The I Witness Interview – Duggystone radio
Kirk Pickstone June 18, 2020
When I heard The Back Story And Some Of The Music “I Was Hooked” I Had To Interview Them
An amazing back story to how two men from totally different backgrounds, produce and collaborate on music that is simply magical.
The Audio Interview
The Video that you have to see
The Interview Vidoe with the “I am England” Offical Video
From Their Press Release
I Witness are award-winning poet Jason N Smith and Electronic artist Martin Byrne. Based in Stoke and Macclesfield respectively. A unique blend of hard hitting, truthful spoken word and pulsating electronic beats reminiscent of Leftfield, Faithless, Massive Attack and Kate Tempest. Their debut album “The Word” has been 2 years in the making with a 13 track tour de force of songs about love, hate, racism, incarceration, domestic violence, climate change, knife crime, slavery, homelessness, mental health, beauty, hopes, and dreams.
I first met Jason in the Summer of 2018. I went to a gig at The Swan With Two Necks in Macclesfield called “Let’s Get Chipfaced 2”. It was essentially musical geeks who had hacked many forms of games consoles, mostly old, and turned them into musical instruments.
Before the bands started the compere said “We’re going to start with some poetry” and, in my ignorance, I thought “oh great”. So a couple of poets came out and delivered their verse, then on walks Jason. He has a presence, before he’s even opened his mouth he seemed to command attention. He starts with “How Can I Explain” and I’m captivated instantly, the accent, the words, the cadence, the honesty. I could instantly hear the music. After he’d finished I offered to buy him a pint and said “That was great, what’s your story man?”
Now J and I don’t actually know each other that well, I think we’ve met in person ten times or less. So what he told me that night is most of what I do know. He spent years in and out of prison, had some form of epiphany in prison, and started to challenge his very existence. Then he started documenting that challenge and change by writing poems. We haven’t talked that much about that side of his life and I haven’t really asked much about it. I don’t need to.
The past is there in the poems, it’s all there, in its starkness, joy, despair and hope, in its honesty, brutality, reality and scope. So, the J I actually know is a gentle man, a kind man, a man aware of his own shortcomings, a man always looking to help others, a man with an ambition to be so much more than his past has delivered. We are mates, brothers in verse and music. I Witness is an extension of Jason, one part of his multifaceted repertoire and I feel lucky to be a part of it. Neither of us knows what this project means, if it’s a one time thing or not, and neither of us care because I Witness is the result of a chance meeting, a chance conversation between two men taking a chance on each other because they both fundamentally believe in, and look for, the good in people, and if that random meeting had never happened…
Recorded for Duggystone Radio
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I Witness are award winning poet Jason N Smith and Electronic artist Martin Byrne. Based in Stoke and Macclesfield respectively. A unique blend of hard hitting, truthful spoken word and pulsating electronic beats reminiscent of Leftfield, Faithless, Massive Attack and Kate Tempest.
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