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Sunday 18 February 2018

Q&A: Original Rudeboys

The original Rudeboys
The original Rudeboys
Ed Power

Ed Power

The Original Rudeboys' Rob Burch on stealing The Script's fans, the Chris Brown controversy and why Thom Yorke is wrong about Spotify

Hello Rob. What are you up to?

We're in Cardiff, waiting to soundcheck. It's the last gig of our UK tour. Things have gone amazingly well – we are surprised at how positively we have been received, given that we haven't released an album over here.

What sort of venues are you playing?

We're doing 300 capacity rooms. Most are pretty much sold out. Filling venues of that scale across the UK is cool.

I saw you in the Olympia before Christmas and it was packed. You're clearly very ambitious.

To be able to play the Olympia after two years in existence was spectacular. We were just back from touring with The Script around Europe. To finish that, then come back to a sell-out show in your home town is amazing. The Olympia is the sort of venue we want to play everywhere – and to eventually eclipse.

So here's the inevitable Chris Brown question. How tough a decision was it to reject his offer of a support slot at The O2?

Not supporting him was difficult for us. We're a young band trying to get into the music industry. To say 'no' to a gig at The O2 was tough. The point was we had a single [Blue Eyes] out about domestic violence.

Now me and the rest of the lads don't really care about Chris Brown's personal life – it is none of our business. We're not here to judge. That said, we have our own beliefs. It was our responsibility to get our message across. We felt supporting him wasn't the best thing.

On the subject of songs with messages, is it true that your early hit Sunny Days is about a friend taking his own life?

He passed away a couple of years ago to suicide. We felt we could write a track that would raise awareness of the problem of young people taking their lives. That is something that is often brushed under the carpet. We try to get the message across that if you need to talk, there is always someone out there you can confide in.

I hope this doesn't sound glib – but for a song about suicide Sunny Days is remarkably upbeat.

It is the heaviest subject on the face of the planet. On its own, it is bleak enough. We didn't want the song to be heavy too. We wanted it to be a celebration of a person – a celebration of our memories of him. The challenge is doing that while also having the message that we should all be aware of the reality of suicide.

Your music blew up on YouTube. Would you have a career without the internet?

If I could give a young band advice it would be that you should utilise the tools that you have – the free services offered by social media. For us, YouTube was the perfect platform. Without it, we would not have been able to get the music out there at the start and go on to release an album that is within touching distance of going platinum.

Given how important the web has been to you, what do you think of Thom Yorke's decision to yank his music off Spotify.

We are happy for every fan who downloads our music, legally or illegally. They are going to download it anyway.

We'd prefer if they paid for it, because it puts us in the position of being able to make another record. That said, a fan who goes out and downloads your music is still spreading the word. Spotify is great because you can listen to the music but it isn't easy to rip it off the internet and put it onto your iPod.

You play Oxegen next week. Are festivals intimidating, given that a percentage of attendees may be only vaguely aware of who you are?

At some point in their career, every musician has to go out on stage and play to people who have never heard of them. That's the challenge. Touring with The Script, we had to go out every night and perform for tens of thousands of people who had never heard of us and steal them away from The Script.

Ed Power

Original Rudeboys play Oxegen at Punchestown, Co Kildare, tomorrow.

Irish Independent

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