THE term ‘meteoric rise’ is a somewhat overused term in dance music, but the cliche really is the best way to describe the ascent of Patrick Topping.
In only a few years he has gone from playing home town gigs in Newcastle to tirelessly touring the world’s biggest festivals, playing alongside some of the best in the business including the likes of Pete Tong, Eats Everything, Jamie Jones and Green Velvet. This summer sees him continue his residency at Jamie Jones’ Paradise at DC10 in Ibiza and release another EP on Jones’ Hot Creations imprint together with shows at Space Ibiza, Hideout festival in Croatia and elrow in Barcelona.
We caught up with Patrick to find out how it all came about.
It’s fair to say that the last few years have been something of a whirlwind. Can we start at the beginning though. Can you tell us how you got into the scene in Newcastle and what the scene was like surrounding you there as you grew up and became part of it? How did it influence you as a DJ and producer?
The scene in Newcastle was and still is class. I started sneaking into nights like Shindig and Waxon when I was 17, where I got to see some of the world’s best DJs weekly. Those early clubbing experiences definitely furthered my passion for the music and ultimately lead me onto wanting to DJ and make music myself.
Your career really kick started when you signed to Hot Creations and Hottrax with tracks such as Walk On, Get Beasty and Forget bringing you a lot of attention. But your relationship with label boss Jamie Jones dates back further than that. Can you tell us about how you hooked up with Jamie and the influence he and his label have had on you?
I actually only got to know Jamie after he signed Walk On, before that, there was a period of sending him music via his old tour manager, then when Walk On was signed, that’s when we started speaking directly. From then on he started signing more music and getting me on Hot Creations and Paradise shows. Musically he has had a huge impact on me, I had been a fan for years before I even sent Hot Creations anything. Then he played 3 or 4 unsigned tracks on the lead up to singing Walk On. This had a profound effect on my music, because it really inspired me and motivated me to keep trying to make as much music as could. I realised what a good opportunity it was, to have to ear of someone like Jamie listening to my music, but more than that I would say it also affected what I was making.
During this time production was still quite new to me and I was experimenting with a few different styles of house and techno, still finding my sound, but when Jamie started playing one of my first productions called Fat Ballistic, I started to consciously make music I thought he was maybe into. All this happened so early on and must have left a mark on what I produce to this day.
A residency for Paradise at DC10 quickly beckoned. This kind of meteoric rise must have been a pretty overwhelming life changing experience and is certainly the stuff of dreams for so many aspiring artists. Now that you can reflect on this a bit more can you tell us how you felt when you were first offered the opportunity and the first time you played at the revered DC10?
It was a great honor to be asked and something I never dreamed of happening when I first went there as a raver. It was such a mind blowing time, because that first set at DC10 was in July 2013 and Walk On had only come out in April, only 3 months later! So DC10 was only my second professional gig ever (that was booked through an agent) and only 4 days after my first ever one in Stoke! At the time it was surreal and to be honest it’s been like that ever since, each day new things keep happening with my music and the last 3 years have been absolutely amazing! As you can imagine when I first got asked to play that DC10 set, I was over the moon and I was so excited for it that I even quit playing football with my mates immediately because I didn’t want to get injured or something, I didn’t want anything stopping me from being able to play.
Has playing there regularly changed your sound and are there any particular highlights from playing there?
I don’t think my sound has changed that much, except maybe playing even more eclectic, now that I’m more comfortable and confidant there. Initially the first few years I did hold back on a few tracks that I thought were maybe too risky, but last year I played tracks, which I wouldn’t of, had to bottle to play there in the past. Within reason, I’m basically playing anything I like now and not worrying too much if it’s cool or not.
Other notable inspiration comes in the form of your work with the incredible Green Velvet who you collaborated with on Voicemail. Can you tell us about how you guys met and how you ended up working with such a celebrated pioneer so early on in your career? Do you have any plans to do more together again any time soon?
Yeah we’ve actually done another 2 tracks together since Voicemail, When Is Now and Shining, which both came out on his Relief Records also and we are currently working on a remix together along with Jamie too!
