“My own generation were all into DJS and dance music or boy bands. They didn’t realise that musicians were supposed to play the songs instead of using backing tracks”
us come out with actual instruments.
“My own generation were all into DJs and dance music or boy bands. They didn’t realise that musicians were supposed to play the songs instead of using backing tracks. But the younger ones are more interested in live music, and when they see us come out with the guitar and ukulele and hear us play, they relate to it.”
What they also relate to is the fact that the Rudeboys sing about ordinary day stuff. “We write about the life we see going on outside our windows and around us at home,” says Arkins. “Some people are a bit taken aback at this and say ‘youse are writing about stuff I know about and have been through and that affects me’. But we never set out to deliberately write songs people could relate to; they’re just songs about stuff we knew about.”
Arkins is the one who brings the hip-hop smarts to the group.
“It was a good friend of mine called Sean, who now works with us setting up the stage, who got me into hip-hop in the first place. He gave me a CD with NWA on it when I was 11 or 12, and I thought it was amazing. From that, I got into Immortal Technique and then Nas and Jay-Z.
“I appreciated how honest those rappers were. They were saying what they wanted to say and not what they were told to say by some lads in suits.”
But Arkins is also a fan of The Beatles (proudly pointing to his T-shirt) and Bob Dylan. “I wish I’d been born back then because it was a better era of music. Yeah, I really believe that. I got Netflix at home and there’s a load of music documentaries on it and I’ve been watching documentaries on Rory Gallagher and Jimi Hendrix and have been blown away by them. It was an amazing time.”
But if Arkins lived back then, he wouldn’t be able to tell tales like this one, which show that the Rudeboys’ appeal is now much wider than those kids they reach on Twitter and Facebook.
“There was this 60-year-old fella at one of our gigs in Whelan’s, and he stood out a mile in the middle of all these screaming kids,” says Arkins with a grin. “He just stood at the back and stared at us so we thought he was some sort of music critic. He didn’t seem to be feeling the music at all, but when we did Bringing Me Down, we could see him nodding and going with it, and I knew we had him. I was talking to him afterwards; he’d travelled up from Galway to see us.
“It’s pleasing to know we’re appealing to people like him who were around when the legends were around. If we can reach people like him, who know their music, we’re doing things right.”