The route between Amsterdam and Berlin: Patrice Van den Berg

Berlin is always a good topic when talking about music, opportunities, great clubs and artists. Every road conveys culture and art in all their shapes, colour and sensations. Every place can take an individual back through time to revive history and surely not just the musical one.
This is Berlin in my mind and that’s been intentionally summed up in these few and simple words in order not end up in expected descriptions that can be read almost everywhere in these years.
Here, especially on the 31th of July, I had the great chance of knowing an extraordinary reality that was able to fully satisfy my musical expectations: Suicide Circus, Spagat Music Berlin, Label Party.
It’s also here that I met Patrice van den Berg who gave the Berliner club culture to the Suicide Circus and to me thanks to his live music and that I’ll hardly forget.

I would like to start talking about Patrice’s everyday life. Who are you? Where have you lived? What’s your education and your musical formation?

Patrice Van den Berg: Hello I am Patrice van den Berg, born and raised in Amsterdam. In 2002 I lived for 1 year in Mallorca, Spain. I have a high school diploma and I then studied for assistant-librarian. I wanted then to do the study for music-librarian but i was fed up with the whole idea. Then I did a producer’s course in 1985 and that marked the beginning of building my career in music as a producer and in 2002 I learned myself dj-ing with vinyl while living in Spain and bought a lot of Iberican House-music that was big in Spain those days. It’s a mixture between tribal music and house; Chus & Ceballos are important players in that field with their label named “Stereo”. Chus is from Mallorca and I met him in his record shop in the harbour of Palma de Mallorca. Very nice guy by the way. He helped me out exploring this type of music by feeding me the right records.

When and how have you begun to face the music scene? Where have you started? How have you developed then your DJ and producer skills? Tell me about your releases.

Patrice Van den Berg: I am a guitar player originally and during the producer’s course I met a band and they asked me to join them. It was the first real band i attended. They played Frank Zappa-orientated music and some Zappa-covers. I learned a lot about listening to each other as it was quite complicated music. I also learned about playing by head and not from paper. During that period I started recording on a 4-track cassette-recorder. I used the early 80’s drummachines like the Roland TR 808 and I bought my first synth called the Synton Syrinx (that is now a legendary collector’s item that is still up and running and frequently used in my tracks). I was highly interested in the 80’s disco sound and i am influenced by producers like Prince, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis (SOS-Band, Alexander O’Neal and The Time) and Jacques Fred Petrus & Mauro Malavassi (Change, High Fashion and many others). I tried to form a band like Prince to play my productions live but it was very difficult to do as I wanted to rehearse like 3 days or more in the week which was a problem to most of my bandmembers so I stopped with that idea. Then I was asked to join a live-house project called Mad Doc 20/20 in 1990. The brain of this project was Norbert Mannaert (still a real good friend) and he was working with Cubase 1.0 on Atari and I was hooked when i saw the possibilities. You didn’t need anyone to make a whole track and you had complete control over everything. That inspired me so much that I bought my self a studio in 1992. The other member was Dov Elkabas aka The Prophet (now big in Hardcore and Hard-Style). My first record I made with him in his studio and was released on the Dance-Tracks label of Cellie who was a resident in the famous Amsterdam club Mazzo. We did a lot of big raves in Holland but our first gig in the famous Waakzaamheid was incredible as it was my first time on a house-party and I was on stage and saw that packed club going off their heads. I formed a live band with some friends to play live. We did a succesful gig at Club Mazzo on the famous Saturday night with resident Cellie. In 1993 I met Lorenzo Zoeter, surely one of the best producers I ever heard, and we became friends for life. He introduced me to PC-based producing and hard-disc recording. We formed a psy-trance project together with Lucas Mees (DJ Lucas) called Metal Spark and that is until now the biggest succes I had. We made an album and 3 12”s for M-Track (the label of Mazzo) and Blue Room Recordings (UK) (together with TIP the biggest players in the scene those days). We played big festivals/venues like Dance Valley (Amsterdam), One World (Frome, UK) and Paris (10.000 people and headlining). I also did a soloEP for Matsuri Recordings (Japan) ran by Tsuyoshi Suzuki and a collabEP with my friend Frans Dordregter on Auracle Recordings (UK). On High Society (DE) I did a collab-track with another friend Ramon Sterman. With my solo-project I did livesets at Escape, Doornroosje, Paradiso and many others. When the Metal Spark-project stopped after a creative clash of ideas i started a solo-career as remixer for Zuco 103 on Dox (NL) that resulted in 3 releases and a collab with Willem Heetebrij and Marusjka Sistermans that resulted in 1 release called Sugar on Fonky Fibe (NL). I also did a solo Drum&Bass album that was never released but was played integrally on national radiostation 3fm by the famous Giel Beelen. I also did 3 djsets for him playing my Iberican House records and some Minimal stuff that came up those days. In 2008 I released a Minimal soloEP on Ktlxmey Recordings(USA) that was supported by Patrice Baumel, Wehbba and Technasia. In 2013 i released my first Deep House soloEP on midi8or (the label of the famous Midi Amsterdam, a electronic music equipment store, ran by Tim Niewenhuis aka Nova Caza) that had huge support nationally and internationally. This marked the turning point in my career as it is now. In 2013 i met Moritz while djing together in the famous club Studio 80 in Amsterdam on the Black Box Wednesday night hosted by Milan Meyberg. We started producing together and that resulted in already 3 EP’s on the Spagat Music Berlin – label ran by his friend/colleague Haito Goepfrich. At the moment I release soloproductions and remixes on the Plus Plus – label(USA) ran by Jason Bay as I was lobbyed by a well respected colleague and sweetheart Florinsz Janvier. My first soloEP on this label will be released this year. In 2013 i started to develop my new solo-liveset that resulted in gigs at Paradigm, Hedon and Club NL.

