Interview: Staying Sane in Isolation with Bearcubs
London Producer Jack Ritchie, aka Bearcubs, creates a blend of immersive lo-fi house, emotive electronic and intoxicating future garage. We sit down with him as he's set to release his 2nd LP, now in a climate that has shifted focus and thought - we find out how he's staying sane in this new world we find ourselves in.
With the release of his hotly anticipated new album, it's been a long journey, but one that's been worth it.
"It feels good to be releasing music again, like I'm emerging out of some kind of cave, it's been a while since my debut album came out. I initially wrote a couple of songs in the summer of 2018 that would go on to feature on the album, but then I moved from the UK to Berlin and was asked to score a German feature film, so that took up my time for a good 6 months. I wrote the rest of the album in a bit of a creative flurry the first half of 2019. I enjoyed the process a lot, it kind of felt like I'd broken some kind of new barrier, getting closer to the essence of what I want my music to be. The album is supposed to be a sort of day dream through different memories of mine over the past few years. That's why I visit different styles that have been part of my life over the years in these tracks, trying to weave them together through this certain mood"
Ritchie finds himself releasing his new work to a world that has completely shifted. Instead of feeling the frustration of the impact this might have, he remains positive, using the time in isolation to remain as productive as possible.
"Yeah I mean it's affecting everyone hugely, but looking at it from my perspective it's meant that I can't do some of the ideas I had to promote the album, which would have involved traveling, meeting other people for photoshoots/filming etc. Luckily I'm not supposed to be touring right now, but I have shows booked for Autumn so I hope the situation improves soon. I'm just trying to stay positive at the moment and use the time productively to make music."
With music and German, Neo-noir T.V. providing his sanctuary.
"Some albums I've been enjoying recently: Men I trust - Oncle Jazz, Lisa's Changed - Lisa's Changed, Bembeya Jazz National"
"I've been watching Babylon Berlin - about Berlin during the 1920s, politics, crime etc. Hope everyone's staying healthy!"
Having recently moved to Berlin, he can see the German's leading the way when it comes to recycling but shares our frustration in the amount of plastic packaging found at supermarkets.
"It seems to vary a lot place to place, even within different areas of a city some will collect recycling and some not. Germany seems to do a good job at recycling, and I like that it encourages people to not throw plastic bottles away by offering a 'pfand' for returning them. I just wish supermarkets would sell more loose products, without the need for a lot of excess packaging. I find myself sometimes having no choice but to buy things wrapped in loads of plastic."
"One thing I have noticed when touring is that you're usually supplied with lots of small plastic bottles of water by the venue. You end up taking a sip of one when sound checking, then losing that and opening another one for when you are performing etc etc. A lot ends up going to waste. Saying that, my drummer Ben brings his own metal water bottle, so I think I'll be doing that next tour."