It‘s 2:30pm when Patlac opens the entrance door to a studio complex in Hamburg to welcome us for the interview. With a smile on his face he offers some coffee before sitting down in his fully equipped studio. The artist, who has been a scene‘s constant for nearly a decade now, is seating himself next to his computer as we start chatting about randomly chosen music related themes before turning to his very own productions. Having released on labels such as Liebe & Detail, Moodmusic, Connaisseur, Republik Music and Chapter24 Patlac has built up quite a reputation for himself within the scene, but seems very humble and appreciates that clubs and labels have given him the platform to do what he desires most – music.
I started to like to producing my own music and just did what I liked best without really thinking too much about it. Honestly I miss this way of producing music nowadays as the easiness has got lost a little bit over the years.
Torture the Artist: Your first releases date back to 2007-2008 and were out on Eminor, Liebe & Detail and Greelpound. What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear these tracks or EPs now?
Patlac: I am surprised when I listen to them now. Some of them I find good others I don‘t. But these tracks reflect how I got started with producing and how I worked back then. The release on Eminor was a track that I had put up on my MySpace-profil and then this guy from the label contacted me and asked if they could release it. It was probably not my best track, but I started to like producing my own music and just did what I liked best without really thinking too much about it. Honestly I miss this way of producing music nowadays as the easiness got lost a little bit over the years, which is natural of course, because you have a huge technical knowledge of producing music and when you judge a track now the technical side plays a bigger role as back in the days. When I did these tracks on the labels you mentioned I did not even know what an equalizer or compressor was or how to use it in a track. Let‘s say I was totally unaware of what I was doing.
Torture the Artist: What was – in your opinion – the most beneficial release or move to further your career?
Patlac: I would not say that there was either this one release or move that had such an impact on my career, but many small things that helped me to build up my career as an artist. For example when you start DJ‘ing in front of your friends and slowly see more and more people coming into the club or onto the dancefloor and these people like what you do that is definitely something that fulfills me. Also if you get the chance to keep on doing that you enjoy, DJ‘ing, over and over again that is something pretty close to my vision of being happy. Besides the aforementioned I must say that my first international bookings were really important too. The chance to travel around the world because of music makes me really proud. So every single gig gets my full attention and motivates me to continue what I am doing. But again all these things are something beautiful that happened or keep happening rather than a planned move or EP I released to further my career.
Maybe my personal demands that I place on myself are way too high. You have to know that when I started DJ‘ing a DJ was still a DJ and a live-act was a live-act. Nowadays these two fields are more connected and people who DJ can also be a live-act and the other way around
Torture the Artist: With a release catalogue like yours one could assume that you play a lot of live-shows, but you barely have any live gigs in your schedule. What is the reason you obviously put DJing over performing live?
Patlac: Honestly speaking I have no clue how to play live. Even with the knowledge of producing a track I do not know how to put it into practice. I have so much respect for live-acts and how they perform on stage, but as for me I would really not know how to do it as I prefer to be a DJ anyway. Furthermore, if I were a live-act, I would have to decide whether my track is good enough to play it out loud in front of an audience. Maybe my personal demands that I place on myself are way too high. You have to know that when I started DJ‘ing a DJ was still a DJ and a live-act was a live-act. Nowadays these two fields are more connected and people who DJ can also be a live-act and the other way around. But I have not found a way for myself to combine these two fields and I do not know if I ever will or even if I ever want to do both.
Torture the Artist: Your release ‘Rodeon‘ is out on Moodmusic and it is actually your first proper EP on the label after your remix for ‘Easy Out‘ in 2015. Why did it take you two years to return to Sasse‘s label?
Patlac: I showed the tracks to Klas (editor‘s note: Sasse is the head of Moodmusic) right after I had finished them, but it just takes some time to release an EP nowadays. Let‘s say if I produce a track now, it takes minimum until August or September to be released. And you should know that until I consider a track as finished it takes quite some time. And speaking of the EP I actually had a whole lot of tracks done at that time and the ones we had chosen for the EP in the first place were different from the ones that made the final cut.
Torture the Artist: Speaking about releases, what else can you confirm in terms of releases for 2017?
Patlac: I just finished a remix for Masaya that comes out on Chapter24. The label recently released her album and my remix will be out in May. Except for the remix nothing is confirmed as I am working on own tracks that I hope to finish any time soon.
