Photo: Piotr Niepsuj (Mr. Mitch)
Mr. Mitch has never really played by the rules. When Grime producers were flooding Soundcloud with so called War Dubs, he retaliated with a series of tracks he labelled as Peace Dubs. Similarly, his Boxed parties have been pushing the envelope of what Grime can mean while on his EPs and albums saw him changing his style consistently. With Devout, Miles Mitchell has begun to develop his storytelling abilities. While formerly known for his stripped and raw approach to Grime, his second LP for Planet Mu is at its core a Pop record that features a slew of singers and MCs. Unsurprisingly, Mr. Mitch’s mix for our Groove podcast doesn’t stick to one formula for more than a few minutes before radically changing course within seconds.
For your album Devout, you have invited a slew of other artists into your studio to sing on the tracks, but have also contributed vocals as well as featuring your son on it. Why did you decide to involve so many different people in a project which is essentially very personal?
I see it as a collection of personal stories more than a whole album dedicated to my story. My story is the most dominant on the album yes but I thought it was important to get the perspectives of others, along with the fact that I believed their talents would enhance the album
What does it mean to be devout?
It’s the ability to believe in something so strong that no one can change how you feel about it, in my case, my family.
Grime has supposedly played an influential role in the recent general election by mobilising the youth and you also have gone on record to support the Labour party. How did you experience the genre’s involvement in politics in the past year and do you think Grime could or should address themes of a political nature more openly?
I think the good thing to take out of this is that a politician finally found a method to engage young people in politics. Grime is political music, it’s social commentary, the MCs on the tracks are talking about the lives they live or the lives they see around them. Often stories of violence or crime, anyone who has witnessed that life can relate, it is a voice of the people. So for an artist who has such a strong influence on the young to voice their political opinions, I think it’s great.
As one of the founders of London’s Boxed nights, you are “dedicated in the main to re-thinking and expanding what grime means, especially instrumental grime”. What exactly does that mean?
I always had the vision that Grime could be many things. Always moving forward always evolving but obviously as things move forward and change it certain ways new names get attached to them which is fine. To me what Boxed is now and what my music is now is a constant evolution, I always trying to move forward with the sound. I’ve accepted that people may not be comfortable using the term Grime for the new strands that splinter off of it and I don’t want to get caught up in a battle of the genres. All I care about is the music and creating something new, something that makes you feel.
Your label Gobstopper, founded in 2010, seems to follow the same agenda. What does a record need to bring to the table so you would consider to release it?
It just needs to move me, there are no genre restrictions on Gobstopper. People often send me demos that sound like something that I’ve already released. I don’t want that.
You regularly appear on the radio either as part of the Boxed crew or solo. Which role played radio in your formative years as a music listener and what’s your relationship with it now?
I listened to pirate radio on and off as a kid, just flicked through until I found someone playing garage basically. My main sources of music growing up was either my parents collection which was mainly soul and rnb and as I got older illegal downloads via lime wire etc. When BBC 1xtra first came around I remember listening to it a lot, everyday after school and I used to record sets online via a very early and very weak wifi network in my house so it would often go to really low quality. Now I mainly listen to radio when I’m driving it doesn’t necessarily have the same excitement as it once did with breaking new music as it will often be online the same day anyway.
What was the idea behind your contribution to our Groove podcast?
My podcast is a collection of tracks that represent a bit of where my head is at the moment musically. A journey through different sounds and feelings.
Last but not least: Where can we see you behind the decks in the near future and what are your plans as a producer and label owner?
My next show in Germany will be in Freiburg on 9th September for Vapor Club. There’s a lot of good music to come on the label, some stuff that I’m really excited to share.
Stream: Mr. Mitch – Groove Podcast 114
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