Artists & Music

Patrick Forge live at Wild Canvas Camping


Born in Suffolk, Patrick was the kind of boy who played, bought and collected records from a tender age. No surprise that he found himself behind the decks in a local Jazz club basement playing an eclectic mix whilst still a teenager, athough his ambition back then was to pursue a career in music as a player and songwriter. Graduating in History Of Ideas having written a thesis on jazz culture Patrick found himself working in a second-hand record shop, buying records, and focussing more on mixtapes that practising the bass. Having immersed himself in London club culture whilst a student, Patrick was drawn to the “rare groove” scene and particularly the jazzier side of the spectrum. Strangely, before they even met, Patrick’s first ever London DJ gig was covering for Gilles Peterson at The Special Branch, and the two jazz heads were destined to carve out a special slice of club history together.

Working at Soho’s Reckless Records put Patrick smack bang in the middle of a culture that was bubbling with creativity and energy at a time when all kinds of barriers socially, racially and musically seemed to be dissolving. Coldcut and Ninja Tune founder Jonathan More also worked at Reckless and was one of the founders of the then pirate radio station Kiss FM, and with other Kiss DJs also in his orbit Patrick was somehow able to get himself a slot on the station.... a big break for a provincial lad relatively new to the scene. Patrick had been desperate to do radio, seeing that as a natural extension of his mixtape habit, and an entry to the DJ world that wasn’t subject to the tyranny of the dance-floor, he harboured little ambition to become a club DJ.....however... Maybe it was something to do with the fact that Patrick’s late night Sunday slot on Kiss coincided with closing time at Gilles Peterson’s long running residency at The Belvedere in Richmond, that Peterson ended up asking him to spin at a new Sunday afternoon session at the infamous Dingwalls in Camden Lock.

“Talkin’ Loud And Sayin’ Something” was at Dingwalls on a Sunday afternoon between 12.30 and 6.30pm, it was the flipside to the second Summer Of Love, where the energy and unbridled freedom of the zeitgeist found its jazzier counterpart. As Forge once described the session “it was our Paradise Garage”, so special that when the session was revived in 2008 it gave rise to an event that has become a bi-annual staple, introducing the celebratory spirit of those Sunday afternoons to a new generation alongside the originals. At Dingwalls Patrick established his reputation as a dancer's DJ, the rigours of playing to this most demanding cohort of the crowd was something of a baptism of fire for Patrick, however he soon adapted, learning from Peterson, Sylvester and others, and bringing his own flavours to the flingfoot sessions that opened proceedings on those Sunday afternoons.

Patrick went on to do Talkin Loud at The Fridge in Brixton with Peterson as well as The Fez before they parted ways when Gilles started “That’s How It Is” at Bar Rumba with James Lavelle. Concerned with creating his own identity apart from the illustrious Peterson, Patrick maintained his (now legal) Kiss FM radio show and held down London residencies whilst also branching out into compilations with Island Record’s “Rebirth Of Cool” series, and production with the group - Batu.

By the end of the nineties there’d been more compilations and Batu had morphed into Da Lata, and Patrick’s DJ career had taken him far and wide and often to Japan where his reputation flourished especially in the wake of Da Lata’s first releases. It was also a fruitful period for Patrick in London clubland, the weekly Inspiration Information session with Phil Asher at Notting Arts Club was an early bastion of broken beat mixing it up with boogie and other soulful sounds. At the same venue Patrick started the monthly Brazilian Love Affair, both the sessions ran for more than a decade. Around the same time Patrick was a resident at Off-Centre at 333 in the vanguard of the East London club explosion which continued apace into the new millennium.

In September 2008 Patrick played his last Cosmic Jam radio show for Kiss FM, after 21 years both as a pirate and legal station. At the end of that year Patrick moved to Okinawa, Japan and was based there until 2010 when a change of circumstance brought him back to London. Having taken a sabbatical from radio, after all 21 years of weekly shows is more than two thousand hours, Patrick was tempted back on to the airwaves in 2013 when his original boss from Kiss FM, Gordon Mac invited him to join Mi-Soul. In 2014 Patrick also began a monthly show for NTS which now remains his sole focus as a broadcaster.

Over the years Patrick has promoted and supported many styles whilst never straying too far from his roots; electronica, hip-hop, house and drum and bass have all been part of his remit at different times. But always with a jazz perspective. He’s cropped up as a guest playing soulful house at Garage City and Drum and Bass at Movement. However for Patrick the broken beat movement of the late nineties and early noughties represented the apotheosis of dance music, or “beat driven” music, and Patrick was made up to be one of the regular guests at the original Co-op sessions. However, during his time in Japan being away from the scene and the rigours of weekly radio shows, Patrick found himself gravitating back to “organic” music, a love of grooves and a love of music with real drums, and yes, drummers!

As a producer Patrick’s focus has always been on the organic elements of dance music with the Afro Brazilian project Da Lata led by Chris Franck, and in 2009/10 producing a jazz album for Masa Sextet in Japan. He has also been involved with the as yet unreleased album from The Ellip- tics, a project born out a band Patrick put together with Mike Patto to play “Another Sunday Afternoon At Dingwalls” in 2010. So the album is a long time coming, but it does feature luminary drummers Antonio Sanchez and the legendary Bernard Purdie.

Still hungry for discovering music both ancient and modern, and totally comfortable with today’s climate of open minded cross-generational clubbing, there has never been a better moment for Patrick as a DJ blending styles across the soulful spectrum.