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Rudimental press shot [festival guide use only]
Danny North

Rudimental talk festivals, Ed Sheeran and Snoop Dogg getting smoky

Soulful Hackney heroes Rudimental explain why headlining east London festival Lovebox this summer will be the homecoming show they've been waiting for

Written by
Kevin EG Perry

Rudimental are one of London’s great homegrown success stories. Their Mercury Prize-nominated 2013 debut album ‘Home’ spawned a slew of massive hits including ‘Feel the Love’, which launched the career of John Newman, and ‘Waiting All Night’ which did the same for Ella Eyre. Fresh from touring America in the company of their old mate Ed Sheeran, this summer sees Piers Agget, Amir Amor, DJ Locksmith and Kesi Dryden return to the UK to take the Friday headline slot at this year’s Lovebox festival in Victoria Park. They also have a brand new record primed for imminent release. We caught up with Amir Amor to find out how they’re handling their swift rise.

You’re headlining Lovebox this summer. Will it feel like a homecoming?
‘Definitely. Most of the boys are from Homerton and our studio is in the nice part of east, which is Shoreditch, obviously. I live in Bow, so it’s just round the corner. It takes us back to a few years ago when we did our first-ever festival set in front of a few thousand people at Hackney Weekender. It feels like we’re playing on our home turf.’

Will you get a chance to see any other acts?
‘I can’t wait to see Snoop. We played before him in Miami once. There was definitely a haze of smoke going on. As long as he plays 'Doggystyle' and the old-school stuff he’ll be great.’

How are you dealing with the step-up becoming festival headliners?
‘We’ve been playing together for seven or eight years and headlining festivals is something we dreamed of from the very beginning. I always personally thought that playing to 1,000 people at Secret Garden Party was the dream. We did that and then we switched it up. Now we’re playing to many thousands of people at Lovebox. It’s really rewarding. It’s a massive dream that’s coming true.’

Do you have a point to prove at Glastonbury given that you couldn’t finish your set last time because of lightning striking the stage?
‘That was heartbreaking because it had been our dream. We didn’t get to finish and of course we were saving some big numbers and new songs for the end. This time round we’re headlining the Other Stage and we’ve got a chip on our shoulder! There’ll be a bunch of new songs. We’ll play some new stuff at Lovebox too.’

You’ve just finished your new record. Any special guests this time round?
‘There’s going to be a few surprises on the album. I can’t wait for people to hear it. We haven’t gone for the usual Rihannas or Justin Timberlakes of the world. We’ve gone more towards our influences and the people we loved growing up, on the soul side and the reggae side. There’s a good mixture between the singers we’ve discovered like John Newman and Ella Eyre – both back for round two – mixed with some legends. It’s been amazing to work with some of the people we’ve got, but we want to keep them secret for now.’

How are you feeling about supporting Ed Sheeran at Wembley Stadium in July?
‘We supported Ed on his American tour and played some huge venues. We didn’t realise how massive he is over there. We had our studio bus with a recording studio on it, so we actually made a lot of this album on the bus. We had a drum kit in the middle and amps in the bays. All the ideas came together while driving, and then when we came back to our studio in London, we refined it. That’s how we’ve managed to keep functioning even while we’re touring. During that tour we worked on a bunch of ideas with Ed as well… which might see the light of day at some point!’

Your first record was very influenced by London’s pirate radio stations – can you retain that vibe when you’re on a bus in America?
‘We made about half of the record whilst driving around America and half of it in east London, so it’s a mixture. Influence-wise, we still come from the same roots, and we still bring that energy that we grew up with through our music. We’re still true to our roots though. We’ve still got the drum ’n’ bass, jungle and house influences. That hasn’t changed. I think the soulfulness has come out a lot more this time because we’ve been playing live so much. We’ve got more live instrumentation on there. It’s still high energy, and it still has some emotion in there as well.’

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