The strongest wisdom can come from the strangest places. “Do or do not… there is no try,” said Yoda; essentially, the first step to success is throwing yourself in at the deep end.

 Jonny ‘iTCH’ Fox understands this. Hence ‘The Deep End’: not so much a culmination of his career to date as his next destination in an unstoppable journey.

Over four albums and more than seven years with The King Blues – a band both acclaimed by critics and respected on the streets – iTCH acted as bandleader and majority shareholder in a group that, as exciting as it was, was inevitably unstable. But while this band may now be gone, the legacy they created rings loud: everything that England is in 2014, the mess, the trouble and those little beams of hope was predicted in the years previous by a band who went from playing squats in Camden Town to headlining one of the city’s most prestigious venues in the same district to 3,000 party people desperate for a voice.

 ITCH grew up on the streets of London and wears his local pride like a bandana wrapped around his face. In the past his songs <were> London – grimy and gritty and irresistible in a way that’s inexplicable – but now, even though he’s retained that strong sense of place, his sights have been set in a different direction. Where once he found joy hiding in the shadows (this is a man after all who wrote and romanticised the line “The smell of kebab meat and sausage in batter will always remind me of you”) ‘The Deep End’ deals with universal issues without losing his pin-sharp focus and eye for detail.

The ingenuity and ideas that pepper ‘The Deep End’ confirm that iTCH is still very much a student of the game, even if he is top of the class. The one abiding thread, in among the day-glo guitars, clever beats and thrumming bass, is that this is very much an album made by someone who’s put the hours into learning the craft.


“I’ve been going back to those classic songwriting books, watching every documentary I can find and writing every single day. I see myself entirely as a student and having no time limit in terms of what I can learn and how I can improve. That’s what I see myself doing over time, and the only way to do that is take on new challenges.”

 It’s this open-minded approach that helps give the album’s tracks their vitality.  “I really like being under pressure and being the underdog because it makes me work a hell of a lot harder, and that’s when I produce my best stuff. Towards the end days of the band I gave them my all but I wasn’t as passionate about what I was doing as I am now. So when you learn and do new things it makes you grow creatively and artistically and also as a person. I’m in the position where I need to go and prove myself, but starting from the bottom. It’s motivational, and I really enjoy being in that place. I’m not hiding anything.

 “I never have a backup plan – I have a vision of what I want to do and just believe it and live it so much that eventually it becomes a reality, no matter how long it takes. I just believe in throwing myself in head-first.”

Right into ‘The Deep End’.