12 Jan Interview: Rude Kid talks ‘One Take’, working with grime legends and more
Rude Kid is a name that’s become synonymous with grime. Extensive production credits are there for all to see, along with a successful DJ’ing career that once looked stagnant. Rude Kid has made waves and earnt his stripes, first venturing into music after downloading FruityLoops more than a decade ago:
“School days, I was introduced to a program called FL Studio, FruityLoops at the time, and the person that showed me, I just felt like, you know when you listen to tunes like ‘Eskimo’ back in the day, and you always wanted to make a tune that made you feel like that. I was one of them guys where, when I heard tunes like ‘Eskimo’ or ‘Pulse X’ or one of them sort of tunes, I always wanted to recreate the feeling that them tunes give me.
“So when I was shown a program where I can make beats, from then I’ve just never looked back. I’ve always wanted to make beats. I’d wake up in the morning, practice making beats, practice, practice, practice, and that’s how I really started from school.”
In the coming years, Rude Kid worked with grime elites like Skepta and Wiley, whilst his growth was also aided by the release of his Jack Daniels EP in 2012. How did he go about staying afloat in a time where the sound he specialised in wasn’t making as much noise as it is now?
“Back then, making tunes with people like Skepta and Ghetts, for me, they were always just superstars. You know how people look at idols, they might look at a popstar and feel they wanna work with them, that’s how I used to look at these lot. Like the Wiley’s and the Skepta’s, but working with them was sick man. It was sick. Bearing in mind I didn’t know anyone in the scene, so getting the opportunity to work with them was sick.”
Rude Kid’s production credits are now extensive and include more heavyweight additions like Giggs and Bugzy Malone, but besides producing, he is also a prominent DJ. How did that side of things come into fruition?
“The DJ’ing thing, I always DJ’ed, on vinyl, then I stopped for ages. but then I realised I didn’t just want to do producing, I wanted to do something more. I wanted to be in front of people and then slowly and slowly, I started doing things. For the last two years or so, I’ve been doing loads of shows and festivals. Last year was my proper run of proper bookings, like you know when your diary is packed. UK, Europe around the world, I was in America. Everywhere.
“I feel that 2016 was my proper run and stamp as a DJ, to show people that this guy is a DJ and he’s good and he’s shutting down shows as well. But before that, I love DJ’ing man. I’ve always loved DJ’ing, but I’ve never done shows like I did last year, on a bigger scale, in front of thousands of people. Even doing loads of festivals, I never did that before either.”
With 2016 posing as a breakout year of sorts, I asked what contributed to Rude Kid being able to fulfil his deadline and finally enjoying a proper run of shows.
“I don’t know you know. I feel like, in 2015, I felt like that nothing was really happening. But I said to myself I’m going to give it until the end of 2016, and if nothing pops, then it’s time to move on. I’m not one to ever give up, but I really felt like nothing was popping, and I know bare people have gone through this as well that do music. But I feel like, just forgetting everything and just doing music for the love of it again brought everything back. You know when you stop caring about A, B and C and you just have fun with it. Even the EP me and Ghetts did, stuff like that, that came from nothing. It was just fun. And then that’s it, 2016 was an amazing year.
“During the end of 2015, I started making bare tunes as well. I did the Giggs ‘Who’s That’, Bugzy Malone ‘Watch Your Mouth’, Boy Better Know ‘Shaky’, I started doing other things. Then we did the 6×3 EP, so yeah, I feel like being positive and knowing what you want, and being determined to achieve the goal, that’s what made everything worth it. And 2017 was amazing as well. Hopefully 2018 will be the same. Also getting on radio helped as well. I got my own radio show and that helped as well.”
Rude Kid joined Kiss in 2015 after doing various shows and sets on Radar Radio and Rinse FM, experiences that helped him to further enjoy his craft. Since becoming host of the Grime Show, he has welcomed a host of MCs, but among the many invitees, which moments stand out the most?
“The Christmas show in 2016 was a highlight, because that was the first time that I’d done a massive set that had been filmed. I did one on Rinse as well but it didn’t get filmed, but that was sick as well. But this was way more people, like 40 MCs and it was filmed and documented. For me, it was a good highlight getting all the MCs down. Just getting people on in general. People taking time out of their day to come down. I’d put everyone in the highlight, because everyone brings their own thing to the table. Something different.”
If you turn on Kiss nowadays, there’s a high chance you hear a banger from a UK artist. That wasn’t always the case. Years back, it was a lot of RnB and American rap. Now it’s UK rappers and MCs.
