We took our girls Ally Tindsley and Poppy Knights to the boozy, sweaty metal fest that is Sonisphere. In between DIY Jägerbombs with strangers, being crushed in the night by tent fondling drunkards and slipping over in the portaloo piss stream, we managed to send Ally to catch up with Itch ahead of his performance on the satellite stage.
So, Itch! You’ve never been here before, how are you enjoying it so far?
Good! I’ve been here like an hour but its nice man, it’s a nice small, intimate heavy metal festival it’s nice. It’s my first one of the summer actually so I’m just getting back into the festival swing.
You got many others coming up then?
Fuck there’s loads, the next ones 2000 trees next week there’s a bunch, there’s a whole bunch.
Not quite sick of sleeping in tents yet then?
Yea I can sleep anywhere now I don’t give a fuck! I’ve slept in German squats with dog shit in them and it doesn’t bother me. This lifestyle to me is like, every struggle that I went through as a youngster I realised it was preparing me for something later in life, and so yea, it’s definitely prepared me for a life of rock and roll without a shadow of a doubt.
So what was it like working with John Feldman? The guy is a legend!
Dope man, really, really, really nice. I was at his house for like, probably about three months or something, just staying at his house every day. The thing is, we both come from a place of punk rock and activism, so we both came from the same philosophy and we both wanted to do something entirely different, entirely new, so it was cool we were both on the same vibe. He pushed me to work my hardest, it was cool man, really nice. He’s ridiculously talented, you know what I mean, and he’s really worth everything that people say about him, so it was an honour and it’s great. He’s become one of my best friends he’s a dope person.
Did you go in to the studio with the intention of mixing punk, rock, rap and electro elements or was it something that just happened naturally?
No I was aiming for that. I wanted to mix like the lyricism, storytelling and wordplay of hip hop, with the raw anger, energy and political bit of punk rock. To me it’s like they’re really the same thing. Hip hop and punk rock is street music that comes from working class kids getting together, and it’s not the kind of music that’s invented by A&R types sitting round a table, it’s real, ya know, grass roots music, and so to me it’s like hip hop is black punk and punk is white hip hop, do you know what I mean? It’s really just basic street music. I saw that connection and wanted to kind of try and mix the two.
It works well!
A lot of personal thoughts go in to your lyrics. Do you ever record something and immediately think ‘Ah shit, I wish I hadn’t of said that!’?
Yea all the time! All the time! I write every single day. I write at least 32 lines a day, every day, no matter where I am. I think it’s like working out, and I think your mind is like a muscle, and the more you work it the better you get it. To me it’s no coincidence that the greatest writers are also the most prolific. I use probably about 5% of what I write, the rest of it just gets canned, it’s awful.
How did you end up with everyones favourite emo Adam Lazzara singing on the track ‘homeless romantic’?
We wrote the song originally with Patrick stump (Fall Out Boy), and then we were sort of looking for someone to sing the chorus. A bunch of people were suggested, and I hear a lot of rock bands now days where they’re shouting and screaming and I don’t really believe they’re that angry or got that much to be pissed off about, and someone put on Taking Back Sunday and it was like, straight away I just believed him and I felt the pain in his voice, and I was like, you know you hear something and it doesn’t have to be perfect but if you believe it, it makes it more special, I just had that kind of emotional connection to it. So we sent the tape off to him not expecting to hear anything back, and like a week later he’d flown in and was recording it. It was cool man, it was very pain free.
Speaking of pain free… Last year at Camden rocks you jumped off a balcony and messed your foot up pretty bad. Have you had many other performance related hospital visits?
Nah I think that’s the first one!
So you’re not as clumsy as we thought then?
No I’m very clumsy, I’m just normally too stupid to go hospital! I didn’t even go until the next day. I went out and we kind of partied and then it was about 5am and I was like “fuck! This actually really hurts!” and then we went to hospital, but it sucked! It was like 9 months or something in a wheelchair. I’d shattered it in like three places, just fucked it totally! I’ve got a load of pins in there and shit, so I go off in airport scanners and stuff.
Are you like 5% robot now?
Exactly, exactly… I’m sort of like cyborg.
