ICHI, the multi-instrumentalist musician returns to PICelectroNIC!

Following his first visit in 2016, ICHI makes a comeback to Rotondes, ready to astonish the PIC audience with thrilling new performances!
© Ichi

Your first participation in PICelectroNIC was in 2016, and we are delighted to have you back 8 years later! How does it feel to return to Rotondes after such a period of time?

Thank you so much for inviting me again! I am very happy and honored to be back at Rotondes and can’t wait to meet the public during this festival.

For those who don’t know you yet, can you tell us a bit about your artistic journey? What led you to create your music?

When I was 14, I taught myself bass guitar and formed a punk band. Later on, someone asked me to play solo for his event. I wanted to create something new, so, I cut the neck off a double bass and attached it to a Xylophone, I also added a rhythm box and my voice on top of it. From that moment, I knew that I wanted to create my own music and my own musical instruments, crafted from recycled objects.

Your artistic style is often described as unique and eclectic. But how would you describe your art? What is it truly about?

My work often arises naturally from everyday life, such as the sound of water when I play with my kids, or the sound of birds chirping, and insects making various noises while walking in the forest, every sound I hear when I’m cooking in the kitchen… My art is really about everyday life and the simple things that are part of it, it inspires me.

You are a multi-instrumental and international artist, known in the UK, in Europe and Japan. Do you notice any differences in the way your art is perceived across these locations?

In the UK and in Europe, my live performances are truly seen as art, but I feel like they don’t get that much recognition in Japan yet.

You use a variety of instruments and recycled objects in your art. What inspires you to create sounds from such unexpected sources?

It might actually be related to animism. When I was working part-time at a moving company,

I had to relocate an antique store. What happened at that moment is rather inexplicable… I distinctly sensed that the old objects possessed a certain presence, or perhaps even a spirit. And that’s when I told myself that I could create sounds and art from (almost) everything!

What is the most unusual object you have ever used as a musical instrument? And how did you come up with the idea to use it into your music?

Actually, there are two! I would say a typewriter and some paper. While working at a design company, a colleague of mine was using a typewriter, and I really liked the sound of it. So, I decided to find one for myself at a thrift shop and to include it in my music, I still use it today in my performances.

Reflecting on your past experiences, could you tell us about a truly memorable live performance? What made it so special?

I once performed at an elementary school in Ireland. The mission of the kids was to participate in the performance and the promotion of it. I was really impressed by their mindset, the way they organised the concert, managed the sound, created the posters and the tickets, etc. It was such a great experience!

If you had to attribute an emotion or a word to the essence of your art, what would it be?

I would say joy. It is an emotion that is present in my art and that I strive to convey to the audience.

During the PICelectroNIC, the audience will discover your installation Toboggan Gakki. How did you come up with the idea and what is it made of?

It’s inspired by the traditional Czech toys Toboggan” and Marbleslide,”. For those who don’t know what they are, Toboggan is a wooden toy featuring a slanted board with a groove down the middle, along which a small wooden object rolls due to gravity. And the Marbleslide consists of a wooden board with pegs and marbles, challenging players to create pathways for the marbles to navigate around the board.

My installation combines elements from both toys and is composed of a wall instrument, crafted from flotsam found on riverbanks and beaches, waste collected from roadsides, and various other recycled items.

Your live performances are often perceived as energetic. Tell us a bit about the backstages! How do you prepare for your shows?

It is always a challenge! Before my shows, my instruments sometimes get broken during travel, and at times, children take the components of my shows to play with afterwards. As everything is quite fragile, it often breaks, so I need to take some time to repair my instruments.

Of course, I also prepare myself physically before every performance. I swim a lot in the sea, in rivers or lakes.

What do you want to convey to the audience of the PICelectroNIC?

I hope the public will enjoy the installation and my show, and that they will get some joy out of it. I’m really looking forward to seeing everyone there!