Performing in New York City, October 2008
|Birth name||Mica Levi|
|Born||1987 (age 26–27)
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 her band Micachu & The Shapes and for experimental music in a variety of genres.
Levi was born and raised in Surrey, United Kingdom. The daughter of two 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 in London, and released a mixtape titled Filthy Friends, which was posted on her official 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 as well as producers Kwes and Toddla T. Following its release, Filthy Friends became sought after on the London club scene.
Levi was an Artist-in-Residence at the Southbank Centre in London in 2010.
Levi co-wrote and produced Tirzah's I'm Not Dancing EP, which was released by Greco-Roman Records in August 2013, to critical acclaim.
Levi composed the soundtrack to Under the Skin, a film directed by Jonathan Glazer and starring Scarlett Johansson, scheduled for release in March 2014. The film is based upon the eponymous novel by Michel Faber.
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. 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 with 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."
Micachu and the Shapes toured widely throughout the UK in 2008, including performances at Bestival and V Festival. The band played 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 the album "Chopped and Screwed". Unlike their previous effort, the recording largely avoids pop sensibilities in favor of a slower, hip-hop indebted style and repetitive, discordant string arrangements. The band were chosen by Animal Collective to perform at the All Tomorrow's Parties festival that they curated in May 2011 in Minehead, England.
In April 2012 the band announced that the follow-up to their debut, Never, would be released on the 23rd of July 2012.
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.
|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.
Singles / EPs
- "Lone Ranger" (2008)
- "Golden Phone" (2008)
- "Lips" (2009)
- "Turn Me Well" (2009)
- I'm Not Dancing (with Tirzah) (2013)
- "Spit At Stars by" Jack Penate
- "Backchatter" by Toddla T feat. Miss Bienek
- "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
- "Man Machine" by Jamie T
- "I Can Love Again" by Jamie Lidell
- "Monsters Waltz" by The Invisible
- "Basic Space" by The xx with The Shapes
- "Unicornan" by Connan Mockasin
- "Surprise Hotel" by Fool's Gold (band) (Micachu & The Shapes Remix)"
- "The Infinites" by Bomb The Bass with Kwes.
- "No.K" versus Konono No. 1
- "Dub Styles" by Roots Manuva
- "Remember Your Love" by Linkin Park
- 'One Pig' by Matthew Herbert
- Under The Skin (2013)
- Burrows, Tim. Micachu and the Shapes: The Shape of Things To Come, "The Telegraph, 4 March 2009"
- "Michachu: Jewellery", Drowned in Sound.
- 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.
- 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