Chris Schulz is the deputy head of entertainment for the New Zealand Herald.

Rhythm & Vines: Rudimental spread the love

One of the headlining acts coming to Rhythm & Vines, Rudimental will cap off a madcap year of touring by seeing in the New Year in New Zealand. They talk to Chris Schulz.

Two weeks ago, Piers Aggett had five new countries stamped into his passport. Last week, when TimeOut spoke to him, he'd already notched up four more.

Not that he's complaining. He says he's living his dream.

As a member of Rudimental - one of Britain's hottest drum 'n' bass acts - Aggett says the in-demand quartet are touring non-stop - and loving every second of it.

"It's crazy, man," he tells TimeOut on the phone after a concert in Montreal.

"We haven't had more than two days off in a row in a year. We're touring around the world, eating really good food at festivals ... We're living our dream. We're loving it."

By the end of the year the Feel the Love hitmakers - comprised of the songwriting and producing team of Agget, Kesi Dryden, Amir Amor and DJ Locksmith - will have added a New Zealand stamp to their passports with a DJ set at the Rhythm & Vines festival in Gisborne.

Full line-up: Rhythm & Vines

The line-up for the three-day dance music-orientated New Year's event, announced today, also includes Empire Of The Sun, Shapeshifter, Hospitality and Flux Pavilion, as well as Kiwi acts The Phoenix Foundation, David Dallas and @Peace.

But fans attending Rhythm & Vines will want to be in front of the stage and ready to party when Rudimental drop their genuine summer anthem Feel the Love, a banger that combines drum 'n' bass breakbeats with pop hooks from John Newman and went to No. 1 in the UK and No. 4 in New Zealand.

Aggett says they knew they were on to a good thing when they heard the completed song for the first time.

"I always find with really big songs, there's something magical that takes over you. You get excited hearing it. You definitely know that there's something special about it - but we didn't think for a second it would be No. 1.

"We all went crazy, took our tops off and started running around. We've got a video of that somewhere - we should put it online," he laughs.

Feel the Love was first released in May 2012. It has become so big, Newman has launched a successful solo career and the band has been on the road ever since, becoming a sought-after act for festivals like Bestival, Pukkelpop, T in the Park, V Festival and Made In America.

In a review of their Glastonbury performance, the BBC described them as the "festival band of the summer" and said they bounce around like "Tiggers on trampolines" on stage.

While New Zealand isn't getting the full live Rudimental show - they're being tipped for a DJ set on New Year's Eve - Aggett describes Rudimental's shows as "a good old London party".

"A carnival is the best way to describe it. It has a bit of everything: reggae, house, garage, hip-hop. We're kind of a live representation of our album, but our songs sound quite different - we're not just playing the record behind a laptop. We've got a drummer, a trumpet player, three vocalists - there's nine of us on stage and it's quite a big party. We really enjoy ourselves playing as a band."

Despite incorporating many different styles, Rudimental's debut album Home - written on the road while touring behind Feel the Love - has a definite drum 'n' bass blueprint behind each song.

Aggett says they weren't deliberating trying to get drum 'n' bass into the mainstream - they just wanted to make music that "influenced us growing up".

"We didn't come from the drum 'n' bass scene. We've been going to clubs and warehouse parties in London and soaking up rave culture from house, garage, dubstep and drum 'n' bass. What we like to do is mix that with our soul influences - we're massive soul fans from the 70s and 80s. Drum 'n' bass is just part of our upbringing."

Despite the overnight success of Feel the Love, and subsequent single Waiting All Night (which also hit No. 1 in the UK) the band has been together for seven years since meeting at school. But the song's success has allowed them to ditch their day jobs - Aggett ran a community studio part-time - and focus on the band full-time.

But it's only been recently that their success has sunk in.

"It's so manic. You're always doing something and you're always travelling. It's only this year we've really realised how many people we've touched. Things seem to be spreading around the world. We're really excited about the future because we feel like we've only scratched the surface," Aggett says.

"We can't wait to get into the studio and do more albums and play bigger stages."

Who: Rudimental
Where: Rhythm & Vines, Gisborne.
When: December 29-31.
Listen: Debut album, Home, out now.

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- TimeOut

- NZ Herald

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