Archive: Patrick Forge interview, November 2001

Interview: Patrick Forge
Date: November 2001
Location: Pat’s flat
Words / interview: Des Berry

2011:  Setting the scene

I remember very little about this one. Patrick’s flat was in Kentish Town. It was very dark inside and the photographers pictures were never used because they were crap.

Back to 2001…

As the only remaining DJ from the original pirate days of Kiss FM in London, Patrick Forge has a well-respected knowledge of all things jazzy, broken and Brazilian. This, along with 3 London DJ residencies and the music of Da Lata, is a reason why his previous compilations have been a must for anyone interested in joining the dots in jazz related dance music. Now with his first release for Trust The DJ, Patrick Forge runs through the tunes that make up the sound of his new compilation, as well as a bit of history on a career as record collector, buyer, musician, club and radio DJ!

Working with Jonathan More of Coldcut at Reckless Records in Soho, Patrick Forge landed a DJ role on Kiss, back when it was a pirate station.

“I’ve had the radio show on Kiss for 12 years now” Patrick states about his Cosmic Jam show that is broadcast every Sunday on Kiss FM. “There have been so many revolutions over the years, but I’m part of the furniture now. I have this stealth ninja tactic for staying. At times you have to be invisible”.

Anyone familiar with the various changes that have taken place at the station will know that is a pretty amazing thing for someone with a style that confused even the original programmers.

“When I got the show on Kiss no one really understood what I was doing or had the guts to tell me what they were really thinking.”

“I was a musician and that was my original dream, but people I wanted to do music with gave up. I started working in the record shop Reckless. At the time all I really wanted to do was build my collection and get a load of vinyl as well as to talk to people about music. At the shop old heads would come in and I’d be learning about mixes and rarities.”

“I was working with Jonathan who was one of the founders of Kiss and I really fancied getting a radio show. I was learning about and buying records and I thought I could do this on the radio. Half of the stuff I bought at the time wasn’t going to work in the clubs. Through Jonathan I managed to get an interview with Gordon Mac at Kiss. On the way I stopped off at Music Exchange to pick up some records. Later on I sold Gordon a record I’d bought. I think it was only because I sold him a quite an in demand tune at the time that I got the job.”

As a keen follower of the jazz-dance scene Forge’s big break came when he joined Gilles Peterson at the legendary Sunday afternoon sessions at Dingwalls. Over the next four years the club pioneered the sound of hip hop, jazz and rare groove.

“I’d been on nodding terms with Gilles, but the next thing I knew I was called up and asked to come down and do the thing at Dingwalls. That was the big break”.

Being so passionately involved with a particular scene can be hard at times. How do you manage to keep passionate about the music after all these years?

“The radio show is the greatest continuity for me. That creates the focus each week. I’m not pretending that there aren’t times when you get bored with the music, but you do sometimes have to look elsewhere for stimulation. You think “I’ve been ploughing this field now for a while and now I want to plough somewhere else”

“I’m usually associated with Gilles and the scenes in London that we have represented and been involved with have always gone through those evolutionary periods. That’s the whole point of what we do as DJ’s. We are seekers. We are trying to do something different”.

What about DJs like Gilles playing things like So Solid Crew on the radio now?

“Gilles attitude at the moment is ‘fuck it’. Some cynics might say it’s just a desperate attempt from an aging jazz DJ to try and seem that he is down with the kids. But the thing is you just reflect the climate you are in. It’s always amazing though the way different kinds of music start on one level. If you think drum ‘n’ bass was hardcore and artists like 4 Hero made Mr Kirks Nightmare and then they end up making Les Fleur. It just goes to show that its talent and after a while it just develops”.

After the success of the Rebirth Of Cool series, Patrick is about to release a new compilation care of Trust The DJ.

“Its that whole net thing. You feel you want to dive in there and do something and this is a good way of doing it without having to run your own website”, Patrick explains.

“It’s a really good thing for us as DJ’s. There are things there for people to look at and they can see what we are doing”.

How does it feel to be sharing a site with the likes of a few more mainstream DJs?

“What are we supposed to do? Are we to be so elite and hip that we don’t want to be associated with these people? There is a learning curve as to how people get into music. They come in at one end and go out on another. It’s nice for people to progress. That’s what they’ll get on the site”.