We first met in April 2013 when I booked him to play for my Motion party in Newcastle and we didn’t actually keep in touch. Then the following year I heard him play a few of my tracks in mixes and on his Essential Mix, then that summer of 2014, we met in the backstage bit of DC10 as we were both playing for Paradise. He came in the booth and watched all of my set, asking me to play Any Amounts and jokingly rib shotting me to play my remix of Sidney Charles haha. Afterwards we decided to collaborate. Obviously this had a huge impact on my career, for one the track, Voicemail, did very well, getting support from so many big names and reaching number 1 on Beatport tech House chart, but more so, as you say, he is a pioneer and legend, so I think this also made people really take me more seriously.
Your Hot Creations stable mate wAFF is another inspiration of yours. What is it you like about his music and do you have any plans on a collaboration with him having recently remixed his and Cuartero’s Break A Sweat track on Moon Harbour?
Yeah wAFF is still my favourite producer and I’ve probably played more of his tracks than anyone else’s. He has a unique sound and it’s very interesting, you can tell by the breadth of style he has, how talented he is. All his tracks are exciting and one of a kind, which is what I like best about them. We have both been talking about doing a track together for so long and I’ve even sent him the start of a track ages ago, but he never had time to get around to it and now we are both really busy, but I hope so much it will finally happen, I think it would be a naughty combo.
Your essential mix last year was another milestone moment in your career so far. What kind of direct impact did this have on your bookings and profile? I put a lot of time and thought into that mix, well I do for every mix, but that one especially, I had to go above and beyond, as it’s such a legendary mix. Being asked to be a part of that series was one of those moments that proper turned people’s heads I feel. It’s hard to say the direct impact on bookings, as it’s more of a snowball effect of different things, but it must have helped for sure.
Do you have any plans for an artist album?
Don’t have any plans at the moment, for now I’m happy releasing EPs aimed at the dance floor and remixing interesting artists or tracks. But never say never, I could see myself getting into a project like that, but it would be really frustrating though, as I tend to just make tracks without preconceived ideas and I don’t think that would lend itself to the process of making a more holistic and cohesive album, but I would like to try one day, but for now I’m happy to keep going as I have been.
Can you tell us a bit about some of the releases you have planned, the labels you are releasing on and maybe some labels you would really like to release music with?
My next release is out now, it’s a track called Free Admission and it’s coming out on an EP alongside tracks from Yousef, Richy Ahmed & Darius Syrossian on Circus Recordings. The track is quite dark and I’m really happy everyone is getting to hear it now, as some tracks, even though I love them, don’t get a release, because they either don’t fit with what labels want at that moment or don’t fit with my release schedule. As you’re only meant to release a certain amount of music per year apparently, so sometimes tracks get left and then once you have a gap or chance to release it, you may no longer love it. Free Admission took a while, but now it ‘s finally coming out and I still love it haha!
Then I have a 3 track EP on Hot Creations, which I’m so excited about! It’s wicked to be releasing an EP on the label again and I’m really happy with each of the tracks. It was hard to decide which should be the A side actually, I reckon it’s kind of like a triple A side. Hopefully other people like it as much as I do ha. One of the tracks was made just in February and the other in November last year and one is 2 years old.
I’d love to keep releasing music with Hot Creations. After that and it’s probably a bit of wishful thinking, but to release something on Kompakt would be sick! Also I wouldn’t mind releasing on one of the old school ghetto house labels. I’ve actually got a track I’ve made in that style, so fingers crossed one of them may take it.
How is this summer looking with your tour schedule and which gigs are you particularly looking forward to?
Summer is looking mental mate! Absolutely radge. Playing 7 dates at Paradise, which I’m so buzzing about, plus 4 at Space. Loads of festivals all over the place, it’s going to be fun!
We can see you are playing Hideout Festival in Croatia this year too, is there anything you are particularly looking forward to there?
Yeah It’s always a wicked time at Hideout, the crowd is always bang up for it. I’m doing a boat party and Paradise party this time. Last year when I was playing Papaya at night, it was one of my favourite gigs ever.
Apart from your music, it’s clear the relationships with artists who are now your peers has been an integral part of your journey so far. What advice would give to aspiring artists who are looking to follow in your footsteps?
Just put as much time into making music as you possibly can, even if that means swerving parties and nights out, the best use of time I found was slogging away at learning production. I was about to do a season in Ibiza actually and I didn’t partly to concentrate on making music instead and looking back now, I’m so glad I did that. Also don’t play low quality digital files like youtube or soundcloud rips etc, they lack the low and high ends and sound awful in a club and definitely don’t play these if they are of tracks that are unreleased, as peers won’t respect you for playing tracks like that.
For more information on Patrick Topping visit his Facebook page.