I met Kami Minkrap (poet, rapper, writer, ex-wrestler among other things) back at the first Mugstock, and I’ve spent time with him at various festivals since. I spent most the weekend with him at Audiosoup so this has kind of naturally evolved into a collaboration effort. Text by me will appear in standard font and text by Kami in bold red italics. I’ll weave Kami’s words into my own, the way bedwetting weaves into the narrative of a dream. Got it? Good, then let’s begin…
Scottish festivals are always in nice places, the whole country is one big long sweep of beautiful scenery anyway. Kelburn, Mugstock, Knockengorroch, etc. they all have their natural beauty and Audiosoup is no exception. Situated in the verdant Scottish borders somewhere below Edinburgh, we had to traverse a long and winding road to reach the site, the length and isolation of which I haven’t experienced since driving the backroads to Knockengorroch.
Upon our arrival, armed with Wild Turkey and rum, we were helpfully directed to a parking space and we carried our gear to the adjacent campsite. Set up camp by Keverley’s 6th Dijon camper van, as we always do (I think they’ve been to every single festival I’ve ever been to and a lot I haven’t too!). I was keen to finally set foot in the legendary Boom Bap Soup Roll’s hallowed grounds, like a messianic pilgrimage, so we quickly erected our tent, filled our flasks with bourbon, accepted mushroom tea from the Chibmarks frontman, and headed into the main nerve of the Soup. With no hassle at all from security except a polite nod, a smile and a brief check we had wristbands, just the way it should be.
The Boom Bap Stage wasn’t as big as I expected, but then it’s a very small festival, maybe the smallest, but that’s a good thing. In my opinion, the smaller a festival is, the better your weekend will be. Plus, the line up on that Boom Bap stage alone was worth the price of the entire festival itself. After a quick tour of the surrounding tents and stages; the elaborate main stage, the quaint Beatroot Café, the bass-thumping Electrikal Sound System tent, and the bouncing Otherwhere Dance tent. We settled down at the Boom Bap for a while, where we ran into Kami.
Introducing, from the Kingdom of Fife, Kami Minkrap…
“Namaste, ya dicks. Once again, Audiosoup delivered beyond all reasonable expectations and I’ve come home with a head full of fuck knows what. I’ll try to avoid commenting on anything that might get myself or others in trouble, but I can’t promise anything. I opened the Boom, Bap, Soup & Roll tent on Friday, and I can’t put into words how happy I was to get that done and out of the way. Good thing too, I haven’t tested my USB that had my instrumentals on it, but I estimate that it died some time Saturday morning. It’s probably a miracle that I didn’t do the same. I spent so long wandering the field in the pissing rain that I began to question whether I’d ever owned a tent and began to devise my own mythology to explain what the fuck was going on.”
Kami had kicked things off, and the night was in full swing. One-man-music-industry and festival-Swiss-army-knife MARK McG was hosting the stage, as well as keeping it together and all the while keeping-it-real in his baggy pink jumper. The local music scene would be an empty place without Mark, he is a glue that so many different things adhere to, from fronting bands, to writing albums, to organising shows, to promoting, to compering, to collaborating, he does it all. The Boom Bap was definitely a stage many were drawn to often throughout that weekend, because of its relaxed casual vibe and its constant stream of banging live music, DJs and rappers.
I saw more rap battles in one weekend than I’ve seen in my life, that’s for sure, and there was so many talented individuals around to join in, that the proceedings hardly ever ran out of steam, truly an amazing thing to behold. I finally saw BUSKER RHYMES, a band that have been making a big impact everywhere they play. Despite being a member down and experiencing various technical and tuning difficulties they still pulled off a cracking set. Indie/rock music with rap and a rootsy reggae-like bass. Homespun, comely, hip hop orientated tunes. With Busker Rhymes you never know what to expect, sometimes they’ll whip out a trumpet, sometimes they’ll pull out a reggae beat, sometimes their members are AWOL and the remaining ones have to improvise. One thing’s for sure, they always create a buzz.
It was about that time I saw Kami wandering around in a daze, he jumped up to freestyle and fill in the time while Busker rhymes got their shit together during a technical difficulty. After Kami’s impromptu performance I asked him if he’d be up for collaborating on a review, he said something about having to create his own mythologies just to figure out what the fuck was going on, I took that as a yes…
“It was only a few hours after [opening the Boom Bap stage] that Chris asked me to contribute to his review. I questioned whether this was a good idea, but upon realising that I was wearing more clothes than I’d started the weekend with, I decided that perhaps I was a tad more responsible than I initially thought. I even had my pants on under my morph suit. It would have been a whole different kind of weird if it wasn’t for that.“
Probably my all-time favourite local hip hop artist is JACKAL TRADES. The songs are always stuck in my head, ‘Need The Characters’ was my top album of 2016, and I have listened to every track relentlessly since its release, and never tired of it. The words and beats will be etched on my mind til’ the day I die. The live show is something completely different altogether from the record, as Mark decides to take the music in a more experimental direction, with psychedelic trippy effects from Jess Aslan on keyboard and Martin Windebank on guitar. It’s like a weird post-punk-prog-hip-hop sound with Mark’s genius lyrics looping through its dystopian anti-melodies.
