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All the deep feelings and emotions that music expresses are almost impossible to describe in words.

Kapten

Creation is applied imagination

Text: Eva Kousiopoulou
Kapten

If there’s one music group that’s been the talk of the town in Thessaloniki recently, it’s Kapten – a multi-membered band that made a name for itself through word of mouth. As trumpet playe Panagiotis Kapetanakis admits, “We soon became a sensation and popular with an underground audience. Things have been in motion since, moving so fast that I sometimes have a hard time believing all we’ve achieved.”

Kapten have two singles ready so far, expected to be released in spring. They’re also recording an LP that will hit the shelves in September as well as preparing to perform live in Thessaloniki, Athens and elsewhere.

As Panagiotis says, Kapten were created after his sudden and altogether unexpected return to Greece, at the start of the pandemic. He had to rebuild his life from scratch, after barely finding the time to pack his things in Utrecht. Having only brought his trumpet and a change of clothes, once he realized he had to remain in Greece for good, one of the first things he thought about was starting a band.

Back in the Netherlands, he was studying jazz and pop trumpet at HKU, writing and also recording some songs. In Greece, Panagiotis started recording with various friends, depending on each track’s demands, before the band was born in earnest. At the time he believed this could be a personal project based out of the Netherlands. Instead, hisDIY-style recordings took place under difficult conditions and several issues, both in Utrecht and Thessaloniki.

Despite being difficult on so many levels, the lockdown helped his creativity. He needed a way to balance it all out, and music was always there to help. With a lot of his material almost ready, Panagiotis rallied some good friends in 2022 and started to perform his music. Having lived abroad for a while gave him the opportunity to become close with great musicians and see “that they’re human too,” as he says, reminiscing about his professor, Bertvan den Brick – a legend of European jazz, who performed on Kapten’s his first EP. Among his most important collaborations, Panagiotis adds one he could never have imagined: “Myka 9, my favorite MC and someone instrumental in defining hip hop, did vocals for me!”

“The fact I became a musician somehow stems from a childlike need for play, which lives on within me in adulthood. Play is our basic tool to develop our imagination – something that parents, school and society consciously persecute, because imagination kills stagnation. This plays a crucial role in our personal development. How we view the world is directly related to our imagination. Our ability to imagine the nonexistent is the fundamental tool for the evolution of humanity, as [author] EvgeniosTrivizas says. It has nothing to do with whether you are a scientist, an artist or a tailor; the extent to which youcan let your imagination run free has to do with whether you keep the child you once were alive on the inside. Creation is applied imagination,” he urges, in reply to my question of what music represents within his personal universe.

Play is our basic tool to develop our imagination – something that parents, school and society consciously persecute, because imagination kills stagnation. This plays a crucial role in our personal development. How we view the world is directly related to our imagination. It has nothing to do with whether you are a scientist, an artist or a tailor; the extent to which youcan let your imagination run free has to do with whether you keep the child you once were alive on the inside. Creation is applied imagination.

Kapten

“Music is a tool of communication; a higher language than words, which can express our emotional state more deeply than words. All the deep feelings and emotions that music expresses are almost impossible to describe in words. Perhaps unconsciously, this is the ultimate reason why I play the trumpet. I was never good with words, and the trumpet fills that gap,” he declares.

So, who areKapten? “It was a human jigsaw puzzle, with each different piece coming together to form a complete image. My main tenet when considering how I’ll choose the musicians was the capacity for friendship. It’s not enough if someone is a great musician but we get to rarely see each other because they don’t have much free time, and they only come to the concerts, and get paid, and that’s the extent of our relationship. I wanted us to be able to be more than that. In the end, I achieved my goal. We didn’t just become friends, we became family,” he smiles.

“With vocalist Nikos and drummer Alexis, we studied in the Netherlands together and they were some of my closest people there. Alexandra has been a friend for several years, we play in various bands together and she was also in the Netherlands at the time for postgraduate studies in architecture,” Panagiotis continues. “With Thomas, who plays the drums, we share the same studio and he’s a musician I’ve always wanted to play with. His perception, work ethic and humor are unique! WithMakis, who plays the bass, we have played for many years in several different groups. I like his easygoing attitude and dub-reggae aesthetic! It fits the way I think about bass in my head. Our guitarist, Grigoris, is a valuable associate who grew up in the ‘desert’ of Halastra. He’s always up to date with fresh sounds, has deep knowledge of music, instrumentation, sound engineering, and you can discuss anything with him. I learn a lot from him and he’s one of the people who moves things forward,” he introduces the rest of the band. “Finally, Thanos on the saxophone is our youngest member– he was just 21 when he joined the band. But he has extreme talent! He’s the Masterear! We are in a lot of different projects together, besides Kapten, and he’s the most supportive wind instrument player I’ve ever worked with.”

“However, it’s no longer enough to play your instrument well. Musicians are expected to have skills of many different types. They need to know about video, entrepreneurship, social media, technology and a whole lot of other thingsthat have nothing to do with, for example, blowing the trumpet, but they still need to see to fruition.And eventually, somehow, instead of making music, you get caught up in all the stuff around it. Therefore, besides the musicians in our band we have a wider family of people – such as Giannis Efstathiou, Ksa, Viktor Tsilimparis, 3MK, Adam Siagas, Anastasia Kostopoulou, Vangelis Ameranis and many more, who believed in what we do from the start, help in all these areas and continue to support us,” he speaks about the band’s extended “family.”

All of them bring their own influences and musical inclinations. “We are different people, with different needs and different backgrounds. We listen to many different things such as drum and bass, jazz, hip-hop, latin, ambient, techno, etc. Each of us has their own preferences and certainly their own character. I appreciate surprise and humor in music. Artists such as dEUS, Funkadelic, Tony Allen, Christian Scott, Beastie Boys, Miles Davis, The RH Factor, Sonic Youth, The Lounge Lizards, Massive Attack and more have all influenced me deeply,” Panagiotis Kapetanakis declares with a smile.  

Info
An eight-member band from Thessaloniki delivers an explosive live performance that covers all your psychedelic needs. Their sound combines afrobeat, hip-hop, rock, and soul, creating a hauntingly atmospheric journey. Expect jazzy horns, dynamic drums, powerful vocals, liberated guitars, and dubby bass, and dive into their captivating musical world!

Kapten has released an EP titled “Polarity” featuring, among others, world-renowned artists Myka9, Bert Van Den Brink, and Suze Terwisscha Van Scheltinga, and five singles, “Strange” (2021), “What You Get” (2022), “Take a Good Look” (2023), “Dancing Tooth” (2024) and “I Ηate Ιt”(2024).

Kapten is Alex Karambournioti (vocals), Tsop (vocals), Maquitto (bass), Thanos Tsakiltzidis ($ax), Gregorio Liolios (guitar), Alex Makatselos (drums), Tomas Kostoulas (drums), Kapten (trumpet).

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