Kid Kapichi: “We probably sound like a broken record, because nothing has changed”

 KID KAPICHI‘s ‘There Goes The Neighbourhood’ melds sharp social critique with everyday levity against an unchanging, disastrous political backdrop, delivering a defiant soundtrack for a fast-paced world. Read our latest Dork Playlist cover feature now.

Words: Steven Lotfin.

Not much has changed since Kid Kapichi released 2022’s ‘Here’s What You Could Have Won’. With their second album, the Hastings quartet created a snapshot of their surroundings, both immediate and afar, most notably on Bob Vylan-featuring lead single ‘New England’. But, the trouble is, the country is still in the same state as it was then. “Only for the worse, really, innit?” guitarist Ben Beetham chuckles with disbelief.

“When we were starting to write this album, we were like, are we going to sound like a broken record?” vocalist Jack Wilson says. “And it’s like, well, the record is broken!” Under a consistently shit Tory government, the horizon has never seemed bleaker, and it’s in this realm that Kid Kapichi’s new album ‘There Goes The Neighbourhood’ tries to balance hilariously scathing observations with more lighthearted day-to-day topics such as, erm, being scared of your partner’s Subaru-owning brother. Once again, the quartet – completed by bassist Eddie Lewis and drummer George Macdonald – have been digging deep to put the world to rights with Kapichi attitude.

“So, yeah, we do probably sound like a broken record because nothing has changed, and things have only got worse,” Jack says with disbelief. “I mean, I would like to see what we would write about if things changed – that would be an interesting album. But for the time being, it feels like there’s still stuff to be said; there’s still more to be said on the same subjects, and things do seem to be getting worse.”

Furious single ‘999’ wastes no time in tearing apart the police forces in the wake of Sarah Everard’s murder, honing in on the fact that “it’s not one bad apple, it’s the whole goddamn tree.” Then there’s Madness frontman Suggs lending his inimitable voice to apathetic Britain targeting ‘Zombie Nation’, after a meeting backstage. It’s all poured through Jack’s cut-the-crap filter for maximum effect and hits hard in the wake of everything.

As for those lighthearted moments, including the buoyant ‘Subaru’ and bounding ‘Get Down’, there’s the nostalgia-soaked ‘Tamagotchi’. Written at the major landmark of turning 30, as the group headed into their third decade, they found themselves attached to those rose-tinted specs of yesteryear. “It was definitely an intentional nostalgia,” Jack explains. “I felt like during Covid we missed two big years, so it crept up a lot quicker than I was anticipating – as I’m sure a lot of people felt.

“I don’t know if it’s something that you get more as you get older; now, nostalgia feels like a part of daily life. For me, it was a feeling that I really enjoyed, even though sometimes it can be intertwined with sadness. Whenever I feel nostalgia, it’s normally a really positive feeling, but it’s so transient; you feel it for a second, and then the more you try and feel it, the more it disappears, and you try and hold on to it. That was me trying to bottle that feeling.”

There’s no doubt that the world is moving at a thousand miles per hour these days. With all the noise around us, it’s easy to retreat into those glory days. But that doesn’t stop Kid Kapichi from keeping themselves afloat with a cheeky wink. After hitting the topic of age, out comes a familiar sentiment of the 20s. “We gotta write a TikTok song now so that we can get in there with the kids, their gunge or something… whatever they… oh my god, slime! That’s what I meant, slime!” Jack laughs. “At Christmas, my niece was upstairs in my old room at my mum’s house, going through vinyl and clearing a load of stuff out, and she didn’t know what a CD was, which blew my mind!”

For all of the good ol’ days of it all, there’s a sense we’re fighting for a new age – it feels like an apt time for punk bands. While they’re happy to fall under the moniker, Kid Kapichi don’t necessarily totally buy in. “I wouldn’t always be like, ‘Oh, we are a punk band’, I would say we’re a social commentary band,” Jack reckons. “There’s so much stuff that’s going on in the UK, that it leads you down that punk route. I think if we had grown up in a time when everything was great, then I don’t think we would have necessarily gone down that route of music. There are other songs on the album that aren’t strictly punk songs, [but] there’s a lot of punk issues about at the moment, which has kind of turned us into that,” he explains.

It seems to be a prevailing idea at the moment. With the likes of IDLES similarly refuting their punk credentials, Kid Kapichi see it as something deeper than a sound. “It’s subversive, using your platform to speak truth to power or,” Ben reckons. “I think that’s why it’s such a popular genre at the moment,” Jack adds. “It’s because people are fed up with not being listened to and very much realising that they’re not being listened to. So that’s why there’s such a big revival in it, which is amazing to see. Sad, but amazing.”

“It’s subversive, using your platform to speak truth to power”

Ben Beetham

When it comes to locking and loading and deciding what they’re aiming at next, Kid Kapichi admit they “try not to overthink the content on each album,” Jack says. “We try and not be like, ‘Right, we’re gonna have five angry songs and five fun songs’. We just write what we’re feeling on that day when we get into a room, and we’ve always kept it like that.” Though he does admit, it’s not always easy. “The further you get down the line, the more you can second guess yourself and be like, ‘Are people gonna like this, or are people gonna get turned off by this?’ For me, personally, I think when the question is, ‘Are people gonna like it?’, and the answer is no, they might not, then you should definitely do it,” he defiantly winks.

This hands-off approach cemented itself during the ‘Neighbourhood’ sessions. Letting the song be the song became the motto, “Which sounds really hippie-dippie,” Jack laughs, “but sometimes you can just taste what a song wants to be, and sometimes you should just let it be that thing rather than trying to steer it away from that direction to fit what you think the album wants to be or something – just let the song be what it wants to be and then they will decide amongst themselves what’s the right thing to go on the album.”

To be a band like Kid Kapichi, a necessarily cocksure mouthpiece, you need to be brazen and all-in, which Jack and co. have no issue with. “It cracks me up so much; the whole keep politics out of music thing is one of my favourite things. So many people say, ‘Yeah, I liked it, but keep politics out of music’, and it’s like – music is inherently political. It’s such a mental thing. Am I not allowed to tell you that my roof’s come off unless I’m a roofer? Is that how it is? I don’t have to be a professional in that environment to be able to talk about it – it’s just mental,” he laughs.

Even within their factions, they found ‘New England’ stirring the pot. “With that song in particular, it was the first time where we’d spoken about the beliefs of specific people rather than previously it was more speaking about power in general as a system, and there were a lot of people that were our fans that suddenly were like, ‘Wait a minute, don’t fucking say that’, because it was like, if you’re angry about this, it’s probably about you,” Ben gleefully chimes.

This is what Kid Kapichi relish in, and are hoping for more of from ‘There Goes The Neighbourhood’. While ‘New England’ found its bullets catching some within their fan ranks, what they’ve discovered they love is pointing a finger – be it at politics and government, or on a more granular, societal level – simply to provoke a reaction. “I think a lot of people, whether they feel that they believe certain things or not, once the finger is pointed at them, or the mirror is held up to them…,” he trails off with a knowing look. “That’s the first time I think we experienced people not liking it, but again, I think for all of us, when you feel something like that, that you should push in that direction more,” Jack affirms.

“There’s nothing worse than someone being indifferent to your music, because you either want them to love it or hate it. Who wants a five out of ten review?” He exclaims. “You want to be pissing people off, if you can.” ■

Kid Kapichi’s album ‘There Goes The Neighbourhood’ is out 15th March. Follow Dork Playlist on Spotify here.