Since we put him in our Brighton top ten last year, Rag ‘N’ Bone Man has had one hell of a ride. Having previously supported Bastille and worked with DJ Premier, the hip hop soul singer spent this year playing a string of festivals in Spain and the UK, including a slot at Glastonbury. Now he’s putting on a series of national curated shows with hand-picked support – starting with a Brighton visit on September 29th with Tiggs Da Author and Olah Bliss at Concorde 2.
What’s the idea behind these curated shows?
The idea was to put on a gig where I play the headline whilst showcasing other artists I like. I had to choose Brighton for the first one, it’s my hometown and I love playing at the Concorde 2, it’s one of my favourite venues. The next one will be at The Exchange in Bristol and the one after will be at Brixton Jamm in London. That’s as far as we’ve got for now.
What are you planning for the Concorde date?
Really just to put on the best gig I can. Olah Bliss has a wonderful voice and magical stage presence. She supported me at Scala in London last year. Tiggs is pretty new to me but when I heard his music I was instantly captivated. Anyone that comes down is in for a treat.
What Brighton acts have you been involved with since you moved here?
Rum Committee is the foundation, they’re my family and the reason I’m doing what I’m doing now. The music community in Brighton is great, I’ve met lots of talented people over the years. Tom Hines has run an open mic hip hop night for over 10 years called Slip Jam B. One of the first places I performed my own material. That’s how I met Gizmo, KD, DJ Direct and all the rest. It’s also how I met Leaf Dog and the High Focus gang, so I always pay homage to the foundation.
Supporting Bastille a couple of years ago put you on some big stages like Alexandra Palace, what was that experience like?
I never thought my sound would go down well at a Bastille show but I was wrong. Dan asked me if I’d like to come on tour and I jumped at the chance. It was a great experience and taught me loads about my live performance. The Bastille guys where really supportive too, they helped me out a lot.
What has been the best moment of your recent festival gigs?
Glastonbury was incredible. Crowds were amazing, people were lovely. I didn’t have a bad gig all summer. It’s really great to see the growth, the audience getting bigger, more diverse. I love festival season.
You worked with one of most influential hip hop producers, DJ Premier, how did that come about and what did you take away from working with the man?
My boy Kong called me up one morning like bruv you gotta check your twitter. I had a tweet from him with a link to one of my videos saying “Rag N Bone is the fuckin troof!”. I bugged out hard, he’s one of my heroes you know. The next thing I knew my manager said Premo is coming over and he wants to get in the studio. It was one of the best moments of my life. He really does embody hip hop, he lives and breathes music. I hope to get to work with him again.
What advice have you got for any upcoming local singers and rappers?
Just do what you enjoy doing, don’t worry about what you think you should be making. Just be creative. Get out and play live. Take every opportunity that comes your way and be nice to people.
How do you feel your influences fit together? What percentage is your music blues, soul and hip hop?
Hahahaha. I don’t really work in percentages. All of the above are big influences in my music but I’m not sure any define me. I love the pain in storytelling, that’s why I love blues. Hip hop is like the backbone. And soul, well soul is in everything.
WHAT: Rag ‘N’ Bone Man Presents Tiggs Da Author and Olah Bliss
WHEN: Tuesday 29th September 2015
WHERE: Concorde 2
Interview by Ben Bailey and Mike Tudor
Photo by Mike Tudor