Patchy are playing at HOWL
1. So let’s start from the beginning, what exactly brought about your love for music? Where did it all start?
It’s always difficult to pinpoint the exact origin though I suppose I have my parent’s glam rock / folk vinyl collection to thank, as well an old piano which sat in my mum’s study, which I became besotted with. I used to run in at the age of 5 and play along to The Wonder Years theme ‘A little help from my friends’ by The Beatles, the first song I learned! I became quite dedicated to sitting at that piano every day for long periods of time. I also used to have these children’s music tapes which I’d listen to on repeat. When I think back, I was really emotionally connected to all the music that was around me at the time, like the piano, my parent’s records, my older sister’s 90’s influences at the time like Nirvana, N-trance & Take That. It all made me feel really good. I’ve never been able to read music, so all this listening and playing helped my love for music grow.
2. Do you believe where you grew up had an effect on the sound and style you carry today in your music?
I moved from Kent to Scarborough, North Yorkshire when I was 7. I think on moving up north, things started to kick in. I had already begun using whatever electronic music software or musical instrument for that matter that I could lay my hands on. We got our first PC in ‘97 and I started playing with a pretty rubbish loop based music programme called ‘New Beat Trancemission’ at the age of 11. I hadn’t figured out how to record using the PC so I recorded what I’d made on to a cassette. (Sad I know!) From then, I began to use things like Cakewalk and eventually Reason in my early twenties, along with a Roland synth, Korg Electribe ER- drum machine, followed by my most recent obsession, A Nord electro.
Small towns often have a very particular music scene and the people I surrounded myself with as a teen, were very much in to their music. It was a lifestyle. All my friends were in metal, emo and indie bands, so we mainly went along to gigs. I performed my first gig in the assembly hall at school and recorded a 3 track demo at the age of 15, with my best friend Susie.
The main effects on my music came from living in in Glasgow, where I embraced techno and dance music. It was a long dark winter and we used to head down to various warehouse parties which played out rinsing techno stuff, but also lots of nice minimal by labels like Poker Flat, Minus, Audiomatique and my friends, a collective called Animal Farm.
On moving down to London at 20, I experienced a few summers of fun, fuelled by house music in East London. Living in Brixton obviously influenced my track Brixtonia, as well as hanging about Old Kent Road at weekend parties. All these places have a large part to play in my music.
3. So you have your latest track out (picnic) and soon to be released debut album (illuminations), would you say the sound and general ambiance of your album is great deal different from your earlier work with Piet Van Dongen?
Definitely. The vocal used in Piet Van Dongen’s ‘She can’t stop this’ is from one of my own songs ‘Dreams’ which is to be featured on the album. My version of the track has a more trip-hop, dub-steppy feel to it, whereas Piet structured a techy dance track around it with new melodies and an upbeat rhythm. On the album there are bouncier tracks like ‘Starting New’ & ‘Control’ and also slower, darker tracks, like ‘Brixtonia’ & ‘City’.
4. From listening to your latest release it seems you don’t conform to any particular genre, elements of 80s electro and indie combined can be heard it many of your tracks. Yet you have a fairly distinguishable sound, especially with your use of rumbling synth bass lines, how would you describe it?
I would agree that it’s difficult to place my music in any particular genre. I have a huge network of influence which results in playful toy-like melodies, spreading 80’s synth pads and techy, punchy kicks and grimey sub bass in places. I believe that, in music, you store what you’ve heard throughout your life in your memory, such as the tiniest sounds, vocal inflections, melodies or beats. These will come out when you are creating.
5. What were/are your greatest influences?
Kate Bush, Hot Chip, Portishead, Nick Drake, Cut Copy, Tears for Fears, Grum, Jeff Buckley, Moderat , Daft Punk, Jean Michelle Jarre, Silkie, Luke Vibert, Les Rhythms Digitales, Ellen Allien, Bjork, Prince, Royksopp, , Kate Bush, Al Stewart, Fleetwood Mac, RJD2, Enya, Radiohead, Hot Chip, New Order, Carole King & Little Dragon.
6. Do you believe it’s fairly hard for artists and labels to get noticed nowadays with such a constant influx of young talent?
I’m not really aware of the scale of artists trying to break the scene and get noticed. I haven’t really strived for that, though I’m guessing there is a lot!
I know there’s also a load more independent labels taking on new artists and creating really interesting projects. I don’t feel there is much money to be made these days, so I suppose now its reverting back to being about the music, which is a definite positive.
7. Any particular time or place in the last few years of creating music which you reflect on most fondly?
When I wrote Happy Dark Spirit. It was a morning walk home in the blazing sunshine and everything was brilliant. I got in and produced this song.
8. What are your plans for the near future?
The album release is coming up in May, so will be gigging in London and hopefully ‘up north’ over summer to promote that. We’ll plan a few dates out of the country too.
I’m also working on a French style disco, electro house album with Leo Zero, which is a mixture of production & writing. This is quite an exciting project and one that looks to continue over the remainder of 2013.
Well good luck with latest album release and we hope to hear plenty more from you in the near future.
Images: Jean Luc Brouard