Touching Bass: Rudimental
Rudimental’s 2012 saw them catapulted into widespread consciousness after a year full of contagious chart fillers and a feel good ethic that hopscotched genres with ease. Already purveyors of house, drum & bass and most things in between, their Touching Bass mix is similarly eclectic with soul crooner, Marvin Gaye, rubbing shoulders with TNGHT. We stopped to talk mixing tempos, Todd Edwards and video concepts.
Also, check out the Touching Bass mix series, which continues alongside all features via Mixcloud.
You’ve mentioned Todd Edwards and NERD as influences. Which albums from those guys do you value most highly?
Amir: For me, it’s more of Pharrell’s production work as a producer and not just N.E.R.D, my influences include people like Soul II Soul, The Specials and Sly & The Family Stone; the whole group mentality of making music.
Kesi: Looking at Todd Edwards, Leon and Piers were huge fans of his music and I think he just has a sound that’s really fresh and unique even though he’s been doing it for years. As soon as you hear a Todd Edwards track, you know it’s him. His sound has never really died and a lot of people have taken that style into their own work.
Moving on to your music, I first came across your music via Spoons, which featured MNEK and Syron. How did that all come together?
Amir: MNEK shares our studio with us, so he’s there all the time anyways so Kesi had started playing these chords for a track idea and we must have been eating our lunch and I had some jerk chicken. We were looking for this percussion line to put on top of it and I started playing this rhythm with my fork and spoon then laid it down. Then MNEK came through to say hello and he wrote the lyrics in about ten minutes, so the whole track came together in a bout half a day. We always try to recreate a fluid studio session because if you plan it too much, it never really comes out the way you expect it.
In all your music videos, there’s a consistent strong message or concept, usually about a sub-culture. How do you go about choosing the direction with each visual?
Kesi: I’d say that when you look at ‘Feel The Love’ and then ‘Not Giving In’, those videos have shown things around the world that people might not be aware of. You’ve got the horse-riding community in Philadelphia and when we heard the treatment we thought ‘that’s really different’. When we looked more into it we found out that the community came from a charity that had stables and it was all a way of keeping kids off of the streets. The whole project was amazing and the kids are genuinely into looking after their horses. ‘Not Giving In’ looked at the breakdancing scene in the Philippines, which I wasn’t aware of before the video either.
Amir: I think in all of our videos, there’s that sense of realness and they’re all real people. We try and carry that sense through our videos and we’re related to that because we all did youth mentoring at some point before the music so we feel the same vibe from the communities here as you do from the kids in our videos; just that kids over here may have BMXs where they have horses.
In terms of the visuals, it does come across as part music, part documentary; something that only Solange’s ‘Losing You’ has shown recently…
Amir: Funnily enough, we were going to do a video in Congo and look at the Le Sape community but Solange’s video was set in South Africa. Congo’s community is about these people who live in shantytowns but spend all of their money on getting kitted out in fancy suits.
Kesi: We saw the treatment, but when we looked into the whole meaning it didn’t really go with what we were about. It could have been a cool video, but the materialistic value is against what we’re trying to do.
So are you looking to continue your style of music video with future releases?
Kesi: It depends on the music and if the footage actually fits with the film. If the right idea is there to compliment the song, then we’ll do it.
And in terms of collaborations, your latest hook up was with New York’s Angel Haze on ‘Hell Could Freeze’. How’d that come about?
Kesi: I think it was before ‘New York’ was getting played on radio, so we actually did that track a little while back now.
Amir: Piers’ sister, Beth, played the initial chords and sung the chorus idea, which became the basis of the song when Angel came to the studio. We started messing about with an elastic-like synth sound we call the ‘f***** pickle’ and we’ve used that in a couple of our tunes. Angel loved it and laid down a verse, turning it into what it is now.
What do you guys like doing when you’re not making music?
Kesi: Me, Piers and Leon all grew up playing football and making music so I’ve played semi-pro football. When music became more influential, we had to cut it out.
And finally, what can people expect from your much anticipated debut album?
Amir: It’s going to be a mixed bag of tempos and people are starting to get a taste now for the diversity of the group. The artists we’re working with are mostly up and comers and even there are some big collaborations in there, they were really just a matter of it working really well in the studio.
Rudimental are currently preparing their debut album for release in Spring 2013. Their collaboration with Angel Haze, ‘Hell Could Freeze’ is available for free download from Rudimental’s website. You can listen to the last mix from Kasra on the Touching Bass Mixcloud page.
Download the ‘Touching Bass: Rudimental’ mix here.
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