Patrick Topping: "I prefer playing longer sets, they allow you to fully represent everything you're about" - My Ibiza

Patrick Topping: “I prefer playing longer sets, they allow you to fully represent everything you’re about”

With a six-hour marathon awaiting him at Privilege later this month, we talked with Patrick Topping about the need for extended set times, Paradise and more.

It’s late July, the Ibiza season is nearing its peak point and the island is possibly the busiest its been all year. A huge contributing factor towards this is the party capital’s ability to provide consistently strong line-ups… Paradise is a night which particularly excels in this field. Just ask Patrick Topping.

First starting out with the underground franchise back in 2014, the Newcastle native is one name who has really come into his own over the past few years. Fast forward to 2018 and Patrick finds himself headlining a magical three-hour set for Paradise at DC10 alongside label chief and longtime compadre, Jamie Jones… only this time, it was advertised!

Three hour sets aren’t something you see too much of on the island these days though. With increased competition and the constant pressure to sell more tickets, such aspects of the party capital have contributed to promoters booking more and more names on line-ups despite closing times getting earlier and earlier. Now because of this, the average set time for a DJ in Ibiza is usually no longer than two hours.

A prolific producer in his own right, longer sets are something Patrick embraces. Renowned for his ability to craft together infectious, dance floor ready rhythms, extended set times in the booth allow the Geordie to really delve deeper into his box of tricks and giving clubbers a true insight into his far-reaching musical preferences and influences.

Fresh off the back of winning Best Tech House artist at this past week’s DJ Awards, we caught up with the Paradise resident to talk about Paradise at DC10, his forthcoming headline appearance for Kaluki at Privilege and the benefits of playing longer set times.

We’re back for another edition of BBCR1 at Cafe Mambo… what do you love the most about BBCR1 in Ibiza and why?

I did Radio 1 in Ibiza in 2015, it was the first time I had played at Ushuaia – it was amazing. It was also my first time playing live on BBCR1. Since then, I have appeared on the station a few times. I’ve done the Essential Mix and I played live over in LA, but Ibiza was the first time I did it and it was such a buzz getting the opportunity to play on air, I was on such a high afterwards.

You played back-to-back with Pete Tong. When did you first start listening to BBCR1 and what were your earliest memories of Pete?

I’ve been listening to BBCR1 since I can remember listening to music really. It’s always been and still is a massive part of British culture, BBCR1 is just so huge. Not every country has a platform like BBCR1… it’s just so prominent and so interesting. However, I started listening to religiously to Pete’s and all of the other dance shows probably about 12 years ago, definitely an avid listener.

Any favourite Essential Mixes you can recall aside from your own?

Of course… Loco Dice and Tania Vulcano’s at DC10! That will always be a classic. Also, Jamie Jones when he played at Space in 2009, that definitely sticks out. Those two probably resonate with me the most.

How essential do you think BBC Radio 1’s contribution will be to continuing the island’s legacy as the party capital?

I think it does play a big part because when I have been talking to people over in the States, we’ve been comparing the different scenes in the States to over here. What gets brought up by Americans is that they don’t have a Radio 1 or an equivalent platform, they’re daytime radio consists of pop music, hip hop, country and EDM… stuff like that. There’s nobody to really push house, techno, trance or drum and bass over there.

Because BBCR1 is doing this, it has a major effect, especially when they do their annual weekend gathering over in Ibiza so it always has a positive impact upon the island.

This isn’t your first BBCR1 Ibiza rodeo either… you played B2B with Jamie Jones at Ushuaia back in 2015. How well do you feel BBCR1 has represented the underground scene this year with their line-ups? It’s pretty diverse across all genres to be fair…

It’s pretty diverse isn’t it? It’s a really strong line-up. You’ve got Mark Ronson on Sunday… then at the other end of the spectrum, you have Denis Sulta. It’s mint, I was really impressed when I saw the line-up. It covers pretty much all genres and I was happy to be a part of it.