Torture the Artist: What has been a source of inspiration for your releases?
Patlac: I just sit down in my studio and start with something. That ‘something‘ can be a sample, a synth-tone or even a groove. Having this as a basis I move on and, as odd as it may sound, I kind of wait for a special moment that I can continue working on. Today I picked a sample and thought that an Acid-baseline would perfectly blend with it. Then I started to play a melody and combined these aforementioned elements with it. After that I put a groove and a kickdrum on it and then played with a synthesizer to come up with something more spheric that goes along with it. That is basically how I work. As for now I do not know how to move on with the track, but as I continue playing with the equipment something new will emerge. What you have to know is that the track may not sound like in the beginning as I usually have to take out half of the elements in the end so I find the track appealing to me.
I do not even know if it is possible for me not to questions what I do and the music I create. But that‘s how I am.
Torture the Artist: What is your vision of your musical future?
Patlac: I do not have a clear vision. I just want to come up with something beautiful that people can dance to and lose themselves in the music. With beautiful I mean anything. Even a hard techno track can be beautiful. Generally speaking I try to focus on my happiness and not having too many doubts, which can be hard for me at times. I do not even know if it is possible for me not to questions what I do and the music I create. But that‘s how I am.
If you are involved with Hamburg‘s electronic music scene, you have to focus on the people living here. Hamburg is not Berlin and young people rather visit the capital of Germany than Hamburg.
Torture the Artist: It is said that Hamburg does have a lot of influental producers, but the club-scene is by far not as influental as the music coming out of Hamburg. To what extend do you agree or disagree with this hypothesis and what is your connection to Hamburg‘s club scene?
Patlac: The scene in Hamburg was quite active, but I think that it was more of a Hamburg-thing meaning a local-affair. If you have a closer look at the events taking place in the city, you can see that a lot of things are happening, but they are not really present in the media. Hamburg partly has influental clubs or events. As of today I would say that PAL is doing a pretty good job, but then again this is more of a Hamburg-thing too. I truly believe that the scene in Hamburg does not want to shine as bright as the scene in other cities. If you are involved with Hamburg‘s electronic music scene, you have to focus on the people living here. Hamburg is not Berlin and young people rather visit the capital of Germany than Hamburg. So putting your focus on the locals makes sense.
I really liked ‘Click‘ in the beginning, so I was disappointed when it had to close as my number one address for night clubbing did not exist any longer. Then there was the ‘Ego‘ club that did a good job in its own way, but unfortunately it also closed in 2014. Speaking about myself I must say I really do like Hamburg and to live here, but I would not necessarily say that I belong to the scene or a club, meaning I am not a part of it. Hamburg‘s clubs missed to develop a clear profile for themselves like ‘Click‘ or ‘Ego’ did in the beginning, which is supported by the fact that clubs tend to work with promoters who are not bound to the clubs but can move on with their events to any location at any time. That leads to the circumstance that makes it hard for clubs to develop something on and for their own. But like I pointed out before PAL has some interesting bookings and is something refreshing right now as well as the Golden Pudel that stands for itself and I cannot wait for it to re-open.
Watergate encourages me to play music that I would not necessarily play at a club in the first place.
Torture the Artist: You regularly play at Watergate Club in Berlin. What has Watergate given you in terms of your musical and personal development?
Patlac: I first got in contact with Watergate via Liebe & Detail and it just worked out. I was fascinated by the club, because they treated every guest equally. Whenever I was there the nightmanager, the technician, basically everbody welcomed me and it felt like I was part of this collective for the night. It has been like this from the beginning and fortunately it stayed this way. As Watergate is one of the renowed clubs in Berlin and also internationally known, I am proud to play there and even being part of their booking agency.
Also Watergate Club always gives me the chance to be free in whatever I do as an artist. I can play whatever I want and I can be myself. So Watergate encourages me to play music that I would not necessarily play at a club in the first place.
Torture the Artist: Who would you share your coffee-mug with?
Patlac: With people that are keen on music, open-minded and critical at the same time and people that have an opinion. And Roman Flügel! <laughs>
Patlac‘s EP ‘Rodeon‘ will be out via Moodmusic March 17th.