So I took a small vacation with my girlfriend this week to Orlando where we both drank, ate and rode rollercoasters. Yes, it was awesome. I drank pumpkin juice and hugged a dude in a penguin costume. I also discovered one of the best shows to watch consecutively on a DVD-ROM: Game of Thrones. All of these things are awesome. One very non-awesome thing, though, was I had no internet/wi-fi in my hotel room, so posting this interview up was delayed a bit.
Before my mini vacation, I had a chance to speak with Matt Relton a.k.a. Kidnap Kid. We spoke through instant messenger about his music and what he’s been listening to. You might’ve heard some of his tracks already on Dusk & Blackdown’s Rinse FM show as well as a Jamie Grind remix of his tune “If”. He just put out an EP called the Great Confusion under the Sheffield-bred Squelch & Clap label (a label you should be keeping an eye on).
WWU02: All right, so introduce yourself a little for the people who don’t know you. Your name, age and what kind of music you produce?
Kidnap Kid: Ok cool. My name is Matt Relton, I’m 20 and I make electronic music that falls somewhere between House and Garage
W: Yeah listening to your music, I’d say that sound about right. Have people sort of pigeonholed it already as dubstep?
KK: Erm, not so much, but people make definite links to this ‘post-dubstep’ bass music, similar to nights slugs, etc. It doesn’t bother me too much, though. Before I played house, I used to make/dj dubstep and drum & bass, so it isn’t something I’m trying to avoid.
W: Yeah, the connections are definitely there. And where are you from exactly? London?
KK: Nope, further North. I’m from Sheffield originally, but I live in Leeds now.
W: And did you hook up with Squelch and Clap because you lived in Sheffield? Tell me a bit about that.
KK: Yeah, I guess so. At the time I was actually trying to get DJ bookings, and they were running a night at a local club so I sent them some music as a way of advertising myself. Then I got an e-mail back asking about signing the tracks.
I was bit unsure at first as I didn’t know much about the label at all, but after chatting with them a bit I saw they were as enthusiastic as I am, and I felt comfortable there so I signed the contracts pretty quick. Definitely made the right choice!
W: And how long ago was that?
KK: It was mid-March I think, so 3-4 months ago
W: Wow that was pretty quick then. So tell me about the release you have with S&C?
KK: Ye we managed to get it out pretty quickly. It’s en E.P with 3 of my tracks – “No One Else”, “If” and “Rectitude”, and 2 remixes from Tete de Tigre and Arcade
Both the remixers had releases on S&C before, so it works nicely with everyone reworking each other’s tracks, like I’ve remixed for some other S&C releases.
It creates a family vibe.
W: Have you met any of the other producers on the label? Arcade and Tete de Tigre?
KK: No I’ve not. Arcade is Argentinian, and Tete de Tigre is French so it’s a bit far to go haha. I’m sure I’ll meet them soon enough.
W: You know the first time I actually heard one of your tunes (If) was on Dusk & Blackdown’s March show. How did that whole thing happen? And also, that’s pretty exciting to get your stuff played on Rinse.
KK: Yeah I was pretty pleased with that! It all came out the blue really. A message from Dusk and Blackdown just landed in my soundcloud inbox one day asking for some tracks. I knew the names well so I sent them over straight away. Not sure how they came across me though.
W: Maybe they peruse through soundclouds all day…
KK: Haha maybe. Easy to spend alot of time doing it!
W: Yeah. So how long have you been making music?
KK: I’ve been making electronic music for 3 years, but I’ve been playing in bands for about 10 years now
W: Nice. What kind of bands were you in before?
KK: Mostly Rock stuff as that’s what I listened to at the time.
W: What made you get into electronic music?
KK: The first electronic stuff I really got a feel for was Drum and Bass. My brother introduced me to it when I was 14 I think. I went nuts for it– bought some decks and started collecting records. Then moved through to dubstep – garage – and eventually housey sutff. I still love it all, though.
W: What kind of drum & bass records were you listening to? Do you remember the first one you bought?
KK: I liked the quite hectic, techy stuff, like Noisia and Spor. I think the first record I bought was Another Planet by Pendulum, before they turned into a pop band haha.
W: Yeah they came to Miami not too long ago marketed as a live band act, which sounds kind of odd. What were the kind of records you were listening when you made the songs for your EP? And how long ago did you make those songs?
KK: I was massively influenced by artists like Jacques Greene, XXXY, Seiji. Anything with nice choppy vocals and harmonies. I made those tracks when I was 19, so It must have been the start of 2011. Around January/ February time.
W: So things have really sped up a bit the past 6 months, huh?
KK: Yeah massively so. I really happy with the reception the release has got. Managed to get in amongst some huge names in the sale chart so that feels good, especially for a first release.
W: Absolutely. Have any other producers contacted you for your tunes?
KK: I passed Hackman a few tracks and he sent them round to various people who have been playing them as well. People like Dubbel Dutch and Sinden, so I’ve not actually had any contact with them but they are playin’ the tunes so it’s all good.
W: Cool, and have you been contacted to do any live DJ sets?
KK: A few, not loads though. I think that will pick up after I build some more momentum. I’m playing at Tramlines festival in a few weeks, but not much to report apart from that. I’d already played at a lot of the local clubs when I played dubstep a few years back, so I’m not too fussed about that. Looking for stuff further afield now.
W: Is there a big electronic scene in Leeds?
KK: Ye there’s a great scene here, a load of nights to choose from.
You get some interesting artists playin as well, not just people who will pull a big crowd; it’s refreshing compared to a lot of stuff going on in other northern cities.
W: And you mentioned earlier that you moved to Leeds from Sheffield. Are you going to school there or do you work?
KK: I came up here for University yeh. Been here for 2 years now, 1 more left then who knows!
KK: Politics and Crime: completely unrelated to the music.
W: So do you approach your music as a hobby, or do you see yourself making music professionally if your stuff gets bigger?
KK: It started as a hobby, but I definitely want to do it professionally ye. I always have, I just didn’t want to admit it until some of my music had the validation of a good label.
W: And what’s next for you at the moment?
KK: As much music as possible. I’m working on finishing the next E.P for S&C as well as a remix for their next release from French duo CDBL. Think that drops in a few weeks.
After that it is hard to tell, hopefully more DJ sets as you mentioned, and more releases. I feel like I’m just picking up momentum so there is plenty more to come.
W: Definitely. I really like the stuff you’re making. Another question is how’d you come up with your name and the EP’s name?
KK: My name came about from a prank I pulled when I was younger. Me and some friends faked a Kidnapping in KFC, had gun squads and helicopters out all night looking for us, then got taken to court and had to go through the whole youth offenders thing.
Seemed only appropriate to take a name from it.
W: Woah. How young were you?
KK: 17, so old enough to know it wasn’t a great idea (laughs). I can look back and laugh now though
W: That wasn’t too long ago!
KK: The E.P name was suggested by [Squelch and Clap CEO] Michael actually. All of the tracks on it are love songs in their own way, so we were looking for a name that encompassed that, but still left a bit of mystery. I guess the ‘the great confusion’ described how I felt after having some serious girl problems and not knowing what to do with myself.