Interview: Patrick Forge On Playing Records For A Living

With the second Soul Time In London on the horizon—returning to Brilliant Corners on September 6th after a brief jaunt at The Queen’s Head back in April—I’m extremely excited to announce that DJ, broadcaster, producer, writer, musician (the list goes on, folks!) Patrick Forge will be gracing the turntables with his presence, which, of course, includes his ever-powerful, ever-thoughtful selection of seriously good and groovy tunes.

Soul Time In London takes place September 6, 2014, at Brilliant Corners with Patrick Forge, Laura Coxeter, and Cedric Bardawil. 6:00pm – 1:30am.

Expect vinyl-only sets all night, ranging from Jazz Fusion to Hawaiian Soul, with floor steppers mixed in to keep the night going.

Patrick Forge at the turntables. Photo via patrickforge.podomatic.com

Patrick Forge at the turntables. Photo via patrickforge.podomatic.com

Who is Patrick Forge? He’s, well, Patrick Forge, (as he’ll have you know in our interview further down).

Host of The Cosmic Jam, compiler of The Rebirth Of The Cool series, co-resident of Dingwalls alongside Gilles Peterson, founder of Da Lata Music

…but equally important is his passion for spreading his love of music with the world.

Music for Patrick is life’s soundtrack. Nothing new for any music lover, really, but the honesty with which he shares his soundtrack reaches far beyond what others could ever hope to achieve. Need a few examples? Listen to his show, The Cosmic Jam, and read his accompanying descriptions with each:

“We live in a turbulent world, the horrors of which never fail to affect me, more or less to the extent of turning away and shutting out the news, which I know is a coward’s response. It’s been said that the only sane reaction to an insane world is insanity, as a corollary to that I might add sometimes the only sane reaction is to keep your head down, do what you can for the greater good, and keep the fear-mongering, warmongering ways of the industrial-military complex at arm’s length!

“So I retreat, and find my refuge, my sanctuary in the music. It’s where this coward hides, keeping faith in the soulful sounds, and praying for better days ahead. Sometimes it feels like I live my entire life through the music, it seems I’m powerless to express myself without recourse to song titles!! Music is my sanctuary, better days ahead… maybe it’s not so strange to find solace in the music of that era (often the seventies). The time when I was growing up, and when despite the bubble of sixties idealism having burst, there was still sufficient residual optimism. It’s difficult to find such sentiments expressed in today’s music, we’ve all become far too cynical, and despairing of the possibility of anything changing for the better. So no wonder that music made in a different climate still holds such an influence not only over my generation but also many who are far too young to have experienced the culture and music of those days first hand. Of course there are plenty of examples of those who choose to run against the grain, and though I might seem to paint a bleak picture I’m never despairing. There’s still so much to live for , to believe in, to hope for and whilst the culture of the mainstream leaves me speechless with wonder at its absurdity and fatuousness, (Paris Hilton earning millions as a DJ!!), the pockets of resistance and goodness are deep and rich!!

“So good music abides, a bit like the dude!! And when I say good music, I think you know what I mean by now, music with craft and care, skill and musicality. The rest leaves me cold, the latest forays into EDM are inevitably just ephemeral blips in history, whereas music made with genuine passion by those who’ve paid their dues and are ready to stand up and be counted at least stands a chance of surviving the vagaries of fashionable taste!! Oh no I’m ranting again! Less exclamation marks, more calm and collected deliberations methinks.”

— Patrick Forge, August 17, 2014

Patrick Forge in deep concentration.

Patrick Forge in deep concentration. Photo via Facebook.

I’m forever grateful that our lives have crossed paths. I’ve yet to meet Patrick in person, and we only first made each other’s acquaintance earlier this year. But, it seems, simply doing what you love and sharing what you do is the best way to make new friends and lasting connections. Thanks Patrick, for your time and enthusiasm in answering these questions. Can’t wait to meet you in person, I think we’ll find a lot in common.

Oh, and let’s do something in Hawaii when you’re here. Soul Time In Hawaii with Patrick Forge, perhaps?

soul time in london september 2014

Please briefly introduce yourself: name, background, anything you’d like readers to know about you.

