Rudimental, a four-man collective of producers and DJs from East London, arrive in San Francisco for a rare DJ set on August 26 at 1015 Folsom after opening for Ed Sheeran at SAP Center in San Jose on the same day.
The groups operates as a melting pot of classic jungle beats with genre elements of drum and bass, house and garage styles. Brilliant performances at major festivals, like Outside Lands last year along with both Coachella and the UK’s Glastonbury this year, solidified the group as a worthy clash of live instrumentation and eclectic sounds.
To keep the momentum, Rudimental plans to finalize their second album by the end of 2014 after collaborating with music icons George Clinton and classic rock band Steely Dan. We spoke with founding member Piers Agget about the upcoming record, their experiences at Outside Lands and San Francisco, and why the group bailed as openers for Ellie Goulding at Bill Graham Civic back in April.
You studied creative music and sound technology in Leeds with bandmate Kesi Dryden. How did producer Amir Amor and DJ Locksmith complete the Rudimental quartet?
I grew up with DJ Locksmith. I’ve known him since I was like three or four years old. We played on the same football team, or “soccer.” I went to college with him as well. Amir, we met him about five or six years ago. It was after working with my management and we met him at “Major Toms,” his home studio.
Once we meet Amir, it was the fourth piece to the puzzle. We started making music and it sounded really good. It’s weird. It’s like we’ve known Amir all of our lives. There’s a good connection there. He has the same pace and grew up doing pirate radio stuff.
Who are the group’s biggest soul influences?
I guess George Clinton and the Parliament Funkaedelic. Marvin Gaye is another big one. I love a little blues and jazz, personally. I love my Chicago blues Muddy Water and all that sort of stuff—songs that were such a big part of our lives. My mom and dad had a vinyl collection that we used to play. The 60s and 70s were such great times. It definitely comes out in the music. Working with vocalists, we love when we hear a soulful vocalist to give music that vibe.
Does your second album have a title yet? What are your feelings on the final product?
We haven’t really got a title yet. There’s a working title, but people would be upset if I disclose it. We’re about to go on tour with Ed Sheeran in North America supporting him. We’ve got a studio bus with us, so that’s going to be exciting. We’re going to try and finish it on this tour by the end of this year and release it early next year. It’s about 80 percent there. It’s at that finishing stage now where we have to hone in and finish it. Early next year is the plan to release it.
Any good memories of Outside Lands last year in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park?
Yeah, massively! We said to each other that was one of the best shows in America. We’ve got fans out there and that felt like a real moment for us. There was a lot of people and there was a vibe of greatness at that festival. It was very close to that of UK festivals like Glastonbury. It had that spirit.
What happened back in April when Rudimental was scheduled to open for Ellie Goulding at Bill Graham Civic right after Coachella?
That was one of those things that happen in the music industry that people don’t understand why it exactly happened. At that time we had to make a decision on whether we could get out there. There were loads of factors. There was money, not being able to afford to get over there for various reasons. Sometimes things slip and you end up saying you can do a tour when it’s not actually possible. It comes with having such a manic schedule.
You don’t always get to please everyone and sometime you have to cancel. It’s never a good thing. You never know what to say when you cancel. Sometimes comments can get twisted. It’s part of growing up as a band … There’s all this stuff that happens behind the scenes that you have to deal with as part of the job.
Have you visited San Francisco or spent time beyond the band’s performances?
Yes, when we played at Rickshaw Stop last March, that was a great show! We had a chance to see Haight-Ashbury where all the stores are. The main shopping area was quite cool. There was one store with a bunch of body parts in it and a wicked music store as well. We did get a chance to check out places [in San Francisco]. Sometimes, we end up only seeing a hotel room.
What did you enjoy most about working with funk legend George Clinton?
The best part of that was actually meeting him and that it happened so naturally. It wasn’t something we forced or had the labels hand him down. We went to a gig in metropolis studio in London. He was recording there and we met him. He was best friends with one of my best friend’s mom, which I didn’t know, who had passed away. I didn’t know he knew my best friend’s mom so closely. Once we got talking, let’s make some music and it’ll be amazing. We went on tour and sent him some tracks and he sent them back to us. We’re going to try and get them finished for the new album.
How did you decide to work with Steeley Dan? Did you learn anything from them?
Working with Steely, that was amazing. We actually wrote a song together. Michael McDonald is a really great keyboard player and we got a bit of that recorded as well. It’s really inspiring to working with [a group] who’s made so much music. The collaboration was one of those things where you kind of have to pinch yourself to actually believe it.