To kick off our brand new series of insight interviews with artists, creatives and industry execs, we caught up with Joseph ‘JP’ Patterson – music editor/journalist/radio host/artist manager/tastemaker – who started the now-legendary ChockABlock club night and has since worked with the likes of MTV Iggy, The Grammys, SuperSuper Magazine, BBC Radio 1, MTV UK & Amazing Radio.
KNEW KNOWLEDGE meets… Joseph ‘JP’ Patterson
KK: How did you start out in the music industry? What was your big break?
JP: It all started for me in April 2007, when I put on my first club night. It was called ChockABlock. After the first event in Northampton, which had Skepta, Tinchy and Logan Sama headlining, I launched it at EGG Nightclub in London where it stayed for three years on a monthly basis. Mostly everyone in the grime scene has blessed the stage and decks at one point or another, as well as a few known names in dubstep and bassline/4×4. In September 2007, I put together a blog site — just to kinda write about the events/raves I would go to and post videos that I was rating. And, one day, I was brave enough to pitch to SUPERSUPER Magazine (R.I.P) about the up North bassline/4×4 scene. They ended up giving me four pages and, because they loved what I had done, I was then offered the role as Contributing Music Editor. From then on, I’ve stuck with this writing thing. I taught myself everything, didn’t go to college or uni, so it was a struggle in the beginning. But, I don’t think I’ve done too badly [laughs].
Describe your job now.
I’m a music journalist, radio host, and artist manager.
How did you come to work with MTV, Amazing Radio and the Grammys’ blog?
In 2010, I was headhunted by MTV UK’s urban music team to be the Editor of their urban music site, The Wrap Up. I stayed with them until 2012. I then began working for MTV IGGY (USA), where I’m now their UK Correspondent. The GRAMMYs column came about via me pitching them an idea for a post and them offering me a regular monthly column off the back of it, which was dope. And Amazing Radio, they actually approached me to host a two-hour show, which was a blessing following the shutdown of my monthly 15-minute segment on BBC Radio 1 (they had to cut it due to new time schedule). I love doing radio. Every Thursday night from 7-9pm, myself and Hyperfrank get to chat breeze and play the best music that the underground scenes have to offer. Good times!
What’s been your hardest or most troublesome interview so far?
Honestly? I haven’t had any. I’m in a position where I can interview who I want, so I’ve been able to pick and choose who I interview. Every singer, MC, rapper, producer and DJ I’ve interviewed so far has been super cool. I like to go into my interviews making the interviewee feel like we’ve known each other for years. It flows much better that way, and you’re able to get much more out of them if they feel like they’re kickin’ it with their homie.
What makes a great artist in your eyes?
Talent, first and foremost, and they have to know their roots. I hate when people get too big for their size 10s and forget where they come from. A down-to-earth attitude makes anyone appealing. I mean, who wants to spend their hard earned money on a prick? Sometimes, characteristics can override talent. Sometimes! Me, I can watch or read an artist being an asshole in an interview and be put off their music for life [laughs].
It’s pretty well known that you like your raving. What are the best clubs/nights/events in the UK right now? What town is reliable for a good night?
Outbreak in Leicester is pretty decent, but that’s a sporadic event. Circoloco goes off! London always goes off, though: Defected at Ministry Of Sound, and EGG on a Friday and Saturday always works a treat. I’m trying to chill on the weekly raving, however. I’m getting to old for it. I can’t cope [laughs]. It’s all about festivals now. I’m heading to Amsterdam next week for DGTL Festival, which is a house and techno two-dayer. Looking forward to that one a lot.
What are the main differences between the UK & US scenes right now – for new music and raving?
I was into American hip-hop and R&B up until ten years ago, when So Solid Crew came through and changed life. I’ve been UK all the way ever since. We’ve got enough talent over here to keep us busy, I think. And there’s a million and one US music writers covering US music, so why would I – being from the UK – try and make a name for myself by writing about US music? It makes no sense to me, which is why I’ve devoted my career to the promotion of British music.
When it comes to raving, I don’t even know how to rave to hip-hop and R&B anymore. That’s bad, I know. House and techno just brings a different vibe, and I don’t think shuffling to house music will ever take off in the ghettos of America like it has over here [laughs]. I love the UK, man. “We different, yeah, we different…” [laughs]
What was the first album or record you owned?
Soul For Real’s ‘Candy Rain’. I was 7 years old. It cost £2.99. I bought it ‘cos I thought I sounded like the lead singer when I sang [laughs].
When was the last time you bought a CD or vinyl? What was it?
I get sent so much music that I don’t really need to buy music. But if I like it, I’ll support it with a coin. The last CD I bought was Youngs Teflon’s The Renaissance.
Does free music have a role in today’s industry?
It does, especially for new artists trying to get heard. But, people need to start buying music a lot more than they do. Too much good free music is just flying around. For the industry to grow and the same level of music to be made, people need to invest. Don’t moan when your favourite artist gets dropped from their label because they got over two million SoundCloud plays and only 10,000 single sales. Just sayin’.
Describe the music industry in 3 words.
What song and/or album has influenced you most in life?
I’m a church boy at heart, so gospel’s played a big part in my life. Kirk Franklin’s ‘Brighter Day’ has got me through some dark times. It’s super uplifting.
If you could style-out a duet at Karaoke, which band or artist – dead or alive – would you duet with, and to what song?
Biggie and ‘Sky’s The Limit’. That tune right there! It still get regular reloads.
The artist you manage/represent wins a Grammy and asks you to collect the award; would you make a long, heart-felt acceptance speech on their behalf or shuffle off stage nervously?!
The latter, most definitely. I’m a shy person, so accepting it in front of the crowd and knowing there’s millions at home watching would be hard enough for me to cope with [laughs].
Do you have a party trick or any hidden talents?
I’d win in a riff and run competition with Usher, let’s just say [laughs].
Who were your role models growing up?
God and my pops; they still are my role models in life.
What advice do you have for people just starting out in the music business & want to do what you do?
Be prepared to work hard and after-hours, ‘cos slackers usually get left. Don’t be naive, be thick-skinned, and remember: not everyone is your friend. Knowing what you’re talking about inside out usually helps, too.
What artists have you recently discovered that have got you excited?
4. Little Simz
What is in the pipeline for you over the next 6-12months?
I don’t like to plan ahead; I just take my days as they come. Currently, I’m co-managing Lukas Freeman and One Over. There are some big meetings happening right now, so just expect some big things from the trip-hopper and house & bass producer in the coming months.
23. Finally, choose one from each:
Sam Cooke or Marvin Gaye?
Rolling Stones or The Beatles?
The Beatles have made more bangers, so I’d have to go with them. ‘Hey Jude’ is my jam.
Pink Floyd or Led Zepplin?
Beyonce or Lady Gaga?
C’mon, course it’s gonna be Bey! Gaga’s a bit too weird for me, man. Saying that, though, I don’t think she gets enough props for her voice; put her in front of a piano and the soul comes out.
Wiley or Dizzee?
This is a tough one, but I’m gonna have to go with Wiley. His production work plays a big part here.
Jean Michel Jarre or Herbie Hancock?
Call me uncultured, whatever innit, but I had to Google both these guys [laughs]. But yeah, Herbie Hancock’s a don on those keys! I love a good piano riff, me.
‘Thriller’ Michael Jackson or ‘Bad’ Michael Jackson?
For me, it has to be ‘Bad’… I still can’t believe the man’s dead!
Kanye or Jay Z?
Jay Z’s a vet in this ting! Kimye still has a way to go yet.
George Martin or Quincy Jones?
Copyright Knew Knowledge 2014