by Nola Elliffe
The Kapps, a Boston based band, started 2018 committed to their musical passions.
They recently released “Spent, Not Spent” the first EP for the young band.Gabe Straight, bassist and vocals, with The Kapps is a junior at Emerson College. The other three bandmates are Andrew Maher on guitar and vocals, Derek Jameson on drums and Ethan Powell on guitar and vocals.
Forging an identity apart from their musical influences the EP’s cover of four blenders solidifies their inclusivity. Their friend, Julian Levine, made the album art after pitching the idea to the band.
All 6 EP tracks represent a collaborative musical phase forming the bands familiar sound through four individual artists. Executing an organized and researched approach on where to record The Kapps stepped into Q Division studios in Somerville, MA where famous artists like the Dropkick Murphys, Fountains of Wayne, and Nick Jonas have recorded music.
The Kapps had expert assistance flushing out their unique sound with producer Sean Cahalin. Bending popular song rules through their distinct variety of genres accumulated in one song comes as little surprise when citing rebellious bands like Green Day, 311 and The Beatles as major influences. What does surprise me is how well they take their influences like Green Day and make it sound creatively new, not exactly replicated, helping to form a sound vibrant and lively. Only adding to their “best friends band” vibe.
Most of the EP is a blended variety of alternative rock, reggae-ska, and infectious sing-a-long lyric arrangements making tracks like “Whistleblower” surprising but welcomed. Likely the most cohesive song due to remaining strong and authentic in its surf-rock genre. Recording live really helped with the synergy of the bands experience and Straight experimenting with an organ and various amps to achieve some of the desired chords added to the spontaneity found on all 6 tracks.
Each year many local bands emerge on the music scene and delve back into darkness. What separates The Kapps is their ability to diverge from existing songs they know in style all their own. Live in person or streaming on Spotify their chemistry helps to transition between genres mid-song while creating creatively familiar songs.
Simplicity and familiarity are harmoniously achieved with the band’s current song formula. A recipe that worked well providing a recognizable sound works now but transforming themselves based on influences might have the band questioning how to build songs. Their sound might change and I hope it becomes a stronger reflection of their artistic abilities.
Bravely holding a positive mindset though the creation of this EP, The Kapps put song ideas and musical phases into six pre-rehearsed songs then stepped into the studio. The band knew that recording an EP might take 15+ hours and a lot of money but flushing out their current ideas was a must to create more material later on down the line.
Although fatigued after finishing their EP all band members are really happy with this release. Especially how everything was recorded live with a couple guitar overdubs added in studio. Producer Sean Cahalin apparently would make adjustments on all of the bands instruments while they recorded in order to help fully round out notes and tempos. Every track mixes well as it seems there is no instrument too loud, you can hear everything.
A testament to their hard work and moving forward Straight believes that “It would be great if this EP allowed us to get in the door to some local venues and play house shows. We would love to play live. I want to play everywhere that is available. Play basements, backyards, and opening for bands. Play everywhere we can get an audience going.”
Listening to The Kapps first EP “Spent, Not Satisfied” I found myself enjoying each song before trying to figure out where specific influences came from. Addictive harmonies and catchy lyrics eventually permeated the membrane without the insanity effects, I promise. Aiming to blend the genres that make up their greater musical influences uniquely and organically felt true to this first musical outpour by The Kapps. It was important for the band to discover what they could do with what they knew now.
Passionate about their music outlets The Kapps wanted this EP to be a release of everything they knew and have been working on so that they can build off of this and fine-tune their sound.
The title track “Spent, Not Satisfied” is that familiar tune you haven’t heard before. The Kapps achieved success with this punchy track that is sure to have you swaying your body. The end of the song provides an improvised instrumental break that gives you time to recover before bumping along with the tracks looped rock anthem.
The eclectic nature of the tracks took a lot of tweaking and fine-tuning to achieve and “Teen Night” may be one of my favorites on The Kapps EP. It could be because the minute they pulled out 311 influenced guitar segments I was excited to see what the song would later provide. The Kapps hit their lyrical melody stride with ease by favorably pairing instrumental arrangements that swapped between pop punk rock, reggae-ska and hometown funk.
A lot of tweaking and rewriting during this EP’s recording had the band exhausted at the end but blown away by their final result.
The most significant takeaway I had listening to The Kapps EP and speaking with Gabe Straight has to be the overarching positive attitude philosophy coupled with a desire to embrace that sense something more significant is afoot. Those attributes for a band are stronger than any social media associations, follower numbers or gimmicky band competition. I for one hope the wait for their second EP is not a long wait, but they are undoubtedly “Worth the Wait.” An impressive first step for The Kapps so don’t just take my word for it, take a listen for yourself.
Use the hashtag #ShareTheKapps when you share their songs with friends and family.
- Spent, not Satisfied
- Teen Night
- He was Living in the Countryside, not the City
- Worth the Wait
For more information, requests or to set up an interview, please message The Kapps on Facebook.