“Here we go – first thing’s first,” spits Kid Kapichi frontman Jack Wilson on ‘Artillery’, the opener to the Hasting punks’ essential third album, ‘There Goes The Neighbourhood’. It’s a rousing call to arms – one that gets straight down to business, and a summation of the LP’s battle cry against a grey Britain where “The problems are the people’s when the problems get worse”. Kid Kapichi are a band for the people, and their new Suggs-featuring record is here to help you party and protest in equal measure.
Having gained an ardent cult following with their 2021 debut ‘This Time Next Year’ and the rollicking 2022 follow-up ‘Here’s What You Could Have Won’, Kid Kapichi arrive with their third album in as many years – a testament from one of the UK’s hardest working bands, and one who preach a message of urgency.
It was punk royalty Frank Carter who first spotlighted the band after inviting them to play at his birthday party before inviting them on tour. From then, it was a steady ascent that saw their fearless and socially-conscious tales of modern life take Kid Kapichi from some struggling mates with day jobs to their lockdown-busting debut ‘This Time Next Year’ being independently released and making their mark on the scene – before follow-up ‘Here’s What You Could Have Won’ arriving with a full label release. The record received praise from Liam Gallagher and laid the foundation in the hearts of the UK rock faithful for the ambitious album to come.
“It’s been a fun, rough ride,” admits Wilson of the band’s journey through obscurity and pub backrooms to becoming the threat to the mainstream they are today. “It’s been non-stop and GO GO GO from the start, but we’ve always felt like you have to keep your foot on the gas constantly. We wouldn’t know what to do otherwise. We live in a boring seaside town, so what else can you do but write music with your mates?”
He continues: “We like to work fast because we like to keep things current with our music. If we’re talking about things that happened three years ago then it loses its sparkle a little bit. Like how the creators of South Park try to write and release an episode each week, that’s us!”
Co-produced by Dom Craik from Nothing But Thieves (“He’s killing it, why wouldn’t we work with him,” notes Wilson) and Jon Gilmour of The 1975 and Rina Sawayama fame (“He’s an absolute genius”), ‘There Goes The Neighbourhood’ picks up where ‘Here’s What You Could Have Won’ left off – a snapshot of a forgotten people scratching through the mire of a post-Brexit landscape.
“It’s still dealing with all the same issues because nothing has changed and things have only got worse,” says Wilson. “The ideas are similar, but only more aggressive. We’re being more direct, which makes for a great album but for a sad story!”
The first taster you’ll hear of that comes with launch single ‘Let’s Get To Work’ – an agitated blast of danceable and defiant punk, and an anthem for “all the dreamers, the ‘don’t stop believers’”. The title of the track says it all. “It’s a motivational song about getting a job done yourself,” says Wilson. “That’s really important, especially at a time like this when you can’t rely on the government. You’re more reliant on your friends, family and loved ones to come together because no one else is going to help us.”
‘Tamagotchi’ meanwhile, is a buoyant and playful ode to those coming of age, “For anyone, staring down the barrel of the of the big 3-0 – you are not alone”. Remember a time of Pokemon, Panda Pops, Sunny D, Cat Deeley and those gooey little aliens that may or may not have been able to reproduce? This song’s for you, but don’t mourn for the past. “I was 29 when we wrote that, and I wanted a song about turning 30,” remembers Wilson. “It’s such a big moment in people’s lives. It’s the first time you reach one of those milestones and it feels negative rather than positive.
“So much time was lost during COVID when I was 27 and 28, I felt like life was slipping away from me and I wasn’t where I wanted to be. All of these things were freaking me out. I wanted to write this song about turning 30, but at the same time, with a ‘90s nostalgia vibe to it. Turning 30 has actually been really good! I’ve really enjoyed it. It was an apprehensive song at first that turned into something fun.”
The good times continue on ‘Can EU Hear Me?’ – a pogo-ready rave through the rage of “the worst thing that’s happened to this country in quite some time”. “The brief was, ‘Let’s write the happiest Brexit song we can’!” laughs Wilson. “It’s sad to see it, but we make a big effort to make sure that whoever we meet over there knows that it doesn’t represent the country as a whole. That’s what this song is all about”
The monotony and futility of living on a self-sabotaging, Tory-led sinking ship of a country comes off in the most widescreen way on ‘Zombie Nation’ – with a little help from Madness legend Suggs, But inspired by another icon “The instrumental for that was written the day that Terry Hall passed away,” recalls Wilson. “We’d played with The Specials, they’re one of our biggest inspirations and Terry was just one of the best to ever do it.”
While working on the track, Wilson met Suggs before a DJ set at the local De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill. They had more than a few drinks, got on like a house on fire, and before long Wilson had sent him the genesis of ‘Zombie Nation’. Suggs loved it, to the point where he wanted to buy the song for Madness’ next record, but instead agreed to his first collaboration in over a decade. “He’s been very supportive, he texts every week and we chat all the time. I would never believe that this could happen. I know there’s the cliche of never meeting your heroes, but this went better than I could ever have imagined. We had great chemistry. It was like looking in a future mirror!”
Another hero Kid Kapichi honour is Wilson’s friend and Hastings legend, Jimi Riddle, who sadly took his own life last year. The closing track ‘Jimi’ is a tender ballad sung directly to the late musician, who helped first encourage Wilson to get into music back when he was a teenager. “He was a Marmite character – you either loved him or hated him! He was distinctive,” says Wilson. “He was one of those guys – a bit of an alien and it was mad that he was ever even on this planet. He didn’t really belong here but in the most beautiful way. He was too much for this world.”
“We miss him dearly, so we sat down and wrote this song for him. This is the hardest song I’ve ever written, but also the most proud I’ve ever been. I know that if he ever heard it, he would say it was shit! That would make me laugh.”
The record runs the gamut of love, loss and what it means to be alive in Britain today. There’s the amped-up ‘Get Down’ (a song about “misspent youth and nights out in small towns”), the no-holds-barred ‘999’ (taking aim at the Met Police and inspired by the horrific events around the death of Sarah Everard), and Wilson’s personal highlight ‘Subaru’ (a “silly” moment of respite to show that “it’s not all always doom and gloom”). It’s an album that does what Kid Kapichi do best – make a real connection in the here and now. You’ll see it with a few “stunts” and football-themed events the band have up their sleeves to launch the album.
“We’re trying to really focus on rewarding our fans and the people who have been with us from the start, and prove why we’re here,” ends Wilson. “We are quite hands-on because we struggled for quite a long time. It’s an honest and genuine relationship.”
The Kid Kapichi movement is about to get a whole lot bigger. See you down the front. Let’s get to work!
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