Search The Line of Best Fit
Search The Line of Best Fit

Kidnap Kid

09 April 2014, 12:00 | Written by George O'Brien

Dance music’s exposure and popularity have simultaneously exploded throughout the UK in the last few years. The ascendancy of young experimental producers out of the bedroom, transcending the internet and dominating the mainstream has been embodied by Disclosure’s mind-blowing success, culminating in a chart-topping debut record, as well as Grammy and Brit-Award nominations.

Alongside the Surrey duo, one can’t ignore the influence of Rudimental on this house and garage renaissance: in the first half of 2012 “Feel The Love” appeared and cemented itself as the unavoidable, radio and dance-floor anthem of the year.

The label behind this juggernaut, Black Butter, have continued to impress, as indeed does one of their cornerstone artists, Kidnap Kid. With support from the likes of Annie Mac, the Sheffield producer (real name Matt Relton) has developed himself as a club scene favourite and something of an internet success story, where the genre he is championing still feels most at home.

Catching melodies and intuitive vocal samples sit atop deep, whirring beats and heady synth lines in a house recipe with all the potential to promote Relton towards the pace-setting Lawrence brothers.

Why Kidnap Kid? Is there a story behind the name?

Yes, it’s a good one too. I was taken to court for faking a kidnapping for a joke with some mates in KFC when I was 17, resulting in a large fine, 6 months of young offenders and community service.

How did you start making music?

Music was the one of the focuses of my family, so playing was always encouraged. I was lucky to have parents that would happily put up with me making a racket. I started playing drums when I was 10 and bass when I was 12. I wrote from that age as well, admittedly very badly, with my friends in my garage and moved on to writing electronic music by myself when I turned 15. I’ve done it everyday since pretty much.

What are your main influences, musical and/or otherwise?

I’m mainly inspired by people’s drive, rather than their creative output. Watching people with an unrelenting work ethic – be it actors, musicians, business-owners – is what makes me to work hard on my trade as well. Musically, I’m inspired by any person who’s songs have offered comfort at any point. I feel like by writing music that other people enjoy I’m passing on the favour.

What music do you listen to/admire at the moment?

I’ve been obsessing over Dixon’s essential mix for the past few months. It is an absolutely incredible collection of music and I’d say that it’s had quite a large impact on my writing. It reminded me that it’s important to keep things weird.

Do you have ‘Ones To Watch’ for this year?

Aquilo, Mind Against and Years & Years.

Black Butter can’t seem to put a foot wrong at the moment – how did you come to work with such an exciting label?

It was through a stroke of luck really. A friend who ran a label in Sheffield sent them over one of my tracks in early 2012.
They really liked it and asked if we could meet up in London. I actually very nearly didn’t go, as I wasn’t so sold on their musical output at the time. After meeting them however, it was clear that we all had ideas and ambitions on the same page. They’ve been incredible to work with and have played an integral part in my success so far.

You’ve remixed some pretty big names – do you enjoy that process? Is there an artist you would particularly like to work with at the moment?

With remixes, I relish the challenge of writing within boundaries. It can provide an welcome break, especially if inspiration is failing you. Ultimately though, it’s never as fun or satisfying as a blank slate. I’d love to work with Lianne La Havas, but I don’t think that is on the cards any time soon.

Can you talk a bit about your songwriting process?

It always starts at the piano for me, I don’t move from there until the chord progressions and main melodic ideas are completed. Then I chuck a load of random sounds I’ve recorded or found into samplers and start playing through the chords until something catches my ear. That’s just the mechanics of it though I guess. It’s impossible to describe what is actually going on. Paul McCartney said at the NME awards last week that “the great thing about sound writing is we don’t know how we do it, so you can’t talk about it”.

You’ve got 1.5 million Soundcloud followers – how do you feel about the internet’s impact on music exposure?

I has become an absolutely essential part of gaining exposure inside the rapidly changing music industry. For dance music especially. It’s a brilliant way to connect with fans and similar artists in the most remote locations around the world and I don’t think I’d have a career without it. It means anyone that has a computer has instant access to my inbox and they can send me whatever they like. It’s broken down the previously existing barriers of time and space.

What was it like touring with Rudimental and Disclosure? What did you learn from those experiences?

It was a lot of fun and very tiring. I learnt that it’s healthy to party and enjoy the touring process, but ultimately professionalism is key and the only route to success.

What are your main goals/dreams as an artist?

To continually take myself out of my comfort zone. As long as you’re operating in the uncharted territory then I think the results will always be original and unexpected. By doing so, I’ve written some music that I would have never thought possible the year or even month before. Hopefully I’ll continue with that trajectory. The moment you get comfortable is the moment that it’s all over.

What can we look forward to from you in 2014?

Lots more music, hopefully in the form of a bigger project, although it’s hard to put a date on that. I have a number of collaborations in the pipeline as well. That is something that is fairly new for me so I’m intrigued to see how they turn out.

What’s your favourite thing about making music?

As mentioned before, my favourite thing is working out of my comfort zone. As it is a constant learning curve, I walk into the studio every morning not know what I’ll have in my hands at the end of the day. For me, that is definitely the most exciting part.

What do you enjoy doing away from Kidnap Kid?

Cooking, running and building things. I’ve just finished a new table for my living room that I’m particularly pleased with.

“Stronger” is out now on Black Butter.

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