They say the golf course is where the real decisions are made. In business and politics, golf occupies a holy niche; it’s a kind of official leisure time, an opportunity for the businessmen and politicians who toil day and night to maintain their control of society can relax, talk about the issues of the day and soak up the great outdoors. Important people play golf, it’s not for the likes of you or I. In the music world, unless you own a record label, golf isn’t really a part of your day to day life. The tendency for musicians to live in cities and spend their time in studios reduces the opportunity for a quick tee-off on a Wednesday afternoon, but we figured hey, why can’t get our hands on some clubs and shoot the breeze over a hole or two? Why should the old white dudes have all the elitist fun?
Sadly we live in London, so rolling green hills and fancy golf carts were off the table. Instead, we opted for golf of the ‘crazy’ variety, sending intrepid reporter James Keith down to Junkyard Golf for chat with Piers and Amir from drum n bass megaliths Rudimental on the putting green.
Rudimental, the four-piece band whose back catalogue spans house, drum & bass, soul and pop, are as busy as ever. Top secret albums plans are afoot, but there’s plenty more to discuss besides that. As they’re quick to point out, Rudimental are a band of songwriters first and foremost – but that hasn’t stopped them from becoming sought-after festival headliners. Combining the live presence of a traditional band with the jump-up energy of dance music (and the occasional number 1) is what lies at the heart of their success. With only two UK festival appearances this year (WILD LIFE and V Festival), tickets will be harder than ever to come by.
Besides that, they’ve been working closely with Love Specs, a charity also supported by Skream and Katy B that provides direct aid to Malawi, helping the locals to build a sustainable infrastructure in terms of food production, running water and education. In true golf spirit, we spoke to Piers and Amir about how they got involved with Love Specs, their political opinions, and how Rudimental are revolutionising their live show.
Notion: First thing to talk about, because it’s unavoidable right now, is politics and the election. You’ve been quite vocal about getting people to register to vote. Why do you think young people aren’t engaged?
Piers: I think growing up as a young person, politics is not very attractive. It doesn’t draw you in as a young person. For starters, it’s mainly old people that are politicians. It’s really hard to feel engaged unless you speak the political language or your dad’s a politician. I didn’t vote because I wasn’t really inspired by anyone. I studied history and a bit of politics, but I was quite upset about the Iraq war, the way we’re dragged into wars against our will. Millions of people marched against the Iraq war and we still went to war. Politics can be quite off-putting in that sense.
Amir: If millions of people actually voted, that would make all the difference. The thing is, most of us didn’t vote. Most of us don’t vote. We’ve been disillusioned by politics. I’ve never voted before. This is the first time I’ll be voting. It’s not that I didn’t care about my life, it’s that other people govern our lives. I thought they were all the same. I never thought about voting Green Party because it’s never going to happen. Now it feels like it’s quite a pivotal time. It feels like there’s an opportunity to change.
Do you feel optimistic about the future?
Amir: I feel hopeful.
I take it you’ll be voting Labour?
Piers: It’s up to people to decide, to read the manifestos. What’s happened now with – I don’t want to say New Labour – but the new, new Labour speaks a lot more to me. It speaks a lot more to young people, to working class people, to middle-class people.
Amir: They speak to us, and that’s what we want: a better life domestically and abroad.
Piers: We want a better life for everyone, not just the select few people that run the country. It’s about raising standards of living across the board. Things like the NHS, that’s really important to me. My dad worked in the NHS for 40 years and I saw first hand how he had to sack people because there’s no money. It’s really important to be aware of how these things affect your day-to-day life. A lot of young people are just not aware of it. We wanted to try and change that.
It’s good to see people persisting with that message, even after the smear campaign against JME when he pledged his support for Jeremy Corbyn.
