The first time we spoke to Alan Fitzpatrick was back in 2010 as he was just at the beginning of his new adventure into the techno realm. Freshly signed to Drumcode he was quickly welcomed into the halls of Room Two and onto our blog to introduce himself. This December something very unique is happening, Room One will become a floor for the more hard edged sound of the DC family as Alan will join label head, mentor and studio partner, Adam Beyer, for a whole night of dynamic workings of our customized Martin Audio rig.
So, with this in mind, the time has come to catch up with the well-travelled producer to find out what it’s been like to join one of the most revered techno crews and why he’s so passionate about new members the Manic Brothers. All this bumps to the tune of his second exclusively recorded fabric Promo Mix.
Hey Alan, nice to catch up with you. As we are in the last month of the year it is customary to have a look back on what has happened – what’s been big for you in 2012?
I think the most pleasing aspect of this year has been how well my new music has been recieved. I have really focused on my output for Drumcode and have mainly just released my music with them and I feel like it has paid off, both in terms of allowing me to focus in on a smaller number of projects and allowing me the time and space to evolve my style and get my music as good as I can make it. Both the main tracks from the two Drumcode EP's I released - 'Skeksis' and 'Always Something For Nothing' - ending up being number one tracks on Beatport's Techno chart which meant a lot to me in terms of the recognition that a lot of people were into my music.
Away from the studio I have been lucky enough for me touring to take me to a number of really cool places for the first time this year. New York, Miami, Singapore, Colombia, Argentina and Dubai were all amazing experiences made all the more special by the fact that I was greeted with such enthusiasm from everyone despite it being my first time there. Other special memories would be the shows I played for Drumcode at their Halloween party in London and at Berghain. Both shows were great for different reasons but the one thing they did share and that made them unforgettable for the energy and atmosphere that everyone created. I shall certainly remember these gigs as the defining moments of 2012 for me.
Have there been any moments when you’ve found it all a bit overwhelming, when you take stock about how big things have got for you?
I wouldn't say that it has ever got overwhelming. Doing what I am doing has been my dream since I left school so not only am I far to busy enjoying everything that is going on around me but I have spent a lot of time dreaming, hoping and planning so I could make a career out of music. This has given me a real sense wanting to always achieve more and so everything that happens just feels like a well earned result of hard work rather something that has taken over my life and become overwhelming. It is also true to say that one of the things I love about the scene I am a part of is that it is very down to earth and so even if I wanted to get carried away with myself I am sure someone would bring me back down to earth pretty quick!
The question is interesting though as what I can empathize with is a sense of feeling pressure to continue succeeding. I do beat myself up about always wanting my music to be better than the last release or feeling the need to evolve my music so it stays original or wanting to perfect my performances or build a new fan base in new places. This type of pressure can become stressful because as a recording artist you know that in general you have one chance at being successful and so you want to make the most of it when you get it. I am definitely acutely aware of this and always make sure I am reviewing what I am doing; taking stock of what has worked and what has not so that I can have a clear direction and focus to my work. When you are caught up in this mindset and maybe something doesn't go your way or you have to take a disappointment on the chin then it can be a little overwhelming as it is easy to panic and wonder if you will ever get that chance again. I think this sort of paranoia is very common amongst creative professionals.
How have you found the whole Drumcode experience since we last spoke? it’s a pretty special thing to be part of…
Yeah, it has been almost two years since last spoke and in that time everything has moved on a good few steps for everyone involved in Drumcode. The label and the brand has grown even bigger during this time with loads of amazing releases and albums from people like Ben Sims, Slam and Joseph Capriati plus some newer names on the label like Nicole Moudaber and Manic Brothers. It has definitely been something special to be a part of and I feel like I have grown up with it and as part of it with my solo releases, the studio collaborations I have done with Adam and of course the parties like big showcase events at ADE in Amsterdam and SW4 Festival in London which were firsts for both the label and for me. I feel really at home with Drumcode and Adam is very supportive of me by giving me total creative freedom lots of helpful advice. I absolutely feel like Drumcode is a massive part of my present and future.
In your DJ bag, what artists are doing something particularly interesting for you at the moment?
I mentioned these guys just now but Manic Brothers absolutely deserve a special mention as I always seem to always have at least one of their tracks in my sets at the moment. They have come out of nowhere really but have created exactly the right sound they wanted to make. They were punters for years, following all their Techno heroes around Europe and they have just worked hard in the studio to perfect the sound they like and then exploded onto the scene. I am a really big fan of theirs as you can probably tell?!
