Rudimental, interview with Leon ‘DJ Locksmith’ Rolle

By Claire B

I had a quick chat with Leon, aka DJ Locksmith from Rudimental when they appeared at the opening weekend of Ibiza Rocks a few weeks ago, to find out what they are up to at the moment and what we can expect from their Major Toms presents Rudimental and Friends pool party residency that begins on July 5th.

  • CB: I was at both of your live shows here.

L: Oh wow.

  • CB: The first one, they were both good, but the first one was really off the scale.

L: Yeah, crazy.

  • CB: And a lot of my friends actually say that that was their best gig here, it was their favourite, and there have been some really good ones, so what’s your memory of that?

L: There’s been some serious historical moments here. First of all let me start off with, the first time that I came to Ibiza Rocks was to actually watch a show and be a punter.

  • CB: Who was it?

L: It was Dizzy Rascal. And I came to watch Dizzy Rascal, it was a boys holiday and I was just in awe of the energy that he had on stage and I kept saying to my boys, what are we doing, we were working in schools at the time, we’ve got to be up on that stage, we are producing good music. Lo and behold two years later we were onstage and we did a DJ set but then to come back and do it live was a whole different world for us. Because that’s where you understand what Rudimental is really about, you know. You’ve got so many sort of categories to Rudimental.

You’ve got the commercial side, you’ve got the underground music side and lucky enough we’ve been able to fuse the two. But sometimes it’s hard for the listener to actually understand, what is actually going on here, because people like boxes, but when you come see the live show and when you see it all put together with live instrumentation and electronic sounds, and brass, real drummers, it just brings it to a whole different light and it’s electric. And you kind of lose yourself, it’s almost like an out of body experience.

That’s what it was like on stage. And more importantly it was like that for the crowd because we felt it off the crowd, the energy from the crowd.

  • CB: It was amazing, I mean you used the word electric. I would use that word as well. I was there, I was in the audience and as you say, everyone was feeding off each other, the band were feeding off the audience, the audience were feeding off the stage and everyone on the stage was just having an absolute ball, you could tell.

L: Yeah, totally, totally. Well that’s what it’s all about. Interaction with the fans is what people want to see. I’ve been to live shows and I’ve seen the sort of segregation between, you are the fans and you are the performers on stage. When we go on stage we like to bring them together so you feel like you’re a part of our world, and we are a part of your world.

  • CB: Well it works. [Leon laughs] So what can we expect from your pool parties here then?

L: Our pool parties are going to have a lot of different artists on, artists that we’re big fans of and artists that we’ve signed as well to our label, Major Toms. Like Anne-Marie, who has been absolutely killing it. Our DJ set is going to consist of myself and a brass player, two Rudimental members, so the energy and the vibe will be electric, but more importantly it’s all about showing people who we’re fans of and who we’re interested in outside of our circle, and people we might be investing in in the future via our label, Major Toms, hence why we’re calling it Major Toms presents Rudimental.

  • CB: It sounds great, it sounds like an interesting project.

L: Yeah, definitely, it is definitely an interesting project because it’s a new chapter in the Rudimental story and we kind of just want to give the exposure that Major Toms deserves. We’ve always wanted to lay a platform out for new artists. We’ve worked with the likes of John Newman and Ella Eyre when they were practically unknown and then they have to fly off and pursue their own careers, which is amazing, we love that, but we wanted to provide a platform where we can develop them further and make sure they reach the heights that they deserve. So hopefully we can do that and Ibiza Rocks is going to be the platform for that.

  • CB: Are there going to be some live performances as well?

L: There will be no live performances but there will be DJ/PA sets kind of things. So, for example if Anne-Marie is playing, she’ll be singing to a backing track.

But yeah, we’ve trialled and tested it and she’ll give a brilliant performance, she’s such a good performer and so are the others. You’ve got the likes of Octavian who’s an up and coming rapper who’s going to come, you’ve got J Hus, you’ve got David Rodigan. When I just mention those names, I kind of think wow that’s an eclectic set there, and that sums up what Rudimental is about, it’s not one box of music, it’s an eclectic sound.

  • CB: Great! So what else is lined up for you this summer?

L: Oh, this summer’s a busy one. Obviously we’ve got the residency here and we’ve got the album, which will be released real soon, on September 7th.

We’ll be doing some touring, mostly DJ sets, a few live shows because we want to save it for our headline show in October. For us the main focus is the album, although albums are really underestimated these days I feel, I feel it’s very important for us to have an album because that’s what people want, they want to go and listen to a body of work. It’s all well and good giving them singles but they want the story behind them and they want to come see a show. I feel like having an album helps people invest in your show and that’s what we’re about.

  • CB: I was going to ask you about the album. So what you can tell me about it?

L: The album’s going to have that Rudimental spine in there, you know, you’re going to have unknown artists that you don’t know about and they’re going to blow you away vocally. I feel like it’s probably the best music that we’ve created to date.

I’ve grown up with the Rudimental boys since I was 5 years old and every stage in our career we’ve pushed each other further, we’ve pushed and broken down boundaries. We’ve done it again with this album, it’s going to have an eclectic sound. It’s got reggae, drum and bass, house influences in there as per usual, but I feel like the quality of music has stepped up to another level and I’m really excited for people to hear it and just to feel what we feel while we were making it.

  • CB: I can’t wait to hear it. So are you hoping that you’ll have a bit of time off whilst you’re in Ibiza and get to explore the island a bit?

L: Oh, I wish. In the five, six years that I’ve been coming here as a performer, as an artist, it’s usually in and out jobs, you know. I haven’t had a holiday here, It’s either be here for a day and a half and then off somewhere else and then come back the next day. I may have to pick a couple of days out of the schedule to just actually relax and chill here because it is my favourite island in the world.

  • CB: You should try.

L: Oh definitely.

  • CB: I was going to say what do you like most about Ibiza but you probably haven’t seen enough of it to have an opinion.

L:You know what I love most about Ibiza are the hidden gems that you have. When I first came here, it was on a boy’s holiday, we spent most of our time on the strip as you do when you’re on a boy’s holiday, but as we came here as artists and performers, you kind of start noticing other stuff, like, what’s the castle called?

  • CB: Dalt Vila.

L: Yeah, Dalt Vila.

  • CB: You did a gig there – I was at that one too and that was good.

L: Yeah, we did a gig there and there were lots of technical issues but we managed to get through. And then the beaches – there’s something here for everyone, you know. You can come here on that first boy or girl’s holiday or whatever and you can also have that relaxing time, you can bring your family out here and still get that quality time or you can just have a straight up rave, which I’m guessing a lot of people come to the island for. So that’s what I love it for, it’s hidden gems and the fact that it’s built for everyone.

  • CB: Well try and make sure you get a couple of days while you’re here.

L: Ah, I hope so.

  • CB: Well that’s it, have a great party, enjoy it, it sounds really good, I can’t wait to see what you’re doing.

L: Ah, cheers. Thank you.