We were saying farewell to Martin as he embarked on his travels and he got to play us out with the excellent Floydian guitar he wrote for ‘Bill Hicks Fans’, always a very poignant and emotive song. RDRK played us right through the night with a long, stomping set that had everyone dancing and smiling with its glorious mash ups of funk, classic hip-hop and R&B, the filling crusty bread to a nice audio soup, soul food. I asked Kami what some of his own highlights were…
“There was an abundance of talent this year and I actually remember some of it. Futurology, Busker Rhymes, Jackal Trades, Tickle, Texture, Delivery Room, Simmons is Old, Steg G & Freestyle Master, Stutterjack, G-Mo, Werd, Supa & Da Kryptonites, Bombskare, Yoko Pwno and Neil Langstrum jump out of my mind at the moment, but there had to be more. Any time I try to think, all I can really manage is how proud I am to see the Kryptonites going from strength to strength, and how much I hate Werd for convincing me to start battle rapping.”
Set times were hard to come by, and it was often difficult to ascertain what band was playing where sometimes, and this piece is getting long, so I’ll just whizz through some of my highlights now;
Usually when THE TWISTETTES are playing, my firm position is right in the middle of the moshpit, because you can’t help but lose your shit when that grinding bass and pounding drums kick in with Jo’s astounding vocals. But when they played the Beatroot stage I was half-starved to death, so we acquired some burgers from the ‘Well-Hung & Tender’ van and they might have been the best burgers we ever ate in our lives.
Maybe it was because the Twistettes serenaded our meal with a storming set of their scintillating songs from the nearby stage (and when that band are playing you can hear them three miles away), or maybe it was because we were starved, and maybe it was because we had the munchies, or maybe it was because Collateral Tammage joined us and did his damage, but I don’t think so, I think they were just really good fucking burgers, if you ever get the chance to try a ‘Well-Hung’ burger, go for it!
I’d like to be like Anthony Bourdain and get paid to go around the world eating things, hell, I’d like to get paid to go around festivals eating things. Some of the best food I’ve ever ate has been at music events, and I’ve cheffed in fancy restaurants! From incredible bratwursts, to ‘Really Good Chips’, to haggis from the ‘Haggisman’ even the vegetarian options at the veggie stalls were tasty, and that’s coming from a staunch carnivore!! At most festivals you will be required to trade your watch, car and re-mortage your house just to get a can of Coke and a slice of pizza, but not Audiosoup, a very reasonably priced event, a festival for the people, keeping it real with affordable prices.
Hold on, did I start reviewing the Twistettes and end up reviewing a burger? I guess so, sorry girls, but we were listening while we ate, just not moshing, due to the choking hazard. We would have got a burger review from Frank Foodie but we couldn’t tear him away from your set. The Twistettes have risen to the top of the festival scene as firm favourites. To experience one of their electrifying shows it’s really easy to see why, they blow minds and pin ears back everywhere they go! One of the best bands in Scotland today, and probably the best female band in the world right now! Two sisters that pack a powerful punk punch and a heady, addictive sound.
After some giant butterflies let us borrow their wings while they took a toilet break, and we spent a few papalinaceous minutes fluttering around, we settled down with a joint to watch MEDICINE MEN at the Beatroot Café stage. Fresh from playing TRNSMT they offered a sound laden with soaring guitar and drifting melodies that were perfect as we smoked and drank rum and relaxed. Their music was just the right balance of hard-hitting, but ambient and broad-minded. Laced with funky bass and psychedelic guitar riffs, a very talented group of musicians.
Rum Bongo was my festival drink award winner of last year. This year I can heavily recommend Wild Turkey as your choice of festival drink, as not only does it taste so good you can drink it straight and warm, but it’s a califacient for those wet rainy days and cold tempestuous nights. Also, the problem of having drank yourself sober and immune by the Sunday is not a problem at all, with the potent, intoxicating effects of Wild Turkey you’ll stay inebriated for three whole days on a couple of bottles. It also goes great in your coffee for breakfast in the morning.
A massive highlight for me was THE HARBINGERS DRUM CREW on the main stage on the Saturday. I stood with Nicki D’Arc (Twistettes) and we watched in slack-jawed amazement at this unbelievable band. My long-time friend Damo has been in Sambayabamba for many years and I’ve followed them around and seen them hundreds of times. So imagine my surprise, when their evil twin took to the stage at Audiosoup. Seriously, if you were to make a supervillain to SYB’s superhero, it would be The Harbingers. Clad in black kilts and dark garb and demonic facepaint, they played some of the most amazing samba I have ever heard. Largely because it was the heavy metal of samba, literally, they incorporated heavy metal predominantly into their sound. They were probably the best thing I’ve seen in ages, inciting me to mosh, dance and skank as they churned out drum and bass, dubstep and metal through a dozen or more drummers! Move over SYB, The Harbingers just stole my heart.