So other than 5% robot, if you could have one super power what would you go for?
Yea other than that, probably the ability to not fall over! I fall over a lot, I mean like, be more sturdy on my feet.
Yea, I don’t know if that’s a super power but it would be useful. Logistically it would be the most practical.
I’m dyspraxic so I just go down…
What the hell is that??
Dyspraxia is like no coordination
Are you serious? That’s an actual thing? Maybe I’m that as well!
Yea maybe you’re dyspraxic too!
I was coming out of a tube station the other day and I was going up stairs, and I didn’t trip or anything, I just sort of went ‘whoa’ that’s it, on all fours on the stairs. I don’t know how I done it!
I did fall up the stairs once as a youngster, UP the stairs.
I fall over anything!
Completely unrelated to falling over… What’s your booze of choice?
I like a Guinness.
A Guinness is like a meal in a can!
Yea, I think you get to an age where it kind of starts to make sense. I was always cider, always, and then I think you get to a certain age where it’s like… Guinness, and nice socks suddenly make sense.
Ha! What age is that? I don’t think I’m there yet…
I think around 28 the change starts… you start to see it.
Who would be in your ultimate band? You can have anyone you like
That’s really tough, I don’t know, I would like to be like the drummer in busted or something like that. You get to like do all the good stuff without any of the bad. I’d just replace myself with the drummer in busted.
Yea that’d be a good job.
Fair enough! If you could have one person round for a beer and curry, any person that has ever existed who would it be?
That’s tough! A beer and curry, are they cooking?
They can do, but I mean, you could always get a take away because they might be a shit cook
Yea I’d probably get a take away. Erm, who would I have round? I can’t think of a person
It could be anyone! It could be like Shakespeare or…
Nah it wouldn’t be him, I think he’d be too much,
The drummer from busted?
Probably him! I’d just like to know what it’s like on a day to day basis.
What to be in busted?
I just wonder about it a lot, like no, just be him in particular, not being in them, just being the drummer.
Do you play the drums?
Nah I just worry about him, I’m just concerned.
That’s really nice, I’m sure he’ll appreciate that! It’s good to know someone’s worrying about him!
I hope so, I hope so.
I’ve given you the keys to my Delorean that I bought from some sketchy character on eBay… Where you going?
Fuck, I’d probably just go like a day ahead, freak everyone out, place some bets.
Find out who wins the world cup, that sort of stuff?
Yea exactly, exactly.
That’s a pretty good shout actually! Would you go back in time and tell your younger self anything?
No I think mistakes are important, it’s important to make mistakes. The only way we learn is to make mistakes and I think mistakes are valuable.
Absolutely… So tell us a bit about your tattoos, what’s your favourite? What’s the most meaningful one you’ve got?
They’re like drunken, you know what I mean. 13 years old I got this guy. It started out as a punk rocker with a mohawk and I was like ‘that is so whack!’ and so I kind of made it to hang man, and it’s really whack but now I can’t do anything with it. Yea honestly, there’s no meaning, it’s just bored, being young and bored and that’s it.
That’s what my first tattoo was, I got a star on my arse. I thought, I’d skipped college, it was the day after my 16th/17th birthday and my sister went to get her first one, so I got a star on my arse… It seemed like a good idea at the time, and now I could get it covered up, but it was a good story
But with what? What you gonna get? Something bigger than a star… You could get an even bigger star.
It kind of looks like just a really odd birth mark, it’s not good!
Okay, interesting, interesting.
And with that Itch disappeared, can of Guinness in hand, either to get ready for his performance, or to try and find the drummer from busted.
We on the other hand went to the bar. Where we discovered pizza and cheese and onion rolls are just as tasty eaten from the floor as they are eaten from a plate, it’s nearly impossible to get a photo of Ally topless without being photo bombed by hairy metal head man boobs, Iron Maiden are the most flexible of old men ever to don yoga pants and Poppy goes missing.
Thank you Sonisphere, thank you very fucking much – #FRONTARMY
Make sure you check out Itch’s new tune ‘Homeless Romantic’ out now – http://youtu.be/dq_Z0NPaSiA