Feeling Brave: Alan Fitzpatrick interview

We speak to techno heavyweight Alan Fitzpatrick about touring, Scottish crowds, and his mega-hit We Do What We Want, ahead of his Riverside Festival debut this weekend

Feature by Claire Francis | 25 May 2017
  • Alan Fitzpatrick

As techno producers go, Alan Fitzpatrick is a modern-day major leaguer. His output is consistently high and features hard-hitting, big room techno infused with references to the rave culture and the vintage London clubbing scene. With multiple releases on the likes of Drumcode, Hotflush and Cocoon, Fitzpatrick also heads up his own London-based imprint, We Are The Brave. Ahead of his set at Glasgow's Riverside Festival, he opens up about forthcoming releases, summer festivals, and his relationship with his fans.

The Skinny: We're looking forward to seeing you in action at Riverside Festival! What are you most looking forward to this weekend?

AF: What’s not too look forward to about Riverside?! It’s in Glasgow, without a doubt one of my absolute favourite places to play. It is co-organised by my friends from Pressure, and these guys have supported me from the very start of my career; I’ve never played the festival before, so it’s an exciting and novel experience for me (which is becoming rarer and rarer the longer you do this job); I am playing back-to-back with Slam which is also a first for me and one of those 'pinch yourself' moments; plus all my We Are The Brave crew will be there as we are hosting the big after-party for the festival at SWG3. So it’s really shaping up to be something else. In fact it might end up being my favourite day of my DJ year!

Who else on the lineup do you recommend us keeping an eye on?

This is a bit of a cop-out but the line up is so good I think everyone will be spoiled for choice across the two days. If you are going to make me pick out some names I’d have to say that it is always an inspiration to see Sven Väth play. He truly is the godfather of our scene and his enthusiasm and spirit never seems to fade. Oh, and if I was hanging around for the Sunday I’d be sure to check out Groove Armada. I’ve had so many special moments with their music and performances over the years. Complete masters of the party vibe. 

What's the funniest thing that's happened to you while playing a show in Scotland?

Scotland is a very special place for me to visit as I always get the most unbelievable welcome. The most incredible part about that is the excitement and banter usually begins a good few weeks before the date of the gig I am playing, with tons of messages on social media, and that is really quite unique to Scotland.

Which reminds me, I played a gig in Edinburgh last year at Easter, and this one guy who makes a real effort to follow me around all my Scottish gigs and is always really supportive of me was dancing away in the front row, when he realised I was playing a track of mine he had messaged me about in the weeks before the gig. It turned into a bit too much of a moment though for him [and] he invaded the stage to give me a hug, but was intercepted by the security and ejected from the building (despite me trying to say it was OK). That sort of stuff doesn’t happen everywhere!

Do you prefer to play small intimate clubs, or big outdoor festivals? 

As a performer you need a balance. If I played all small clubs I’d be aching to do bigger stages and if I only ever got to do the bigger shows I would really miss the more intimate gigs.

You had a huge summer hit last year with We Do What We Want; did you imagine the track would become such a success?

Not at all. That track took on a life of its own from the very first moment I played it and it is still shocking me to this very day. For example, I’ve never had a track played on Match Of The Day before! That was mental. Plus it made me laugh to get a tweet last summer from someone saying they had just heard it being played in a KFC! 

Do you have any productions in the works right now?

I’ve just released a three-track EP for Drumcode which looks set to do pretty well, if all the excitement is anything to go by. Then my next releases will all be on We Are The Brave, starting with a track called You Got Me which Slam have remixed and that will actually be released the day before Riverside Festival. 

What, career-wise, are you most looking forward to this year?

I’d say Ibiza. I’ve been going there as a fan since I was 17 but this year is going to be the my first proper season there. [There will be] loads of shows with some of the biggest parties on the island such as Elrow, Paradise, and Do Not Sleep, and some extra special surprise events that I wish I could tell you about now, but I can’t!

As part of the recent We Are The Brave tour, you performed in the homes of some of your fans! Can you tell us more about that?

This was so much fun. Such a memorable few days! The story is that I really wanted to give something back to fans. Something unique and special, as a thank you for all the support they had show me in launching We Are The Brave over the last year. So we hit on the idea of throwing house parties where we would turn up at their place with a sound system and decks. The whole thing got rather out of hand though and turned into a three-day bus tour of UK with a whole crew of us bombing around the country. We will definitely do it again. It was just the best fun. 

What was the last record you listened to that you really loved?

The Burial remix of Goldie's Inner City Life. Of course Goldie is a legend and I love everything about Burial, but I thought Inner City Life was an untouchable classic. They both proved me wrong, which is exactly why both artists have the standing they do. That ability to surprise and shock and consistently push things forward is what it's all about.

What's a 'life outside of techno' for you? What do you like to do in your spare time?

It is very important thing for me to be able to disconnect from touring and the whole non-stop nature of my job. I make a real point of creating “me time” during the week, usually to go fishing – that’s my great escape from everything and everyone – but also to share in my kids' hobbies or just to go and spend an evening in the local with my wife and have a go at the pub quiz. It is these very normal things that I miss the most. 

Alan Fitzpatrick plays Riverside Festival in Glasgow, 27-28 May http://riversidefestivalglasgow.com