With many events for 2021 still uncertain, DJs and promoters are turning to digital alternatives as a way to scratch the rave itch. One brand which has since emerged is BBL CLB (pronounced Bubble Club). Tipped as a next-generation online clubbing experience from the minds behind award-winning experimental agency Hyperactive, the concept combines immersive theatre with the thrill of finding an illegal rave.
Ravers must navigate their way through the online platform in search of the elusive BBL CLB, where they’ll find top drawer artists performing exclusive live sets. The club opened on 10th February and will see a heavyweight programme of DJs performing until 27th March. Heading up the bill on Friday 26th March is techno titan Alan Fitzpatrick. We caught up with him to find out his thoughts on the concept and what to expect from his set.
It’s great to speak to you ahead of your performance at BBL CLB on 26th March, how have you been over lockdown?
Great to be involved in the stream, love the concept. Lockdown has been tough, lots of ups and and downs which come in waves. I guess that’s probably the same for most people though. It was fairly difficult trying to wrap my head round everything in the beginning but I’ve reflected a lot. I’m in a much better place now, being productive and getting my teeth into new projects, new music and enjoying time with family.
This new online clubbing experience created by the experimental agency Hyperactive is said to combine immersive theatre with the thrill of finding an illegal rave. How did you come to get involved and what attracted you to this unique project?
I’m always up for trying new things and I’m into the concept, it’s innovative and engaging and I have a lot of respect for the creatives behind it. It’s nice to see efforts being made to keep this aspect of the scene live and kicking, albeit in a virtual way. I think it’ll be good fun and it’s something different for ravers to enjoy during these tedious times.
It’s great to see the industry/DJs react to the pandemic and still entertaining ravers with online performances. How do you approach a virtual set differently to a real life event?
I don’t really do anything different, I try and imagine I’m stood in front of a crowd, just to try make it feel as close to the real thing as possible. I suppose it’s difficult because I’m used to reading the crowd during my performances, as opposed to planning the entire set in advance but to be honest I try and enjoy myself and get into the music.
There has been noticeably less music released during the pandemic since clubs and festivals shut, but what tunes have you had on repeat over the last year?
I’ve got immersed in various genres during lockdown and rarely play dance music, unless I’m exercising or in the studio. Mostly listening to ambient and chill-out Spotify playlists whilst I’m cooking or pottering round the house and I’ve rediscovered my love for bands and BBC Radio 6, always got Radiohead, Nils Frahm and Naoko Sakata on repeat.
We’re eager to hear you play your latest EP ‘Immortal Daydream’ which just dropped on Radio Slave’s legendary label; Rekids. This latest release is reminiscent of your older techno sound, what drew you back to that style of production?
I missed it. I think it’s important to be versatile as a producer and experiment with different sounds. Given we’ve been in lockdown, I’ve had a lot of time in the studio and had the opportunity to revisit my discography and explore my older production styles. This EP definitely has my signature on it, I think I had a lot of my 2014 releases in the back of my mind and you can tell that’s where the inspiration came from.
We Are The Brave’s ‘Special Selects Series’ limited edition vinyl sold out in under 6 hours with the anthem “We Do What We Want” finally getting pressed on wax after over 4 years. What made you decide to kickstart this new series?
Different reasons, it felt like it was definitely the right time to explore physical releases on the label, we’ve got a big enough following for it now. After four years of requests from fans we finally gave in. I like that the label has a growing presence on Bandcamp too, it’s a great platform.
Being a DJ/producer from the UK but performing all over the world, how do you find playing to a UK crowd compared to elsewhere? Do you adapt your style?
UK gigs are great, always so much energy. Of course I’ll tailor my sets to territories and specific crowds but generally speaking I try to stay true to my style and just do my thing. In theory an Alan Fitzpatrick gig in Brooklyn will be the same as an Alan Fitzpatrick gig in Manchester.
Throughout your career you’ve no doubt had some memorable moments, but what’s been a particular highlight from touring and whilst on the road?
The first We Are The Brave House Party Tour is a standout for me. Hauling a club sound system round the UK to different cities and hanging with my crew on a tour bus for a week was such a buzz. It’s obviously very different to my normal touring schedule and I enjoyed connecting with the fans and playing in their homes, it felt like we really made it special for them.
I’ve got my own festival in Ireland too and the crowd reactions over there are second to none. I feel lucky that I even get to play festivals, let alone having one named after me.
Some brands have stated they will continue virtual raving alongside real life events when they can return, allowing people all around the world experience the same show. What are your thoughts on this?
Sounds like a solid plan, I’m all for promoting inclusivity. The world is a pretty unpredictable place at the moment so I like the idea of everyone having the opportunity to share the same experience.
Here’s hoping 2021 is a much better year for raving than last year! What’s on the horizon for you over the next 12 months?
Music, music and more music. I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited to share my tunes with the world. Big releases coming on Brave and other labels later in the year but can’t say too much about those yet. I’ve got a track dropping on We Are The Brave next month which is really special to me, it’s a collaboration with my son Mylo.
We’ve been having creative studio sessions at home, trying to keep the home-schooling interesting and he made a me a synth and drum loop on his iPad called ‘I sound like my Dad’, so I exported it, built on it and now we’re releasing it. He’s only 10 so he’s buzzing and of course I’m extremely proud. It’s great to be sharing my passion with my nipper.
Seal your place to see Alan Fitzpatrick and many others perform at BBL CLB here.