Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few years, you’ll be somewhat familiar with Manchester’s born and bread, Kid British, the indie rap four-piece who brought us their nostalgic take on Madness’ Our House, adding illusions to grim family life, surrounded by alcoholics and street crime.
Their 2009 hit attracted fans accross the country including Radio One’s Chris Moyles and Scott Mills, placing ‘Our House Is Dadless‘ as their record of the week. With one word that suggests youth and the other their identity, the self-confessed ‘hip-hop rudeboys’ are a multicultural quartet to match their multicultural city.
Somewhat influenced by hip-hop legends, Jay-Z and Nas, you may have noticed that the usually rowdy rappers have gone quiet of late, thankfully though to follow up their debut album, ‘It Was This Or Football‘, with an equally as impressive self-titled second, Kid British and free four track EP, ‘Northern Stories‘ – available for free download now, as their way of thanking fans for their patience over the past eighteen months. With reports and reviews well under way, I plan to find out whether their creative priorities have changed and whether their Mancunian feet are still firmly on the ground…
MF – Based on what we’ve heard so far, when you think Kid British you think up-beat, ska – indie funsters. Musically, Is this a fair representative of your new EP, Northern Stories?
KB – I’d say it is but I think a lot of people would say that the music’s a bit darker.
MF – Similarly, your Lyrics up until now have focused fairly on one specific topic – your childhood, fatherless families and street gangs. Rum Boys for example is about bored kids carrying out petty vandalism. Northern Stories expresses your love for Manchester but are there still elements of this too?
KB – What we do is we take stories from what we’ve seen or what we know, sometimes it’s a harsh topic but sometimes it can be a love topic, it just depends on what day of the week it is. It’s descriptive, a lot of people don’t discuss anything, so we discuss one or two things to keep it straight for everyone really.
MF – You’re a foursome consisting of one producer and three vocalists. Tell us about the writing process for Northern Stories and Kid British.
KB – All four of us write the songs, sometimes the mojority of a song might come from one person, it kind of works that way. It’s not really meant to have so many people involved, but we just feel like it’s the right thing to do.
MF – I imagine writing Northern Stories and Kid British took a while did it?
KB – Yeah it took a while because we left Mercury Records and from then we went onto complete the album that we wanted to do and that took up the length of time. But it’s all complete, everyone’s in high spirits towards it, that’s our attitude to it so we’re all just waiting to see what happens really.
MF – Exactly, you don’t know what’s around the corner do you?
KB – No no no you never know but I think that’s the most interesting thing about being a musician, just that you can’t predict it, you can’t put a date on it so you just go for it.
MF – You represent everything that is essentially British in the modern age: multicultural and multi-musical, fusing ska influences with a modern pop gloss. Where do your influences come from?
KB – Our influences come from being here. Loads of bands and artists influence us too. There’s four people that write so there’s four people who might have different ideas, it depends because different people bring different things to the table.
MF – You’ve supported huge bands such as Manchester’s very own, The Enemy and The Specials, but have you any Manchester gigs coming up that we can look forward to?
KB – Yeah yeah May 3rd we’re playing Academy Three, we’re looking forward to it. We’ve got a few dates in May and then one or two big festivals, then we’ll also get to release the full album which is self-titled, Kid British, so it’s looking really good.
MF – It’s nice to see artists stay firm to their roots. Speaking of which, you hail from Manchester’s Prestwich, Chorlton and Withington and have recognised the city for quickly becoming the next launch pad for discovering new music. But how did Manchester help catapult you from bedroom dj’s to regulars on the Chris Moyles show?
KB – Basically, obviously coming from Manchester there’s a lot of great bands before you so you’re always tipped as the next Manchester band trying to be like Oasis and bands like that. I think it’s a great launch pad because not many places in the UK have such great musical heritage. We’re glad we’re from here, we’re not like some bands that come here and say they’re from here just to get a launch.
MF – You worked with Blur’s Stephen Street on It Was This Or Football. Are there further collaborations on Northern Stories?
KB – No we’ve done everything ourselves.
MF – And if you could collaborate with anyone, any ideas who?
KB – I know a few people we’d love to work with. I’d like to mix it up a bit, something like Liam Fray but with The Streets aswell, just something abit interesting, that’s what it’s about, to make the collaborations abit interesting. So if we were to work with people, it would be artists along those lines.
MF – Endlessly lugging equipment from gig to gig, between you you must know several, if not all the music venues in Manchester inside out! – Any suggestions?
KB – The new one is Gullivers, that looks like it’s going to be a good place, my friend lives in one of the apartments opposite there, I’m in there actually most of the time! I was thinking of doing a launch there for when we release a single down the line, like a quick ‘first three hundred in’ type gig. Sound Control’s a new place that’s emerged aswell.
MF – And to finish, what does the future hold for Kid British?
KB – Basically, we’re doing four videas for each song on the ‘Northern Stories’ EP, we’re looking to release our album, one or two big festivals lined up. Basically we’re looking to get back to where we were beforehand a couple of years go, get ourselves back on the platform and get ourselves gigging and back out again, because last year we just spent the whole time sorting the album out really.
Kid British Northern Stories Interview with John Rob (not a Manc Finest commission but wanted to include it)