Locksmith of British drum 'n’ bass group Rudimental has spoken about feeling “bulletproof” after his time as a recruit on Channel 4’s Celebrity SAS Who Dares Wins.
He also revealed how close he got to joining the British Army and how he has been inspired by his son to write a book for children.
“You feel like you can achieve almost anything, you know?”
The brutal SAS selection process TV series saw the musician take on and successfully complete eight days of gruelling challenges designed to push him and his fellow recruits beyond their mental and physical limits.
Originally from Hackney in East London, Leon Rolle aka Locksmith, and his sisters were raised by a “mother who was as strong as any man”. Because of his father’s absence, he learned how to be stronger on his own.
LISTEN: Hatch & Geere meet DJ Locksmith
Speaking on SAS Who Dares Wins in 2020, he explained:
“Dad was about for a bit but left at a young age. That’s always been a sore subject for me.”
Speaking to BFBS, the forces station broadcasters Verity Geere and Richard Hatch for a music special in March 2021, Locksmith delves into the positive impact the programme has had on his life, saying:
“It’s given me, I know it sounds weird and you might say it’s a bit arrogant but a bulletproof mentality.
“You feel like you can achieve almost anything, you know?
With a tongue-in-cheek tone in his voice, Locksmith jokingly said:
“When I’m doing a workout, I’m like, this is a piece of p***, I’m SAS trained.
“I kid about it with my son and he’s like, you’re an idiot.”
WARNING: This clip contains swearing
British Army Career?
Locksmith revealed that his time on SAS Who Dares Wins increased the respect he feels for the military “massively”.
When he was younger, he did not have his sights set on a career in music.
Instead, all he wanted to do was become a footballer. That was what he put his heart and soul into. But, if he was not going to achieve that goal, he had an alternative career in mind. He said:
“I said to myself, if I don’t become a professional by the age of 16 or 17 I’m going to join the army and ... I was so close to joining.
“I spent hours speaking to the guy who came to talk to us about going into the military and I had my heart set on it.
But he met his now-wife at the same time he was filling in the application forms. He said:
“I ended up meeting my current wife when I was 17-years-old and we stuck together ever since then and that stopped me from pursuing that life.”
It was at around the same time that Locksmith left home, adamant he was going to make it on his own. Speaking to Forces News in May 2020, he said he was trying to keep in contact with his father, but felt as though he lets him down, saying:
“It’s a hard one because I want him to be a part of my child’s life.”
A year after SAS Who Dares Wins aired, Locksmith has some positive news for Hatch and Geere, saying:
“It helped me rekindle that relationship my Dad.
“I’m not saying ... it’s turning all golden, but it’s allowed me to accept a few things that I didn’t really accept before I went on the show.”
About This Boy
At a poignant moment during the filming of SAS Who Dares Wins, the drum ‘n’ bass musician was emotionally shaken by watching a video message from his young son. He said:
“My son is my biggest strength, definitely, but at the same time yeah, you could say that he could easily be my Achilles heel.
"When I go on long tours and I’m away from home I’m almost at breaking point and that emotion comes from me not learning to be a man quick enough and having to learn all that.”
This adoration and love he feels for his son has inspired him to write a book geared towards children aged between 8 and 14. Titled “About This Boy”, the book is based on his own life experiences. He said:
“My son’s 11-years-old and he’s about to make that transition from primary school to secondary school.
"I’m seeing him grow into this young man before my eyes and I’m seeing all the troubles he’s going through and every so often I give him a couple of nuggets.”
The musician is acutely aware of how difficult it is for children to grow up in this modern-day, especially with how involved they can be with social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram. He said:
“It can feel like a really lonely place. You’re going through constant transitions.
“Not only within yourself but within life and I talk about how I ... got through some of those negative situations to come out on the other side positive and to get to where I am today.”
The Drum ‘n’ Bass star is keen to use his life experiences to encourage children and help them see a path towards success. He said:
“You’ve got someone who has reached the heights of however you perceive my success and he still has been through what they’re going through now.”
SAS Who Dare Wins
When asked how he coped with being shouted at by the likes of former SAS Who Dare Wins Chief Instructor Ant Middleton and his Directing Staff (DS) of Jason ‘Foxy’ Fox, Billy Billingham, Ollie Ollerton and Jay Morton, Locksmith had a simple response, saying:
“These guys kill people for a living. I think quite simply, you swallow it, don’t you?
Locksmith also revealed there was another driving force behind keeping his cool during the tense interactions between the recruits and the DS. Former professional boxer Tony Bellew was another celebrity on the 2020 SAS Who Dares Wins.
Like Locksmith, he made it to the final episode of the series and the musician said they forged a strong friendship during their time together. In fact, they still keep in touch now. He said:
“I couldn’t have met a nicer bunch of people. People that I still talk to daily on the phone to this day.
“Tony, I talk to every day. He’s probably, it’s mad because I could have seen us being best friends from a very early age.”
Locksmith realised early in the series that he simply had to take the verbal abuse from the DS because “they do it to better you not to belittle you”.
He was able to turn a switch in his head to enable him to power through the more difficult emotional challenges.
You can listen to the full Hatch and Geere special here where he also speaks about his music career and his passion for keeping himself and others fit.