How have you approached this particular compilation?

“I gave them a list of tracks and they came back with lots that were turned down. This selection is the first 12 that cleared. It’s a snap shot of what I was into when I compiled it. This compilation is one representation of what I do. It’s going to be a series. I’ll look back at this one and maybe do something different on the next one.”

“At the moment I’m feeling a lot more hip hop and r ‘n’ b and I love playing that out as well. But people get confused about the type of DJ you are. I get confused myself!”

So with residencies at London’s 333 and Notting Hill Arts Club, a forthcoming compilation of Da Lata remixes and the continuing radio show, where does Patrick Forge feel best at home?

“I feel most at home in the fact that I’m doing something that I love for a living. I’m having a life in music and I’m very privileged to have that. It’s not something I ever really planned.”

PF01: The tunes…..

Herbie Hancock “The Essence”
Herbie Hancock has been a stalwart of jazz history for decades now. He is someone who has always been capable of being cutting edge and that is still true today. He’s not getting any younger, but he not getting any less adventurous.

I particularly wanted to use this track because I love Chaka Khan’s vocal on it. I liked all the mixes but that was the mix that showcased the vocal and did it most justice.

Domu “Cloud City”
The most out there thing on the compilation. You could listen to it as a techno jazz funk track. It’s from the broken beat school and the programming is pretty mad. I listen to it in different ways. Some times I think it sounds really sensible and quite accessible, other times I think that’s fucked up. He’s a prodigy of the 4 Hero guys. He recorded drum ‘n’ bass as Sonar Circle on Reinforced. He’s very much got his own style.

Forbidden Zone “Hyde’n’ Seek”
This is from a drum ‘n’ bass producer called Dextrous. Years ago there was one tune he did that I played a lot. A drum ‘n’ bass tune with a horn section on it that sounded like a big band. I met him recently at the broken beat club, the Co-Op. He sent me some new tracks and this was one of them. It’s unreleased and exclusive to this CD. Its style is like cinematic jazz funk.

Fertile Ground “Let the Wind blow (oneness of two mix)”
Mixed by Nick The Record who I’ve known since he was a kid when I was working in Reckless. He is a really good record dealer now. He has a fine list of jazz and rare groove. The band Fertile Ground is from Baltimore. Sounding like a 70’s black jazz ensemble, but very much here and now. That mix has worked really well for me in clubs.

Eli Goulart e Banda do mato “Meu Samba” (Nicola Conte Mix)
Mixed by a guy I’ve known for years. I DJ’d with him in the south of Italy, back in 91. His sound is really retro. It’s a house tempo, but Brazilian bossa sounding.

Kaidi Tathum “Ladies”
One of Bugz In The Attic Kaidi has been a real musical force. His keyboard playing has been on so many productions. He is really awesome. An explosive talent and I see him as a contemporary version of a great arranger. I see him as a Quincy Jones for a new generation.

Homecookin‘ “Lazy Days”
Another Bugz in the Attic track. This was out a while ago, but it’s a tune I still play and love. It’s accessible broken beat with soulful vocals. The whole broken beat thing is a real interesting thing at the moment. A lot of people can’t get with it. They say it sounds like people falling down the stairs, but they’re not hearing where it’s coming from. It’s not just the style of rhythm track. Yeah it does take a while to get into, but it’s a fusion of so many different influences together. They are the melting pot of London sounds.

Fertile Ground “Higher (Waiwan mix)
Don’t know much about this, but it has a wicked, slow drum ‘n’ bass tempo. I couldn’t stop listening to that mix when I got it.

KV5 feat. Pael Black “Lies + untruths (Christian Franck mix)
KV5 is Tony our engineer from Da Lata and Mark Brown who is one part of Smoke City. Christian Franck, who is also part of Smoke City and half of Da Lata, also mixes it. It’s a family affair!!

I see KV5 as being a London Daft Punk! Because of the freshness and similar approach.

Donnie “Do You Know
Out of Giant Steps Records New York and very Steve Wonder sounding

Originally published in Breakin’ Point 01.03

Listen: Da Lata – Songs From The Tin


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