x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Walking on the wild side

Rudimental are bringing their carnival show to Sandance.

Amir Amor, right, of Rudimental. Rex Features via AP Images
Amir Amor, right, of Rudimental. Rex Features via AP Images

What a difference a hit song can make.

Just three years ago, the English electronic music group Rudimental were playing small 200-person gigs around London.

This year, they headlined the field the quartet used to play football in as schoolboys.

The sudden success lies in last year’s luminescent single Feel the Love.

Featuring a stellar vocal turn by the English songwriter John Newman (who is headlining Dubai’s RedFestDxb in February), the track topped the UK charts and was a hit across Europe and Australia.

“It changed everything for us,” says the producer and guitarist Amir Amor.

“Everyone really took to it and at that stage we were already working so hard that we felt that we were ready for it.”

While the group officially formed in 2010, the members Piers Agget, Kesi Dryden and DJ Locksmith (all songwriters and producers) knew each other from the UK underground music scene as DJs in pirate radio stations.

The group coalesced once Amor joined and released a string of non-album singles.

The 2011 release Spoons generated industry buzz but most labels were caught off guard when the boys produced their follow-up Feel the Love.

“A lot of them rejected it because it was a drum ‘n’ bass-ish track with live horns, organs and some singing on top,” Amor recalls.

“The labels said ‘what is this?’ They told us to make it more drum ‘n’ bass or more pop and do this and that. The good thing about us is that we are stubborn about our music and stuck to it.”

Eventually the independent UK label Black Butter released it and its success caused the suits to “shut up and they allowed us to do what we want”.

This resulting album Home, released in April, continues the group’s mix and match approach: their latest hit Wait All Night marries propulsive kick drums with singer Eyres’s warm soulful vocals. In Free, Emeli Sandé once again showcases her impressive pipes with a track owing more to American gospel music than the London underground.

Amor says the song’s various influences stem from their parents’ record collections.

“I grew up listening to the garage, grime, drum ‘n’ bass music while secretly trying to play guitar at home,” he says.

“I wanted to play the classic Ray Charles and Marvin Gaye songs. At the same time you had Pierre scratching his mum’s Anita Baker vinyl and putting a drum and bass beat on it.”

These classic influences are best displayed in the Rudimental live show.

Amor says the band’s Sandance performance will see the songs performed in an organic fashion.

“You will hear them the way they were originally created,” he ­promises.

“We are influenced by the likes of James Brown also so the live show is wild and a big party. It’s like one big carnival.”

• Home (Warner) is out now

Rudimental play at Sandance, Nasimi Beach at Atlantis, The Palm, in Dubai on Friday. For tickets visit www.timeouttickets.com

sasaeed@thenational.ae