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29 April 2013

Chart-toppers Rudimental release album inspired by growing up in Hackney

THE past year has been a whirlwind for Hackney foursome Rudimental – and with their second number one, ‘Waiting All Night’, under their belts it’s not set to quieten down anytime soon.

Band member Leon Rolle, aka DJ Locksmith, spoke to us just hours after hearing they were number one again following last summer’s standout track ‘Feel The Love’.

“We found out live on air on Radio 1,” he says. Adding: “We’ve had this build up over the last few days with people asking if it’s going to be number one, but it’s an amazing feeling. To have two number ones in a year is just crazy.”

The quartet, whose sound was forged by their childhood in Hackney, faced late competition with their second single. Yet they managed to keep teen superstar Justin Bieber, hip hop megalith will.i.am and dance music pioneers Daft Punk off the top spot.

Leon says: “Last time around we were very anxious – it felt like we had our whole career pinned on one track – but now we feel like our message is clear and we’re not as nervous.”

Piers Agget and Kesi Dryden – two other members of Rudimental – used to live three minutes away from Leon in Clapton. The three founding members grew up together, united by their passion for football and music. As they got older they got into DJing, playing grime and garage records and inviting others around to MC.

“We used to invite about 20 MCs around to our mum and dads’ houses and had rinse outs where we’d have one or two hour sessions spinning tracks on vinyl and MCing,” Leon recalls.

Those parties – and their experience growing up in Hackney – had a big impact on the three friends and Leon cites his upbringing as one of his main musical influences.

He says: “If I didn’t grow up in Hackney I wouldn’t be the person I am today. There were loads of influences; just on my mum’s street you had a Jamaican family listening to their reggae records and a few doors down an Irish family listening to Irish folk music. And then there was us, with our grime and drum and bass.”

After starting out as DJs they went on to concentrate on producing and met fourth member Amir Amor, from Camden, who was already producing in North London. From there they focused on remixing and released breakthrough track ‘Spoons’ in February last year.

Their debut album ‘Home’ – released today – brings together influences from growing up – with the music played by their older brothers and sisters – combined with new experiences formed playing live together.

“Performing live gives us that ‘home’ feeling, and we try to bring that energy and vibe to our recorded tracks,” Leon says. Adding: “Lots of dance artists don’t play live, but we have all our instruments laid out in our studio, Major Toms, in Hoxton. We just jump in and press record, Kesi starts the melody and we just go from there.

“When we play live we get to hear that music on awesome PAs and we can take that sound back into the studio. That’s sort of how the album came about.”

Leon talks about live performances like a seasoned musician who has toured for years; it’s hard to believe their first live gig was just under a year ago. In fact, their homecoming set at Radio 1’s Hackney Weekend was just their second ever live performance.

He recalls: “Hackney Weekend was the pinnacle for us, but it was also our second ever performance. We were very nervous, we’d played our first gig the night before at the Isle of Wight Festival.

“We didn’t really expect anyone to turn up for us and we didn’t really know how big ‘Feel The Love’ was. In the end 8,000 people watched us. To be standing on the turf where we used to play football and hear 8,000 people screaming our words back at us was crazy.”

Rudimental are now set to embark on their first UK headline tour, followed by a European headline tour and performances at Glastonbury, T in the Park, Bestival and Latitude festivals.

Leon muses: “When we get back we’ll head out on tour again here in the UK. We won’t get to see our family and friends for a long time.”

For a band so rooted in Hackney their next homecoming will surely be something to savour.

Click here for more on Rudimental, or to buy their new album 'Home'.

Rudimental credit growing up in Hackney as inspiration for the debut album Home

Rudimental credit growing up in Hackney as inspiration for the debut album Home

Rudimental credit growing up in Hackney as inspiration for the debut album Home The Rudimental debut album Home is out today

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