Monday, 21 November 2016

Guest Post: Captain Flatcap Album Preview

Captain Flatcap's Tom Rotherham joins us for a guest blog to let us know a bit about what to expect from their new self-titled album. 

Hi everyone, Tom Rotherham here from Captain Flatcap, guest blogging about our upcoming album and paying tribute to Jack the Cad for having me on his superb Guide To Vintage Remix – thank you! For those of you who don't know me, I'm trumpet and guitar player and co-producer (alongside my brother Chris) in Captain Flatcap.

'What is Captain Flatcap?!' can be a hard question to answer but I'll endeavour to be concise. Musically, it is [*inhales deeply*] multi-genre, vintage-remix, instrumental, electronic dance music! It is the live 3-piece band. And the DJ. And the production duo... besides of course being my brother Chris, the Captain... who wears a flatcap... confused? Just watch this interview from earlier this year.

"we grew to realise we are fundamentally a dance music live band, and it wasn't until the term vintage remix came about that we felt truly well-placed in the scene"

It feels great to say that we'll be releasing our self-titled, debut but long-time-coming album on the 24th of November 2016 on Scour Records! Of course, this feels like a real milestone for us. Chris started the band four and a half years ago, and we released the studio session video of 'Funky Farmers' and not long after that our remix of 'Dragons' by Caravan Palace, which, combined, got us noticed in the electroswing scene. Although we are (since 2010) big Caravan Palace and Dutty Moonshine fans, we never intended to be an electroswing band. Rather we grew to realise we are fundamentally a dance music live band, and it wasn't until the term vintage remix came about that we felt truly well placed in the scene. Since we started out we've experimented with combining all sorts of vintage styles – swing, ska, funk, folk etc. - with different styles of dance music and the album is almost a portfolio of much of what we've tried to do.

There's something for everyone on the album - with the Spanish guitar + ska + DnB party antics of 'Are You Me?', the Russian mandolin electro voyage of 'Sergei's Journey', the trademark Flatcap electroswing sound of 'Coconut Affair' and the filthy squelchy glitch of 'Awakening' - as you'd expect it features a multitude of instruments (including the classic flute an trumpet parts,) and a variety of genres and tempos.

"it would be nice to hear more music that's come from deeper than the surface of infinity"

Chris's inspiration formed the core of the record. He started eight of the ten tracks and brought out their basic compositional essence ('Coconut Affair' and 'Boom Bap Boxing' were the only two I produced completely independently). In November 2015 Chris told me he was ready to release the album, but I certainly wasn't. The next 6 months were filled with tireless and sometimes argumentative work, composing and recording but mainly producing the album, smoothing out every rough edge and sitting frustrated in a makeshift cabin studio in Australia whilst all around us, outside, was a music festival... six months after that and a festival season later, it is finally ready!

Our aims for the LP and and how and why we've made it take me back to our childhood. My brother Chris and I have always had very similar musical tastes, especially when it comes to dance music. We grew up listening to the same bands and receiving classical music tuition in our instruments. We were at first both very apprehensive of dance music but gradually came round to it via artists like Justice and Infected Mushroom who combine more traditional musical elements like melody and harmony with the power and timbres of dance music.

We both became obsessed with dirty electrohouse, with its complex, layered sounds and melodies; this is what inspired Chris to write the first Captain Flatcap tune 'Funky Farmers' and it helped to form the basis of Flatcap's creative ethos. Our electrohouse days also had a huge influence on our production style; despite being a band, we produce our tunes like typical dance music (strong beats, little live band feel), because that's what our music is – dance music. These days I don't dive deep into listening to any particular genre, what I love is finding things I haven't heard before, anything that's different. The ecstatic fascination I felt when hearing both Caravan Palace and Dutty Moonshine's first electroswing tracks (the latter aren't available any more!) for the first time are now something I chase. So, I think of vintage remix and combining genres as a way of finding this.  Both Chris and I agree that a huge part of Captain Flatcap is about making music that we would enjoy, and I've found when writing for Flatcap that it's like I'm making the unknown music for which I've been searching but can't find.

The Captain Flatcap lineup: L-R, Tom Rotherham, Chris Rotherham, Matt Woods

A suggestion Jack the Cad made to me for this blog was that if we have a point to make with this album, make it here.

After reflecting, something small occurred to me. We don't really have a point to make, we don't think music should be made any particular way, we just do it like this because we like to... But... the reason we've taken to vintage remix and combining genres is because it opens a world of infinite possibilities; to me, vintage-remix means the allowance to literally combine anything in the whole world of music. Ever. And now with technology and electronic music, a whole new world of music has opened up.

That's pretty mind-blowing if you think about it, so, at least for us it would be nice to hear more music that's come from deeper than the surface of infinity, people can allow themselves to be thrown into it a bit further. The only rule I follow (although it's subjective) is that you have to work to create a convincing, unified expression when combining genres; you can't just play Edvard Grieg's 'Morning' and System of a Down's 'This Cocaine Makes Me Feel Like I'm On This Song' simultaneously and expect their aesthetics to merge! It's worth saying here that a fair bit of our music is unplanned or comes from happy coincidences. We use whatever we have available (e.g flute!) and try random things and just go with it and make it work (we hope!)

It is an honour, a pleasure and privilege to be releasing the album with Scour Records! It's not only our first LP but Scour's as well, so we're really happy to be working together to reach the same milestone.  We're also stoked to have collaborated with the amazing rap duos Too Many T's and Great Scott, vocalist and album designer Isabel Drake, and glitch-hop connoisseur William Breakspear. They've all made the album truly special – big up! Over the summer we performed all three vocal collaborations - spontaneously playing new music live on stage has a reliable magical energy, I'll never forget each performance and you can expect more live collab performances to come!

So once again, the Captain Flatcap self-titled, debut album is out on Scour Records on the 24th November 2016, exclusive to Juno. Soon after that, physical CD copies will be available to buy from our bandcamp page. These are worth a special mention - they contain sleeve notes, beautiful artwork designed by Roo and Isabel Drake and a free poster - a collage of memorable Flatcap moments! On the 12th of December the album will be available to buy on all other outlets.

Finally, we want to say a huge thank you to everyone who's helped us get the ball rolling and everyone we've met in the vintage remix scene - it's a beautifully warm, inviting unpretentious community – big up!


  1. Nice work guys. I loved the album...

  2. The overall look of captain flatcap is awesome.

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