California-based Kaptain is here to get the groove back into your life, thanks to the help of his exclusive guest mix for PressPlay. His funk-filled sounds take us on an interstellar journey of spacey, glitchy beats, complemented with electro-soul vocals and future bass vibrations. Check out our interview with Kaptain below while you listen to the mix, and be sure to grab the download!
Tell our readers about you and your sound.
I’m 22 years old, and I live in San Francisco. I’ve been deeply involved in music since I was six years old, but the first time I opened Ableton Live to start figuring out how to embed my musical knowledge in electronic music was four years ago. Before that, in high school, I used to screw around in Garage Band and some other software, recording my friends rapping or singing and producing really simple beats or accompaniment. The first type of electronic music I succeeded at making was a variant of Moombahton. Sometime around this past Spring I realized I had a lot of untapped potential that I was sort of wasting on pretty formulaic music. From all of my experience in playing in jazz groups, orchestras, bands, as well as solo instrument stuff, I’d developed a bunch of musical tools, and I was ignoring that stuff and focusing on making the elusive “banger”. On top of that, I hadn’t really made the effort dig into older records to find cool samples, and I really wanted to do that. Since then I’ve landed myself on a sound that encapsulates bass music, live instrumentation, funk, space-y sounds, hip-hop, vocal sampling, and a whole bunch of other things sprinkled in. It’s still developing, but that’s sort of where I’m at right now.
Your latest EP, Cosmic Groove, finds you exploring a multitude of genres and styles. Can you share your creative process in making the EP?
So…I made this track back in Future Back featuring my homie/guitarist Brizzy. And that track just worked so well. It had the mixture of bass elements, samples, and live guitar that I was looking for. So I made a couple more tracks that followed that general vibe. Brizzy and I made a track called “On A Waterfall, Orbiting Earth” just to try to experiment and push our boundaries. It was super rough at the time but I was like “hey this would make a good intro track to an EP”. With a good intro track and a few tracks that seemed to vibe with each other, I decided to just make a few more over the course of the summer and call it an EP. So that’s just sort of how it came to be. There’s so much I could say about the process of making this EP. I’ll say what was most fun, creatively: I taught myself how to play Bass and threw that in a couple tracks. Recording Viola on Left Behind was extremely dope and nostalgic to when I used to play classical music in orchestras. Also, I splurged and bought a MiniBrute Analog Synthesizer halfway through writing Cosmic Groove and spent hours turning knobs and making sounds, some of which I used on this. The title, “Cosmic Groove”, came from the name of this weird hand-bag (purse?) store on the Las Vegas strip. Yeah, I stopped in Vegas on a cross-country road trip from New Jersey to California, and when my friends and I were walking around the strip, we saw this big neon sign called “Cosmic Groove”, and I was just like, “yes, this is it.” I like it because it’s ridiculous, but also because it does a surprisingly good job of encapsulating some things that I spend a lot of time thinking about. I’ll leave you with a quote that relates to the feelings I was trying to evoke with the title and this music:
“Music is a celestial sound and it is the sound that controls the whole universe…sound energy, sound power, is much, much greater than any other power in this world.” – Sri Swami Satchidanada, Woodstock Music Festival Opening Address
Any pre-show rituals?
Hmm…caffeine for sure.
What’s a song staple in your sets?
It remains to be seen how much I’ll be playing it out in the future, but in past sets I’ve always dropped my remix of “Falling Down” by Sub Focus. It’s a track that grabbed the attention of a lot of people on the Internet, and seems to work similarly on people dancing.