patten has been around creating forking paths in our subconscious for over a decade now. The project that started sharing music on CD-R for close friends around 2006 and got picked up by No Pain In Pop in 2011 with GLAQJO XAACSSO went through a journey that included releases on Warp Records, installations at the TATE museum, Corsica Studio nights, remixing Giorgo Moroder for the TRON Soundtrack and also Björk for her acclaimed Vulnicura album, touring North America, Europe and Japan, releasing a series of free EPs based on dismantling existing compositions under the name RE-EDITS..
Wait, do you think that’s too much? We didn’t mention Kaleidoscope, their label of mostly free-download music that run from 2006 until 2017, the 555-5555 project, running Caribou’s and his label Jiaolong art direction, an online forum launched last year, having different setups that shifted from solo, duo, acoustic band.. Until FLEX came out a few weeks ago, in a variety of formats: digital, as a perfume, as a zine.. and the list goes on.
FLEX finds ‘D’ (that’s as close as we can get to his name) in a solo mode attempting to deconstruct the rave concept, if there ever was one. Our reaction to this album was not just mental but also physical. We were able to have a chat about it, and about some other things too. Enjoy.
Cyclic Defrost: You’re releasing FLEX via your own 555-5555 label, what’s that experience been like?
patten: It’s cool. Feels good just doing stuff when and how you want. It’s all an experiment pretty much. The whole music thing’s changing so fast, nobody knows what’s going on really. So then there’s the way stuff’s done normally, but who’s to say that’s the best way? Some of it’s really out of date. I was putting other people’s work out through Kaleidoscope until closing it in 2017. But not gone direct with my own material like that since No Pain In Pop picked up GLAQJO XAACSSO, and before then it was like, limited CD-R’s and minidiscs for mates basically. So yeah, it’s been good so far. New era.
Cyclic Defrost: FLEX seems to be a raw, almost impulsive record, and you’ve mentioned before that a lot of influence comes from live performances.
patten: I was really into the idea of breaking things down to core elements. Distilling everything. Then kind of rebuilding it. It was mainly about vibe. Just about the feeling at the centre. Right at the start I sketched a lot out really fast, like bang bang bang. Get the idea out, move on, and again – keep it moving. And I stopped naming tracks and just numbered them in order. So I’d forget which ones I cared about more and sorta get lost in the whole. Really into titles, but leaving it until a lot later was cool to sidestep getting too attached to anything too early on. You’d lose a track for a few weeks and then be like ‘oh shit, 131b is alright’, work on it for a bit, then sort of lose it again. Just about getting the core of an idea down and on to the next. Detail was later.
Cyclic Defrost: Do you feel there’s more freedom when not considering an album for a physical format?
patten: I’ve always been about what happens like across and between formats. This one’s on more formats than any release I’ve ever done so far. Really wanted FLEX to come out in lots of ways. All like equal parts. Was able to do that this time putting it out myself outside of the regular music industry mechanics. So where the perfume is doing similar things to the audio but in a different sense spectrum or something. Same with the installations or typeface or live show – just looking at it as something that can crop up in totally different forms but doing similar things.
Cyclic Defrost: What led you to switch throughout BPM’s and still make the album sound cohesive?
patten: Just go with what’s needed for the track. Like, I don’t think in terms of BPM really. Was a lot of back and forth, listening, trying stuff, leaving it alone, playing it out. Seeing how tracks might gel together or contrast or whatever, and just how it held up with a crowd. Easily had two or three albums worth of decent stuff to work with. People always say that, like ‘yeah I’ve got 8000 tracks’, but it’s true. There’s a bunch of music left that could’ve been on FLEX, so there’s masses still to release from those sessions. Wrote a lot. Like… really a lot of music.
Cyclic Defrost: Which were your best experiences performing live/Djing?
patten: So many. Best recent has to be DJing in Marseille for RIAM Festival. Decent sound and dope crowd. Pure energy. Those kinda shows are so sick. Then maybe FLEX live AV in Riga for Skanu Mezs the other week. Sick production, crowd & line-up. I got to hear an 81 year old Alvin Lucier soundcheck ‘I’m sitting in a room’ like five times that day as well. Insane. That work: so perfect.
