[INTERVIEW] Kidnap Kid Talks Growing Up In “UK” Clubs and Modern Club Culture

March 30th, 2015


kidnap kid playing dark blue
As American club life evolves, so do the artists who keep it alive. One of the most exciting and talented rising stars from the United Kingdom who is slowly becoming an integral part of the evolving dance machine is Kidnap Kid, born Matt Relton. Currently signed to Black Butter Records alongside acts like Rudimental, Clean Bandit, and Gorgon City, Relton is playing a crucial part in the resurgence of house music. His newest American tour, which runs through the Northeast in early April, features a showcase of his talents, as well as Gorgon City and My Nu Leng.


Kidnap Kid 2015 Spring Tour Dates


We were honored to be able to sit down and talk with Kidnap Kid about growing up in the UK club scene, the radical influx of youthful acts in the electronic industry, and of course, his British football preferences.



kidnap kid florals
How are you doing today? You’re down in Miami for Miami Music Week right now, correct?

Yeah! I’m really well, thanks, I’m down in Miami, yeah.


You have a show tonight, right? At Treehouse?

Yeah, yeah, I have the Black Butter party at Treehouse.


And MK is there as well, with Beckwith and Amine Edge & Dance?

Oh right, yeah, they’re in the second room! I’m excited.


I gotta say, I’m really jealous. Miami right now is crazier than the Super Bowl and I’m sitting here in awful New Jersey.

Oh, really? Yeah, that’s not a good time. Yeah, it’s gonna be fun. How’s the weather up there, not as nice?


Not nearly as nice. Definitely not 84 and sunny on the beach.

Ah, I’m sorry to hear that.


kidnap kid backgroud playing
It’s ok, I’ll survive. Good luck tonight! How’s life at Black Butter anyway?

Thank you. Yeah, things are getting better than ever with these guys; it’s really taken off.


What’s it like working with Rudimental and Clean Bandit?

Good, man. I mean, like, everyone started out I guess a couple of years ago without really any following at all, just everyone started putting their music out together; everyone’s kind of stayed friends, really, from just knowing each other then. So it’s cool to have everyone doing well at the minute. They’re really top-notch people.


That’s cool that you guys are super tight-knit, that’s gotta be cool.

Yeah man, it’s like a family; we all have a good time when we get together, it’s very cool.


So, you earned a college degree, right?

That’s right yeah, so just as I joined the label I was just graduating, or I kind of merged the two in my last year. I was fully in politics before I started the music thing.


So I’m assuming you’ve pretty much committed to a career of making music.

[laughs] Yeah, pretty much. I’ve kind of sacked up the whole politics thing. Maybe I’ll go back to that in 20 years, but for now I’m gonna do this for a little while; it seems like a lot more fun!


kidnap kid playing on stage with name blue
I can imagine so. For people who don’t know about your past, you cut your teeth in the UK club circuit before gaining the recognition you have. Let’s go a little further back: take me to your FIRST event you went to as a partier, not a performer. Who was spinning?

Ah okay! As a partier. I guess it was like, 10 years ago now. The first event I went to was called “Valve Sound System.” It was this event they used to run in the UK, this huge, huge sound system event that would tour around.


“[Valve Sound System] was just all drum and bass, headed up by this guy called Dillinja, he was amazing. I think that really started everything for me, I was just so, so obsessed. It blew my mind.”


I guess I was like, 14, maybe 15, and I was just hooked from that day basically, and I’ve been writing and DJing ever since that day. Just…yeah. I became completely obsessed.


14 years old, wow. That’s an early bloomer I’d say.

Yeah, you could kinda get away with going out. It was about ten years ago, and the UK was not strict about IDs; you could just go anywhere really. This used to go on a lot, but I guess they’re a little tighter now.


Back then when you were pretty much playing exclusively in the UK, did you ever look at other countries like Amsterdam or America and say to yourself “I’m fucking playing there, I’m making this happen, that’s it, it’s happening”?

Yeah, I mean, a couple of years ago, it wasn’t really…it seemed so unrealistic that I didn’t even consider it. I guess the whole UK thing hadn’t really kicked off, or was just kicking off in other countries as well, so about that time I was like “that’s obviously never gonna happen.” It’s crazy how much it’s switched over in the last few years. I started playing more gigs in the states and Canada than I do in the UK now. I spend most of my time out here now so it’s completely switched, but I did not expect this.


kidnap kid verboten
Yeah, you’ve done like two or three tours over here now. How does the culture over here compare to back home in the UK?

Uh…it depends really. It’s kind of different all over. The two, the UK club culture and the American club culture, are becoming more and more alike every year, they’re starting to merge. When I first started playing here a few years ago, it felt more like “concerts” than it did “club nights.” People would kind of come and stand around and wait for the show to start rather than just go out and go dancing. It felt more like you were a band playing rather than a DJ. But now it’s starting to become more of a club culture thing a bit more. It feels a little more like home feels.


I agree. When I first started going out, people were attracted by the headliner, and everyone before that was just, you know –

Yes! Exactly. But now people are getting into just going out just to have a good time and seeing whoever. It’s opening up a bit more.


Yeah, I think it might also have to do with the fact that people are starting to “grow up” a little bit and EDM isn’t this brand new thing anymore. People who never used to go to clubs are discovering that club nights aren’t like typical rock shows or hip-hop shows that they’re used to, it’s a different setting and a different culture.

