Rewind a year: UK group Rudimental were (and still are) generating hit after hit. And now, the group is paving the way for the next big thing to come out of London. R&B sensation Dan Caplen has been torpedoed into mainstream success after writing and featuring on Rudimental’s colossal hit ‘These Days’. Fashion Industry Broadcast chatted with Caplen during his recent trip down under.
‘These Days’ has not only reached over 196 million views on YouTube, but is continuing to explode in the charts, both internationally and here in Australia. With 2018 marking the start of Caplen’s long-awaited breakthrough, the multi-talented musician and songwriter spoke to us about his recent success and performance at The Logie Awards.
“It was amazing, before we went on we had a little huddle. There was talk of the after party so half my mind was party ready. It was a lot of fun” said Caplen on the lively performance himself and Jess Glynne delivered to the crowd at this year’s annual Logie Awards hosted at The Star. The duo – accompanied by a gospel-like ensemble – had all our favourite Aussie celebrities dancing in their seats and on their feet. Unsurprisingly, Caplen and Glynne’s high energy performance did the song more than justice.
According to Caplen, the past year has been surreal. Any musician who recently performed at the highly-coveted Wembley Arena would say the same. The recent string of milestones in the musician’s whirlwind career is feeling like a dream; “every day I’m waking up and I’m like ‘Is this really happening?’ I’ve been working in music for quite a while and having this breakthrough, it’s been amazing.”
Unless you’ve been trapped under a sufficiently encompassing rock, you’ve probably heard the irresistibly catchy tune being pumped in a clothing shop or played gently in a Sydney Café. The wave of the positive reception and praise for the single down here in Australia has been more than a pleasant surprise for the classically trained artist; “I mean, I’m definitely surprised. It’s been amazing – the reaction here, I’ve heard it about three, four times walking around. It puts a smile on my face every time I hear it.” Exuding a newly found genre of Neo-soul, Caplen lends his smooth vocal range to complete the diverse range of talent in the single.
Such talent is firmly rooted in drum and bass ensemble Rudimental, who have a signature knack for producing dance phenomenons. The quartet has been equipped with their exuberant creativity with their universal hits like ‘Not Giving In’ and ‘Feel the Love’. To be a featured vocalist for Rudimental is a prestigious feat for any contemporary artist, and for Caplen, his personal and professional affiliation with the group lead to the collaborative process beginning back in 2016; “I’ve known the boys for four years. It got sent to them as a demo, which was just me and piano. They hit me up and made it into a Rudimental single.”
Now their bestselling single to date, ‘These Days’ enlists the impressive army of Macklemore along with Jess Glynne, another UK hit-making veteran. So how did the humble demo get into Macklemore’s hands? Caplen talked us through the smooth, natural process behind the hit and how a cohesive collaboration came into play:
“Rudimental sent it over to him (Macklemore) and he recorded that. We (Rudimental) kind of sat on it for a bit then towards the end of last year. I was in a session with Jess, we’re with the same label, and she heard it. She put down the chorus for me and it just fit”.
As ‘These Days’ is now officially a certified banger, Caplen has teamed up with South London hip-hop artist Ms Banks for his new soulful single ‘Trouble’. Another addictive track Caplen has orchestrated that blends the likes of pop and soul; this isn’t the first time the 26-year-old has hailed in additional talent for his projects. His 2017 single ‘Flat Champagne’, featuring Ray BLK, began the steady trend of successful collaborations with up-and-coming British artists.
Ms Banks’ role in ‘Trouble’ is what Caplen actively seeks and strives for in creating innovative music, as he explained to us: “It’s a different perspective from having another artist jump on it. Ms Banks is a massive legend, she’s doing really well in the UK. When she put her bit down, it’s nice and fresh as well having that new little drop come in.” When listening to ‘Trouble’, the lyrics evoke a universal message of love and sacrifice that a lot of fans, new and old, will resonate with. “It all stemmed from like one thing: “trouble always follows you,” somebody said that to me on a night out.”
Although Caplen is a strong advocate for collaboration, the songwriting process is purely a solo endeavour. A true contemporary in his approach, Caplen explained how everyday technology replaces the traditional pen and paper, for an accessible, mobile method for capturing creativity; “I think the best way to do it is to keep on writing, like even whilst I’ve been out here, glory of having an iPhone you should make little voice notes on some ideas. All I’m doing is writing lyrics, humming and beatboxing on my phone.” Even whilst travelling around the Gold Coast and Sydney over the past days, he has been dropping potential lyrics and inspiration into his voice memos. Will this mean a new single is on the way?
Did you catch Dan’s performance at the Logies?