Rizzle Kicks in their ‘Roaring 20s’: ‘I’m excited by failure’

Rizzle Kicks mug for the camera.
Rizzle Kicks mug for the camera.

On stage, Rizzle Kicks – Jordan Stephens and Harley Alexander-Sule – are like kids hopped up on far too much candy. They’re in your face – Jordan, especially. He refers to himself as a “liability.” But it’s their party boy stage personas that produce the mischievous-looking duo’s infectious anthems. The 21-year-olds’ fall-released “Roaring 20s” runs in a similar but ballsier vein, with catchy tongue-in-cheek tracks like “That’s Classic”. Oh and Harry Potter (that’s you, Daniel Radcliffe), be warned: you’re in for a dissing.

You’ve got over a million followers on Twitter. Do you get any indecent proposals from groupies?

Jordan Stephens: Dude, some girls on Twitter say the dodgiest shit, yeah – and they literally look like they’re about 14 or something. I DJed at my mate’s Scroobius Pip’s [poet / musician] night and he said “Can you retweet this: ‘Come down to the show: Scroobius Pip and Jordan from the Rizzle Kicks?’” and I said “OK”. He screenshot the first reply and it was like “Let me f— both of you.”

Did you reply?

No, it’s shocking as hell. Those things are scary. It’s an absolute minefield. Sometimes I find myself scared by the prospect of me pressing ‘Send’ and just like providing a million people with information that I may or may not agree with in five minutes.

You’re with a major label, so they must push you towards commercial success. David Guetta said that he doesn’t always like his own music, so which of your tracks are you least proud and why?

I remember having a weird relationship with “When I Was A Youngster” for a while. We got that initial incredible buzz after “Trumpets” and people were like these kids are as fresh as f—. And we knew “Mama Do The Hump” was coming and we didn’t think anything of “Mama” at the time, so we thought, “What shall we do in between?” Do “Youngster.” Suddenly, because we’re top 10 artists, the song just seemed completely different. It seemed like we’d written it after having achieved success with the intention of it being a catchy song.

What would you do if the label dropped you?

That’s the one thing that I’m very comfortable with. I know that me and Harley are really talented individually. If I turn around tomorrow and release the second album and everyone’s like, “Sorry, mate, you’re over” and the label dropped us, I’ve got some other shit I can do, man. I could pursue my love for directing, TV writing – if that f—s up man, I’d even go into advertising. I love adverts. We can even go under a different name, we can start again — it’s exciting. I’m almost excited by the prospect of failure. Maybe that’s what keeps us going.

In “Lost Generation” you say that you’re a “slut,” so how many girls have you slept with?

[Laughs] That comment was not meant to be honed in on me – it’s about sexism. The punchline in that was actually “But I’m a boy, it’s all good.” The only thing that we can conclude from that statement is that if a girl had slept with as many people as I’ve slept with, they may be considered a slut.

What would that figure be?

Oh, f— knows, man. Err… seven?

You’re lying.

I am lying. I’m 100 percent lying.

Do you share everything, you and Harley?

Yeah. [laughs]… Are you asking if we share women? Noooo, no [laughs hysterically].

Do you two ever fall out? What are your roles in the duo?

No, it’s a very calm relationship. I spend 70 percent of my working life trying to antagonize Harley on the basis that he doesn’t get wound up. He’s so tranquil and like, chilled. He doesn’t rise to me at all – that’s why we kind of work. I’m a liability, I like to be provocative and start conversations. I can’t tell you how helpful it is for someone to be like, “Well, he’s a dick but I like Harley.”

Have you considered taking your music to a darker place?

There are a couple of songs that didn’t make the album which are dark. There’s a song called “Lunatic” on there that’s quite dark and I remember playing it to the label and they were taken aback by it – not that I give a shit. I think we’ll gradually get darker as we mature.

You diss Daniel Radcliffe in “That’s Classic.” Are you not a fan?

Err… shit, this is going into print, I have to watch what I say here. I really like Daniel Radcliffe as a person and I adore Harry Potter. I think maybe it’s a common undertone that he isn’t a great actor.

That’s a very cagey answer.

The point is: He’s done well – but I could stand here saying, “He’s shit in ‘Harry Potter’ as an actor and he’s not a great actor” but ultimately, he’s Harry Potter and how much does he really care [laughs], with his mansions and £20 odd million in the bank? He’d be like, “Don’t really care, bruv – good luck with your single.”


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