MPC mastermind Pitch 92 joins us to discuss his debut Potent Funk release, Sometimes Relax. It's a deep, personal album so it's only right we go in-depth. Pitch has crafted countless releases for High Focus Records and The Mouse Outfit, but this project stands out as something special. Read on to find out how he made it with ILLAMAN and what makes the illusive producer tick...
"It means more to me than other projects"
We track back to being a kid in Germany, to Pitch's uni years, to sharing a studio with Dirty Dike. We also learn why he left the Mancunian mice and which collaborations are waiting around the corner. Pitch 92 interviews are pretty damn rare, so pour a brew, read and relax.
What did you get up to with FKA twigs yesterday?
"I walked her from the Eurostar to a private car. I didn't know what her name was until I asked her. She said, 'Twigs', then I Instagrammed 'Twigs' and it came up with FKA Twigs. I was like, 'Fair enough'. I do a little side job sometimes. They call it 'greeting'. I'm the Greeter. I'm like, 'Welcome to London, let me show you to your car and I'll take your luggage' [laughs]"
So, Sometimes Relax, what do you need to relax?
"Sleeping well, eating well and some exercise during the week. And making beats. Making beats is the most important thing."
Did this all happen because you and ILLAMAN both have releases called Lost in Space?
"I didn't know that until recently actually, but no. I've known ILLAMAN for probably 10 years, not properly. Basically, when I used to be in The Mouse Outfit and we'd be doing festivals, ILLAMAN would always be at Boomtown and festivals like that, so back in the day I'd go and say 'Yo'. Then, I met him at a Dabbla gig at The Jazz Cafe in late 2021 and I told him I had a studio, (I'd just started using the studio that Pete Cannon and Dirty Dike have). We just hit it off. We were locked in a room the whole time, for six/seven months. It was evenings. We were in London but you felt like you were out of the way. We always had a chat, an hour or two, about life and stuff, then it ended up turning into that."
As such a meaningful LP for you both, how did you support and shape the themes in your productions?
"Rather than emailing beats to a rapper and they have their own studio and just send stuff back, it's always different when it's the producer and the rapper in the room. Whatever you're talking about on the day completely influences what you're making. Some days we'd both come and we'd both got a low day, I'd go through some beats and we'd probably choose a beat that suits that mood.
"It was there. At the time. On the spot. It wasn't emailed stuff. I think that's why it means more to me than other projects. Obviously, I've been in the studio with people before but with ILLAMAN it was a friendship growing so we kept meeting up at the studio and had an album done in 3 - 4 months. Then, we just kept making more music. It depended on what the day was. London, sometimes you really enjoy it and sometimes it's too much. That was the little escape room."
Is that processing of good and bad times reflected in the album's message then?
"Yeah man. That whole album was in a time, probably late-2021 to mid-2022, and I'm not speaking on his behalf, but I was definitely in a bad place. That was the only thing that really... I think if I hadn't met him that night properly at the house party, I dunno where I'd be at because that album was something to look forward to and do every week. We didn't know what it was gunna be obviously, but I still listen to it now. I've had to listen to it thousands of times, mixing it and fine-tuning, but it's just good. It's just real shit. You can't really get realer than that.
"I think the beats compliment what he's talking about and all they're done in that time period. For instance, I'd come to the studio like, 'Ah I made this beat today'', and if I'm feeling excited, happy of a bit meh. 'Sometimes Relax', that beat was from feeling a bit weird. That was the first one we did actually because he came and said 'I've had a bit of a weird day', and that's why at the beginning he says 'It's a lovely day when you know what's coming, ain't so nice when you don't'."
Why is LID taped to a TV screen in the ‘Sometimes Relax’ video?
"So I lived with Pete Cannon while I was making that album, the studio is round the corner. When I first moved in he kept saying 'Lid' and he had a T-shirt with it on it. It's basically a Liverpool term for 'Lad', but we had a group on WhatsApp, me, Fatty (who also plays on the album) and everyone who lived in that area of North London and Green Lanes, and it was 'Lids'. I put it onto ILLAMAN and now every time I see him now it's just a thing so it's good that it's in the video."
How would you compare your experiences living with Ashley Henry VS Pete Cannon/Dirty Dike?
"Well, when I lived with Ashley Henry that was 2013, so 10 years ago and we were both really young but obviously made loads of music together. Around that time, that's when I was doing all The Mouse Outfit stuff so he played on a lot of it. But I was really young then. Living with Pete, that's the reason I moved down to London because I was living in Manchester for years. He was like, 'Yo, I've got a room', so he got me down. Obviously, they have the studio and it felt right - this is where I need to be.
"Big up Ashley Henry though. I only lived with him for one year in our last year of uni but he practiced from 9pm to 3am every night, Monday to Monday. You're at uni and you're partying a lot but because I lived with him, that's when I did more music. I'd made beats before that but that's when The Mouse Outfit stuff started to be bam-bam-bam. So, I was like 'I've got a beat' all the time. I'm glad that I lived with him when I did because it helped. You have to put the work in, know what I mean?"
As such a crucial member, what led you to leave The Mouse Outfit?
"Well, that's a good question James, [imagine a pause that feels longer than the 10 years since Escape Music came out]. The simplest way to say it is that people just grow apart creatively and not everyone is on the same page. When you're tryna run a thing where you have so many people involved creatively there's gunna We toured intensely and were together all the time for seven years. For me, I always wanted my own thing. I never planned to be part of a band or a group. I grew up on Madlib and Dilla where you do your own thing and have your own vision.
"Obviously at the time it was really cool doing gigs everywhere and putting it out but it got to a point. In 2017 I started doing an album with Verb T that came out on High Focus and it was the same formula as what the first two Mouse Outfit albums were so I thought I might do it myself. It was a bit of a risk but I went, 'Alright cool, I'm gunna do my own thing'. Everyone else is still making music: Sparkz just signed to High Focus, Defty (the original bass player who used to drive the tour bus and manage the stuff) he's got his own group now with Dubbul O who used to be the MC for The Mouse Outfit, Dr Syntax has his own live band in Bristol now, so it's all good. Sometimes things just need to change."
What else separates Sometimes Relax from the rest of your discography?
"I think it's the first time I've done an album where I listen to the tracks and can just relate to every lyric on it. Obviously I've done the beats but I feel like he's speaking for me over the beats. I've never really done stuff like that as a producer and beatmaker. I think because when we were hanging out and chatting before we recorded, a lot of that stuff went in to it."
What's next for Pitch 92?
"I was just with Jerome Thomas today where we finished an EP. He's a soul singer. I don't want to pigeonhole him buthe's dope - D'Angelo vibes over my hip hop beats. I've got two instrumental albums, some new stuff with Kofi Stone, I produced a lot of the new IYAMAH music that's coming out. It's probably out now. I've got an album with a group called ASM and Mattic/Doctor Outer who I do a lot of stuff with. That's coming out on HHV - a German label. I've got an album with Confucius MC which has just finished today as well. And MysDiggi - we've got an album done as well. Working on stuff with Kashmere as well. So, there's a lot of stuff bro."
Cool that you're still doing stuff with ASM who introduced you to all this, right?
"Yeah! My sister was in their year in high school when I was a kid in Germany. We went to an American school and they were three years older but they got me into making beats, MF Doom, De La Soul and all of that when I was really young. They're the spirit"
Sophia Carey: Instagram
George Tellis: Instagram