? He’s such a talented person. We get along with him really well and performing with him is just such a natural thing. He’s just such an amazing guy, he makes things just so easy. There’re some artists you meet and you just have this little inkling they’re going to be massive – that was how it felt with Ed. He has this incredible drive. It’s easy to say that, “Oh, this person loves music,” but Ed truly loves music. He knows so much. He knows artists and music I’ve never even heard of before, because he’s just so educated when it comes to it. He’s just got this insane passion.
“We’ve never considered Rudimental a drum and bass band. Not once. We’re a band who loves making music. We don’t like being confined by a genre.”
How do you feel about British acts like Adele, Sam Smith and Ed Sheeran conquering the international market?
It provides a lot of motivation for us. We admire that they’ve stayed true to their own sound, and that they’re still creating music they love and can be proud of. That’s what Rudimental wants too. Ever since we started, we’ve always known what we want to do is not confine to a sole sound or aim to be a product or pop star, but to be musicians who really stay true to our sound.
What do you think of the sudden popularity of grime, which is a uniquely British sound and scene?
We grew up listening to grime; I’m talking 13 to 16 years old. To see the resurgence of it – to see people younger than ourselves really getting into it and seeing adults older than ourselves try to get into it – is really nostalgic. So, it’s definitely a proud moment for grime artists, and it’s a proud moment for us to see that music from grassroots, from the streets of London, is now expanding and getting out there, into the world.
Do you have a favourite grime artist?
Wiley’s always been one of my favourite rappers.
At this point, would you consider Rudimental a drum and bass band, still?
We’ve never considered Rudimental a drum and bass band. Not once. We’re a band who loves making music. We don’t like being confined by a genre. If you listen to the album, you can tell that there’s a wide variety of different kinds of music. Our biggest tracks that have transcended worldwide have been drum and bass-influenced tracks, but to a hardcore drum and bass fan or musician, we wouldn’t be considered a drum and bass act. We’re just a band doing our own thing, really.
Catch Rudimental live at Sing Jazz 2017 on Saturday, April 1. For tickets and more information, visit sing-jazz.com/2017.