Rizzle Kicks: The Interview!
Although they have a top ten hit under their belts with 'Down With The Trumpets' - and featured on the number one Olly Murs track, 'Heart Skips A Beat' - it's easy to forget that Island Records-signed Rizzle Kicks are fairly new on the scene. Their contagious work ethic has taken them all over the country performing, while lending their talents to official remixes of Ed Sheeran's 'You Need Me, I Don't Need You' and Jessie J's 'Price Tag' at the same time.
The Wrap Up's James Walsh caught up with Jordan 'Rizzle' Stephens and Harley 'Sylvester' Alexander-Sule the day after their performance at XOYO, London, to talk about their musical influences, their hopes for their debut album and exactly just what genre of music the widely-labelled pair classify their blend of infectious lyrics and instruments as.
The Wrap Up: Rizzle Kicks! How are you? Thanks for taking the time to speak with The Wrap Up today. So, how did the show at XOYO go last night?
Jordan: The vibes were most definitely there. The set could've been a bit longer, but it’s always good to leave people wanting more. There was a wicked crowd reaction and it was good that they were there to see Josh Osho and Alexander Clare, too.
TWU: Yeah, Josh and Alex are big talents! Who are you guys listening to at the minute? Also, if you could have anyone open for you, who would it be?
Jordan: Jurassic 5 were definitely one of our earliest influences, so to have them open for us would be a dream! Right now, we're listening to Wretch's album, Ed's album and that new Kano tune, 'Random Antics'.
Harley: I love the way Kano has come back on the scene – he’s my favourite rapper. He's been a bit quiet of late, and it's been like having a family member go missing, but he's back with a bang – with answers to everything. His new tune is disgustingly sick!
TWU: Based on your previous releases, your style of music is hard to pin down. People have often referred to your music as ‘indie-hop’, but how close would you say that term is to describing your sound and is it a term that you're happy with?
Jordan: We used that term once about two years ago, and it's kind of stuck, but it's nowhere near to how we're sounding right now. We do experiment a lot with our music, but we see our current sound as just straight hip-hop. We understand that there is a grey area with our commercial viability, our singles so far have had pop tinges, but we're confident in our album and think it'll give assurances to everyone as to the type of music we make and why we big up hip-hop so much.
TWU: You've got a No. 1 under your belts with a feature on Olly Murs' track, ‘Heart Skips A Beat’, and he's not someone who is classed as a hip-hop artist, in the slightest. Did you ever consider not doing the track?
Harley: We were apprehensive at first – not because of him or his music, but because people are close-minded, and we didn't want people who our music is predominantly going to be for to dismiss us from the off because of the affiliation – but we listened to the track and it's not too far from something we'd do. He's a genuine guy with a huge fanbase and, at the end of the day, we realised that it was a huge opportunity for us.
Jordan: If you listen to the tune, it is essentially a hip-hop beat and, in the end, we were wondering why we questioned it in the first place. We like that we did it, it'll confuse people when they hear the rest of our music. It has made everyone aware that we're not going to conform. There are so many different styles of hip-hop and we won’t be put in a box and be held back from the music we want to make.
TWU: Your album, 'Stereo Typical', drops on October 31. What can fans expect?
Harley: Nick from Island asked us which producers we'd like to work with if he could secure any in the world, so we listed people like Kanye West, Q Tip and Fatboy Slim. Then we were in a meeting and Norman Cook bowls in asking us why we thought he was still relevant! Working with him was great – the studio smelt of years of antics and parties. There's also something from FutureCut, who worked on Wretch's album, and Ant Whiting, who has done tracks for M.I.A.
Jordan: While you think that would give you some indication as to how the album will sound, we renamed Ant ‘The Genre Breaker’! We like to experiment and he really got what we were after in our music.
TWU: Do you have any favourite tracks on the album and what are your aspirations for it?
Jordan: 'Even On A Rainy Day', 'Demolition Man' and 'Homewrecker' are great! We’re big perfectionists, but we’re so happy with all the tracks and it starts with a banger in 'Dreamers'.
Harley: Regardless of timescale, we just want people to feel the album. We hope it has that air of coolness about it so that when you're with a mate and you bring it out, even if they haven't heard it, they'd still give it the nod of approval because it’s cool to like it – like with the Gorillaz first album. We want it to be a statement of cool. Longevity is key for us; we're not looking to drop out!
Rizzle Kicks' debut album, 'Stereo Typical', is out October 31.
Stay up to date with Rizzle Kicks on Twitter – www.twitter.com/RizzleKicks
Words: James Walsh (@JW_DittoMusic)
Online editing: Joseph 'JP' Patterson (@Jpizzledizzle)