Piers: You’ve got to remember a lot of the media is owned by the corporate elite, so I really strongly believe that people should not swear by these papers and treat them like the bible. That’s what’s dangerous. I mean, that’s the cool thing about social media and the internet – it has at least provided a route for free journalism. Again, even on Facebook and social media, that’s not the bible either. People need to take all this information in and make up their own opinion. Just because somebody in a newspaper writes a column and about something, it doesn’t mean it’s true.
It’s about critical thinking.
Piers: Exactly! You’ve got to take that opinion and decide whether you agree with it.
Amir: I really rate JME. I have a lot of respect for people that stick their necks out, because even the supposedly “for-the-people” media is actually very right wing. For someone like JME to come out like that, I have the utmost respect for him. We’re trying to do what we can. It’s really important that people say something. Everyone’s afraid of speaking because the media will rain down on you.
Let’s talk about the work you’re doing with the Love Specs charity. Tell us a bit about that and how you get involved.
Piers: We met Love Specs at a festival and fell in love with their product. Basically, they’re glasses and when you put them on and you see lights, they turn into hearts. They’re really amazing. Then we started to sell them at our gigs and sell them at our WILD LIFE festival. All the money goes towards funding a school in Malawi and also a sustainable farm that provides food all year round for the kids at the school. We actually went out there last year to visit the school and had an amazing experience. We saw first hand how the money directly affects the community. We really trust this organisation and it’s something that we can see a direct positive effect.
Amir: It’s a small group of people, they’re really hard-working. It’s not a big organisation and they’re really out there putting in the graft and doing the work. To really know what it takes, you have to be out there. Piers went out and visited. One of the biggest reasons why we’re doing this for children in Malawi is because it’s sadly one of the poorest countries in the world, when they’ve got some of the best resources. They just don’t have enough food to sustain children on the journey to school and back. That way the students and the teachers can actually get there, eat, drink, stay there and study. This is going towards building the future infrastructure of the future society of Malawi, so it’s very important.
Piers: Remember as well, we’re talking about teaching the community how to grow on the farm. So when this organisation leaves, they’re not in the dark.
So they just approached you at a festival?
Amir: We went to a few festivals with them. The way I met them was at festivals. We just met each other and had a wicked time. That’s how it happened for me. I think Piers may have known them before.
On the subject of festivals, what have you got coming up this year?
Amir: We’re doing our own festival WILD LIFE, which we do yearly with Disclosure; we’ve been busy curating that and setting it up. In terms of playing, we’re playing V Festival. We thought we’d do one big show in the UK. But mostly, we’re releasing music this year. Next year, back on the road, etc.
What can people expect from your two festival appearances?
Piers: Live shows with new songs, lots of guest artists. But the most important thing is it’ll be new!
Amir: Yeah, we’ve been touring for about five years, and we’ve picked up so many things that we’ve wanted to do. This year we’ve finally had the time to do it, so I’m really excited to bring the new show to V Festival. We’ve suped it up, we’ve got some new songs, but the core of it is the nine or ten of us on stage having fun and enjoying each other’s presence.
So what sort of stuff are you listening to at the minute, who are you excited about at the minute?
Piers: I really like Anderson .Paak’s new album.
Amir: I’m still listening to Kaytranada’s album, that’s banging. I’ve been listening to a lot of random stuff. Obviously we love rave culture as well. We’ve got our residency in Ibiza starting in a couple of weeks from June 12th at Amnesia. So we’re listening to a lot of club music. We’re doing some stuff with Martinez Brothers, we’re messing around with different people and making dance music. But at the same time, a lot of soul. We’re soul boys really. We grew up in London with pirate culture so there’s always going to be that influence as well.
What can you tell us about the Ibiza residency? Will you be bringing any guests with you?
Amir: Yeah, we’ve got some stuff. We’ve got our trumpet player Mark Brown, who’s really the fifth member of Rudimental. He’s always there so it’s gonna be a vibe. There’ll be a few special shows where we’ll bring out Tommy [Jules] and our singers, stuff like that. You’ll have to come and see!