Wise and humble - to such an extent that you have to keep pinching yourself to remember that he’s only 20-years-old – are the words that come to mind when talking to Jordan, one half of the meteorically rising Rizzle Kicks.
It has been a year that defies description and certainly defies expectations for Rizzle Kicks (aka Jordan Stephens and Harley Alexander-Sule) - “it’s been a year of complete craziness, you know, everything’s been a whirlwind", says Jordan of a year that saw them sign a record deal, release an album and watch it explode.
Signed at just 19 after a video they made caught the attention of the right kind of music people the British duo released their debut single ‘Down with the Trumpets’, the success of which saw Jordan and Harley realise that it was time to strap themselves in quickly as their crazy ride was about to begin. "On the back of that we were like ‘lets put this album together and release it’," recalls Jordan, "it’s just been phenomenal, I mean, we went into the top 10 and then released ‘Mama Do the Hump’, which just shot up into the top five.”
The album, Stereo Typical, seems to be resonating with music fans old, young and somewhere in between if album sales are anything to go by, “its gone platinum in the UK,” shares Jordan, “it’s just amazing that that amount of people have taken our sound on board and purchased our album. And that is someone buying into you as a whole, its not just purchasing a single and listening to one or two of your songs. It’s actually buying an album and listening to everything you have created on it and that is a huge compliment and it’s massively encouraging as musicians and as song writers, so it’s very exciting.”
When asked if the joy that emanates from the album was intentional Jordan sounds well pleased with that, saying, “I definitely think the vibe we got across is one of an up-beat nature because that was what was in our heads at the time, and I think we’re quite optimistic people, we’re quite light-hearted, fun people and that vibe came across.”
With this kind of success coming to such a young duo you would be forgiven for assuming that this was always their dream, not so says Jordan, “I wanted to be a professional footballer until I was like 15. Harley wanted to be an actor.” But the music bug did finally bite and led Jordan and Harley into a partnership that Jordan describes as “very much like Ying and Yang” and a style that is a vigorous nod to the music that inspired them. “It’s a conscious reference to a style of hip-hop that we very much love. The use of samples that are very much live, or like, “Down With the Trumpets” is a Mariachi sample; very much Latino. And we just love quirky samples, whatever the instrument is, if it’s a reflection of our personality then we’ll go forth from there.”
Heading to Australia for the first time for Parklife Jordan says they hope to be “infectious”… in a good way of course! “We love being on stage. We love new audiences. And if anyone comes to see us, and is up for smiling, and is up for generally having a good time; then I think we can most definitely provide that. We run around a lot on stage, we’re very energetic and we just hope that’s infectious.”
Talking more about Parklife Jordan gets really excited talking about his mate Labrinth (“he’s brilliant!”) and some of his other favourite artists on the tour (“the line-up is wicked”), especially Plan B. “I’m a big fan of Plan B,” says Jordan, “I don’t think he’s really put a foot wrong. He’s very much a serious artist, and he’s a force to be reckoned with. We saw his live show when we performed with him in Ireland last year, and I think… when you see artists perform before or after a person, and you see Plan B, you think, that’s going to be hard to match”.
Already busy working on a second album in between performing, touring and generally living the rock star life, Rizzle Kicks are hoping to bring a lot of the ‘new-ness’ in their lives into their music. “In hip-hop its very important to find things that are conceptually unique and original, and we have managed to incorporate these new situations, and the situations we’ve found ourselves in as a result of being successful, without doing the whole ‘money rattling’ type of vibe.”
“Creating music is kind of the most exciting and fun process you get as a musician, so we’re just making sure that when we’re making the music we love and connecting with artists we like. And now we’ve got our foot in the door we can maybe collaborate with more artists and take everything to the next level.”
With an album as fun-filled as Stereo Typical and a live set that fellow Parklife artist Chiddy Bang declared to be “dope” we think we are pretty darn lucky to have Rizzle Kicks performing at this year’s Parklife. Don’t you?