Shortly after Raf Rundell unveiled his debut album proper, ‘Stop Lying’, in March 2018, he received a life-changing phone call. The late Andrew Weatherhall (the musician and producer known for helming Primal Scream’s seminal ‘Screamadelica’), rang to congratulate Rundell on his recent release – and encouraged him to pursue his newfound solo career further. A creative spark was reignited, and the journey to a new record began.
It would then take three years for Rundell to come good on the promise. Follow-up ‘O.M. Days’ landed last month (April 9) via Heavenly Records, marking the second full-length solo effort from the London-born DJ. Yet this break between albums was essential to Rundell’s creative process: he had to rope in a wealth of close mates to help him to fully realise his ever-evolving vision.
Rundell invited Fat White Family frontman Lias Saoudi to his Forest Hill studio, where ‘O.M. Days’ was recorded and produced in its entirety. The pair quickly cooked up the album’s centrepiece ‘Ample Change’, a sprawling seven-minute number that seesaws between drum patterns and finger-plucked acoustic guitar, wrapped together by group vocals. As Rundell describes it: “this tune that we made together, ‘Ample Change’, came out of just bumping into each other around gigs, and always chatting about music.
“I moved into my new studio and invited [Lias] around, and we hung out,” he continues. “It might have been late 2018 – we started it quite a long time before it was finished.”
Saoudi responds, laughing: “Yeah, it was a series of really sporadic sessions. It was like, you know, a couple of hours once a year – so slow!”.
The collaboration was an exciting experience for both artists: “Making music does have its very exciting moments,” says Rundell. “When an idea starts to come together and become something even more than you might have thought, or it leads you down a path that you hadn’t expected, then that’s always fun.”
He adds: “I remember the afternoon where we wrote the words for ‘Ample Change’. It was a really fun half hour…” he explains. “I enjoy having a tune, and a framework and the words. And you know, having it all initially be a bit ridiculous, and then finding something that fits.”
For the latest edition of NME’s Friends Like These series, the friends and collaborators interview each other, discussing the inspiration behind ‘Ample Change’, future projects, and their first ever live shows. Watch the video in full above.