Photography by Toby Shaw

It’s the Wednesday morning following Jack in the Green and everyone is exhausted due to five days without water – and what does any sensible Hastinger drink when there’s no water? Beer!

The band consists of (clockwise top left): Ben Beetham (lead guitar and vocals), George Macdonald (drums), Eddie Lewis (bass guitar) and Jack Wilson (lead vocals, guitar and sunglasses),

I walk up the hill towards the castle carrying two Sainsbury’s bags full of props kindly loaned to us by Teddy Tinkers on London Road. I had gone in there asking for a suit of armor but I left with a cloak, two medieval leather skirts and a lion mask that I didn’t quite get the relevance of but went with it anyway.

George was the first to arrive at Hastings Castle for their photoshoot, admitting that he was hanging from a heavy Jack in the Green weekend. Weren’t we all.

I proudly showed the band my props that were laid out on a bench. Ben went straight for one of the leather skirts, “I’ll wear the cape” said Jack, and George picked up the second leather skirt. “Looks like I’m being a lion then!” said Eddie.

“So what’s the songwriting process then?” I asked.

Ben answered, “Well for the last couple of albums, it’s gone in a different direction. Usually, the instrumental will start first and then jams with the mic set up”

Jack – We’ll do like a four or five hour jam, then we’ll sift through it and find little riffs, take it into the studio and produce it up.

Ben – Jack has this amazing thing in his phone, it’s like this notepad full of all these different universes of songs.

Jack – Yeah, weird lyrics and stuff.

Ben – Jack mostly does the lyrics and then we’ll do the melodies together.

Jack – Everyone has their part to play but lyrics are what I’m most passionate about so I get to focus on doing that now because they’re so good at doing everything else.

In 2019, their music started to reflect social commentary. “It’s inherently political, it’s impossible to ignore it,” said Ben. Luckily, they all agree on these political and social issues, laughing when I asked if there was a Tory amongst them. “We’ve played music together, as a band forever but 2019 was when it felt like we’d arrived” said Jack.

I asked if their music taking a bit of a shift was a deliberate progression. George answered “I think it happens naturally because you’re all taking inspiration from so many different things when you’re younger and then we learn more about what we really like and how to make music. We always go ‘how can we make this different?’ And then we get excited about different sounds.”

Ben added, “when people ask us for advice, we say never be satisfied with where it’s at. Always be looking for screws you can tighten and things you can push.”

Kid Kapichi have been a firm fixture on the local music scene for what feels like forever and to say they have worked hard for their success is an understatement. They clearly love what they do and their determination, ambition and professionalism is undeniable.

They’re also passionate about where they’re from, creating most of their videos here and using locals as extras. The other week I heard them on Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch talking about where they live with great enthusiasm. “How would you rate Simon Rimmer’s food from one to ten?” I asked. “Ten!” Shouted Ben. “Ben gives everything a ten. You could give him a bit of that cardboard and he’d give it a ten” said Jack.

Kid Kapichi at Hastings Castle wearing props from Teddy Tinkers, St Leonards

How would you say that living in Hastings has shaped you creatively?

Jack – It’s the most important thing.

I think, without sounding cheesy, Hastings is quite a punk town and I feel that everyone in Hastings seems to point in the same direction. So I think it’s taught us to be empathetic and caring because it’s such a community-based place and there are a lot of struggles. That obviously bleeds into our music.”

George – You learn how to be around so many different types of people, you know: young and old and there’s no ego. I don’t know other places where people are so musical.

Jack – It’s that perfect storm of musical freedom in Hastings and that political side of it. It was the previous week that Kid Kapichi had returned home following their European tour.

Eddie – This time it was very very great!

Jack – Now we have a tour bus.

Ben – And we’re very appreciative of it

Jack – Yeah, every day we were like, this is amazing! The difference between this last tour and every other tour before where we’d be in the back of a van, driving through the night, getting up early, us carrying all the stuff in and setting up, sound checking, doing the gig, eating some food and then doing it all again and now it’s literally like we’re on a tour bus, we’re asleep, we wake up, the crew have already set everything up…

George – They were like angels who came and saved us.

Ben – And a lot of the crew are friends of ours from Hastings. Thinking about these lot on tour, I asked “Which one of you would you say is the most rock star?

Jack – That would be Eddie

Ben – Yeah, old lion head over there! (Everyone laughed)

Jack – Yeah, Eddie is the most conventional rock star “In what way?” I asked.

