Growing up in the UK, Piers Aggett, Kesi Dryden and Leon Rolle (AKA DJ Locksmith) all shared two main dreams in life: music, and (like a lot of English people) football. But it wasn’t until their college years that their deep appreciation for music really flourished. And in 2011, they added their final member, Amir Amor of Major Toms records, to the wolf pack we know today as Rudimental.
The past seven years has seen the band journey through the magical worlds of drum-and-bass, electronica and jungle music to exist today in a genre entirely of their own making, where contagious dance beats meet soulful tunes.
They’ve collab’d with huge names like John Newman, Emeli Sande, Ed Sheeran, James Arthur and Macklemore and produced zingers like ‘Feel The Love’, ‘Not Giving In’, ‘Waiting All Night’ and their 2018 single ‘These Days’.
Ahead of the launch of their new album Toast To Our Differences and coinciding tour down under, we spoke to DJ Locksmith about the making of Rudimental, the creative process and how us Aussies stack up as an audience compared to the UK.
How did Rudimental get started?
It was kind of a romantic story to be honest. I met Piers and Kesi when I was five, we went to the same school as each other. We all had two main passions, which were music and football. We loved football, maybe even more than music. Music came parallel to football, but we always had passion and love for it.
We met Amir about 10 years ago, and he was the missing piece to the Rudimental puzzle. Amir was from north London, and we’re from the east. At the time he was a solo producer in the east and founder of label Major Toms. He really brought a different element, it felt like he was always there from the beginning. It was like we didn’t know what was missing but Amir filled that spot.
Let’s talk about the creative process. What’s it like making music with three other people?
The creative process is pretty easy to be honest. We all play instruments so that’s our first port of call. We jump on instruments in the studio and jam out ideas and melodies, and then the electronic process comes after that. It doesn’t always work that way, but it depends on how we feel. We literally just rock out. We don’t go into the studio saying “we’re going to make a hit”. It’s much more organic than that.
You guys have been making music for a while now. Looking back, has your approach changed?
Every time we make a body of work and make an album the levels rise, and we learn so much more about each other. We’re much more efficient in how we make music and we keep surprising ourselves by just how good our music gets. I don’t mean that in a cocky way, but we always manage to keep relevant and keep our audience engaged. That’s what’s so great about the new album – it’s very unique and very Rudimental.
So what's the new album about?
It’s called Toast To Our Differences because we don’t celebrate our individuality, but when we bring it all together, it’s powerful. When you look at Rudimental, that’s what we are. We’re all from different races and cultures and when we bring them together we create something special. We don’t do that enough, and when we do it’s taken for granted. It’s important we celebrate these differences and bring people together from all walks of life.
Who's been your favourite collab so far?
There’s always someone who surprises us when we collab with them. The unknowns always surprise us, but the forthcoming album has some massive vocals on there, especially ones you wouldn’t even know. But you will when the album comes out and their career starts firing. We’ve got a real eye for picking out great talent and we really love sharing these artists with the rest of the world.
What are you most looking forward to during the Australian tour?
We love coming to Australia. It’s like our second home. You guys have been so receptive from the very beginning to where we are now. This next year is going to be very busy for us, I don’t think we’ll be seeing home much in 2019. But we can’t wait to see you guys when we’re over there and we’ve got some hidden surprises for people coming to our shows.
How does an Aussie audience stack up against the English?
There’s some serious similarities between the UK and Aussies. You’re both crazy, love to drink and are really appreciative of life which is really good to see. When you’re out there and playing in front of Aussie locals you just instantly feel good vibes. That’s one of the main reasons when we talk about what we’re going to do for the year we always look for Australia on the map.
What was it like playing as DJ Locksmith at Snow Tunes in Jindabyne?
Snow Tunes was sick. It really surprised me to be out in Australia and it was snowing. I didn’t even know it snowed over there. I almost didn’t bring a jacket out with me and I had to buy one when I was there.
Any upcoming Aussie festivals planned for Rudimental?
We’d love to do more festivals. There’s always been a great vibe when we do a festival in Australia. We don’t have anything planned just yet, but when the opportunity arises we’d love to take it.
Who else are you listening to right now?
There’s this young Australian artist called Ruel. I think he’s relatively undiscovered right now but he’s so talented. We’re also listening to Anne-Marie of course, the first artist we signed to our label Major Toms. She features on our new track ‘Let Me Live’ and is just absolutely killing it. She’s also touring next year in Australia.
Want to shop the hottest looks from Spotify's Front Left live gig? We've got you covered.
Image credit: Rudimental