When it was announced that Rudimental and iconic casualwear label Bench had teamed up for a partnership last month, we joined the Brit Award winning London group for a catch up. The quattro filled us in on their writing methods, their love for Bench clothing, and which of their favourite musicians they’d choose to live with. Read all about it, and check out the AW16 Bench campaign here.
Viper: Hello guys!
Viper: Your videos are visually stunning and contain strong, uplifting messages. Who brainstorms, or creates the stories for your videos?
DJ Locksmith: You know what, it’s one of those things where we’ve always had a strong vision about how we wanted our videos to be, not from a director’s perspective but the way we’ve grown up. Dealing with reality growing up in East London, North London, we kind of wanted to share that with the world through our music. So when we did eventually manage to join up with the right directors and writers, we bounced off each other and came up with certain ideas, especially for ‘Feel The Love’ and ‘Not Giving In’; these are real events that are actually happening in different places outside of the UK. Philadelphia for ‘Feel The Love'[and the] Philippines for ‘Not Giving In’. That was the most important thing, you know? It being real and there being a story there that people can relate to once they’re watching the video.
Viper: What personal attributes do you think you have other than musical talent?
Amir: We’ve got a lot of attributes! You know we’re like Clark Kent but when we do music, we’re Superman; you know what I mean?
Viper: So what’s your Kryptonite?
Amir: My Kryptonite?
DJ Locksmith: Jheeze, why’ve you got to be so deep?
Piers: You know, we’ve all learnt a lot in the past like, four, five years as well. So your personality, ends up changing and adapting to what you’ve got to do. You’ve got to travel a lot and pretty much live with each other. So, I guess like, I’ve kind of learnt…
Amir: (Laughing) How much we hate each other.
DJ Locksmith: See, I think the important thing, or, the really good thing about Rudimental is we’ve grown up with each other since we were really young, almost five years old! So, with that said, we know a lot about each other, we’re not one of these manufactured bands off a TV show where they just join up together and have to get along. We go through some bad times. We go through some happy times, we know how to wind each other up and we know how to make each other smile and I think that’s really important when you’re part of a band who’ve had as much success as we have because there’s a lot of pressure that comes with it, a lot of travelling and a lot of being away from home. Once you’re together wholeheartedly and it’s not a chore to be together, it becomes pretty much easy to do.
Viper: That does help! You’re known for working with artists that are undiscovered or just beginning their musical careers. How do you find such talented people when they may not be as know yet?
Kesi: To be honest, it’s always different. You know, every artist there’s a different story for example John Newman, who we actually met in a pub. He was just singing, we heard him singing and we’d already written ‘Feel The Love’. Invited him down to the studio, you know what I mean, we wrote some more songs with him and that kind of story just developed from there. And then there’s other artists like Anne-Marie who came on the road tour with us, we were looking for a live singer; we held auditions, she was one of the singers that came down and she got the job! Learnt with us for like two, three years, now she’s gone solo and got her own music and killing it. She’s just having her first top ten. So yeah, there’s a different story for every artist.
DJ Locksmith: I think the live shows help tremendously you know. It’s almost like a platform for all these vocalists to come in and express themselves. They get thrown into the deep end, when we found Anne-Marie, looking for a new vocalist, she had to sing in front of 15,000 people [at] her first show. Imagine that, you know? What better education as an up and coming vocalist, than to do that? I think that kind of comes hand in hand with Rudimental, as well as us being, like, SICK producers and SICK songwriters.
Amir: SICK band.
DJ Locksmith: SICK band
Amir: And SICK singers.
DJ Locksmith: SICK singers
Amir: And SICK chefs.
DJ Locksmith: SICK chefs.
Piers: I feel a bit sick.
Viper: Who’s the main songwriter then?
Rudimental: We all get involved.
Viper: Do you write together or individually and then build together?
Amir: Its an amalgamation of all of our individual influences.
DJ Locksmith: Jheeze! Amalgamation…
Piers: Yeah, sometimes someone will start something and we’ll get the parts going via laptop. Sometimes we’ll be in the studio all together, writing. It depends on the day and who’s there or the vibe. Sometimes the singers just come in and we end up jamming.
Kesi: It’s a good thing about Rudimental, we never really plan anything, we never really say, ‘Alright, this person’s going to do that’, [we] just get in the studio, vibe out [with] some ideas and it all forms quite naturally.
Amir: It’s continuously evolving, like each album it’s like a snapshot of where we’ve been in the last year, how it’s all developed and changed, what we’ve been listening to and the ups and the downs, everything that we’ve been going through. It’s quite amazing to see, there’s some of these things in the past, we almost don’t know what’s going to come out in the end ’til it’s there. It’s a really magical process.
Viper: Are there ever times when you have to go and play to thousands of people and you’re just thinking, “Fuck this?”
DJ Locksmith: All the time.