“You see with radio and all of that stuff, everyone’s just doing UK music. Majority of them are doing it independently. They don’t need a label or nothing. They create a fan base by themselves through social media. They put out music and like you said it does well. It charts. And because it’s charting, radio has no choice but to support. We have to support you, because this is popular music now. People are liking this, and if that many people have bought it for you to chart, then we have to play it on radio. For the specialist shows like myself and Spyro’s, we will play music that we feel needs to be pushed.
“If someone sent me a tune and there not really a heard of MC but it’s good and you can see potential, then you start pushing them. But the whole thing is, people are not relying on a label or anyone else, they’re just doing it themselves. That’s what’s pushed the whole music scene and is what will continue to push it in the years to come.”
Rude Kid is one of many DJs occupying influential positions who’s worked through the scene’s hardship, along with the likes of Sir Spyro at Kiss and more recently, Kenny Allstar at BBC 1Xtra, something Rude Kid feels is important to growth of the scene.
“There’s a lot of people that have been stuck with the genre of music for years. Even me, I’ve been there through the down times, the hard times, when nobody cared. Even people like Spyro and other people that have been there, they’re the people that are getting the rewards now, which is good, but we’re still continuing. There’s no looking back. If you’ve come this far and you’ve put in all them years, there’s no point giving up.”
Ghetts and Rude Kid came together to create their SixFiveThree EP in under a week, adding to their link up on ‘Sing For Me’, a Rude Kid-produced hit from Ghetts 2008 in. How do you produce a body of music that still meets the high standards set by both in such a short time?“That was a very spontaneous EP. We were at Relentless Studio and Ghetts was working on his album at the time, so I was with him a lot, playing him tunes and stuff. It was mainly Ghetts’ idea, he said ‘let’s just do an EP’ in a week, and see what happens.
“Relentless supported it a lot at the time, maybe even the turnaround of my career, that support there, that they gave. It was just that. We didn’t know sick tunes like ‘One Take’ would end up being. After we made it, we knew DJs were gonna want it, and MC were gonna want it, but we didn’t know big the tune would start getting. Or how big that EP would be, or how it would be received by people. It was a blessing man, it was sick. We’ll do another one soon, after his album.”
Among the six tracks was ‘One Take’, a viral grime smash that sparked remixes from artists such as Stormzy and Chip and secured itself a spot as a cheat code of sorts when played live, guaranteed to things upside down. The instrumental now occupies a place among grime instrumental folklore and the song was a huge moment for all involved.
“You know what, I don’t really see that impact. It’s weird, I don’t see how big the tune is. When it’s your own tune, you don’t see the impact but everyone else will see it around you, if that makes sense, which is good because it’s keeps you grounded and makes you want to work more. But like I said, when you have a tune that’s massive like ‘One Take’, you don’t really realise what it’s doing. Moments like that are blessings.”
2017 was a big year for the UK music scene. Wherever you look, there was growth. Streaming numbers were huge, multiple artists charted in the top 10 and shows were being sold out both in the UK and worldwide, so I asked Rude Kid what he feels were the most important moments in and amongst a healthy and crowded pile of achievements.
“I think this year Giggs has killed it. He has done amazing things, the tune with Drake, stuff like that, the American crossover, that was amazing. Stormzy going number one, was like woah, nobody’s really done that. even Wiley’s album, that was his highest charting album ever. He’s like the king, the godfather and he had his highest charting album that he’s ever had in his career, and he’s been doing it for years. There’s so much that happens, it’s unbelievable. Bugzy Malone’s EP charting at #4. That’s crazy. It  was been the year of people charting. Anybody can chart now. You just have to a good song out, and you’re charting.”
I think people are supporting each other more as well. Yes, there’s always going to be competition, but it’s healthy competition. Everyone’s supporting each other’s projects or whatever. Coming out at people’s shows. A lot of people did headline shows too, and sold out. So people are actually selling tickets. Even with me, the shows I’ve been doing, they’re not small anymore, they’re massive shows.
“Little things like that. you gotta start somewhere small, then you grew. Even these people like Giggs and Wretch, they might not of been able to sell thousands and thousands of tickets ten years ago, but from where they’ve stuck at their craft and they’ve smashed, they can sell out big venues now. Do whole tours and sell them all out, like Giggs did.”
2017 was unquestionably memorable, but what’s in store in 2018?
“I feel it needs to be more of this, more selling out tours. At the same time, we need to see new talent coming through. I hope it’s going to be a massive year, bigger than this year. I feel like, you know when you get a gut feeling, I feel like 2018 will be a good year for everybody. This year was like the starter, and next year will be like ‘yeah, let’s go’. A lot of people are going to be making big power moves.”
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