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Photograph: Andy Parsons

‘The whole movie-star thing comes pretty naturally’: Kurupt FM on breaking Hollywood

Brentford’s pirate radio heroes tell us about their big-screen debut, ‘People Just Do Nothing: Big in Japan’

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Written by
Phil de Semlyen
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The Kurupt FM boys are going from pirate radio to the movie biz with a first big-screen outing that gives them a shot at fame, Japan-style. Are they fazed by the move? Not really, no. ‘It was quite refreshing being somewhere they don’t recognise me,’ says Kurupt frontman Grindah. ‘In a way, I was their saviour through garage music. England has Jesus, does Japan have Grindah? Yes.’

How does it feel to be movie stars?
Grindah: ‘To be honest, the whole movie-star thing comes pretty naturally for me. I’ve always been told I have a face for radio, so where better to present it than on the big screen?’

Chabuddy G: ‘I’d contacted Bollywood but the boys are all white so there was a bit of an issue there.’ 

Grindah: ‘Well, I’m mixed race. It’s Beats and Steves that held us back.’ 

What were your negotiations like with the producers on the movie?
Chabuddy G: ‘I just said: “Listen, these boys are superstars and we want 10,000 yen up front in cash or the deal’s off.” Later on I found out that’s around 70 quid, so I quickly retracted the offer. Let’s just say, we got a three-figure deal – each. So you do the maths.’

Beats: ‘We split a grand.’

Grindah: ‘For doing nothing! We were just being filmed walking around in Japan. 

Kurupt FM
Photograph: UniversalKurupt FM (left to right): Decoy, DJ Beats, DJ Steves, MC Grindah, Chabuddy G

What was the biggest culture shock in Japan?
Grindah: ‘We were knackered off the flight, Chabuds gets us some food, I look down and – you are not going to believe this – it was a bowl with soup in it and an egg floating on top, and noodles.’

Beats: ‘It was like spaghetti bolognese in a soup.’ 

Chabuddy G: ‘I’m a freak – I know that – but out there I was pretty normal. You have geezers walking around in princess outfits and dressed as a turtle.’

Grindah: ‘They’re very accepting out there and we could learn from that. Even businessmen will sometimes just sleep on the streets.’ 

Who would play me in a movie version of Kurupt FM? Idris Elba. But would he be too old?

Steves: ‘In London, if you pass out in the street and piss yourself or whatever, people judge you.’

Is this film UK garage’s Lost in Translation?
Grindah: ‘We can’t speak Japanese so there actually was a translator. I will say that Shibuya Crossing was amazing. We spent half an hour just going back and forward across it.’

Beats: ‘It blows the Chiswick Roundabout out of the water.’

Grindah: ‘If you are a zebra crossing enthusiast, go now. It’s one of the best in the world.’

How does it feel to see yourselves on posters in tube stations?
Grindah: ‘That’s been sick. We got ourselves Travelcards and have just gone around doing photoshoots.’ 

Steves: ‘People recognise us when we stand underneath the poster.’ 

Grindah: ‘We just wait around for about half an hour until someone says: “Oh, is that you?”’ 

Has Hollywood come knocking?
Grindah: ‘It’s for the future, but I’ve been writing the story of my life. The obvious option to play me would be Idris Elba. But would he be too old?’

Chabuddy G: ‘They could do “The Irishman” thing and make him look younger. And maybe change his skin colour. This might be a bit leftfield but I’d like Meryl Streep to play me. I’m a feminist. Also, she’d do a fantastic Chabuddy G accent.’ 

What did you binge during lockdown?
Steves: ‘Skunk.’

Grindah: ‘Me and Beats have been watching A Place in the Sun. We like to blaze a zoot with it. Beats, remember when I said: “‘A Place in the Sun’? More like a blaze in the sun!” and you spat your drink out?’

Beats: ‘It’s a play on words.’

People Just Do Nothing: Big In Japan
Photograph: Ken HiramaChabuddy G talks turkey with a Japanese record label

What have you got planned for the film’s premiere?
Grindah: We're looking at Brentford Leisure Centre for the premiere but the carpet’s not red.

Beats: It’s like a grey-blue.

Chabuddy G: They’re going to have to wipe off the gum. 

What’s next for Kurupt?
Chabuddy G: ‘I’m going to try to get cancelled because I realised that people who get cancelled become proper famous. I might do some racist shit to myself and then write a book and say how I’m sorry and that I’ve grown. Then I’ll get paid.’ 

Grindah: ‘The album’s out in August, then we’re in tour mode.’

Beats: ‘And the aftershave might come out.’ 

Grindah: ‘World domination, basically.’

People Just Do Nothing: Big in Japan is out in the UK on Aug 18

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