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  Local Artist Profile | Katapolt
Photos courtesy of Katapolt

In this regular Lunar feature, we profile local artists worthy of infinite exposure. This time around is no exception, as Chanté catch up with three of the seven members of Katapolt, an Atlanta-based group bringing "live hip hop and drum and bass for yo' face."

Group name - Katapolt

Group members/role -
Aaron aka Soldata (soldier en Espańol or soul-data/soul-info)- Lyricist/MC, song concepts, some instrumentation and production
Casper- Production and projections-visual art, editing
Katapolt Darrick aka Zen- Singer, acoustic guitar, lyricist/MC
Dave aka Skape- Main producer, laptop and keyboards, center point of songwriting process, graphic design for fliers
Felix aka DJ Quiz- Scratch DJ
Johnny aka My Cousin Troy- Bass
Kimani aka Slim Buddah- Lyricist/MC

Years producing/performing - They've been performing as Katapolt for about a year. Skape's been producing for about three. Soldata grabbed hold of the mic when he was 8 and hasn't let go since. He started producing tracks in 1999. Kimani has honed his lyrical skills for at least 10 years now. "Some of the songs that are going to be on the album we made over a year ago," Skape says.

Affiliations - Kaleidoscope Crew (pH Balance, Mudfish), Kula

How Katapolt got started - Longtime drum and bass head Jagarundi called Skape and asked him to play a party at The Church in fall 2001. "I was like, 'Holy shit!' because I'd never played my shit out very much at all. I called Casper, who I'd known from art school, and I was like, 'Dude, Jagarundi has got this thing at The Church and he wants me to do some beats. Do you want to link up and maybe do projections or maybe do some of your beats, too?' "

Low and behold, the party got canceled. "We were like, 'Fuck that!' So we found out one of our friends was having a birthday party. We were like, 'Yo, can we perform at your birthday party?' We came over, and it was like 12 folks and we just set up in the living room."

My Cousin Troy happened to be chilling at the party and expressed interest in collaborating.

Zen and Slim Buddah had been doing their thing as Keys2Kurrents for a few years when they hooked up with the rest of the guys.

DJ Quiz joined in later, as did Soldata, who explains, "Basically, I got in the mix because he was supposed to VIP me out for the Valentine's show and he didn't. So I was like, 'Muthafucka, I'm getting on the microphone!' "

Solo projects -
Skape - Working with Matt and Jules of New Natives to create a dub band.
Soldata - Working on the "Expression Project," with three songs completed and another three to go.
Kimani - Aside from co-hosting THE spoken word night at Apache Café and Free Forum Exchange (voted 2002's best in Atlanta by Creative Loafing) every Sunday alongside Son Christopher, he's also got a side project in the works that's an eclectic mix with a heavy lyrical presence.
My Cousin Troy - Has released a solo LP.

Style - Hyperrealisticcadillacjunglemusic. "We want to have our shows be a multi-sensory experience," Skape says. "We started going to jungle parties back in '97. We'd go to Dottie's for Beat Research. People like Gnosis would spin hip-hop to jungle to dancehall and then back again. And they would scratch over it. People like Haze and Robbie, Night Breed, Lost, X. They'd flow and kinda do a hip hop style. They didn't really care exactly what the UK was doing necessarily. So to us, jungle was a shoot-off of hip hop, a more hyper form of hip-hop. And the production was a lot thicker, too. So that's kinda like our take on how we produce."

Katapolt is all about "trying to combine as many different styles into one," Casper adds.

Skape: And also we realized that jungle music now is not very good party music. Chics don't dance to it, it's repetitive...

Soldata: …There's always the one real skeed-out chic that dances to it.

Skape: The UK style of MCing, they're not really writing lyrics, they're just chanting the same thing. So basically, we're trying to do this thing in a kinda Atlanta hip-hop way...

Casper: ... With a little more thought behind it.

Influences - Roni Size's "New Forms," DJ Spooky, Timbaland, A-Montaban, The Muppets, DJ Hype, DJ Shadow, lots of Vinyl Syndicate.

Studio equipment - Two Macs, Yamaha CS2X keyboard, Sony Vaio (Casper), five different effects pedals, Technics 1200, Vestax mixer, 14-channel mixing board, Audio-Technica microphone.

Upcoming gigs - Nov. 23: Back To Basics at The Abbey. Nov. 26: Dres tha Beatnik's Birthday Bash at Apache Café.

Hardest thing about being in a group as opposed to being solo artists - Actually, there are more positives than negatives. It can be tough because live music means multiple elements, but the group's got a "good, healthy relationship as far as producing," Casper says.

Really, there's more freedom to work on side projects when they don't want to focus entirely on Katapolt stuff. "I think any issues that come up, if there were things where it's like, 'Man, I'm not feeling that,' then you go and do your side projects or whatever. Little masturbation sessions," Soldata says.

Katapolt Contact info -

For bookings - 404-681-5150

Tracks available - Check out for some MP3s. The Hyper Realistic EP should be out in spring 2003, along with a mix CD from Skape, DJ Quiz and Casper. In the meantime, you're always welcome to ask for a CD whenever you see them out at a show. (They're nice guys - no worries!)

Tracks produced - Skape: Aside from Katapolt stuff, two tracks for Kish, a recently slain artist who spent five years on his yet-to-be released album, Starving Artist; also a couple tracks for The Mighty I Am (a group consisting of Son Christopher, Kimani and Zen).

Katapolt Thoughts on the Atlanta scene -
Casper: People need to come out more.

Soldata: I think this has been a real long, hard year. If you've noticed, a lot of established groups from Atlanta have not been doing as much as they were in the past, as far as doing shows and stuff like that. A lot of people have been real disheartened because Atlanta doesn't really support its local artists that well at all.

Skape: Would I be wrong to say that the jungle kids don't come out and see us? I've been listening to drum and bass for several years and I know Casper has, too, and I know those kids. I see them at every Dieselboy, every Rob F., every UK, every national act, I see them there. But they don't come out to see us for 5 bucks.

Casper: If I took myself out of this equation, and saw a group that was like this, I would be like, "Damn! They're fucking doing it!" I would be out, every time. No doubt.

Favorite gig ever - The Black Show at Apache Café on Aug. 23, 2002. Dark Horse/10 High is another favorite venue because of the sound. The group almost always records shows there because of the high-quality sound.

Worst gig ever - The Valentine's Day 2002 show at eleven50 along with pH Balance. Lots of laptop glitches, bad sound and a soundman with a mullet. Bad combination.

Advice for upcoming producers/performers -
Soldata: Stop talking and do it!
Casper: Don't follow trends. Don't be afraid to put yourself out there.
Skape: Do some live shit and give the DJ a break!

Places of work outside of producing/performing -
Casper: WebXperts Design Inc.
DJ Quiz: Bartender at Apache Café
Kimani: DocuPro Inc.
My Cousin Troy: Owner of Zebra Inc., a parking lot maintenance company
Skape: One3, a graphic design and multimedia firm catering to the entertainment industry
Soldata: Lots of writing and beat production (aka unemployed)
Zen: Technology Solutions and Services Inc.

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