Jack – We can’t say in what way!

I then asked which band member is the parental figure.

Jack – I’m definitely the quiet one but I wouldn’t say I’m parental.

George – Because we were so looked after, it was a tour where we partied… heavily.

Jack – It wasn’t for me!

Ben – I’ve never been more proud of you Jack. Seeing your level of discipline there…

Jack – Well I’m singing for an hour and a half every night and the feeling of stress the next day isn’t worth it.

Kid Kapichi consider themselves lucky to have had two major labels fighting over them, this led them to coming away with a good deal. Unlike some bands, they share their royalties equally and they’re making a living doing what they love. This is something that I think we all aspire to and few get to realise.

“What will make you think that you’ve made it?” I asked. “I already feel that” said Jack, “I’m happy. I get to travel around with my best mates, I get to play sold-out gigs and I love the music, so to me, anything from here is a bonus. I mean going on tour and taking your mates and paying them, properly and we had the best time ever, to me that’s all we can ask for.” These days, the music industry isn’t anywhere nearly as profitable as it used to be. Since Spotify, gone are the days of £1million contracts and Kid Kapichi are far from getting a private jet or a super-yacht. However, I did want to know what they would buy if things were different.

“Eddie and Ben were talking about buying a massive sauna” said George. “They love saunas!” ”Yeah we want to start a huge spa in Hastings!” Laughed Ben. Sensible Jack has other ideas, ”I’d like to have four or five small places dotted about in the world rather than having a big house in Hastings or in London. Like a little flat in Berlin, one in Barcelona… that’s what I want”.

Video to Kid Kapichi’s latest single ‘Zombie Nation’ starring Suggs from Madness

Their most recent single, ‘Zombie Nation’, features none other than jolly Madness icon, Suggs. Their record label had asked the band who they’d like to work with and Suggs was their no.1 choice.

The band were very surprised when Suggs agreed. “I spoke to him on the phone,” said Jack, “and he said that’s one the best songs I’ve heard in a long time and I haven’t done any collaborations in ages and I’d love to do it. He was just really chill! We asked if he wanted to write his own verse and he was like ‘Mate, you’ve already said what I would’ve said.”

Suggs came to Hastings and the song was recorded at Savage Sounds, with a music video shot at The Carlisle pub.

On Suggs, Ben said, “he’s so nice, he holds court in any room he’s in. You can just chat to him and for someone who’s an icon, he’s just totally normal.” I asked who else they’d love to collaborate with.

Jack – Imagine having Mike Skinner (The Streets) on a track.

Ben – That’d be wicked!

Jack – Someone like that for me would be really cool. I love Mike Skinner, I love The Streets. Our tour bus and someone else’s were next to each other at this festival and I got off the bus for like an hour and I get back on the bus and they’re like ‘you missed him! Mike Skinner’s been on the bus!’ And I was like ‘Why did nobody come and get me!?’ I couldn’t believe it! I was so gutted!”

Back to Sunday Brunch, it was way too early for Jack to eat but Ben enjoyed a ten out of ten lamb chop. “But as soon as the cocktails came out I’m like ‘yeah ok’. We’d done a gig in Bristol the night before, a really big one, it was sold out and we had to be in the studio at 6am and we’d had four hour’s sleep. I think the tiredness kind of helped though ‘cause I felt a little bit drunk and then we had alcohol and I was drunk again.”I asked the band what they like to do in Hastings.

George – I wake up and then find myself sat in the Dragon every day, it’s a habit, I’m like ‘Oh shit I’m here again!’ But I love going to the beach and I love walking over the hill and getting away from everything. You can be spontaneous here. I love it so much.

Ben – On my birthday, Eddie was banging on the door and I’d had a really late night the night before. I answered and he was like ‘we’re gonna go and pick some garlic!’

Eddie – Yeah it was nice. Up on the Fire Hills.

We had a great time with Kid Kapichi: they’re humble and smart and really good fun and you can tell that they’re really good mates and who are tight and work brilliantly together. It’s obvious to us why they are totally smashing it. Do try and see them live the next time they’re in the area. The Hastings crowds really know how to support these local heroes and the atmosphere is generally mayhem. They always sell out though so get your tickets fast, you won’t regret it.

And with that, I would like to wish Jack, Ben, Eddie and George all the luck and success in the world… as well as that collaboration with Mike Skinner, obviously.