by Sabrina Sexton Weil
If you heard that Patrick Scott was a resident dj at posh Cobalt in Buckhead, you might picture a stuck-up Guido playing booty shake music for silicon and spandex. Well, that picture would be wrong. Lunar spoke with Patrick about becoming a dj by accident, Paul Oakenfold and the Internet.
Lunar: When and where did you first start dj'ing?
Patrick: Technically, I started in suburban Chicago in 1986. I was doing off nights in a restaurant/bar. I really did not know what I was doing at the time, but eventually a visiting DJ taught me how to mix. A few months later I got a job as a light tech in a larger club. The head DJ there kind of took me under his wing, and taught me most of what I know about how to move a crowd. I was spinning on busy nights by 1988 in an Atlanta club called Scenario.
Lunar: WHY did you first start dj'ing?
Patrick: As passionate as I am about as I am about what I do, it seems ironic that I stumbled into it by accident. Although I really admired DJs, I never had any intention of becoming one. I got my first DJ gig simply because I needed a job! Getting work so early was a mixed blessing. It was good because from the beginning I saw DJing as a form of communication rather than a craft. I developed my crowd sense quicker than had I started by making mix tapes in my bedroom. It was also bad because it became my livelihood too early for me to really understand how unstable this business is. Over the years I began taking on gigs that were more comfortable, but not musically rewarding. Last year I made a commitment to give that all up. I had my "Bedroom DJ" phase more than a decade into my career. It really got my head straight and improved the quality of my work.
Lunar: What style of music did you first spin when you entered the electronic music scene?
Patrick: Chicago was such a hotbed of music at that time as I'm sure it is now. House music was just starting and gaining strength as a local scene. People like Farley Jackmaster Funk, Ralphi Rosario, and Julian Perez were playing mixes on local radio. That was my first exposure to DJ Culture. Also, as the home of Wax Trax records, Chicago had a very strong industrial scene. Remember, this was the eighties, and there was no rave scene. There was also a lot of Freestyle and Euro. I was playing all of the above.
Lunar: How has your sound progressed?
Patrick: By '89 was playing harder more industrial stuff. In the early nineties I caught the techno bug. Those tracks seem so funny now. Then it was Hardcore breakbeat, then briefly trance, then breaks and house, then progressive. Now progressive seems to span the gamut of trance, house, and breaks. I have never been more excited about the music that is coming out.
Lunar: When did you begin producing?
Patrick: I moved to Atlanta in the late eighties because of the job offer with Scenario. They had a sampler with a built in sequencer in the booth so I could create remixes and write my own material. At that time a machine like that would cost around six grand. There was no way I could have afforded something like that for myself. I was on that plane in a heartbeat, reading the manual on the way. I didn't even bring my stuff down. I lived in a crash pad on an air mattress for months, but I was making MUSIC!!
Lunar: What do you feel producing offers you that dj'ing doesn't?
Patrick: I was a musician long before I was a DJ. For as long as I can remember, I wanted to write, produce, and engineer my own music. When I first started producing, I thought of making music as my passion, and DJing like a day job. At that time I was doing very vocal New Order, Depeche Mode sort of stuff, and planned to be a live act. Now DJing is the natural live performance of my original work. It is hard to imagine doing one without the other. I have turntables in my studio, and I bring CDRs of unfinished work to gigs. I can't call one better than the other. Djing offers me direct social interaction with people. I love to make people dance, and I love meeting people as well. Recording is a much more private, personal process. I can communicate things in a song that I cannot in any other way because of the solitude.
Lunar: Tell us about your latest works.
Patrick: Of course, there's "The Trap" on Slinkey Recordings, available at your favorite DJ record store...plug plug! There's a track called "Hula Girls" that I've been shopping for quite a while, but remains unreleased. It seems to be everyone's favorite. I gave a copy to Nick Warren when he was here, and he charted it. Thank you Gene (Carbonel) for that tidbit of info. This should help the song find a home with a label. I just finished a track last week called "Three Wishes." It is a very pretty piece featuring live acoustic guitar. It's also harder and darker than most of my work. Within hours of completing it I was on a plane to Miami to give it to Oakenfold and Dave Ralph, who were playing at Shadow Lounge that night.
Lunar: How did you establish your relationship with Paul Oakenfold?
Patrick: Most of the big name DJs are very accessible people. I went to Gainesville, Florida, to see Oakenfold at Simon's in March, and handed a demo up to the booth. Three days later I was checking my messages, and there was Paul Oakenfold telling me how much he liked the music, and giving me his contact information. I was in my car, and lucky to be in a parking space because I surely would have gotten into an accident. When he came to Atlanta, I gave him a CDR of "The Trap", and never heard from him. Later, when the test pressings came out I called him to tell him I had vinyl for him. It turned out he had cut an acetate of it and was already playing it out. I cannot thank Paul enough for the confidence his words and actions gave me. I saw him at the record store (Grooveman) in Miami, gave him the new CDR, and made sure he knew he was the absolute first to get it, and that I flew down just to see him and Dave. They must think I'm nuts to see them three times in one year in three different cities.
Lunar: How do you like your residency at Cobalt?
Patrick: That is a great question, because many of the people reading this are too young to get in. Many others are very happy to have a strictly 21 and up club where they can hear good music. Although it is tough to be sixteen and not able to get in everywhere, it's even tougher to be twenty six and feel alienated because everyone is so much younger than you. A lot of the original ravers are in their late twenties or early thirties. That makes Cobalt a different kind of all ages club with no upper limit. Believe it or not there are even people in their forties who love this music. Clubs like Cobalt are a vital part of the growth of the scene. Cobalt is the best gig I've had in years. It is beautiful, has excellent sound and lights, and affords me an incredible amount of artistic freedom. I am, however, looking forward to doing some local events for the under twenty-one crowd in the near future.
Lunar: You have a pretty extensive Web site. How do you feel technology and the Web are influencing our scene today?
Patrick: Underground dance music started with the advent of affordable digital recording. Most dance music is made in people's home studios. It is definitely turning the industry on its ear. There is so much more published music out there both good and bad. Anyone can be a recording artist...anyone can be a label. This is a double edged sword. As a DJ, I cannot even listen to all the music that comes out. As a producer, it is difficult to be heard through all the musical traffic. The internet is the same way...a mixed blessing. There are less degrees of separation between people. Anyone can talk to anyone, which makes us more social, but one must be sitting in front of one's computer, which makes us more isolated. The web makes piracy way too easy, but also gives artists free exposure. I'm easy to find at www.patrickscott.com where you can hear about a dozen of my tracks as well as a couple of mixes. There is also a VR of my studio so you can see in my house without even knowing me. There is also a calendar of upcoming events, mailing list, etc. Have I promoted myself shamelessly enough?
Lunar: Is there anything else that you'd like Lunar readers to know about you?
Patrick: I'm single.
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