Cyclic Defrost: What’s the hardest thing you had to overcome to dedicate yourself to the arts?
patten: Time. Money. Energy. All the standard things basically.
Cyclic Defrost: Have you ever dreamed a song before trying to create it?
patten: Kind of. But it’s not that deep tbh. When you’re on the edge of sleep melodies flood in sometimes. Just another source.
Cyclic Defrost: How are things around 555-5555?
patten: A lot is happening. Just started the 555-5555 imprint now with the new album, and have loads planned around it extending and expanding on FLEX. Like a zine, a perfume, skateboards, installations… first installation was at SONICA festival, just did a club night at Corsica Studios. The Corsica night had a separate film screening room I put together with loads of visual artists I rate as well, like Muntean-Rosenblum, Sam Rolfes, Mark Leckey, Saskia Olde-Wolbers and Keiken – there’s a lot more like that incoming.
Cyclic Defrost: Should I think of numerology when reading the name of the project? What’s your thought on branding nowadays?
patten: There’s not one answer really. It’s loads of stuff. It’s good to keep some open space in things sometimes. On the surface though, it’s just like a classic fake phone number you get in American films. When you search that, now you find this. 555-5555 is pretty much an anti-brand. Like an inside-out inversion. Dark matter.
Cyclic Defrost: How was working with Daphni?
patten: Dan’s always good to work with. He’s got such a clear vision and a load of trust too. So we really click on the project. Have done all the Daphni stuff so far from the Jiaolong label ident to videos and sleeves. Been doing new bits for Caribou recently like animations for the Home single that just dropped. Mad to see that end up on a giant outdoor screen in Toronto straight from my laptop in South London.
Cyclic Defrost: Do you think that a visual experience is something totally necessary to present an electronic music show? Does it make the performance more complete?
patten: No way – depends on what you’re trying to do. Saw Lucy Railton play recently and it was her and some modular stuff, a cello, and a laptop and it was fucking immense. Personally I’m working a lot with the cross sensory thing that can happen between sound and image, but that’s just one path. A lot of worlds that were kinda more separate in the past are coming together in a cool way. It’s good. These really slippery forms are starting to erupt – like what do you call what Sam Rolfes does? Or Sculpture with their post-digi analogue AV? Or what’s an Autechre release made of hours of material with tiny small variations across the set? Performance art, software, sculpture, choose-your-own-adventure? Who knows? Down to see way more of that. People building new life in the ashes of dead systems.
Cyclic Defrost: Do you think of sound palette as an expression in itself?
patten: Yeah definitely, definitely. There are some records that just hold a kind of vibe from the sounds alone. Like Cypress Hill ‘Black Sunday’ sounds dank af. Wu Tang ‘Enter the 36 Chambers’, Grouper, Konono No.9 ‘Congotronics’, Diana Ross and The Supremes, Jai Paul, My Bloody Valentine, Frank Ocean ‘Blond’, Sonic Youth ‘Daydream Nation’, Dimzy & 67, Broadcast, Oval ‘Dok’, Jimi Hendrix, Ariel Pink, Cocteau Twins, King Tubby… could list these forever.
Cyclic Defrost: What’s the latest great thing that you heard?
patten: You need to check out the debut album from The Newcomer. Put out his first EP on Kaleidoscope (R.I.P. 2007-2017). The new album and all the videos he’s done are beyond. Seen a bunch of more visible vids come out since totally inspired by what he did too. Got to dig to get to the real source. The guy behind The Newcomer’s a fucking genius. Known him for years from old school early touring and London nights Asquith who does Lobster Theremin used to do back in the day. You used to get him, me, and people like Lapalux, Lukid, Ghostpoet or whatever playing in a warehouse or the back room of a pub in East London. Time has flown. Mad.
Cyclic Defrost: Do you think there’s something missing in the electronic music journalism world?
patten: Yeah, but built a place for it here: forum.555-5555.org
Cyclic Defrost: Plans for the rest of the year?
patten: More parts of FLEX will come out bit by bit over the next while. Starting to play live again and DJing a bit as well. Got some deep af design and creative direction jobs lined up. Some is out soon. Just made this sort of cyber-hyperactive-Medieval-choral-raga thing to soundtrack this dance piece for Shezad Dawood, so more of that sort of thing. More everything.