Speaking of going back-to-back with Jamie, you did so in July with him at Paradise as you headlined the Terrace. How rewarding does this feel having been a resident for the night for so long?

That was amazing, it was so good. When it comes to Ibiza, closing the Terrace in DC10 is what I consider to be the pinnacle of clubbing in Ibiza, from my perspective. This is the second time I’ve done it now, I did it last year with Jamie too but it was a bit different. I played, he played, then we jumped on back-to-back for a bit.

This time, we had a full three hour back-to-back set together and it was billed from the beginning. Last year, it was more spontaneous and we had announced it a few days before. This was in the diary for weeks, people knew about it way in advance. It was such an amazing feeling and when I was playing, I was actually thinking about that… it was all quite nostalgic that I was closing the Terrace with Jamie.

Elsewhere on the island this year, you will receive the opportunity to play a huge six hour set for Kaluki in the Vista Club at Privilege, something the island has lacked in recent years having been filled many one hour slots. Why do you think extended sets should be the industry standard?

I love playing longer sets. Aside from elrow in Amnesia’s Club Room… I did two there last year, I can’t think of anywhere else on the island where you are getting much longer than two hours on the decks, two hours is considered long in Ibiza, at most venues, you get an hour and a half.

You’re right though, not many people are doing it and it is something I would like to see more of in Ibiza. However, I think it is more of a financial thing now, promoters want to absolutely stack the line-ups with big names to ensure that the clubs are busy. There is lots of competition on the island too, so promoters feel the need to put lots of artists on the line-up to sell more tickets.

What do you think are the biggest challenges an artist faces over the course of a six hour set?

For a venue, an obvious hurdle is you don’t have the magnetic pull of having lots of different artists on the line-up to reel people in. It is a challenge in a sense, but I prefer playing longer sets, they allow you to fully represent everything your about. I actually find it more of a challenge deciding what am I going to play within an hour and a half.

Whereas when you are playing extended sets, like this six hour one, you don’t have to plan or structure your set as much, you play more in the moment. I still plan it out, but it comes with a lot more spontaneity. Also, when I am playing a long set like that, I discover lots of music in my catalogue which I didn’t know I had, and I know how some of them work and then I’ll include these within my set changing things up. When you end up playing that long, you end up playing lots of stuff which you originally overlooked in your catalogue and when you return to playing for 90 minutes, the entire set is different because you have rediscovered lots of old gems or tracks you don’t usually play.

Finally, let’s discuss Tech House. This genre has gone from being generally well perceived to one of the underground’s most controversial subjects, generally because a lot of bold, creative compositions have been overshadowed by many mediocre attempts. What are your thoughts on the present tech house circle at the moment?

It’s like any typical genre really, there’s always good tech house and there’s bad tech house too. As a whole, the genre has become so increasingly popular, there are more DJs playing it now. Because of this, more of the bad side of the genre will be exposed, just because of how much tech house is being played.

Beyond this though, there is a lot of names playing it to my taste and because of this, you can’t completely write of a genre just like that… it’s too much of a diverse genre anyway, there are so many different little facets and nuances within it. It’s hugely popular and because of this, you have people making out that its the new EDM. I think there is a strong future for the genre still, I’m not entirely sure what the next trend will be, but there will definitely be a trend, there always is.

Personally speaking, I do make and play tech house, but I am not restricted to this. I’m going to start my own label later this year, and this is a fine example of me pushing the boundaries as I will be releasing lots of different material. It won’t just be tech house, there will also be techno, disco, house… this is because I have always played across the board, lots of different stuff. But production-wise, it has mainly been my tech house productions that have taken off. I have made productions within other genres, it just hasn’t been released yet. I will be putting other stuff out soon… not moving away from tech house, but these releases will show another side to what I can do as well.

Patrick Topping will be performing a very special six-hour set for Kaluki over at Privilege on Sunday 30th September. For further information, please click here.


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