How do you describe your sound? What characterizes it mainly?

Patrice Van den Berg: My soloEP’s are a mixture of Deep House and Dub Techno with 80’s disco driven basslines with vague spaced and dubbed out sounds. My collab with Moritz is a more Tech House driven vibe with freaky bleepy screamy sounds and subbasses.

What kind of instruments do you use when you are on the stage?

Patrice Van den Berg: In my livesets I use guitar, analogue synth (Korg MS-10) and laptop with Ableton Live 5.

Do you have a vinyl which have marked your career? Do you have a track or vinyl which in your opinion all generations should bear in mind when they start to get close to club-culture word?

Patrice Van den Berg: My first EP with Metal Spark Greassy/Smells Electric was the beginning of a serious career in the industry and is still a gem for our fans. For me “Derrick May – Strings of Life” was the first modern electronic track that struck me like lightning and is still fresh as a daisy and marks the beginning of techno for me and the rest is history haha.

What does it means for an artist as you to play in cities like Berlin or Amsterdan, which offer a lot of possibilities to the techno music? What characterizes mostly club culture in that cities?

Patrice Van den Berg: That means a lot because they are internationally known playgrounds that give you that extra status although I think Berlin has a far more bigger clubscene than Amsterdam and therefore more open to unknown quality artists. Amsterdam is a bit small and closed up and most of the owners play safe to secure their income what I can understand ofcourse. Studio 80 was nice because it was set up by Duncan Stutterheim (ID&T) to make space for new unknown underground artists. It’s a real pity it stopped. I miss it still very much indeed.

What’s your release which makes you proud? And why?

Patrice Van den Berg: My first Deep House soloEP on midi8or called “Flight Coordinator”, because it marked my new sound and career. I also opened with a track from that EP at Suicide Circus Berlin. It still has huge impact on the dancefloor if i may say so myself haha.

What’s the club you feel your music fits better?

Patrice Van den Berg: I think that was Studio 80 (which is closed since January 2016) and now is Suicide Circus for sure. The reaction of the crowd was unbelievable. Bearing in mind I played only my own productions and collab-productions which is a bit of a risk but they (and you) went totally off their heads on it.

I had the pleasure to assist at the event at Suicide Circus in Berlin for the label party of Spagat Music Berlin on 31 July 16. I felt through your energy an harmony with your music and with the other artists too. What’s Spagat Music for you?