Patrick Forge!? There is no separation between me and my DJ persona, no weird moniker to hide behind, I like to think that it’s my connection with and passion for music that dictates how I play and what I play. Music has always been my source of inspiration and my mainline of joy, from the earliest age using my parents “record player” and immersing myself in The Beatles, Debussy, and Danny Kaye. I never expected to have a career playing records, I wanted to be a musician , but when things didn’t work out in that respect , it all seemed to fall into place. I feel very blessed by the opportunities I’ve had.

You’ve had a highly successful career as a DJ, probably most notably with the Dingwalls “Talkin Loud And Saying Something” parties you and Gilles Peterson hosted in the late 80s, early 90s (and are bringing back in recent years). How has DJing and record culture changed since you first began, especially with the advent of technology and the Internet?

Wow…. well the Dingwalls sessions were something that grew out of the jazz-dance scene of the early eighties, and the “rare groove” phenomenon that became such an integral element of club culture around that time. We were a generation of diggers and explorers at a time when all knowledge of music was essentially hard won, you paid your dues and largely earned respect from the tunes you found and played, and of course it was all vinyl back in those days. The seismic change since those times is hard to quantify or describe!! All music and all knowledge is available to anyone who cares to rummage around on-line, and Paris Hilton can earn millions as a DJ using an mp3 controller!! I think that kind of sums it up! But seriously, it’s a very different world, even a serious vinyl collector can assemble an amazing collection these days without ever having to traipse around record shops in the hope of unearthing a previously unknown gem. I’m not nostalgic about those times though, I love Discogs!! However something has definitely been lost in the process!

How has DJing remained the same?

Music, people, dancing….selecting.

What makes for a successful DJ? Is it skill? Selection? Collaborations?

Well it depends how you quantify success!! For me it’s always all about selection, no matter what the context, on the radio, in a bar/restaurant, in a club, the music you choose to play creates an energy and determines the mood.

Reborn: Gilles Peterson and  Patrick Forge have brought back Dingwalls in recent years.

Reborn: Gilles Peterson and Patrick Forge have brought back Dingwalls in recent years.

You attended the first Soul Time In Hawaii “London Edition” in March. And now you’re headlining Soul Time In London on September 6th. What do you enjoy about the inaugural Soul Time event with Cedric and Mark Taylor at Brilliant Corners?

Actually I wasn’t there all night, but having said that I’ve known Mark for many years and have huge respect for him as a connoisseur, collector and selector… in addition meeting Cedric and getting a feeling for what Soul Time was about, I just found the whole thing very appealing. A night that was soulful in a natural way, of course there’s been a recent trend amongst diggers for what is often called “Yacht Rock” , or the soulful side of AOR, however for me that’s always been a part of my taste, I’ve always enjoyed that confluence of folkiness, jazzy harmony, groove and soul. America’s “Tin Man” might sum it up nicely!!

Cedric and I decided to make the two parties more “regional” by showcasing tunes from our respective locales. What kind of British tracks can we look forward to hearing from your set?

Actually I just posted FBI’s “Talking About Love” on the event page for Saturday, they were an important band in the evolution of soulful music in London. Then there’s obscure independent jazz-dance gems like ICQ and Unlimited Source which I’ll no doubt be digging out.

Soul Time in Hawaii/London is still very young— launched March 2014. As a seasoned DJ, what contributes to the appeal or success of a regular gig like Soul Time?

I just think it’s important for a night to establish a character and flavour of it’s own, then it can become something to look forward to. I think people like to find something that’s a little unique, and that can be built up with the right imagery and music, it’s about making the right kind of umbrella!!

As a Londoner who (presumably) has few ties to Hawaii, can you describe to me why Hawaiian rare groove music appeals to you?

I think I just said it in my answer to a previous question, “soulful in a natural way” . I always get a sense of the power of Hawaii’s beauty, the strength of its nature from the music.

Quintessential Hawaiian rare groove track?

Lemuria “Hunk Of Heaven”.

Hawaiian record you’re desperate to own?

Babadu! I have the CD reissue which I bought in Japan. Yukari BB once brought a copy down to The Room in Tokyo when I was playing there, and asked if she could play a track during my set, she said it was her dad’s record and that she’d grown up loving it. I don’t normally let other DJs break my flow, but that time I let her play the tune and I wasn’t disappointed!

Ideal place to play?

The Room in Shibuya, Plastic People in London, the first because of the incredible people and atmosphere, the second because of the sound.

Any plans to visit Hawaii sometime soon?

Fingers crossed, yes, maybe next year.

Any closing remarks?

Aloha!

Leave a Reply