Keeping Garage Alive: Kurupt Fm Talk
Craig David is back in the charts and the UK garage revival – something seemingly mooted every six months or so – is back on the agenda again. However, if there’s one person, or rather team, that the body-building, Miami-dwelling comeback king should be thanking for their part in helping him back into the public eye, then it’s Kurupt FM. That the made-up pirate station can claim to have played a part in his return to the top 10 is testament to how far it’s come in the past few years.
From its birth as a YouTube series to its first appearance as a pilot on BBC3 as People Just Do Nothing, what started off as a spoof of a pirate radio station has since turned into a bona fide phenomenon accompanied by sold out shows and international appearances. Festivals, merchandising and a forthcoming headlining spot at Brixton Academy… How did it all go so right for the team from Brentford?
I’d wanted to talk to the team behind the programme who have just released for the first time an all-singing all-dancing DVD pack featuring every episode thus far plus a whole slew of extras which includes some treaty Technics-based packaging. However, in true artistic fashion they prefer to only talk in character.
Like Steve Coogan and Alan Partridge before them, it’s clear that the team behind the programme know exactly what their characters would say in any given situation and can reply on the hoof when asked a question. In reality, you get the feeling that, aside from the fact they’re spoofing garage heads, their lives aren’t too dissimilar from the characters they play in the programme.
It’s a slightly surreal situation, for sure, chatting to an actor, answering his questions in character, about a supposed documentary that charts the ups and downs of an imaginary pirate radio station. It all becomes even stranger when asking about how he – Grindah not Mustafa – copes with the fame of becoming a star, . Never mind, for he’s so used to the role, he can answer straight off the bat.
“It’s fucking easy for me,” Grindah explains, talking about his new found fame.
“I always felt like I should be famous. I alway thought everyone was mental for not realising. But now the penny’s dropped, I’m really happy for them, really happy that I could bring this into their lives. Now they get to enjoy it.”
For sidekick DJ Beats, it is, he notes, a little bit different (“he’s a lot weaker than me”), but he acknowledges how their lives have changed.
“I went to the Post Office, I was sending something off, the person behind the counter, as soon as I spoke, they were staring at me; they knew that it was MC Grindah.”
He relates another tale: “I went to into the chip shop, I didn’t have the extra 50p, he said I’ll let you off boss and winked at me. That’s the perks. It was proper celeb shit. I didn’t have to pay, well, I did have to pay a little bit, but they let me off some.”
Grindah’s had a bit of ribbing too, which he’s not so sure about. “People say to me ‘I love your documentary it’s jokes’. Why are you laughing? It’s not jokes, it’s my life.”
He believes careful editing has made him look dafter than he is, adding that they watched Chabuddy’s girlfriend make off with his possessions and let it happen (“The BBC watched the crime happening and didn’t stop it”) and further noting that he filmed much better bits as well as insisting the cameras stick around on other occasions to get better bits on film.
What’s the worst bit about the filming? “The worst bit is when they wake you up at 7. They say just play out your life, but I don’t wake up before 11.”
Will fame change him though? He’s not changing his lyrics to reflect a newfound wealth or lifestyle (“we don’t get paid much for it”), but also because, well, why should he have to?
“No I haven’t changed my lyrics, why would I when they are so strong? People want to hear them over and over again.”
And what about the women? “Look, I’m a good looking bloke,” he admits. ”It’s quite weird. Chicks love me so much they don’t talk to me. I think I intimidate people even if I’m just doing nothing.”
Does this, we venture, mean a potential reconciliation with long-time girlfriend Michelle? “She wants to buck her ideas up,” he adds, earnestly.
He’s not too worried about the transmission of the series’ other potential ramifications, such as interest from the authorities (“I don’t really give a shit about the system… Burn down Babylon…) and Grindah’s now busy making the next plans for world domination.
In the short term, there’s more gigs, including a Brixton Academy headliner on December 17, following a summer of festival appearances: “It’s been mad, people screaming my name. But I deserve it. I deserve it fully. I’ve been destroying it, we’e been shutting it down everywhere.”
And there’s a fourth series of People Just Do Nothing too: “Course mate, they would be stupid not to.” Despite his reservations, he’s still a fan of the programme: “I love watching myself. I make everyone watch it every night.”
And there’s bigger plans too. “I’m going to make my own film, I’m writing my own screenplay. Basically it’s going to be me playing myself in the past, present and future. It’s starting in the future, at Wembley, with me and screaming fans. The film will end with me bursting out of my mum’s vagina.”
Oh, and there’s also the Kurupt scent: “We’re looking to release the I Am Kurupt range, it’s droplets of my sweat mixed with blue cheese and a bit of skunk.”
Furthermore, there’s his ongoing pledge to keep garage music alive: “We’ve got Scott Garcia, EZ, all them men are keeping it alive. You’ve got the man like Craig David, I brought him back. We’ve got all the grime heads keeping the vibe alive… I won’t let house music take over."
“Oh, and just blaze lots as well.”
• People Just Do Nothing Complete Series 1 – 3 is available on DVD now from Dazzler Media