If you are living in the Netherlands, you should know Justin Patti. He is one of the of the most impor-tant characters of the Dutch techno scene, not only as a DJ, also because his gift for discovering new talents and organizing some of the most powerful and obscure events in Rotterdam. Justin is synonymous of dark-techno, he is the founder and leader of the Strobe crew, together with Rachid Prins and Allard Drijfhout, main responsible of the best techno parties in the city. Through this interview, he reveals in detail his professional carreer, secrets, personal experiences, his opinion about some global discussions like «digital era» vs. analog methods… besides interesting info about the Dutch trends, currently and during his beginnings. Do not miss a detail, I promise it is worth!
First to all, thank you very much for taking the time to answer these questions… Here we go!
I found out you started producing music almost ten years ago when you decided to get into the digital world… How do you consider yourself more, as a DJ or as a music producer? Which part is more developed?
I see myself more as a DJ than as a producer. You have to spend so much time in the studio and be determined to become a good producer. I’ve tried, but haven’t got lots of time to produce music. Besides Strobe, I have a good job and love to do things that I really enjoy. One of them is spinning records (SoundCloud).
Nowadays, there is a big discussion about digital vs. analogic methods, Traktor vs. vynils… On what side are you? What do you think about this topic?
I play with Traktor, CDJ’s and/or vynil. I think it’s good to develop yourself as a DJ. I don’t have a favorite side, it’s just a different way of working the decks. To be honest I really don’t care how other DJ’s play, just let the music do the job and make sure the mix is fine. By the way, I do prefer the Xone mixer, but I guess that’s another topic altogether… hahaha.
Currently, it is common to see you in several line-ups playing together with your colleage Rachid Prins as Patriarch Conflicts… What are the benefits to play music together? Do you feel more comfortable doing back to back than playing alone?
The benefits of playing together is that two minds become one. Rachid sometimes listens to the weirdest electronic music, which I never heard before, but (most of the time) I really love that crazy sound he brings. We might have different backgrounds musically but we still have that connection. Playing back to back with Rachid is always fun.
To be honest our sets are often unprepared so I never know what he’ll be playing and I really have to anticipate and react to the tracks he’s throwing at me. Of course playing solo feels a bit more comfortable because I have full control on the mixer, but we are playing as Patriarch Conflicts since 2012 so we know each other pretty well. I’m comfortable enough to know I do a proper set with Rachid.
What is the origin of that name: “Patriarch Conflicts”?
When we decided to join forces we had to make up a name. I remember we smoked some «happy cigarettes» and were just playing with the letters from our own names. We made up ‘Patriarch’, which comes from ‘Patti’ and ‘Rachid’, but it wasn’t enough for us. That’s why we decided to add a little extra to it. We grabbed the dictonary and stopped at ‘Conflicts’. That’s what we had back in the days (and sometimes still have) when we play back to back… conflicts. So there you go: Patriarch Conflicts.
You and your crew are working hard in Rotterdam to bring forth true underground parties. Are you happy with the results? Do you feel you are the only one doing that?
What started as a hobby is now doing business and I must say it’s so much harder than I expected. When we threw parties before Strobe, as ROT at Bootleg DJ Cafe, it was a lot easier. ROT was a platform for upcoming talent and we invited friends playing there just for a few drinks. Unfortunately, Bootleg had to close its doors, so we decided to move forward and Strobe was born. It’s totally different if you have multiple artists coming from other countries and have to do promo to have about a thousand of visitors. And there’s plenty more to think about, lots of people do underestimate that sometimes and I deeply respect other succesfull organizations.
I must say after almost 4 years of Strobe we’re really doing a decent job, the company is healthy and we’ve put our name not only on the streets of Rotterdam, but worldwide because of the Strobe FM Podcast series. The crowd is very loyal and they always set the right vibe at our parties. We always try to stay close to our public because they are a huge part of Strobe.
Thank god we are not the only one presenting underground parties in our city, I think it’s a good thing that there are more parties like Strobe doing real undergound techno parties. It keeps techno alive!
Rotterdam is known as an industrial city, famous for the origins of hardcore… It is supposed to be an underground city with music… Do you think this is truth?
Yes! Rotterdam is underground to me and has been for decades. The gabber culture is a good example, I used to be a gabber myself and I still like to listen hardcore now and then. It brings lots of great memories back. But what is underground nowadays? What can be seen by you and me as commercial music, can be seen by someone else as underground. Maybe underground is also a feeling. By the way, we did two illegal raves with Strobe; those were pretty underground I have to say.
Can you tell us a little bit more about those raves? And can we expect another one in the near future?
The first rave was in a warehouse with local talented dj’s only that all took their friends. It was a small venue for max 200 techno freaks, so we had to make a list for all the friends who were invited. The vibe was awesome; everybody knew each other or got to know each other during that 12-hour rave. The other rave was a lot bigger, an abandoned factory inhabitated by hardcore squatters but it all turned into a Strobe party with legends like Bas Mooy, Charlton, Flink and local acts. I don’t know what to say about it, guess you just had to be there. We should do it again soon, but only if the time is right because it’s not as easy as it looks.
Since my arrival to Rotterdam, I went to a couple of Strobe parties, and I must say they were amazing… What are your goals making parties like those? Are you thinking about expanding your events to other locations outside of Rotterdam?
The most important goal is to present the techno we personally like and share it with people who have the same feeling. Also it’s important to keep Strobe financially healthy so we can keep organizing events like this. Although we’re very proud that we come from Rotterdam, expanding to other cities is indeed something we’ve thought about. We always keep an eye out for other locations; maybe a Strobe Festival would be cool in the future. And yes, a proper abandoned venue for an illegal rave is at the very top of our wishlist, for sure.
You are going to make a great showcase with MORD Records for your next event… How hard is it to bring to Rotterdam important labels like MORD?
We started collaborating with Bas Mooy in 2011 when we did events in Bootleg DJ Cafe. I have a lot of respect for Bas since I found out about Strictly Techno. That was maybe ten years ago, I still remember that day when I saw Bas doing grocery in the supermarket and whispered to my ex-girlfriend: «Look it’s Bas Mooy over there!» haha. The respect runs both ways and I must say working with Bas is always a pleasure. We are close friends now but I still look up to him. Besides an amazing artist he’s also one of the nicest guys in the scene, I can always call him for a chat or advise. So to have a showcase with one of the greatest labels at the moment was not a very hard decision. Bas also wanted us to do the showcase, so everybody is happy and we’re looking up to a killer event on the 10th of September in Factory 010 (link).
Thanks for answer my questions, I really hope you will continue this line of work, techno lovers like me appreciate so much your events and your music… Can you give us any info about next parties or collaborations for Strobe?
On the 5th of November we have some of the best international live acts at Factory 010 and it will be the final event for 2016. After this one we have our 4-year anniversary in January 2017 coming up. I cannot say much about it because the line up is not confirmed yet. Just follow us on Facebook and you’ll find out. Pablo, thank you very much for having me and for your appreciation. It means a lot to us and it’s one of the main reasons Strobe is still kicking hard.
Interviewer: Pablo Ortega