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Artist Spotlight: Kidnap [[PIAS] Électronique]

Updated: Jun 27

Kidnap in the studio

London-based producer, DJ, multi-instrumentalist, and lyricist Kidnap, also known as Matt Relton, is back with a fresh sound bound to captivate listeners. His latest single, ‘Fortified’ featuring Finnish vocalist Dwara, is the second teaser from his highly anticipated second album set to drop this autumn on [PIAS] Électronique.

Kidnap, who first made headlines due to a youthful prank, has evolved into a significant figure in the electronic music scene. His music, known for its intricate melodic structures and emotional depth, reflects his personal growth and artistic journey. ‘Fortified’ is a blend of rippling, melodic piano and synth arpeggios carrying thoughtful lyrics that Sinai, Dwara, and Kidnap himself penned. Dwara’s rich and sultry vocals add a unique layer, making the song both entrancing and danceable. Kidnap describes ‘Fortified’ as a two-part stanza on resilience through changes, with long harmonic passages that explore and eventually resolve.

The upcoming album marks a significant shift for Kidnap. After the pandemic’s isolation and his new baby’s arrival, he channelled his experiences into a burst of creativity, producing a slew of new songs and club-enhancing cuts. This album chronicles his transition from playing over 100 shows yearly at top venues worldwide to embracing his new role as a young father. The result is a cohesive collection that offers more than just a series of tracks but a unified narrative.

In a recent interview with Undrtone, Kidnap shared insights into the inspiration behind ‘Fortified’ and his creative process. “‘Fortified’ is a song about my relationship with my own creative process. I find that in order to stay productive, I need to constantly dismantle my old processes and rebuild new ones. It can be frustrating, but that is the only way I’ve found to keep moving forward. ‘Fortified’ is a song about committing to that process.”

Typically starting at the piano, Kidnap sketches out chords and melodies before experimenting with various synths and instruments, always aiming to include ‘real life’ through field recordings and ambient textures subtly layered in the mix. “Once I have some rough harmony shapes in place, I will start moving parts across different synths and instruments to see what sounds exciting.”

Despite his DJ background, Kidnap’s music often defies typical DJ-friendly structures, favouring long, beatless intros and outros. “You would think it would have made me write DJ-able music, but I still find I lean towards music with long beat-less intros and outros, haha. Sometimes, I just think I like making my own life more difficult.”

The moody atmosphere of London also plays a role in shaping his sound, helping him maintain a balance between melodic beauty and avoiding overly cheesy territory. “There’s a moodiness to the city that I think has had an impact on my music. At the melodic end of dance music, it can be easy to veer into cheesy territory, and I think being embedded in the culture here helps me keep one foot in the obscure.”

Nostalgia is a recurring theme in Kidnap’s tonally and lyrically. His music evokes a sense of looking back and reflecting on past experiences, a sentiment that resonates deeply with his audience. “Either tonally or lyrically, my music always seems to be trying to conjure a sense of nostalgia. I don’t quite know why this is, but that’s what moves me.”

Kidnap’s unique sound, shaped by influences ranging from classical music to morose Indie and drum & bass, results in an innovative and deeply personal blend. “At home, I find I listen to either classical music, morose Indie music, or drum & bass. Somehow, my music emerges as a mixture of all of those elements.”

Kidnap’s connection with his audience has evolved over the years, especially after a hiatus from touring. However, he is eager to reconnect with fans through live performances planned for later this year and next. “I haven’t been touring for four years now! So, the connection is currently broken. But I’m planning to be playing live again at the end of the year and next year, and I really can’t wait to be out there again.”

Fans can look forward to a deeply personal and cohesive album that stands apart from Kidnap’s earlier work. This time, he has crafted an album with a clear message and story rather than just a collection of songs. “I think it differs from my previous work in that it has a cohesive message. Whilst I am proud of the music I’ve released in the past, I don’t feel I ever managed to make a ‘real’ album, rather than just a collection of songs. This time, I feel like I’ve actually done it.”

Kidnap’s music, with its blend of introspective lyrics and captivating instrumentals, continues to resonate with listeners who have followed his career for over a decade. ‘Fortified’ is just the beginning of this new chapter, promising an album that will provide both a soundtrack to reflection and a celebration of resilience and growth. “The songs are stories about growing up and looking back with rose-tinted glasses about days gone by. I know a lot of people that listen to my music have been doing so for a decade or so now, so I hope the music provides a moment to reflect on all the good times we’ve all had along the way.”

‘Fortified’ ft. Dwara is out now on [PIAS] Électronique. Get it here.  


Kidnap - Fortified Artwork


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