Contrary to its reputation as one of the country’s thriving pockets of music culture, Brighton has been slowly hollowed of its credentials over the past decade.
Denouncing the city’s music scene as a “husk” would be a bit strong, and inaccurate; live music is still mainlined into the many pubs and there are a few venues still hosting quality headliners. It’s the dozen or so of the most popular clubs, fresh from being brought-out and re-branded, which have become a vessel for cheap student nights, dedicated to packing the punters in like sweaty-browed commuters on the Tokyo Metro.
Fans of music have been pushed to the fringes and it’s been gutting to watch happen, especially with those fucking Bristolians lording it up with their nurtured club scene doing very well indeed.
Then just a few months ago, following the closure of Audio (a great club with some knockout bookings to its name) Patterns arrived and brought with it the kind of ethos and big intentions which have been missing from the city. Floating Points, Deerhoof, Hiatus Kaiyote, Airhead and DJ Oneman are all set to play the venue by the end of summer, with plenty more promised for the winter and beyond.
We think Patterns is an important turn of fortune for the Brighton music scene, so we sat down for a quick chat with its Creative Director Heather Pistor to give a little insight into what they’re trying to do.
Was expanding down to Brighton been a long-standing goal? Or was it a more spontaneous move?
Heather Pistor: We’ve always talked about stepping out from the Big smoke and spreading our wings, and over the years have considered sites in several of the university towns but until now it just hasn’t felt right. Either the site has been in the wrong location, or the scene itself hasn’t been quite ready for what we do, but when Audio was brought to the table everyone in the team stood up and paid attention. It’s Brighton, what’s not to love. Its energy is enticing, and we really felt we could add to the community down there. I guess it was spontaneous in some sense, in that we hadn’t specifically pin pointed Brighton at that time, but we had always had our eye out for something like this to come along. And with deals taking the best part of a year to complete, the spontaneity itself is pretty much put to bed.
How do you see Patterns role in Brighton’s music scene?
HP: Brighton has always been very independent with its scene. Its never tried to compete with London in my mind, and as with everything here, it has its own patterns, trends and needs. The site of Patterns is steeped in musical legacy, and not just from Audio, and Escape Club, but from decades before that as Ted Potters Music Bar and a jazz club. But Brighton as a whole has been missing a serious music venue of late. With the more tourist led sites on the seafront turning to commercial tactics to fill their clubs, where keeping true to the real sounds of underground music at the weekend. We’re bringing in artists from all over the world, those who play in the some of the most notorious clubs such as Berghain/Panaroma Bar, Output, Concrete and LUX. It’s our role to make sure the people of Brighton have an opportunity to see artists of the highest caliber, play on a cutting edge sound system, in a safe and friendly environment. The ultimate clubbing experience to rival those offered in London and around the world. It’s a big statement, and we know it will take time to grow and build, but it’s certainly our aim.
Will the new venue be suited for live performances (bands etc)?
HP: Absolutely, we’re working closely with some of Brightons biggest and best live led promotions company such as Lout and One Inch Badge, and have already placed shows with Kilimanjaro and Be Nothing. For Great Escape we had bands over both floors and the vibe was incredible. We’ll be keeping the bands to the club space moving forward, but bands and live are just as much part of what we are doing here, as the DJ led events. Both sit alongside non music events such as workshops, talks and screenings. It’s a multifaceted venue with something for everyone.