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How London Group Rudimental Is Redefining Music

They may be loud on stage, but the boys of Rudimental are rather soft-spoken in real life.

Made up of Amir Amor, Kesi Dryden, Piers Agget and DJ Locksmith, the British drum and bass band is not for the weak-hearted. Their sound threatens to completely redefine live performance with their eclectic beats of funk, soul, hip-hop, electronic and drum and bass. Rudimental is not your average festival act, that’s for sure.

“This is where we thrive,” Kesi Dryden told The Huffington Post hours before taking the stage at the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, Tennessee. It was the fourth and final day of the raucous outdoor festival.

“For us, it’s such a personal thing when you’re writing songs,” Amor said. “It’s drum and bass but it’s also very emotional music for us, and has a lot of sentiment to it,” he said, adding, “As long as that’s always there — and we think it’s even stronger on this album — then people will always relate to our music.”

Rudimental broke out on the music scene in 2012 when their single “Feel The Love,” featuring John Newman, topped the U.K. charts. From there, the drum and bass act continued to take the music scene by storm in Europe and Australia with multiple hits from their debut album “Home,” including “Not Giving In” and “Waiting All Night.”

The four producers from Hackney, London, boast a long list of awards and nominations, including winning the 2013 MOBO award for best album, being nominated for a Mercury Music Prize and being named the 2013 “festival band of the summer” by the BBC.

They recently created their very own music festival, Wild Life, in their hometown with electronic duo and close friends Disclosure. “We basically created our very own dream festival,” Amor said.

Their eclectic sound is made up of drum, bass, brass and amazing vocals. The energy of their 10-person act is unlike any live performance. From big EDM DJs to festival headliners, no one rivals Rudimental’s performance on a live stage. The band doesn’t just make music, they create an energy so vibrant during their shows that it’s an experience you’ll take home with you.

An album is like a snapshot of where you are at that moment in time. And for us, ‘We the Generation’ is a progression from where we were to where we are today.
Amir Amor

With the release of their second album “We the Generation” coming on Sept. 18, Amor says they’ve just been practicing — and getting better — at their craft. “An album is like a snapshot of where you are at that moment in time. And for us, ‘We the Generation’ is a progression from where we were to where we are today.”

Rudimental’s creative process is fluid, collaborative and never truly stops. “The way we make music is continuous,” Amor said. “A lot of bands take three months to record an album and then go on tour, but we’ve always been touring, so we’ve always been recording at the same time in between gigs.” They created “We the Generation” in much the same way — on the road.

Singers Thomas Jules, Anne-Marie and Bridgette Amofah of Rudimental perform onstage at Bonnaroo on June 14.

“We’re growing and we’re getting better at what we do,” Amor said. “It’s much more of the same energy and the eclecticism of the first one, but now we’re just better. It flows so much quicker, there’s more live elements. I think the soulful side of it is out a lot more.”

It was clear how much the band had stepped up their game a few hours later when Rudimental took the stage. Their new set sounded similar to their first album — trumpets blazing, DJ Locksmith yelling at the crowd — but with even more funk, more brass, more reggae and more electric guitar. Rudimental has truly found their groove.

Known for their amazing collaborations and unearthing of new talent, Dryden said they’ve brought in some new vocalists on their upcoming album. “We’ve got new singers coming through besides Anne-Marie and Will Heard, who are on the album and are also touring with us as well,” Dryden said. “We’ve been lucky enough to work with a bucket list of people that we’ve grown up listening to and we’re fans of.”

We’re growing and we’re getting better at what we do.
Amir Amor

The quartet has also collaborated with big names such as Ed Sheeran and the late Bobby Womack. As for who they’d most like to work with in the future, Dryden was quick to answer. “Lauryn Hill. We say it all the time,” he said laughing. “‘The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill’ was one of our all-time favorite albums. If we could get her in the studio to collaborate, we would be very happy. We say it in every interview, so hopefully she’s gonna hear it one of these days.”

While the band has hit it big in the U.K. and Australia, they’re still up and coming in the U.S. “I think that America is such a big place, so to spread our message around, it takes a long time,” Amor said. “We built ourselves up in the U.K. by going on the road and touring. We would never have the following we do now if we didn’t go on the road. We’ve done a few tours here in the U.S. and we can see the fanbase is growing, gradually.”

Here’s to good music growing, gradually. Well done, boys.

Check out Rudimental’s new single “Never Let You Go” and get their new album “We the Generation” from Major Toms/Big Beat on Sept. 18.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

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