iTCH | Interview

itchpress

Bristol is literally one of, if not my favourite, towns to play. It’s always ‘got’ what my lyrics and music are about. It’s a hot bed of protest activity and creativity. I don’t pay lip service to every town I’m in but I honestly truly love Bristol and its whole attitude.

He spent last year preparing the ground for a solo career, releasing two EPs and touring tirelessly on both sides of the Atlantic. Now iTCH, MC and former frontman of The King Blues, the folk-punk-ska outfit that disbanded in April 2012, eagerly returns to Bristol for a sold out support slot before the release of his debut LP in March.

Hi iTCH, how are you getting on with the tour?

Me and the tour are getting along splendidly thanks.

You’ve always been a genre-straddling artist and last year you even supported AWOLNATION. This tour looks more lean and congruous in that its an MC supporting another MC. How does it compare? Are Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip’s audiences more ready for you?

It’s definitely different. The AWOL tour was the first tour I’d done as a solo artist. Their audience was definitely into it but I was still finding my feet. This time around I definitely feel more prepared and ready. It’s been really nice, Dan and Pip have been friends and collaborators for years and we’ve tried to tour together a number of times but this is the first time out schedules have allowed it to happen. Not only is it a hip hop tour which is obviously nice for me but the audience also gets the spoken word aspect of what I do. It’s one of my favourite tours I’ve ever done.

You had to cancel gigs last year after breaking bones in your foot – are you back to match fitness?

Fortunately I only had to cancel one gig which was the day after I broke my leg in three places. I wanted to play but the doctor wouldn’t let me out. I left for a three-month tour a week later in a wheelchair against doctor’s orders.

There’s footage on YouTube (from last year’s Warped Tour) of you conducting a kind of guerilla gig, from your wheelchair, with a crowd on all sides – is it safe to say you’re just as comfortable performing solo as you were with The King Blues? Do you prefer it?

I actually much prefer it. I’m really proud of everything I achieved with The King Blues and the way I achieved it but this stage in my life is so much more free – I’m really hungry again. Being in a wheelchair wasn’t ideal but it in no way stopped me. I love being on stage and performing; the buzz of it just never gets old.

You’ve previously described The King Blues as primarily a political outfit, the music being a vehicle – is this true of your solo career or is it inevitably more personal?

It’s a mixture. There’s definitely still a massively political side to my solo work. It’s just part of who I am as a person but I’m also not hiding behind it – I’ve learnt to make myself vulnerable and tell my own story. If you want peoples heads you gotta first get their hearts. I’m not really sure where the personal ends and the political starts anymore but the music and lyrics are still ferociously rebellious.

The message of your new single, ‘Children of the Revolution’, is one of solidarity with the activists, both musical and other, of the twentieth century. The most recent discussion of revolution in the UK has revolved around Russell Brand and the idea of political abstention – do you think everyone should exercise their right to vote?

Personally, I don’t vote because I don’t believe in any of them to lead me. I feel the only way to affect change is to be the change. We go from Tory to Labour to Tory to Labour and nothing ever changes – it’s like we got short term memory loss. At the end of the day it’s big business and money that makes the decisions and politicians are just scapegoats for the inevitability of the big business victory. In my experience a lot of people vote without even realising what they’re voting for. If there were a real alternative I may vote but right now I won’t be a part of that illusion.

The last time you played Bristol was at Bierkeller with The King Blues – have you good or bad memories?

Bristol is literally one of, if not my favourite, towns to play. It’s always ‘got’ what my lyrics and music are about. It’s a hot bed of protest activity and creativity. I don’t pay lip service to every town I’m in but I honestly truly love Bristol and it’s whole attitude.

What happens after these shows and the album comes out? Are there plans for headline dates or a festival run?

As soon as these shows are done I’m heading straight to the US for a two month tour supporting a hip hop group called Air Dubai then I fly back and we hit the second leg of the Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip tour. There are definitely some festivals in UK this Summer, which I’ll announce when I can.

iTCH’s debut album, ‘The Deep End’, is out March 24 on Red Bull Records.

Marvel in iTCH’s spoken word piece ‘Life Is Poetry’ here: