Kaptin Is Dead talks BoomTown Fair and a life in music

eFestivals exclusive interview

published: Wed 4th Feb 2015

Kaptin Is Dead

Thursday 13th to Sunday 16th August 2015
Matterley Estate, near Winchester, Hampshire, SO21 1HW, England MAP
tier 3 - £155 for the weekend
daily capacity: 45000
last updated: Tue 14th Jul 2015

eFestivals got the chance to interview BoomTown Fair festival's music programmer Kaptin is Dead, whose alter-ego the Sheriff of BoomTown has, since being made ex-Mayor, been on a mission to turn the new Mayor into a power hungry dictator.

Tell me about your early life. How were you introduced to music and how did it develop into a passion?

I think it's been for as long as I can remember, my earliest memory is Notting Hill Carnival and as a really young kid on both the White City Estate in Hammersmith and the Kingsmead Estate in Hackney, we had neighbours that played really loud Reggae music, I think I've been a Reggae fan ever since.  All the way through junior school I used to tape the radio and would know everything in the charts, but then discovered Hip-hop, House and Techno when I hit secondary school and that was it really.

What was your first music 'job' ?

When we were supposed to do Work Experience in school, all I wanted to do was work in a record shop but they just wouldn't let me, and told me I had to go to work in Topman. I refused to go and that was when I left school. I think that actually stuck with me in a negative way for a while, and so even though music was my first love, I didn't even think about it as a career til many years later when I was buying tunes at a record shop after a long day looking for a job. I asked them almost as an after thought about work, not expecting to be that lucky.  They took me on and a year later I was manager of the store. This helped me amass a huge collection of music which I'd later use to become a DJ.

What is your role during the festival? Do you get chance to enjoy Boomtown yourself?

Well at the moment during the festival i'm Sheriff so it's a pretty serious role :) ... outside of that I'm mostly in the music office but get out and about to watch the bands and talk to everyone as much as possible. I don't get time off as such but I do enjoy it still and there's nothing better than seeing everyone having such a great time.

What does you average working day consist of?

I don't think any of my days are average but there's a lot more office based work than you might imagine.  I'm generally in there most weekdays answering emails, juggling the line ups and keeping up to date with as much relevant music as possible (outside of work I'm mostly keeping up with the irrelevant music).

What makes BoomTown so special / your favourite thing at BoomTown?

For me it's got that magical festival feeling that I used to get from festivals when I was younger. That feeling is hard to define but it's what first pulled me into this whole world originally. Plus for the bands and DJs, I've never known a greater crowd to play to.  The crowd are so giving and full of energy that the artists can't help but feed off that and give back 200%.

What is the worse aspect of Boomtown/ your music career?

A couple of years ago I had to close down the Town Centre stage without giving Parov Stelar time for an encore or even a last tune.  I've probably never wanted the ground to swallow me up so much but had to put on a brave face, make the final speech and try to stop the crowd from bringing out the pitchforks and hunting me down.

Best Boomtown moment ever?

I think being stood in exactly the same spot as my worst moment the year before and watching the crowd go wild for Cat Empire.  I mean, the band put on a spectacular show but that was nothing compared to the few thousand people in front of them.  

Favourite act at Boomtown?

That's like a parent picking a favourite kid, couldn't do it sorry.

Who is on your dream list to have play?

Well some of them are due to play this year so I don't want to give the game away just yet.

What are your favourite festivals that you've attended and why?

Well Glastonbury was my main entrance exam and I still have a massive soft spot for it.  However last year I only arrived on Saturday as I've fallen in love with another fairly big festival in Germany that's on at the same time. I've played there the last 2 years and it's spectacular.  I'm sworn to secrecy on what it's called though.  

I love so many of the big festivals in the UK, they've all got their plus points but this year I'm making an effort to play at some of the smaller ones like Troyfest in Wales and Knockengorroch in Scotland.  Both run by really good people with really friendly crowds.

What's new at this year's event?

Well last year the new stages were nearly all band related and we got the Old Mines which is the main stage for our favourite Folk and World acts.  So this year we're showing some love to the DJs.  We've got a brand new 90 foot rave palace with a ridiculously heavy line up. Squarepusher, Noisia, Spor and what amounts to pretty much a history of raving with the likes of Top Buzz, Ratpack, Goldie, Dillinja and a big bunch of other legends.  We've also got the SP:23 crew doing an underground street party somewhere in the city.  Those guys were a massive inspiration to many of us in the festival scene.  Plus we have a whole new area called the Psychedelic Forest which has possibly the biggest Psy-line ever seen in this country.  We've even got Infected Mushroom going back to their roots and doing an old school Goa set.

Where do you see the festival heading to in the future?

Well those chapters are still unwritten so you'll have to make sure you follow the story. However the whole team love what we do and it's important to give everyone the very best that we can, so whatever twists and turns the tale may take I'm certain that at the very heart it will always remain true to it's roots and the people that have helped it to grow so quickly.

We all want to know the main acts for this years event can you reveal a scoop or hint at what we may get?

I think we've revealed most of them now so all you need to do is check out our website.

You're considered a taste maker as you have your ear to the ground so to speak, so which performers should we listen out for in the future?

We've got some really exciting new bands this year that I could definitely recommend, check out Deluxe, Songhoy Blues and Ibibio Sound Machine for starters, though all have already got pretty massive recently. Or if you want really young up and coming bands try The Recks, Mad Apple Circus, Stiff Joints, No Go Stop and Bare Knuckle Parade. I'm also hoping to get a lady called Low Leaf from LA. Her music is a little different than you might expect from BoomTown but she's incredibly talented.


interview by: Richie Cadence

Thursday 13th to Sunday 16th August 2015
Matterley Estate, near Winchester, Hampshire, SO21 1HW, England MAP
tier 3 - £155 for the weekend
daily capacity: 45000
last updated: Tue 14th Jul 2015


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