The Rudimentals may hail from different parts of the globe with day jobs that range from doctors and engineers to models and teachers but they have one thing in common – MUSIC

They’re not only the ultimate music collaboration (we are talking reggae, ska, hip-hop, dancehall and even metal influences), they are also the ultimate bromance! We caught up with the very charming trombone player Ross McDonald to answer all our burning questions

CSA: How many members are you?
Ross: We are like 11. We’ve got drums, bass, guitar, brass and vocals. It’s mad!
Where did the band name come from?
It just came from a little bit of rude you know, like ‘you’re rudiment’. There is this Jamaican subculture called Rude Boy culture which refers to guys from the ghetto who would dress up in suits and go to the city, finding employment as ska/reggae DJs/ emcees etc. We used to be a ska band so the name was in line with that type of music. Although our sound has changed over the years we are still The Rudimentals.
Any association with the UK band Rudimental?
No, we didn’t know about each other at all! But when they were in SA, they heard about our EP launch and came through. So The Rudimentals and Rudimental hang out, which was really cool! They are also a lot of people so it was basically like two rugby teams – we are just a little better looking… I hope (laughs).
You have models in the band, don’t you?
Yes, we have some good-looking gents in the band. There is Khaos who is a Jamaican model and Whosane, from Brooklyn NYC, is also a model. There is actually some really interesting people like King Labash, a dancehall emcee from Zimbabwe, T-Boss who is a chemical engineer, we have a doctor as a guitarist and I am a studio owner etc. Everyone has their own thing going on.
How did you meet?
In different phases, Labash and I met when we studied music together at UCT. Back then I was in Hog Hoggidy Hog and The Rudimentals opened for us and I loved it! So we just kind of met each other in drips and drabs, like ‘you are a cool musician come and hang out’ and the band just kept on getting bigger.
What makes it work?
We are just such an eclectic mix – Jamaican, South African, American, African, Jewish – it’s a super world setup with so much creativity and input to draw from.
You have been described as ska and reggae band. Where do you place your sound?
We don’t do ska anymore. We are still reggae though, mixed with dancehall and a healthy sprinkle of electric elements. We also have a bit of hip hop for the Brooklyn guy to do his thing on.
Briefly, describe the music-making process?
It’s very important to have guided focus because if you have 11 people trying to chip in you end up with a horse that has three heads and one leg. It starts with a vision and from there we incorporate everyone’s elements, usually ending up with a complete metamorphosis of the original idea. On the other hand, we have had amazing songs come out of sound checks! So there is the jamming and the guided visions working together.
Musical influences?
Mostly Damian and Stephen Marley. However, the influences have changed over time, we are even listening to Nigerian guys like D’Banj at the moment. But if you ask different people you will get different answers!
Who is the coolest musician/band you have met on tour or performed with?
You ask a hard question! We have performed with amazing musicians like UB40, Lucky Dube and The Whalers.
If you can perform with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?
I know it is a clique but I want to say Bob Marley so bad! He was such a legend. Definitely one of the Marley’s though, probably Stephen.
Most memorable career moment?
There are so many but supporting UB40 was amazing, not only because they are a great band but to be able to play in front of 20 000 people was really special.
What are you currently working on?
We are working on a collab with a really cool DJ/producer. I can’t let the cat out of the bag just yet but what I will say is that he’s a bit of an SA legend 🙂
Which of you are more likely to:
See a ghost?
Simon – he is super zen and hippy so if anyone is in touch with the spiritual world it’s him. On the other hand, maybe Nicola because he is already basically a ghost!
Get away with murder?
Whosane – he is so damn charming. His voice is like butter, I think he can talk himself out of anything!
Become a millionaire?
T-Boss – he’s an engineer so maybe he will invent something super sic.
Where can fans catch you live in March?
Hillcrest Quarry, Kirstenbosch and a free show in De Waal Park (which is always a very nice price to pay).
10 QUESTIONS with Ross
  1. I love: Popcorn
  2. My biggest fear: Failure
  3. My strength: My fear of failure
  4. My weakness: Sweets, chocolates and pretty girls
  5. My wildest fantasy: To be doing music in NYC and living the dream there
  6. I can’t live without: Popcorn
  7. Fav hangout spot: My couch with my PlayStation and my popcorn
  8. The title of my biography would be: The End (laughs)
  9. Happiness is: Losing fear
  10. I overuse the word/phrase: Isit  

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