Hailing from our sister city, Kalpa are a fresh-faced five-piece who met at Bath Spa uni studying music. They’ve only been gigging since the start of this year, but you may have seen them in supporting slots at Bristol dates on recent tours, such as High Tyde and Bloxx. They are as yet unsigned, but the music speaks for itself – with their first single released only in March, they’ve already clocked up 15,000 monthly listeners on Spotify, and I reckon it won’t be long before you’re hearing the name a lot more on playlists and festival line-ups. I talked to the band before they come back for their first headline show in Bristol at the end of the month. Find out about them now and you can annoy people later when you say ‘I knew about them before everyone else did’.
How would you like to introduce your band?
Nic: We’re a five-piece guitar driven dream pop band. And we provide floor-filling grooves and emotive vocals, that’s what I’d say.
Sam: Yeah, and we’re just good mates... met at uni, and it’s just good fun.
Nic: It’s been almost a year and a half now.
So where does the name come from?
Nic: So we were thinking of a name and I had it on my old phone on my notes, just words that I liked... Kalpa was on there. And I’d forgotten where it came from and then googled it, and it’s really weird. In Buddhist and Sikh tradition it’s like ‘one cosmic cycle’... like 2000 years, so just a really long period of time.
Sam: I think it made sense for us because we didn’t even know each other before and we’ve all kind of lived a long time.... No I don’t know, it just had a nice ring to it.
Nic: Yeah, it worked with the dream-poppy vibe.
So we can meet you all individually, introduce the person next to you and say a quirky fact about them.
Sam: Jamie, guitarist, known well for techno DJing.
Dexter: This is Sam Kidd. Head honcho, big vocals. Born in Carlisle, but raised in The Wyrell (not the Royal Navy).
Nick: This is Dex, he’s the drummer. He cuts his own fringe - dabbles in a little bit of hairdressing.
Rory: So this is Nic. He plays bass guitar. And fun fact about Nick, he had really long hair and didn’t cut it for about 2 years, and the other day we had a little party at ours and we shaved his head for a good cause.
Nic: I donated the hair to the Princess Trust, and I raised about £800 for motor-neurone disease.
Jamie: So Rory... guitarist. And fun fact about Rory, his dad was a member of the West Ham firm.
You’ve released two songs so far, what are they about?
Nic: So ‘Wrong Faces’ was the first one.
Sam: I think the ‘Wrong Faces’ thing was not showing someone the wrong situation at the wrong time. And in the pre-chorus: ‘don’t come too close’... it’s about distance and separation.
Jamie: What’s ‘B Side’ about? It’s just funky, funky bass...
Sam: ‘B Side’ is just a funky tune.
Rory: That was one of the ones we just messed around in the rehearsal room and started making it together. A lot of the other ones, Sam will come and bring a song to the table, or anyone, and we’ll all work on it.
Nic: I was just messing about on the synth and I went ‘ooh...shall we have that?’ and then everything kind of slotted together quite nicely.
Sam: It happened quite fast and slowly grew on us, and now it’s one of our favourites.
So how does the writing process usually work then?
Jamie: Normally one person will bring an idea and then we’ll work round that and make it into ‘our sound’. So the other day I bought an idea in and the verse worked really well but the rest of it just wasn’t our sound, so then we all worked on it together to adapt it into a ‘Kalpa song’.
Sam: ‘Cause we’ve got a lot of different influences in the band and we all like different stuff so we have to pull ideas from everywhere and then bring it into one thing. Which is what I think makes us a bit different. I think the consistency would be the vocal but then the music changes quite a bit and I really like that.
Who are your musical influences?
Jamie: The Smiths, or The Cure.
Sam: I think we’ve all grown up listening to the classic indie bands like Foals, Bombay [Bicycle Club] and we all really love that stuff.
Dex: I like a lot of soul and jazz stuff. I ended up going down a big jazz-hole about a year ago... and still getting myself back out.
Rory: There’s the old ones like The Cure and Joy Division in terms of guitar styles, me and Jamie especially are inspired by those bands, and then we kind of have this modern twist which brings in influences like Jaws, Alvvays...
Jamie: Bit of Slowdive and that kind of atmospheric stuff.
Nic: So that’s kind of slotted in to go alongside the indie twang.
You’re quite a new band and people reading this may not have heard of you yet. Why is making music important to you and what do you want people to take away from it?
Sam: What a question. I think first and foremost we make music because we love it. And second, as a band, we give people something to get into and groove to. And we’ve got melodies that people can sing along to.
Dex: It’s about sharing it really.
Nic: So people can come to a show and then just have a good time there.
Sam: And if they don’t want everything to sound the same, we give them that. Different tempos, different beats.
Jamie: I also think it’s because we all grew up in very musical environments, so we’ve always idolised these bands. So since a very young age we’ve all kind of had that drive – seen them and been like ‘that’s what we wanna do’.
Where can people find you next?
Nic: On 31st May, we are headlining Mr Wolfs. We’re playing Dot to Dot Festival at Mother’s Ruin on the 26th, at twenty past four. 22nd May in Bath – you can catch us supporting Charlotte Lloyd Butler.
Sam: London, 8th June... Going up to Liverpool on 15th June.
Nic: Bit of Falmouth, bit of Plymouth.
Sam: Got a nice little single on the way, yeah it’s gonna be a good summer.
Bonus question: you all have really good style, who are your style icons?
Jamie: Hedi Slimane.
Nic: Who’s that?
Jamie: The former creative director of Yves Saint Laurent.
Sam: I think Jamie to be honest.
Rory: I don’t know... my grandparents, back in the day.
Nic: Either Skepta or Elton John for me. And Farebrother, another great Bath band!
Dex: Zac Cole Smith from Diiv.
Sam: I think charity shops are our main influence, we just rinse them. Poor students and that.
Listen to Kalpa at https://open.spotify.com/artist/3iOjzYwbP5WOlEOIRIg9JT
Ella Faye Howcroft