There are so many things to tell you about, but to do so would require a novella not a book. The plethora of fantastic DJs that kept the party going. The host of local talent that read like a who’s who of all the best rappers, poets, spoken word artists, bands, producers, and performance artists that Scotland has to offer. And Audiosoup wins the award I think for the most hardcore festival I’ve been to, it was a real twenty-four-hour party people paradise. Whereas at most festivals there is at least a few hours lull where everybody falls asleep or boils down into isolated groups, Audiosoup was like the Duracell bunny of parties, the music and action was completely non-stop all the way.
The really random stuff going on everywhere meant you didn’t have to taste Kami’s unidentified blue powder to think you were hallucinating. Mimes would sporadically attack you (we won’t talk about the one Kayleigh punched because of her coulrophobia), but the mimes roamed everywhere and would erupt in hay fights or form huge gymnastic pyramids out of each other or roll themselves up into unnatural shapes at your feet or race each other standing on each other’s shoulders. Meanwhile, very outlandish bands were singing very strange songs about eccentric subjects, probably one of the more unconventional festivals I’ve been to, definitely flying the flag of Freak Power high, and loving it.
The tagline is “Scotland’s biggest wee festival” and I would say it’s Scotland’s BEST wee festival, or at least up there in the top three, and I’ve been to 90% of them now. A strong community spirit, a friendly atmosphere, a diverse and all-encompassing mix of music. The event is very aptly named as it is literally that, a soup of audio styles, genres, flavours, and backgrounds.
Audiosoup is a broth of bohemian brilliance, a decoction of delightful diversities, a bisque of banging beats, a bouillabaisse of bass, a chowder of choonage, a gumbo of gregarious gormandizers, a stew of sounds and styles and a consommé of consummate conviviality. I do apologise, but as a chef I had to get all those soup references out the way. While I recover from that, we’ll ask Kami some questions, like what’s his favourite soup, and what does he like the most about small festivals…
“The thing that brings me back to small festivals like Audiosoup is the people... Allow me to make a comparison. A number of years ago, I went to Rockness. I lost my mind and my pals and decided I’d wander around trying to make friends and see if I could find anything useful on the ground. The next morning, I was £40 up, but was also known as “that wierdo who was trying to talk to everyone while out his nut.” At Audiosoup, you could join just about any group and be handed a beer, a joint and a blanket. I like that Audiosoup is a place where those social defences are lowered. It reminds me that humans are essentially decent at their core and that part of the reason we’re pricks is because there’s just too many people in one place trying to serve themselves.”
What is it that keeps you coming back to Audiosoup every time?
“I appear to dwell in the shallow end of the autistic spectrum, and too much time alone makes me overly neurotic and a bit more right-wing as I attempt to implement any kind of order in my life. Events like Audiosoup are invaluable for bringing me back to centre field, or even pushing me a little more out to the left, because it’s a place where the ideologies work… Kind of. I mean, a weekend at a festival feels like magic because you’re surrounded by people who are either passive and compassionate hippies, or fundamentally insane by neurological or chemical means and there’s very little trouble. I’ve heard a number of people pondering over why the world can’t be like that constantly? The answer is simple – the drugs would run out. Imagine T in the Park on a Tuesday. You could make horror movies about it.”
Haha, yeah, well we won’t be hearing much more from them…
“And that brings me to my last point to make. Now that T in the Park is under threat of not happening any more, there’s a higher likelihood of NEDs needing somewhere to go. Please dinnae get into linguistic pedantry here over what constitutes as a NED – I’m just a weird NED. On one hand, I don’t want oor wee festivals to be ruined by fannies looking for trouble, but on the other hand, it could do a lot of good. There’s something about being stuck with the same people for a whole weekend that humbles folk, and a large part of that is the fact that even after a confrontational situation, they are welcomed back and encouraged to join in. I’ve seen many a muscle-dummy in a vest, mocking people whilst burning cider bottles, turn into the bloody fire warden by the end of the weekend after deciding that he maybe didn’t need all that Ketamine. Society cannot be 100% inclusive at all times, but there’s something about festivals like these that reminds us that that’s ok. I think that realisation is important from both sides of the political spectrum. Except Werd. Don’t let him in again.”
Sagacious words. Thanks Kami. That was my first Audiosoup and it definitely won’t be my last. It pissed with rain all weekend and despite the persistently pluvial weather and the mudbath we still had a fucking great time, testament I think to just how good that wee festival is. See you all next year, in the prime audio soup!
C.T.H w/ Kami Minkrap