Jo Boon, the founder of Label, interviews The Kaptivators. They are performing at our upcoming body positive arts festival on 26th August in Islington Mill. Check out the event here and get excited to hear them play.
Please could you introduce yourself to our readers and tell us a little bit about yourself, and fellow band members?
The Kaptivators are a cool and quirky HipHop, Funk, Soul collective focused around a live uptempo sound. Formed in Manchester in 2013 by original member rapper and vocalist Kev the Dev (myself), who was inspired by the live Manchester band scene combined with HipHop, Funk and other genres. My main influences come from the golden era of old school 90’s hiphop. Our other vocalist is my sister, Susie who is a powerhouse soulful diva with an electrifying voice and stage presence in the tradition of great singers such as Aretha Franklin and Tina Turner. On drums we have Jamal Lewis who is heavily influenced by HipHop and reggae, and drives the live sound and energy of the band. Our bass player is Jack Flett, a master of the funk, he has many styles including indie, rock, blues. On guitar is Mike Grubert a gifted musician with a mixture of influences including punk, metal, indie. Finally, to complete the lineup, we have a new addition on keyboards, Aileen Waugh who is a multi-talented instrumentalist and singer.
How did you first meet and form the band?
After seeing a great live soul band with my sister one evening, I decided to combine our individual talents and form a band around our styles; starting with songs that I had already written. Through advertising and networking we found the other band members who are all local to Manchester.
What have been the highs and lows of the experience so far?
The highs include playing at great venues all around the North West including Band on the Wall. We have made some fun music videos too that were really good experiences and captured our vibe.
It’s hard to come up with a low, though we had a couple of early band members leave due to relocation etc. and its not always easy to replace someone, so it can halt out gigging for a while and slow down momentum.
Why do you perform? What do you hope to get out of the experience?
We perform because we enjoy sharing our live music, expressing ourselves, whilst creating a positive energy and experience for people. We always get an energising and sometimes spiritual experience.
Could you tell me a little more about your style of music?
Our music is a combination of different styles including Hip-Hop, Funk, Soul and some dub. A couple of tracks have elements of rock, reggae and drum& bass. We basically have a wide range of styles that you can hear in our songs and not easily pidgeon hole. The sound is generally very uptempo with positive energetic vibes, and big soulful choruses. Lyrically we are having fun, talking about wild nights, parties, and good times and aspirational messages. Some of our songs have stronger messages including anti-bullying, and commenting on social issues, though essentially we are an upbeat fun group.
How have your individual identities shaped your music and performances?
I’m very driven, often a more serious individual, with a love for heavy bold rhythmic sounds, and that has influenced the band… I try and keep things moving and keep us organised.
Jamal is our eccentric and cool drummer who plays at a hundred miles an hour and keeps it uptempo.
Susie has a unique soulful voice and her presence on stage is strong.
Jack our very funky bass player is very much a joker of the pack and keeps our humour and light hearted moments.
Mike on guitar is cool and quirky and plays very tight, melodic riffs which is essential to our sound.
Aileen on keys is mad and fun at the same time, she always enjoys herself when performing.
Who / what have been your biggest influences?
Our big influences include live acts like The Roots, A Tribe Called Quest, Dead Prez, The Strokes, Rage against the Machine, Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye.
Any advice to anyone just forming, or looking to create, a band?
Make sure you’ve got the right blend of personalities to create a lasting vibe, and that you all do it for the love of performing your music.