Yeah, yeah I guess so.


So where does that leave your expectations on this next American tour compared to the last?

Oh, it should be exciting. I think all the events are sort of stepping it up a notch this time around. There’s some pretty cool stuff on the cards. I’m not here for much longer, I’m doing a month trip and I’m a week into it already, hoping for good things. As you start hitting places more and more, the crowd tends to get more familiar with you and gets bigger, so I’m excited for the step up.


kidnap kid fngrs crssd
You’re hitting a club called “Capitale,” which I’ve never heard of, it’ll be my first time ever going here. I live in north Jersey so most of the shows I go to are in New York, and I’ve NEVER heard of this place.

Yeah, that’s the New York show. It’s not a club, actually! It’s pretty cool, they do like one or two events there every year for a very special series that we’re pumped to get involved with. It’s actually a huge old converted bank. It’s kind of made out of marble and the room is huge and amazing. It’s normally an event space, but they’ll do one or two club nights a summer in this MATTE Projects “Black” series. That’s gonna be an amazing show, I’m really excited to something kind of special in New York, something different than your standard club show. I think it’s gonna be awesome. Definitely come to that one.


I will absolutely make sure to come out for this one. So now that electronic music has been around the spotlights, there’s this trend where many artists – I don’t want to call us “kids” because we’re a little past that now – but younger acts are starting to take over. Guys like Madeon, Porter Robinson, Mat Zo, Martin Garrix, guys like you who are in their late teens and early 20s are literally forcing the audiences to watch them. Do you think that this is changing the industry considering that in the past it’s been run by the veterans who’ve been around and know what they’re doing? Do you think that clubbing is slowly becoming an exclusively youthful thing to do?

Wow, I don’t know, that’s an interesting question! I guess having younger artists come to the forefront has made it more accessible for a younger fan base. So that might be why a lot of younger people are coming out and connecting with the artists. Maybe [they can] relate to them a little bit, I guess. I’m not sure about the industry behind the scenes though, there’s still a huge mix of ages. Yeah…I’m not quite sure, that’s an interesting question. But I feel like a lot of people are constantly looking to young exciting artists now because they might be the next ones to blow up. You know, occasionally someone comes through who’s like, 17 or 18, and just goes crazy, which we’re starting to see more and more.


kidnap kid parklife festival
Do you think you’ve hit the point where you look at your career so far and say to yourself “hell yeah, I’ve made it?” Is there such a thing as that?

I’m still searching for that really. There [have] been some moments where I’ve stepped out of myself and been like, ”shit, this is very proper now.” Playing some of the more iconic festivals, like doing stages at Coachella, Glastonbury, that kind of thing. There have been moments where I’m like, “Shit, this is all happening, this is REAL.” Other than that, it’s hard to know really.


“It’s an ongoing process, you’re trying to grow all the time, but those moments happen I guess, where [being a DJ] really hits you.”


Alright. So I’ve got two more questions left. One of them is probably the most cliché question that can be asked of an artist, but I’m asking it anyway: who’s your dream artist to collaborate with? I ask because your style of music can go in a variety of different directions to different genres and everything.

Hm…wow, that’s actually not a question I get much. I don’t know I’ve gotta think…that’s interesting.


I’ll be honest, when I hear your music, I think in my head “Wow, he would mesh awesomely with Maya Jane Coles.” Your garage-y sound and her deep mastery would go hand-in-hand.

Oh hell yeah, I’m a really big fan of hers, that would be cool. I’m trying to think of someone that’s a little more outside of house music that could be a really cool collaboration with, that would be unique and creative. Oh, you know what in fact? Nils Frahm. I’m a huge, huge fan of him. He’s an electronic act but plays piano as well. He’s incredible, that would be fun.


kidnap kid miami
Ok and my last question. This one may cause a fight, but I have to know your football club. So be careful…

[laughs] So THIS is the one I get asked a lot being British and in America, but I really, really, uhm…I don’t have a team! I take no interest in football. Yeah, yeah, it’s not my world at all, I know nothing about it. Just no clue, I have no idea, it’s not my world. I’m probably the only British guy to be like that.


Yeah, but you’re pretty familiar with the music world, so If you stick to that, I think everyone will be happy. Thanks for your time Matt, I’m gonna let you go. Find a pool party or something and act young, I’ll see you next Friday, enjoy Miami!

No problem man, I’ll see you in New York, come through and say hello!


Catch Kidnap Kid as he tours North America with Black Butter Record label mates Gorgon City, My Nu Leng, and Wayward this spring. More information about the upcoming tour can be found here and show dates are listed below:


4/2 (Thu): Dolphin Tavern, Philly

4/3 (Fri): Capitale, NYC

4/4 (Sat): Prime, Boston (early show)

4/4 (Sat): Therapy, Providence (late show)

4/7 (Tue): Westcott Theater, Syracuse


Matt Reynolds is a music enthusiast on a mission to share his musical knowledge with the masses. Born and raised on the hard streets of suburban North Jersey, Matt was diagnosed with an irreversible addiction to electronic music in 2009. Since then, he’s pledged to discover and share his experiences with clubs, festivals, and the world of electronic music. Situated minutes from NYC, Matt has traveled from Massachusetts to Miami and everywhere between chasing music and making memories. When he isn’t writing for MASS EDMC, he’s either reading, writing fiction, or (most likely) booty-shaking on the dance floor.

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