A Sit Down With DJ Alan Fitzpatrick
As techno producers go, Alan Fitzpatrick is a modern-day major leaguer. His output is consistently high and features hard-hitting, big room techno infused with references to the rave culture and the vintage London clubbing scene. With multiple releases on the likes of Drumcode, Hotflush and Cocoon, Fitzpatrick also heads up his own London-based imprint, We Are The Brave.
"Sometimes I look at the whole scene and think that its just like a machine, going in this direction then that."
How did you first get into techno and why has it remained an obsession for so long, do you think?
It first started for me when I began going to clubs when I was 17, but the fact of the matter is back then I was so into the experience of going to raves that details like who the DJ was or what music was going to be played wasnt really the first consideration. It was simply about partying with my mates and enjoying this totally new and exciting experience. Id mainly go to Slinky in Bournemouth where theyd have all sorts of DJs playing from right across the dance music genre, but I caught the techno bug from guys like Carl Cox and Jim Masters who played this very energetic, rave-influenced UK style of techno which I really liked. It had a familiarity about the sounds but presented in a new way and I found that really resonated with me. It sounded cool but still fun. Wed occasionally be more adventurous though and go to these raves in Portsmouth which had guys like Chris Liberator and Dave The Drummer playing a more European sound that was more underground and all about acid lines and really sick percussion.
Tell us a bit about your music. You're a definitive techno master but you worked on many dub sessions as well. The common feature seems to be the presence of embracing deep and dark sounds. If so, what's your attraction to them?
I just like hypnotic stuff when it comes to electronic music. But to be honest my taste is very broad. I love making really energetic club tracks and also trippier, dubby stuff. On other days Ill make more sexy, after hour bits it just depends on my mood.
In your long-standing career, you have played the biggest festivals in the world. Do you remember your first show in front of 10,000 people? What did it feel like? Could you describe it in one word?
The show of that size that comes to mind immedietly would be a huge outdoor event in Buenos Aires called Mandarine Park that I performed at in October 2015. It was crazy to walk up on stage and see the crowd stretching back as far as the eye could see. Just an enormous sea of people smiling, jumping up and down and waving flags and banners with an energy that is very unique to South American fans. These are the most unfortgettable moments for me and there is only one word for it: Vibes!
Do you prefer to play small intimate clubs, or big outdoor festivals?
As a performer you need a balance. If I played all small clubs Id be aching to do bigger stages and if I only ever got to do the bigger shows I would really miss the more intimate gigs.
How important is a good social media game to your career? Do you like that aspect of the modern business?
Im not really a natural fan of social media so far as the whole look at me! look what Im doing! vibe goes, but I really enjoy being connected directly to fans thats really important for me and something that I am very thankful to social media for. It very easy to become detached from what really matters in this business but I think always having your fans just a touch of a button away is a great reminder of what it is actually all about.
Did it take much work to get the tracks together for the mix?
Yeah it did actually. I wanted to make sure that the music was current, or exclusive, and the deadline is actually three months before the release date. So to make sure the music is fresh is quite a challenge. I didnt want to put out a mix that was full of music thats already released by the time people can buy it, I wanted people to listen to it and hear the music for the first time, not to have heard the tracks on other podcasts. There are a couple of remixes of my stuff on there that will never be released, theyre only on that CD it makes it a bit special.
What are your hobbies? What contributes to your musicality?
I guess I live this double life. Outside of music I find myself doing something that is way more chill, or away from hectic city life; so I go paddle boarding out in the lakes by me and mountain biking, tennis, football, and tinkering with cars. But me and my wife, we paddle board a lot which is a good way of getting away from everything hiding in the forest or something.
You're a big fan of Prince. Which tracks of his have you been able to play out in tribute to him since his sad passing?
'Controversy', '1999', 'When Doves Cry', 'Erotic City'. I have two portraits of Prince on my right calf. Most of the bottom half of my leg is Prince portraits, done by a fairly famous portrait artist. The guy's a legend. I'm planning on getting Bowie on the other leg, he's another one of my heroes.
What are your top five remixes of all time?
This changes almost daily, but today these are the tracks that come to mind:
1. Matthew Herbert - Its Only (DJ Koze mix)
2. Josh Wink - Higher State Of Consciousness (Tweekin' Acid Funk mix)
3. Mory Kante - Yeke Yeke (Hardfloor Remix)
4. Depeche Mode - I Feel Loved - (Danny Tenaglia Remix)
5. Madonna - Lucky Star (12 Extended Remix)
How did you get in touch with Drumcode and Adam Beyer the first time?
Adam was playing a remix of mine on other labels, I had messaged him to thank him for the support. We chatted about me doing something for Drumcode and so I started working on music for the label. A few years on and we are now good friends and Drumcode is a home for my music. Especially Face Of Recjection was hammered in all clubs all over the techno-world. Nearly all big names like Sven Väth, Chris Liebing, Adam Beyer and many many more played and supported that track. How does it feel, if you know that most of all important Techno-Heads are supporting and playing a track of you? People all over the world are dancing to your beats Yes its a great feeling and its very nice to see your hard work in the studio pay off. It pushes you on to do more tracks and inspires you to want to write more music. There is nothing better than seeing and hearing your track played by your peers!
How do you keep yourself sane on the road with the grueling schedules and lack of sleep?
Balance its all about balance! Over the years I have worked out that certain simple things make a world of difference when it comes to not letting touring become a stress. For example, I always try and travel with someone -- my tour manager or my manager or my wife or a friend. Having someone to share the time and experience with removes all negativity that comes with basically being alone or at least surrounded by strangers all weekend. Its maybe not something that people consider about our work, but it can be a lonely experience despite actually been surrounded by people from the moment you get to the airport to when you are in the club. However, the big secret I discovered to coping with the stressful parts of the job is finding time to do normal stuff away from work with family and friends, or making the effort to explore my hobbies. Ive recently got really into fishing again having not done it since I was a kid and its made a huge difference to my state of mind. I can escape everything and just be on my own and put all my energy into something other than work.
In 2018 youll be celebrating ten years of DJing. Are there any special performances your fans in Germany can expect?
I am not making a big deal out of 2018 marking 10 years, but I am of course very proud and greatful to reach this milestone. I already have shows planned for the first half of 2018 in Berlin, Munich and Stuttgart plus I will be doing some German festivals over the summer. If people keep an eye on my social media channels they will be the first to find out when and where.
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