Patrice Van den Berg: Spagat is one of the new important doors that opened up my new career (together with my dear friend Moritz) and the owner Haito is a man that inspires me a lot. He fired up that party with his high driven energy that comes from the heart and he brings together all these wonderful producers that form a beautiful collective. The crowd in Suicide Circus sensed that energy and gave it back to us big time. I am still flying!!!

Can you tell us something about your future works?

Patrice Van den Berg: Moritz and I are working on a new EP for Spagat. There is a track from us going to be released on the Jelly Beast Recordings (NL) label ran by Sander Ellerman and there is another track waiting to be released on Draft (USA). Both on compilations. I am working now on 2 remixes, one for Haito’s album on Spagat and one for Plus Plus boss Jason Bay’s EP on a new sub-label of Submarine Vibes (Bosnia – Herzegovina)

I thank Patrice hoping to meet him and the surprising world of Spagat Music Berlin soon at Suicide Circus!
Patrice Van den Berg’s Discography:

1992: Collage-Steady Pounding/To The Rhythm-12” (Dance Tracks-NL)
1994: Syrinx-Cyberbrain (Various Compilations)
1997: Syrinx-Monkey Business (Immortality IV)
1997: Syrinx-Tremolo Heaven/Slippin’ And Slidin’-12” (Matsuri Productions-UK)
1997: Metal Spark-Greassy/Smells Electric-12” (M Track-NL)
1997: Metal Spark-Metal Detector/Kick Start-12’ (Blue Room Released-UK)
1997: Metal Spark-The Iron Maiden/Sonicfeet-12” Blue Room Released-UK)
1997: Metal Spark-Corrosive-Album (Blue Room Released-UK)
1997: Hypercycle-Hypercycle/Mood Swing-12” (Auracle Recordings-UK)
1997: Microdome-Clear Hallucination (Compilation on High Society-D)
2001: PMW-Sugar (Compilation + VideoClip on Fonky Fibe Records-NL)
2004: Zuco 103-Eu Nasci No Brasil (Primal View Remix on Ziriguiboom/Crammed Compilation-The Now Sound Of Brazil 2-B)
2006: Zuco 103-Futebol Goal (DJ Patrice Remix on I-Tunes a.o. + VideoClip)
2008: PatriceVanDenBerg-Night Flight EP (Ktlxmey Recordings-USA)
2009: Zuco 103-Madrugada (Primal View Remix) on Zuco103-Retouched! (Album on Dox Records-NL)
2013: PatriceVanDenBerg-Flight Coordinator EP(MIDI8OR)
2013: PatriceVanDenBerg-System Alert EP(MIDI8OR)
2013: PatriceVanDenBerg & Dennis Matana-To You EP(MIDI8OR)
2013: PatriceVanenBerg-Never Down EP(MIDI8OR)
2013: Dennis Price-Early Birds(PatriceVanDenBerg-Remix)(Morninglory Music)
2014: Full On Funk ft. Local Hero On Sax-MDMA(PatriceVanDenBerg-Remix)
2014: PatriceVanDenBerg – More Benefits EP – MIDI8OR(NL)
2014: Moritz & PatriceVanDenBerg – Get Out EP – Spagat Music Berlin(DE)
2015 Moritz & PatriceVanDenBerg – Drive By EP – Spagat Music Berlin(DE)
PatriceVanDenBerg – Data Creator EP – Free Download
2015: Moritz & PatriceVanDenBerg – Weird Thing – Compilation(CD/Digital) – Spagat Music Berlin(DE)
2016: Queemose – Sunday Afternoon(PatriceVanDenBerg-Remix) – Plus Plus Records(USA)
2016: PatriceVanDenBerg – San Fernando (Original)- Summer Compilation – Plus Plus Records(USA)
2016: Moritz & PatriceVanDenBerg – Feel It EP – Spagat Music Berlin(DE)

Compilations:
Let It Rip (Matsuri Productions-UK)
Dance Valley 1996+1997 (Zomba/Rough Trade-NL)
Pulse 2 (Subterranean-D)
Renaissance Worldwide London (Passion Music-UK)
Holy Mushroom (High Society)
Brazillian Basics (Urban Essentials-NL)
Immortality III and IV (Polygram-Nl)

And many others…