From naughty schoolboy to Rudimental’s manager

Henry Village has made a big name for himself in the music industry as dance group Rudimental’s manager, having catapulted them into mega fame. But it hasn’t always been easy. He tells us about how difficult he found school…

Henry Village, 31, is director of Black Butter records and Stack House management, and Rudimental’s manager. He lives with his fiancée in north London.

“I went to Drayton Park Primary in Islington and then Stoke Newington Secondary in Hackney. Academically, it wasn’t so good for me. I found it hard to concentrate from a young age – all the way through until about 18, then I calmed down a little bit.

Secondary school was particularly difficult; I got an A and four Cs in my GCSEs. I was a naughty kid but I scraped getting five A-Cs so that I could get into college. I went to La Swap to do my A Levels and then on to the University of Northumbria.

Basically, I was interested in things outside of school – having fun, and a laugh; that was top of the list. I was getting up to mischief from the age of 12. I wasn’t interested in the stuff that I was being taught; the stuff I wanted to know about wasn’t on the curriculum.

Henry Village at school - Rudimental - Black Butter Records -

Film and music weren’t on the curriculum

I was always obsessed with film and there wasn’t anything about film until you got to college. And I always loved music. There are more specialised areas you can learn about now if you’re a kid, but not back then. I’ve noticed a change.

There was a good enough music department so I kept that up; I learnt instruments and how to program beats. But with 180 kids in each year – 30 in each class – unless you really want to learn, you’re going to find it tough.

With the GCSEs I got, I could only do certain classes at college. Because my college grades were average in media studies, photography and DT, I could only do certain courses at uni – so even if I wanted to be a lawyer I wouldn’t have been able to. There was a ripple effect of not working at secondary school all the way to university.

But I made it there and studied film and media – before realising that like anything you’re interested in, it’s all about life lessons: who you know and experience in that industry. Because I didn’t have any of that, it made me go out and do it all myself.

You can educate yourself in different ways

I made loads of mistakes. But if you persist, you can get somewhere. Also, as an adult, I’ve done classes in accounting, basic law (one-to-one classes) and a business course, when I was 24, to fill in the gaps.

Everyone I work with in this industry – they’ve all come from really weird places. Rarely from school, college, uni. I don’t know anyone who went to uni and studied how to be an A&R, how to be a product manager – anything like that – in our profession you learn on the job.

Becoming Rudimental’s manager didn’t require As

I work with an amazing cluster of different people who’ve managed to find a place where they feel accepted even though nine times out of ten, they don’t have As in chemistry and physics. You could have the best A Level or uni degree and it doesn’t mean anything in our business.

If I have a kid and he wants to be in music, or film, I’m gonna say don’t go to uni – go out and learn. Or go to uni with the expectation that it’s just about learning how to be an adult. It’s like a passing over from your parents to the real world.”