(Left to right) Leon Locksmith, Kesi Dryden, Amir Amor and Piers Agget at Bowery Ballroom.
English drum and bass quartet Rudimental drop their long-anticipated debut studio album Home in the U.K. today (April 29), which houses commercial breakthroughs “Feel the Love”, “Not Giving In” and “Waiting All Night”. (Note: Home will experience its U.S. debut in August via Big Beat Records).
VIBE sat down with the group (which includes Piers Agget, Kesi Dryden, Amir Amor, and Leon Locksmith) before their show at New York’s Bowery Ballroom on May 19 (see pictures here), where they disclosed the struggle through rough beginnings and how they eventually found a home for their music.
VIBE: How did you guys meet?
Leon: We had two loves. It was football and music. I remember growing up, Piers had a studio in his house because his dad used to do music, so we used to spend hours in there starting at the age of 12. Got my first pair of decks when I was 12 as well.
Amir: We were all kinds of connected in that way by working in the grime and garage scene at a community studio. I met these boys two years ago, and we started working really well together. By that time I was playing guitar secretly, because it wasn’t the cool thing to do at my school. I found out later that Piers and the other boys were into dance music and hip-hop, but also soul music and the organic stuff. That’s what brought us together was a love for both of those things.
VIBE: You mentioned football (soccer) and hip-hop. What is your favorite football team?
Leon: For me, it’s got to be Aston (Villa). Love them to death.
Kesi: For Kesi and Piers, it’s Manchester United.
Amir: I like foosball.
Piers: That’s the hole in the story.
VIBE: And hip-hop?
Kesi: One of our first records that we bought, which Amir and I have, is the Fugees The Score. Wicked album.
Piers: I love Jay-Z’s old albums. I was a massive Biggie fan as well. Maybe more Biggie than I was Jay-Z.
Leon: I used to love Method Man…still do. One of the first rap albums I bought and got hooked on is Dr. Dre’s 2001. That just blew me out of the water. I love everything about that album, especially the little skips they used to have in between.
VIBE: On your tour, which city so far has left the greatest impression on you guys?
Piers: It’s all so different in America. Texas was great on a food level; there was some great ribs. Also gig-wise, everybody was really cool. Miami, the crowds were really receptive and seemed to really enjoy it.
Leon: What I love about America and the different cities is there are a lot of similarities to the U.K. in terms of cultures and diversity. That’s what we’re about – the realness of the places we’re playing at.
Kesi: I know a lot of people we’ve met in America, they all seem really positive which definitely has got something on the U.K.
Leon: Definitely. You do something wrong, and they always see the positives.
VIBE: Any tricks on how you guys keep this energy up when performing late nights, back to back?
Leon: Drink lots of alcohol.
Armin: If you get a hangover, just drink some more and you’ll be all right.
Piers: Get lots of sleep when we can.
Armin: But we don’t.
Kesi: I think more than anything, it’s the music that gives you the energy. Literally, before I reach the stage, I’ll be pre-mental and down. But as soon as we get on stage, and you hear the music you get that energy instantly.
VIBE: Tell us about your new album Home.
Piers: It’s a deeper message with home, trying to find positive stuff in a problematic and dark place. A lot of our friends went down the wrong path, and we could have followed. But we found creativity and positivity in youth.
Armin: Where we come from, this place called Hackney in London, it is looked at in a negative way but we didn’t have negative upbringings, we had positive upbringings. We want to show that in our music videos. ‘Not Giving In’ was filmed in the Philippines, and shows a true story about a B-boy named Mouse and his buddy, Lutin. One chooses a wrong path, one chooses the right path.
Leon: Musically, it’s a very eclectic album. It sort of covers everything we’ve grown up listening to, and all our influences. From drum and bass to hip-hop to soul to R&B to reggae.
Kesi: It reminds us not to forget where you come from. Home.