There is also a lot of really great homegrown talent in UK right now with producers like Jon Gurd, Bryan Chapman and Jon Barber all making some amazing Techno. Jon Gurd and Bryan have released on my 8 Sided Dice label this year but have also done lots of other projects for really cool labels like Octopus and Enemy Records. Jon Barber has just been signed to Get Physical's sister label so I am sure he will become a more familiar name very soon.
Elsewhere I have found myself getting really into more stripped down, raw Techno. Tracks by people like Head High (aka Shed) and Psyk have featured heavily in my sets all year long and have been a big influence on me when it comes to inspiration for my own music. I'd also like to give a mention to a couple of acts - Session Restore and Deepchild - who appear on the mix I have done for you as I think what they are doing with this really deep, dubby, after hours kind of techno is really amazing but quite different to the music most people would have heard me play.
What’s on your agenda for 2013? It has been two years since your ‘Shadows In The Dark' album any chance of a new LP or are you enjoying working with 12” releases?
I am definitely gearing back up for album writing mode in 2013. I think it is important to be in the right frame of mind to be writing album tracks so I am not rushing things but it is a definite ambition of mine to release a second album in 2014. In between now and then there are already quite a few projects scheduled for release with a new collaboration track with Adam Beyer released in January and then I have a few remixes that will be released. There is a remix of Adam Beyer on Truesoul, a remix of Ben Sims on Drumcode and a remix for Markantonio on his Analytic Trail label. My next Drumcode EP will be around April or May and I'd like to write another EP for Drumcode for release towards the end of the year; so we are planned way in advance already so hopefully I will get to start on those new album tracks sooner rather than later.
You shared the new collaboration with Adam Beyer on our blog last week, can you tell us about the release and what was it like working with such an acclaimed producer?
Sure, like I said the new track is out on 7th January and the single includes a remix of a track called Human Reason which Adam and I released last summer. We initially didn't know who we wanted to remix Human Reason as it was such a popular record when it was originally released. Len was the only person we felt could do a job on the remix so it was great that he agreed to do it and I am confident that the result really speaks for itself. I am sure everyone will love what he has done as it has breathed new life into the track and hopefully this new version goes on to be just as successful. 'Memisis', which is the track that appeared on the blog last week, is actually the third track to come out of a studio session with Adam; the other two, 'Human Reason' and 'Tor', were released last year. I am pleased that we took our time in finishing the track so it could be as good as it can be as there was quite a bit of back-and-forth on the track but in the end the version that will be released is something we are really happy with and a good follow up to Human Reason.
Many people ask me what it is like to make music with Adam and while it was of course a little bit daunting to write music with someone whose music I have respected for so long, the reality is he is a really great person to make music with. We share a lot of the same ideas on what we want to achieve with the music we make and so we clicked really well in a creative sense and we are already speaking about finding the time to get together to make music again. As well as his vast experience and the high standards he has when it comes to originality and sound quality, he has some different ways of working to me which was really interesting to experience. For example, I would usually start with a synth line or main hook and build around that where as Adam would often want to spend a lot of time working on percussion sounds before even thinking about the main elements of the track or any final themes for how the track would sound. This way of working has opened my eyes a bit to maybe switching things up a little when being creative and of course it is always a benefit to have a second pair of ears in the studio as it is way to easy to get lost in indecision if you are on your own.
You’re playing Room One for this next Drumcode visit, which is a rare happening as Room Two is really our ‘techno’ room – how are you preparing for this? How do you think the extended set in this space is going to influence how you play?
I get sent, download and buy all sorts of different music so I am really looking forward to being able to dig through some of my more groovey, melodic, trippy, hypnotic, deep tracks in order to find the right vibe for Room 1. Adam and I are playing the whole night so you should expect something with a slower build, maybe starting quite dubby and building from there. People may need to be a little more patient than maybe they are used to with my Room 2 sets that tend to move through the gears at a faster pace but from what I am picking up on the wires about this gig everyone is really excited about us playing in Room 1 and I am too, especially as I will get to play for 3 or 4 hours which is perfect for me as I really enjoy building the mood through an extended set. It always feels just that bit more personal and intimate with the people who are there when you have all gone from A to B over a longer period of time rather than whipping through your biggest tracks in a quick-fire 2 hour set.
Alan Fitzpatrick will be in Room One on 29th December with Adam Beyer, for more info and tickets go here.