It’s five years into the story of Bearcubs, the immersive solo project from 28 year old electronic artist Jack Ritchie. A meticulously skillful producer, with a sound underpinned by warm textured synths, soulful feather-light vocals and addictive sound design elements, Bearcubs has created his own fiercely independent path. After a string of singles and two highly-acclaimed EPs which earned him recognition from the likes of The Fader, Mixmag, Noisey and respected tastemakers such as Annie Mac and Zane Lowe, 2018 saw the release of his debut album Ultraviolet. Cementing him as a versatile producer and innovative songwriter, the album highlights the diversity of his influences and inspirations ranging from minimalistic, ambient moments to powerful, heartwarming productions. “Ultraviolet was more just about getting out a lot of ideas I had on my mind in a short space of time beyond what I had released before”, Jack explains.
Making a much-anticipated relocation to Berlin last year to find new inspiration and collaborations, Bearcubs discovered a new energy for creating music. As the stars aligned in his personal and creative world, he was offered the opportunity to score the debut feature length film ‘Relativity’ by emerging director Mariko Minoguchi, premiered at the Munich International Film Festival and nominated at the BFI London Film Festival. “For the first 6 months of being in Berlin I didn’t write much of my own music at all,” he reflects, “I was experiencing new things and places every day. The slower pace of the city gave me space to absorb a lot.”
Berlin’s notorious artistic freedom and acceptance, complemented by the creative community Bearcubs has had the opportunity to be part of, has proved particularly transformative for him as an artist. “It has given me a lot of mental and physical space to create new music”, he claims with a palpable excited confidence, “it feels like you can be spontaneous and just go with the flow here, individual self expression seems to be more accepted here.”
This time helped him to reset and discover his own voice within his music, “every song I write I am trying to get a bit closer to the idea of what is really me.” This newfound freedom and perspective culminated with the birth of his second album “Early Hours”, a varied and entrancing reflection on his time spent in London in the beginning of his musical career.
“‘Early Hours’ is a tangled day dream of different experiences, living in London working in a pub whilst trying to write music, transient relationships, friendships fucked up and gained again, boredom, loneliness in the city, the hazy euphoria of partying and being up till the early hours with your friends around you, thoughts of the real world out of mind.’