When I was quite young, I remember seeing Gary Numan doing cars on Top of the Pops. It was probably the first time I had heard this strange space sounds, and he looked…well, like an alien. To a little 8-year-old boy it was (and I don’t know whether this is a reflection on my life) memorable, incredible and exciting. It’s possible that’s the point I fell in love with electronic music.
Gary Numan wasn’t from Sheffield (sadly) but a lot of his contemporaries were; Heaven 17, ABC, Cabaret Voltaire & Clock DVA and those bands were the blueprint to Sheffield being associated with electronic/synth music ever since, through Warp records and onwards. There were minor distractions along the way (Pulp and Arctic Monkeys being two) but to this day there is a wealth of interesting electronic music coming out of the city, and being released in the city. And one of the best labels putting out music at the moment is Itchy Pig Records.
Officially formed in 2011, we took a strange approach to forming the label. Concentrating initially on whether or not we could make this work by speaking with various artists and acts about our frustration of getting true talent to the forefront of what is ‘popular’ music. We managed to get many unique and interesting artists involved from the start. This made it impossible not to take the challenge on and we would have been clearly stupid and thoughtless not to take up the challenge.
We had to work around many factors. Firstly, music is music. Having never really been interested in the format of genres we had to work to this ethos. Intelligent music with a great understanding of style and groove is what we wanted, regardless of what style the artist is into. Those involved in creating Itchy Pig have always immersed themselves in music from all areas of the spectrum. Going to great nights out and sweating out all problems in everyday life is at the forefront of any good night and this is how we shall run ours – fun, sweat and good times.
Since that formation, Itchy Pig have put out some incredible talent. They have put out albums and singles, remixes and podcasts on physical and downloadable formats. From the Jazzy almost trip-hop of Rubberlips to the Soul-House style of major player Matthew Kyle, to the hip-hop of local boy Phantom48 they are not scared of taking chances on new talent, or pursuing established figures in music. And the result is a cannon of great releases.
Matthew Kyle – Overdose
That willingness to embrace has also led to putting records of a very different nature out, by Berlin based Singer/songwriter (and, believe it or not, painter) who produces slightly melancholic music with a range of weird and wonderful sounds to go with it. It’s a beautiful mix of storytelling and little soundscapes that really does charm my middle-aged pants off me.
Coming out on 28th January is Itchy Pigs next release,’Have Visions’, an EP of retro disco by Italian producer Jolly Mare. Its fun, funky and generally great, and its coming out on lovely 12″ vinyl – you can pick it up here. While you’re at it, go over to Itchy Pigs website, read their (excellent) blog and pick up some more treats from a label that really is (to quote their tagline) Pushing the boundaries of sound.
Jolly Mare – Have Visions EP sampler