Angie Gough hands over her column as LoveEast meets Rudimental
In a light-filled upstairs room at The Gun in Well Street Market, young spoken-word artist
Di-Andre Ebanks-Silvera took over my artskicking duties, interviewing Rudimental and leaving me in the corner to take pics and marvel at all the talent in the room. He did brilliantly. Here’s what went down…
On the day after the release of their latest single Sun Comes Up, before an afternoon spent mentoring young performers at the Discover Young Hackney stage, I caught up with Kesi and Amir from Rudimental.
Rudimental are more Hackney than Hackney. Kesi was born in Mother’s Hospital and grew up in Upper Clapton. Piers and Locksmith grew up in Lower Clapton and all their mums were friends. “We began playing football together in our teens, as all kids back then tended to do,” Kesi says. “Even sometimes now I still go down to Hackney Marshes.”
Later on, between school and going to see artists like Wiley and Dizzee Rascal at Palace Pavilion, they began making music together. “We were just doing something we loved and continued to pursue it,” Kesi says.
2011 was really the turning point. Meeting Amir (from King’s Cross) and becoming a four-piece, they got signed and were asked to perform at Hackney Weekender, where they took their DJ set and turned themselves into a live band.
Despite a busy touring schedule, the boys still see Hackney as home. Kesi says: “I grew up here. All my friends and family are here. Recently I got to move back, next door to my mum back in Clapton. I’ve been very lucky to grow up with such diversity, where there are so many people from different walks of life.”
Amir echoes Kesi’s sentiment: “We’ve been to many places but nowhere’s like Hackney.”
Its vibrancy and diversity has heavily influenced the band. “Growing up, I had a Jamaican family next door playing reggae; Irish neighbours playing folk; Indian playing Indian – bringing all sorts of music and food and cultures,” says Kesi. “It’s not many places where you grow up feeling like you’re one step ahead of everyone. You can go anywhere else in the world and still feel at home.”
For Amir, too, that diversity is precious. “It’s something to be cherished and used to our advantage,” he says.
Moving on to inspirations, Amir remembers: “When I was about 15, I was inspired by hearing a girl rap on a beat. She took me to a youth club where they were making music. The manager was a guy called Kevin Osbourne and the most important thing he did for me was to say, ‘Yeah you can do it’.”
The club was Major Tom’s, now Rudimental’s very own studio and record label.
Safe to say that Kevin is an #Artskicker 😉
For Kesi, seeing Hackney boy Labrinth have success was a big inspiration. He says: “He’s younger than me, from the same school and area. It made me think, ‘If he can, I can do it too’.”
It wasn’t always an easy road, but “the message of our music is always a positive one”. “We’ve all had our individual struggles, it’s important not to focus on the negative”, says Kesi.
Any advice for anyone coming up in music or starting a career in music? “One of the hardest things for me with music was sharing it with people. It’s scary,” says Kesi.
He tells the story of an early Rudimental single and how he played it on a mix tape with some mates in a car, without remembering it was on the tape. Their reaction to it was enthusiastic and it went on to become their number one debut Home.
Amir concurs: “Be brave. Share you work. Get out your comfort zone. You will get judged, but take it on the chin. Before we got to our level of success, we were all about 25 or so; worked ordinary jobs (including teaching and youth work); we’d lived a bit, gone to uni.
“Sometimes when you’re young, with the whole world presented in front of you it’s difficult to live a normal life.” Being friends with each other and having “amazing parents” has helped the boys on their journey, too, and keeps their feet firmly on the ground.
Di-Andre’s interview time was up and the boys put on their Discover Young Hackney T-shirts, ready to go hear some of East London’s freshest talent in action. For a band that’s flying high, living every young artist’s dream, they really could’ve stayed in bed. But not these guys.
Kesi says: “I know I can speak on behalf of the rest of the boys when I say that we want to be involved in stuff like this more and more.
“We all feel like it’s important to give back to the community that helped make us!”
And with that, they’re off, inspiring the next generation. Bona fide #Artskickers.
Rudimental’s top five Hackney hotspots…
Ridley Road Market – for when you need to know you’re home.
Mare Street – for the memories, mostly.
Hackney Marshes – for the footie. Obvs.
Millfields Park – for a walk and a proper caf.
Visions Video Bar – for a night out in Dalston (shh….)
Rudimental’s latest single Sun Comes Up, featuring James Arthur, is out now.
Keep up with Di-Andre Ebanks-Silvera on Soundcloud and Twitter @diandreebanks.
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