Inspire: Richy Pitch, teacher, music producer, DJ and author

So in 2017, the Inspire series will continue to feature a diverse range of talented people who are focusing on particular careers, professions or creative projects. With Big Munch starting school in September, I’ve been thinking more about teachers and their careers. I’ve always viewed their roles as challenging but rewarding. Teachers probably have to work just as hard or even harder than their students. So it’s a profession I’ve always respected. This week, I’m featuring a chat with Richy Pitch whose career has now combined his career as a teacher with his love of DJing and music production. Here’s what Richy had to say about having fun with music, working with teenagers and the cartoon-friendly band Gorillaz Sound System.

Thanks for appearing on Lucky Things blog. I know you love London, so tell me about your corner of the city…

I live in Manor House. My three favourite things would be the room where all my records are kept and studio is based, we’ve just had some work done and the room is really set up well now for me to work on music projects, so no excuses ;). Our loft conversion is also cool it’s so nice up there when the sun is shining through the windows. We love our local area but the nicest thing that has happened there most recently is the Woodberry Downs Nature Reserve which is really close and a beautiful and peaceful bit of natural land, originally know as West Reservoir.

Your career started off with teaching in schools, then you were also busy DJing. Now those two worlds have collided and your working on both at the same. What encouraged you to pursue teaching teenagers to DJ?…

I’d always been a teacher, I studied a BEd degree at Goldsmiths College, and although I got sidetracked with music I’ve also loved the role of a teacher in developing children and young adults. More recently there have been a number of Colleges and Academies offering Music Technology courses and so it was a perfect opportunity to combine my teaching and music skills together. DJing is just one element of the course, students also learn music production and music business. In general it is not too challenging as it’s something I’ve been doing  for years so I don’t have to read up about it I just have to continue to work on my own music and in turn, pass on the knowledge I’ve acquired from my own experiences.

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What do you love about teaching? 

I like the idea that I can influence and change people’s lives positively and I love sharing knowledge.

So working with teenagers must be interesting. What have they taught you along the way? Any pearls of wisdom from the young people?

They have taught me to be patient and open minded.

You also produce your own tunes. What is the inspiration for producing your own music?

The inspiration for making music comes form all sort of sources and most of my music happens from thing that happen outside of music. For example, Natasha and I lived in Ghana for 2 years, so I decided to record and LP there. that LP had all sorts of influences including not just the whole experience of living in Ghana and listening to Afrobeat, Highlife and Hiplife but also my passion for computer games as shown in this ZX Spectrum inspired video featuring the very talented Manifest.

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 I’ve been teaching synthesis at college so I wanted to create a project that was concentrated on me creating my own sounds. So my most recent music has been more focused on that. My wife is Mauritian and I’m also working on a project with Mauritian artists that is inspired by the rhythm style of Sega Music. So all these projects have been created organically through things that occur during everyday life.

What’s one of your favourite moments in your career? 

Recording my first LP in New York and working in a studio where I was meeting a lot of my hero’s was very cool. But being on stage in front of big audiences across the world was also pretty nice when I was tour DJ with Gorillaz Sound System and launching my book ‘Making Beats’ at the Apple Store in Regent Street. I’m proud of these achievements and look forward to more involving new and different experiences.

What advice do you have for parents and carers who want to encourage the little people to have fun with making music (even with their toys or pots and pans at this stage)? 

Just have fun, everybody wants to learn more if the experience is enjoyable.

What’s your favourite childhood memory? 

Playing football and games in my garden and in my local common with my family and friends until the sun went down.

 

What’s your motto when things get a bit tough?

I’m not sure I have one, but I usually share my problems if there are any, so perhaps it should be a problem shared is a problem halved ? In general I’ve never had a problem with letting my feelings out, which I think is generally a good thing 🙂

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given (and from who?) 

Pick your battles, my wife told me that recently when I had some work related issues and it’s already helped 🙂

What would your dream weekend be?

Having good food with my family and friends, preferably on a warm summer day or in a warm, scenic country. Alternatively…..Christmas Day with family is always good, or being at White Hart Lane to see Spurs win the Premier League, but that might not happen for a number of reasons and they’re moving into a new stadium soon. 🙂

What music and tunes are you listening to lots at the moment? 

I’m always looking for good music to listen to, certain producers, singers and artists that make good music. I just bought music from a 19 yr old producer from Scotland called Sam Gellaitry whose recently signed to XL recordings  . Still love my Hip Hop too and enjoyed listening to new LP’s from Common, De La Soul and A Tribe Called Quest.

Vinyl wise I still collect old gems, I recently acquired a wonderful LP from soul singer Esther Philips. It features the excellent Gil Scott Heron track ‘Home is where the hatred is’

Ah De La Soul, one of my favourites and I love their gorgeous video with Estelle for Memory of…(Us). Talking of more favourites Richy, what are your 3 of your “lucky things”? (things you love or feel grateful for)

In no particular order…

1. An Omamori –  A small Japanese amulet, it’s a good luck charm bought in Tokyo, which I have even taken with me to important gigs.
2. My Spurs mug – not sure it works but I always drink from it on a Spurs game day.
3. My wife Natasha – my life’s been pretty happy since I met her…

 

Find out more about Richy’s music by popping over to richypitch.com. You can follow Richy on Twitter at @richypitch and on Instagram at @richypitch Don’t forget to check him out on Soundcloud for his own tracks and DJ playlists. It’s free to sign up to Soundcloud.

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