As one of Grime's most innovative new producers, Mr Mitch is at the forefront of the recent instrumental resurgence. 2010 saw his highly favoured track 'Skittles' released on the all-conquering 'Butterz' label and also the launch of his own independent label, 'Gobstopper Records'. Regularly producing for the likes of Riko and Trim and currently involved with Hyperfrank's excellent 'Volume Control' project, the future looks increasingly bright for Mr Mitch. I was fortunate enough to catch up with him on everything from 'Crystal Castles' to wanting to have another raid of his dad's disco records:
"Basically over the past year or so I've been working hard to get my music out there and heard. I've had a lot of support from Elijah and Skilliam which lead to me getting the 'Skittles' release on the 'Quality Street EP'. At roughly the same time, I started up my own label, 'Gobstopper Records' - the first release was my own track, 'Fright Night' which also featured remixes from SRC, Deset, Moony and F.A. Kode. I somehow managed to get a track on Skepta's album from a link over Twitter which I was really proud of, and i've been involved with producing stuff for Trim and Riko's new projects too. It's just been a case of working hard to get my music out there and there's plenty more to come! Ah and can't forget being on this month's 'Volume Control' which could hopefully see Durrty Goodz vocal my track - big shouts to Hyperfrank for putting the project together, it really gets supporters involved."
As with many producers I've spoken to, Mr Mitch's interest in music started as a youngster:
"Well I've always had an almost 'in-built' interest in music - my dad was a guitarist and used to tour all around the place with Mad Professor's label 'Ariwa' so I was always hearing 'Lover's Rock', Reggae and Dub as a kid. It wasn't necessarily music I enjoyed at that age though admittedly, I tended to be more into Soul and RnB. Having said that, my dad's Disco and Soul record collection needs to get raided again to be honest!
I used to have keyboard lessons for a while as a kid too but they didn't last very long but in terms of creating my own music, it wasn't until I discovered an old program called 'Hip-Hop Ejay' that I got really intrigued - I used to just mess about and make loops but it got me hooked!
In terms of inspiration for the stuff I make now, there's a whole range - I actually went through a phase a few years ago of listening to loads of indie-electro, bands like 'Crystal Castles' really used to catch my ear but it was the computer games I played as a kid that have had the biggest influence I'd say. A lot of the melodies I put together take a lot from those Japanese composers who really knew how to incorporate that fresh, arcade sound within certain games. You can't forget that melody was extremely important then too, particularly because of the restrictions in terms of what was available to them when it came to producing."
When it comes to trying to define his style, Mr Mitch believes his sound is firmly rooted in Grime although admits that some 'purist' fans of the genre often disagree:
"No matter how much the 'purist' fans would want to argue against it, my sound is Grime - it's just Grime that comes naturally to me. A lot of the forefathers of Grime music made stuff to relate to their surroundings and often made an aggressively charged, gritty sound. I can't ever pretend to have been a part of that lifestyle so my music tends to just reflect my personality - while it can be dark at times, it remains far from aggressive. Don't get me wrong though, I'm from South East London and I'm around a lot of negative stuff but it's never been a defining part of my life so it's not reflected in the music I produce."
With 'Skittles' released on the 'Quality Street EP' alongside tracks from the likes of Terror Danjah, Mr Mitch explains that he'd been pushing for a release with Butterz for quite some time:
"I'd actually been sending Elijah some tunes for a while and he was playing bits on his show with Skilliam so when they started the label, I could see the potential it had instantly and knew I wanted to get a release with them. I think Teddy (Silencer) was supposed to have a track on the 'Quality Street EP' but there was a complication and it wasn't ready for the release, which actually worked in my favour because I'd sent Elijah 'Skittles' that same week and the rest is history!
When it comes to Butterz as a label though, what they are doing for Grime is huge - I don't think if people fully realise how much they are doing for the genre. They are essentially single-handedly bringing Grime back to the clubs but in a way that's accessible to everyone who wants to be a part of it. They fact they're releasing on vinyl gives value to the music and the brand aswell - they've inspired a lot of other independent labels, including my own."
With Instrumental Grime in particular slowly forcing it's way into the hearts and minds of bass-music promoters across the UK, Mr Mitch feels Grime needs to be allowed to broaden as a genre in order for it to be fully appreciated:
"I think it needs to be allowed to expand really. A lot of people, Grime fans in particular, are quick to label an experimental-souding track as Dubstep or one of the many new, random made-up genres like 'Post-Dubstep' and 'Future-Garage'. Someone like Joker for example, has always made Grime in my opinion but he was one of the only people making the Instrumental stuff at the time, but he pushed it in a way that worked better within the Dubstep scene. I like the variety of styles if I'm honest though - even if I don't always particularly like a certain sound, it's good to see people thinking differently. Royal-T is great at what he does at the moment - he makes that Grime that can tear up a rave but he's also doing a lot with the remixes, bringing Grime to a wider audience. At the same time though, there are producers out there who'll never get any tunes played out but they too should be celebrated the same way - it's all good for the scene."
When it comes to playing Grime to audiences nationwide, Mr Mitch admits he is hoping to start deejaying more often this year:
"I've never actually put myself out there before really because I wanted to focus entirely on my productions but it's increasingly something I'm becoming interested in. I played out once last year at a 'No Hats No Hoods' night in Shoreditch and had been down to play elsewhere until there were a few complications with the promoter but I haven't honestly tried much since then. Just gonna put this out there though, I am officially looking to get back on it!"
With three releases already lined up and a whole host of new projects on the horizon, Mr Mitch seems intent on making his mark this year:
"I've got a release lined up with Boogaloo City called 'The Advocate EP' which should be released on March 28th and I've got further EPs lined up with 'Fortified Audio' and 'Redefined Audio'. There are remixes on the agenda too and they should hopefully come to the fore later in the year. I've got the next release on my label to sort out by a called 'Deset' aswell - his stuff is next level and it's sounding powerful after these latest mixdowns! By the end of the year, I'd like to be gigging regularly too and making sure that i'm producing for a variety of different artists - I really want to make real songs with people because I feel that's something Grime lacks. More instrumental releases are also a big priority!"
QUALITY STREET: http://butterzrecords.bigcartel.com/product/terror-danjah-src-royal-t-mr-mitch-quality-street-ep
MR MITCH'S 'PIMP SHOES' ON HYPERFRANK'S 'VOLUME CONTROL' EDITION #3: http://www.hyperfrank.co.uk/