An exclusive Q&A with Kid Kapichi

Kid Kapichi is a four-piece band from Hastings, UK, whose gritty, beat-punk sound thrives on honest themes of mental health, all-consuming love, and politically and culturally-induced frustrations. From old friends making noise together in their school’s music rehearsal rooms to releasing their second album, Ben Beetham (guitar, vocals), Eddie Lewis (bass), George MacDonald (drums), and Jack Wilson (vocals, guitar) have worked nonstop to make music loud enough for audiences to remember long after the venues have cleared out.  

We spoke with frontman, Jack Wilson, about Kid Kapichi’s beginnings as a band, their writing and production process, and upcoming sophomore album, ‘Here’s What You Could Have Won.’

Can you tell us a bit about your beginnings as a band?

We’ve all known each other for a long time. Most of us went to school with each other in Hastings and would spend our lunch breaks in rehearsal rooms making noise and playing old indie anthems. It was the mid-noughties, so yunno. We then messed around and played for fun for a long time, but started to take it seriously in 2018/2019. It became evident that things were starting to happen around us and we never looked back from that point. 

Does your hometown play a role in your songwriting, whether it’s a musical influence or otherwise?

I think it probably does for most artists. I think you have to be influenced by that side of things and that part of your life. For us, it plays a significant role. Our style of writing and social commentary has definitely blossomed from where we live and grew up. There are a lot of amazing characters and stories to be told, like most weird seaside towns. 

Did you think you’d end up where you are now a few years ago?

I think so, yeah. It’s hard to ever try and predict what’s round the corner and things can change so rapidly overnight. I think we all knew it’d be inevitable that we’d still be playing music together in some capacity. We love it too much to even imagine not doing it. 

If you had to describe your band to someone who didn’t know you, what would you say?

Beat-driven punk with a side of halloumi. 

What do you enjoy most about being a band? 

I personally love gigging the most. It’s normally why you start a band and the further you get down the line with your career, the less it can be focused around that side of things as everything else becomes so important. So, whenever we get the time to tour and meet fans and play live music, that’s when we’re all at our happiest. 

Looking back at your career so far, what is your favourite memory?

Playing with Liam Gallagher at the Royal Albert Hall was pretty mind blowing, and the fact he knew our songs and rated them was mad. 

What was your mindset during the production of your new record and what was the overall atmosphere like while creating and recording it?

Writing it felt like a breeze. It almost wrote itself. There wasn’t any rough patches or dry spells, so it was really nice. Production was more of the same really. We hit it off with our producer, Dom, and just clicked from the word go. We just wanted to get what we had in our heads down on paper as accurately as possible. I think we achieved that.

How did the production of this new album differ from your debut album? What was the biggest lesson you took from the production of ‘This Time Next Year’ and how was it applied to the production of ‘Here’s What You Could Have Won?’

Well, Album #1 was recorded in a basement with basically zero budget and during a lockdown. Whereas, Album #2 was recorded all over the place with a budget and no lockdown, so it differed immensely. We learned a lot during the production of Album #1 and that helped us make our demos going into Album #2 a lot stronger. We’d often use original vocal takes from the first demos on the final track, just because it had a vibe to it. 

What was your inspiration for the album title ‘Here’s What You Could Have Won’? What’s the story behind it?

‘Here’s What You Could Have Won’ summarises a feeling of disappointment, I guess. Like that of losing at the final hurdle of a game show. But instead of being the contestant yourself, you’re stuck behind a TV screen screaming the answer whilst the player makes wrong decision after wrong decision. It’s felt like at every junction of change in the last decade. We as a country have made horrible decisions and as a result, we can only look on and wonder what we could have won if we weren’t so short-sighted. 

What’s the overall topic of the album? Is there a special message you want to send with it?

There are threads that run through it for sure, but it’s not about one particular thing. I guess it is an album about 2020/2022 and how we felt during that time, and what was going on around us. 

In another interview, you mentioned that you write close to the deadline to keep the music as relevant to current affairs as possible. How has your songwriting approach evolved through the years, and what factors contributed to this method of choice?

We like to write and release as quick as possible, but obviously that’s quite hard to achieve sometimes. Luckily for us, some of things we’ve written about just keep repeating themselves so we’re always looking one step ahead of the game. I think we’ve evolved from sitting with guitars on laps messing around to everybody finding their individual talents and roles in the record creation stage. So, it’s much more of a process now. Half of us will create an instrumental starting point. Record that in and then work on it for a bit. Then the other half will join, and that’s where the lyrics and melody begins and the songs begin to take shape. 

You mentioned in a statement that the album is based on the idea of missed opportunities. Is that something you feel connected to as a band, or do you view it more as a general and global theme?

I think it’s probably how a lot of us feel in general right now. I mean, after Brexit, it’s hard to feel any other way. The way everything is currently going, it’s hard to dispute that maybe we took a wrong turn. For me, it felt obvious at the time that we were heading for dangerous waters, but apparently that’s not how 51% of the country felt. 

As you all pour your hearts and souls into the songs, do you feel that not only you make and change the songs, but the songs also change you?

Yeah, I do actually. I think you can write a song and intend it to mean one thing. But then over time, the song starts to mean something else to you. Maybe because it’s received and people see it in different ways, which then makes you notice stuff you hadn’t previously when initially writing it. 

What was it like to collaborate with Dom Craik from Nothing But Thieves as the co-producer of the record?

It was amazing, he really helped us sculpt the sound we knew we wanted. It’s amazing to add someone into such a tight knit circle and for them to fit like a missing puzzle piece immediately. He’s also been a great mentor for us just in general with the music biz. 

In an interview you said that the album is meant to be enjoyed live, can you explain that a bit?

We consider ourselves to be first and foremost a live band. That’s our flag in the ground – our live shows. Some bands are all about the studio experience, but I think it’s safe to say you haven’t experienced KK unless it’s live. 

Did you always know that politics and social commentary would be significant to the band’s identity, or did this come after?

It came after. We just wrote what felt natural to us; how we actually felt, how others around us were feeling. It was more just an outlet for ourselves. So, the fact that people have related to it and come aboard is amazing, but also worrying to know how many people feel as disenfranchised as we also do. 

Do you think bands nowadays have a responsibility to be and act political?

No, I don’t think anyone has a responsibility. I think if you have a platform, then it is great to use it for good, but also sometimes, I just want to switch off and listen to Taylor Swift and I don’t want to hear her talking about politics whilst I do that. 

What are your plans for the future?

Keep writing. Keep gigging. Keep trying to take over the world bit by bit. 

How do you try to stand out of the crowd?

We don’t really try to do anything. I think if people perceive us in one way, that’s down to them, but we don’t try to stand out. I think the music does the talking and if it stands out to people, then that’s brilliant. 

What does music mean to you?

Music is everything to us. My earliest and best memories centre around music. I’ve always wanted to do music, and I’ve been certain I’ve never wanted to do anything other than music. I think music is insanely powerful. More than we even understand. 

Watch out for Kid Kapichi’s new album, ‘Here’s What You Could Have Won,’ out on September 23rd!

Follow Kid Kapichi on Instagram and Spotify.

Written by Bernice Santos // photography by Andy Ford

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