Meet Kapil Bhuta: The 18-Year-Old Fan Who Drummed With The Killers At The Singapore F1 Grand Prix

“The crowd of 60,000 people were screaming when they saw me walk up to Brandon Flowers. I could not stop smiling! I knew I had many friends in the crowd including teachers from the school, and most importantly, my two brothers and my dad. The rest as they say, is history.”

The life of a little drummer boy named Kapil Bhuta changed forever at Singapore Grand Prix.

Holding up a banner asking The Killers to let him come up and play drums for “For Reasons Unknown”, Kapil indeed got what he asked for on Saturday at The Padang stage.

We speak with Kapil Bhuta about the sights and sounds while playing onstage with The Killers, his music influences and how this opens up a whole new world for his drumming dreams.

POPSPOKEN: Hey Kapil! Introduce yourself!

Kapil: Hi! My name is Kapil Bhuta and I am 18 years old.

I currently study at The Australian International School, Singapore. I was born in Sydney and have lived in Singapore for over 8 years.

PS: How did you come up with the idea to have a banner asking The Killers to let you up and play drums? Did you actually think it would happen?

K: I have seen YouTube videos of The Killers pulling fans from the crowd to play “For Reasons Unknown.” Knowing this, I decided that I would give it a try. To be honest I did not hold much hope of actually being selected. Deep down i was of course hoping that I would. I rehearsed the song on my own at home just in case I did get selected.

I would have never thought I would have been pulled up! It was only when Brandon Flowers asked me if I could play and if I knew all the stops, when I realised that this actually might be happening.

Walking up on the back of the screaming crowd and actually turning around and seeing the flood of people cheering was the most exhilarating moment of my life – a moment that will be frozen in the pages of my mind forever.

The crowd of 60,000 people were screaming when they saw me walk up to Brandon Flowers and I could not stop smiling! I knew I had many friends in the crowd including teachers from school, and most importantly, my two brothers and my dad. The rest as they say, is history.

PS: Could you tell us more about how you felt from going on stage, to hugging the band members, to actually playing for the crowd?

K: There was a fair amount of people that had signs put up asking to play the song and when Brandon Flowers looked at my side I got all of my friends and people around me to start screaming! We got his attention and he asked me if I knew the songs and all the stops – I screamed yes! I went up on stage and couldn’t believe what was happening.

As soon as I sat down on Ronnie Vannucci’s kit Brandon Flowers started to sing, which did not really give me much time to think at all –  which is good in a perverse way as it stopped me from over-thinking.

I think I was in a daze when I walked up. I actually don’t think I had time to think per se … The song started and I just started playing.

There was one moment in particular when I realised I had this covered – this was right at the beginning when Ronnie Vannucci was standing in front sort of motioning me what to do. When he realised I had it covered, he simply smiled and walked away. That was the best endorsement – not that I had had time to think as I was completely focused on the song.

As I was playing drums I looked out to the crowd and it was a phenomenal sight – something I will never forget. Seeing the crowd that did not end was a dream come true -and really exciting. I was really enjoying the moment playing to the screams of the crowd. There was a point where I did a drum fill and Brandon Flowers started to smile; I think he was surprised that I knew the song!

After I played, Ronnie and Brandon both gave me a hug and they said I killed it! I got to keep Ronnie’s drum sticks, too. Additionally, Brandon Flowers said that I had ‘ice water in my veins,’ which was just incredible to hear, especially from someone who you look up to.

PS: When did you first learn drums?

K: I started playing drums when I was 12 years old. I actually started playing guitar first, but have grown to love drums more than anything in the world.

I have played around Singapore at a couple of bars although I usually play at events hosted by my school.

After I finish my final year of high-school I plan to find gigs around Singapore and just properly start to get my name out there whilst pursuing a university degree.

PS: You seem very familiar with songs by The Killers, do you spend lots of time practicing their songs? What other artists do you usually drum to?

K: The Killers are one of my favourite bands. I remember first listening to “Mr. Brightside” when I first started out on drums and thinking to myself how awesome it would be to play this on drums.

I knew “For Reasons Unknown” due to the fact I used to listen to it on repeat for a while!

I drum to a wide variety of artists and genres, from Led Zeppelin to The Beatles, from Dave Brubeck to Rush – I even drum to a lot of the new emerging Indie artists.

PS: Who / what are your musical inspirations, and why?

K: Music is my absolute life and my passion. I live and breathe music and have done so since I was a little boy.

Over the years I have had a number of musical inspirations, it started with Michael Jackson and progressed from there. It is impossible to mention all of my inspirations, but I listen to literally all kinds of genres which benefit me as a drummer / musician!

I love the simplicity of Mac Demarco and Courtney Barnett, the groove in Stewart Copeland’s drumming for The Police and even Jordan Rakei. Anderson Paak and Green Day come to mind when thinking of my inspirations due to their energy.

I am inspired by a plethora of amazing artists. I have recently performed Led Zeppelin’s “Moby Dick” with my brother for my Higher Level music course at school.

PS: Lastly, how do you wish to proceed with your love for drumming?

K: I have always wanted to be a musician and do what I love for a living, so I really hope that this transpires into something wonderful that will get my name out there and open doors for me.

I am only 18, and as my dad says, the world is my oyster now more so than ever before because of what transpired on Saturday!

The headlining acts at Formula 1 2018 Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix’s Padang Stage included (in order of appearance) Jay Chou, Liam Gallagher (ex-Oasis), The Killers, Dua Lipa and Martin Garrix.

Cover Photo: Rob Loud (@robloud)

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