Piers: You can get like that and it’s kind of hard to explain that to people. How could you not want to go in front of thousands of people? But when you haven’t seen your Mum or your family for five months or washed your own boxers for ages, cooked for yourself or done anything normal. Sometimes you can get a bit crazy, which is why it’s important to balance it out.
DJ Locksmith: All those thoughts appear the same. Sometimes, before you’re getting on stage, literally seconds before you’re going on stage, you could be at your lowest but soon as you hit the stage and the music…for me, as much as I love the crowd, even when we were playing in front of fifty people – we used to sort of gatecrash shows and just try and get our name out – it was all about our music and art. That music not only uplifts us, it translates onto the audience. You look at the audience and then it comes back to you.
Viper: You feed from each other?
DJ Locksmith: Yeah exactly. Then, all those worries and all those problems that you [had] disappear for that hour and a half you’re playing, you know?
Piers: And sometimes you do have to wear a pair of boxers for ten days.
DJ Locksmith, (To Kesi): I’m a proper romantic when I talk you know. I am like a proper romantic, innit Kes’? When words come out, it’s just like… I should write more. I should literally just write my thoughts down. What do you reckon?
Kesi: Book of thoughts.
DJ Locksmith, Rudimental: Book of thoughts!
Viper: The rose that grew from Rudimental…
DJ Locksmith: Better than an airport book! Better than a Mark Crown airport book! I’m going to write a proper book.
Viper: How do you keep each other balanced? Do you have any rituals?
DJ Locksmith: We rub each others kneecaps, at individual points. [To band members] That brings back memories, don’t it?
Piers: I think we’ve got to go out for a beer when we’re back home without mates.
DJ Locksmith: Last thing I want to do.
Piers: With our other mates!
DJ Locksmith: With our other mates? What, you got other friends, yeah?
Viper: Who’d even have that?
Kesi: That’s what I’m saying!
Piers: Then we end up seeing each other because we realise that our other mates are our mates!
Piers: And it’s like, ‘Oh, hi’.
DJ Locksmith: Ah what? You’re here?
Viper: If you could listen to one song for like, the rest of your life, its only one song, which song would you pick?
Amir: Ah, ‘What’s Going On’, Marvin Gaye, easy.
DJ Locksmith: Oooh.
Piers: ‘Purple Rain’, Prince.
DJ Locksmith: Lines, bro.
Kesi: ‘To Zion’, Lauryn Hill.
Viper: Beautiful, beautiful. Thank God! You know when she gets into it?
Amir: Great song.
Kesi: Best song ever, bro.
DJ Locksmith: Can’t think right now. How do you come back after that? My favourite song? I don’t know. When you’re doing music so much, you don’t really want to listen to it (laughs). You know what? I’ll do with a bit of silence right now.
Viper: You can move in with your favourite artist living or dead, who would you choose?
Kesi: Move in?
DJ Locksmith: A lot of them are like, freaks though, innit? Like MJ, I would love to move in with him, but then…
Amir: George Clinton from Parliament Funkadelics. P-Funk? I’d move in with him, he’s nuts. I mean he signed Prince, you know, he’s done all sorts of crazy things.
DJ Locksmith: Well I think… Tenacious D. They must go…IN!
Viper: Tenacious D, isn’t that Jack Black’s band?
DJ Locksmith: Yeah!
Kesi: I would move in with erm…
Amir: Spice Girls…
Viper: We were waiting for someone to mention a female.
Amir: I mean Lauryn, you know, Lauryn Hill. W can get married and…
DJ Locksmith: Nah, when she went bal’ head, I wasn’t into it.
Amir: What, you don’t like her hair?
DJ Locksmith: I’ll have Lauryn Hill from Sister Act.
Amir: Was Lauryn Hill in Sister Act?
Viper: She was!
DJ Locksmith: You didn’t know she was in Sister Act?
Viper: Sister Act 2!
Amir: Sister Act 2?
DJ Locksmith: Jheeze!
Viper: Everyone knows that Sister Act!
Piers: Who’s the main female?
Piers: Whoopi? Whoopi, I’ll move in with Whoopi, yeah.
Kesi: I don’t think you and her would get along, man. If you make a mess, she’s going to go in on you.
DJ Locksmith: If I’m being honest, it’s got to be a Halle Berry, but she isn’t in music. I’m sure she can sing, I hope she can sing.
Viper: Halle Berry?
DJ Locksmith: Ah yes, but, I’ve got to say something, that we wouldn’t be here, without BENCH!
Viper: How would you describe your own personal style?
Kesi: Glitz, Glam, Prestige!
DJ Locksmith: GLITZ, GLAM, PRESTIGE, in a Scottish accent! And that’s all because of Bench!
Rudimental are the faces of Bench’s Autumn/Winter 2016 collection. Peep the campaign here.