Performing in New York City, October 2008
|Birth name||Mica Levi|
|Born||1987 (age 25–26)
Surrey, United Kingdom
|Micachu & The Shapes|
Mica Levi, known by her stage name Micachu (born 1987) is an English singer, songwriter, composer, and producer. She is classically trained and is best known for experimental music in a variety of genres.
Levi was born and raised in Surrey, United Kingdom. The daughter of musicians, she started writing and playing music at the age of four. She studied violin, viola and composition at the Purcell School before being offered a scholarship to attend the Guildhall School of Music and Drama to study composition.
Levi performed as a DJ around the UK garage and grime scene in London, and released a mixtape titled Filthy Friends, which was posted on her Myspace page. For Filthy Friends she enlisted the help of friends and musicians of various backgrounds including MCs Baker Trouble, Brother May, Man Like Me & Ghostpoet, singer-songwriter Jack Peñate, jazz band Troyka, London pop-band Golden Silvers, producers Kwes and Toddla T. Following its release, Filthy Friends became sought after on the London club scene.
Mica was an Artist-in-Residence at the Southbank Centre in London in 2010.
Micachu and the Shapes
Levi formed a band called The Shapes, which includes Raisa Khan on keyboards and Marc Pell on drums. They signed to Accidental Records who released their debut single "Lone Ranger" in May 2008, followed by "Golden Phone" in August 2008. With the Shapes, Levi's focus has been on experimental pop music. Most of this music prominently features an acoustic half-guitar with various non-standard tunings, extensive distortion, and use of noise and found-object elements, as well as occasionally unusual time signatures. Despite these experimental leanings, the artist categorizes her output with The Shapes as pop music.
Their debut album, Jewellery, produced by influential electronic musician Matthew Herbert, was recorded around Mica's composition studies at Guildhall School. Advance copies of the record reached the press in early 2009, and generated positive feedback. In the wake of this growing buzz, Micachu and the Shapes were signed to Rough Trade, who released Jewellery on 9 March 2009. Drowned In Sound consequently hailed the record as "thrillingly improbable pop made by a grade-A maverick." The album was strongly-tipped to be nominated for 2009's Mercury Prize Its omission from the shortlist sparked widespread criticism, perhaps best summed up by the Guardian: "but what about...Micachu and the Shapes, and all the others we were convinced would make the grade?" Mica has stated herself that she never expected to be nominated, even saying that "I’m not totally behind that record" In a later interview she stated that she regrets saying this and is now very proud of Jewellery.
Micachu and the Shapes toured widely throughout the UK in 2008, including performances at Bestival and V Festival. The band played abroad in South Africa and in the US at the CMJ Music Marathon in New York City and SXSW in Austin, Texas. They also performed on the Main Stage of the Siren Music Festival at Coney Island in Brooklyn in July 2009. Touring continued throughout Europe and North America in the summer and fall of 2009. In Spring of 2010, Micachu and the Shapes supported Spoon on tour throughout North America.
The band performed with the London Sinfonietta at Kings Place, London in May 2010 and in March 2011 released the live recording as their second full-length album, "Chopped and Screwed". Unlike their previous effort, the recording largely avoids pop sensibilities in favor of a slower, more ambient style and repetitive, discordant string arrangements. The band were chosen by Jeff Mangum of Neutral Milk Hotel to perform at the All Tomorrow's Parties festival that he curated in December 2011 in Minehead, England. In 2012 they released their third album Never and went on tour in the US and Europe afterwards.
In 2012, when the BBC Radiophonic Workshop re-opened as an online project, she joined in and is now a member of the s-called "workshop".
Levi describes the music she performs with The Shapes as "pop", without many of pop's defining characteristics (obvious choruses and accessible lyrics). She often uses unorthodox instruments, many of which are homemade. These include a modified guitar played with a hammer action, called a 'chu', and a bowed instrument fashioned from a CD rack. This multitude of objects, varying from broken bottles to a vacuum cleaner, help Mica achieve her distinctive and unique sound. She also owns a 3rd bridge Home Swinger built by Yuri Landman.
|Year||Album details||Peak positions|
|Year||Album details||Peak positions|
|2011||Chopped and Screwed||--|
|2010||Kwesachu Mixtape Vol.1 with Kwes.
|2011||Meat Batch with Kwake Bass
|Chopped & Screwed Mixtape with Brother May
|2012||Kwesachu Mixtape Vol.2 with Kwes.
- "Lone Ranger" (2008)
- "Golden Phone" (2008)
- "Lips" (2009)
- "Turn Me Well" (2009)
- "Spit At Stars by Jack Penate"
- "Lick Ur by Naked & The Boys"
- "British Weather & Camping In England by Man Like Me"
- "Radio Ladio by Metronomy"
- "True Romance by Golden Silvers with The Shapes"
- "Monsters Waltz by The Invisible"
- "Basic Space by The xx with The Shapes"
- "Surprise Hotel by Fool's Gold (band) (Micachu & The Shapes Remix)"
- "The Infinites by Bomb The Bass with Kwes."
- Burrows, Tim. Micachu and the Shapes: The Shape of Things To Come, "The Telegraph, 4 March 2009"
- "Michachu: Jewellery", Drowned in Sound.
- "The Mercury Prize Shortlist of Shortlists", BBC Music Blog.
- "Who do you think is missing from the Mercury prize 2009 shortlist?", Guardian.Co.Uk Music Blog.
- "The Invisible x Micachu: 'We have a terrible friendship.'", Dummy.
- "Lime Canary: Micachu 8.8.12'", Lime Canary.
- Hogan, Marc. "What's the Matter with Sweden?" in Pitchfork.com 29 March 2010
- Micachu MySpace Page
- "Micachu & the Shapes and London Sinfonietta present: CHOPPED & SCREWED", Rough Trade Records.
- ATP curated by Jeff Mangum
- Parkin, Chris. Micachu: Interview "Time Out London, 26 February 2008"
- "Micachu and "maker" music, the Russell Porter interview", BB Video.
- The Quietus - News - DOWNLOAD - Kwesachu Vol. 2. Retrieved on 2012-04-30.
- Micachu Website
- Micachu feature on Pitchfork
- Accidental Records profile
- BBC newsbeat: Is Micachu the next big thing?
- Michachu page at Rough Trade Records
- Interview - December 2009 -(Portuguese web-zine)
- Micachu vs Kwake Bass "Meat Batch Mix" on Andrew Meza's BTS Radio