Patrick Mason used to hate Berlin as well as techno. Some years later, finding himself suddenly living in the city, he started seeing his true self coming through.Today he’s a DJ performing in Berghain, never settling for less than what he’s daring himself to dream of.
Written by: Amanda Sandström Beijer
Photo by: Lamia Karic
Styling: Elfee Duquette
Meeting Patrick is how you would picture meeting a star. He’s well spoken, well dressed and you quickly get the impression that he leaves nothing to chance. His perfectionism and dedication made him successful not only as a fashion designer, a model, DJ, singer or Illustrator, but also as a Creative Director. Hold your horses, don’t get anxious just yet. This will not be an interview about unattainable success, but Patrick will spoil some secrets on what he believes to actually be a big reason behind his success.
Patrick arrives a few minutes after me and apologizes for the lateness. As we start talking, he admits that being on time is on his weak side.
Time management is very difficult for me. I guess if you do five things at the same time and have success as a goal for all of them, it can be difficult to keep up with things. Of course, with the corona all things slowed down for everyone, and that was really good for me. ”
Because I think if I would have been going on for another year I would have burned out. So, it helped me calming down and realizing a lot about myself. ”
My social life was basically non-existent during the last years. Luckily, my best friends have known me for some time, and always got my back. They know why I'm not coming down to the bar or joining that pick-nick. But this year helped me to figure out that I am missing something. It gives me so much pleasure and so much energy to meet them.”
Patrick grew up in the South of Germany and moved to Berlin from one day to another to study Graphic Design.
I actually hated Berlin before I came here. When I grew up it was the capital of criminals, and German rap and everything you saw on the German trash tv. That was Berlin. I hate German rap more than anything, I’d rather hear like schlager. Back then I was also doing a lot of stuff. I have always been interested in preforming art and I am very creative, ever since I was a child. Always the center of attention, ”he laughs;
"I guess it's a Capricorn thing."
Another Capricorn thing is being ambitious (check), persistent (check), disciplined (check) as well as sensitive. The transition from last year has been intense for Patrick - from Fashion shows all around Europe, touring in Asia, shooting music videos and designing shades for Ray Ban to staying at home alone in his apartment in Kreuzberg.
"Well, I've finally realized that I need to put my mentality, sanity and health first."
But no, Patrick is not the person you’ll see on Instagram posting meditation or yoga videos. In fact, he does not do anything like that.
I do not have the patience. I can’t focus that long on myself. During the lock down this spring I basically got out of bed, showered and smoked weed. I had so many thoughts in my head. I was like how, why, and questioned everything. Everything was going so well until corona happened. Suddenly I found myself in an existential crisis. ”
”Since I was traveling so much before and always with someone, I developed a problem with being alone by myself. But I’m 30 now and told myself, like, calm down bitch. Everything will be alright. ”
Believing in a higher power
Self-talk is very important they say, and Patrick is not the last person to agree. He believes in sending out positive energy to yourself as well as to others and is the first person telling you about the power of visualization. Something you may have come across when "The Secret-era" in 2010 was on.
I believe in a higher power. All the people in my life that are still with me, I know I met through energies. I saw it happening to me so many times, when I visualized something super banal like these pair of Rick Owens shoes. I even dreamed about them, and then I met the co-designer and actually had those shoes two weeks later. ”
It all started when Patrick switched from graphic design to fashion design around 2016.
”I knew I wanted to bring something to the table, and when I started visualizing, I wanted a fashion show at Berghain, and it happened after the second semester. So, I realized that anything I can put my mind to and want, I can get. I had the least tendency in school, like I literally came to do the exams, and instead I was working every day on my own stuff. That’s how I was raised. Being persistent and really going for what I want 130 percent has been essential. ”
We decide to try it out and make him spoil what he's visualizing for the moment, to see how well it works.
”Okay, I wanna have my next gig at Berghain next Easter, 2021 in Panorama on prime time, Sunday evening. So, my goal is to work as hard as possible to release my new album by the end of the year. Let's see if it becomes reality. "
Fun fact, speaking of; when Patrick first started listening to electronic music when he moved to Berlin, he hated it.
“To me techno was like; why does everybody listen to the same beat for 15 hours facing the same direction. ”
”So, the first years I preferred Pano in Bargain, because I liked house music and disco that was more uplifting, bright and not as aggressive. But of course, suddenly I reached my inner devil and found what I love -
“Being super sweaty almost fainting because you can’t get any oxygen on the dance floor, high on pills and enjoying the lights - that’s what I’m missing at the moment. That’s something that inspired me. When the sound and the lights are at its best in Berghain, oh - it's good. Sometimes I just stand there or sit down and just watch it. The environment, the details, can shift and transcend in you and that’s so precious to me.”
”Berghain is like a community, how it’s built up, the values that are represented. I have never seen anyone fighting in there. The inclusiveness, the lights, the music. Well sometimes they fuck up, but don’t we all. Berghain literally pushed me into the direction where I am right now. If I hadn’t had Berghain I would’ve ended up somewhere else.”
The love story is real, and I guess it has been love at first sight since he started going there and almost became obsessed.
”2016- and 17 I think I missed one weekend. But I normally didn’t stay for more than 12 hours. Now, years later, my longest stay was 42 hours. That was on New Year’s Eve three years ago. But they had showers and food trucks and everything in there, so there was no need to leave. You could just take a nap somewhere.”
Berlin made his true self come through
Not only was it the freedom in the clubs that affected Patrick creatively. The city in itself has, as he said in various interviews before, made his true colors come through.
”Of every capital I’ve been in so far, especially in Europe, Berlin is the most appealing. Especially for our age group. Because all cultures are coming together to experience art, music, dance - it’s a crossway for all creatives. So, I think Berlin is very, very necessary in elevating and engaging creativeness.”
”Berlin is unapologetic, and the city is real. Mostly. Of course, there are areas that are more authentic than others. I haven’t been in Mitte for like half a year, since I moved to Kreuzberg. To me Kreuzberg is like the pinnacle of the city. Just stepping outside my door, I have all the amazing restaurants, Görlitzer park, the canal, an inclusiveness with people in all different ages and races coming together. It’s very up front too, like people don’t tend to speak behind your back, but say it as it is. That’s what I like.”
”While I was living in Bavaria I was still in the closet, and I was very aware of how I spoke, how I acted, my gestures, and basically everything. When I came to Berlin, I saw that everything was so open and free. That nobody gives a shit and I can be and do whatever I want to be. I don’t have to apologize for it. That was the first step into coming out of my shell. In my case everything happened very fast. In like a month I did a 180 turn. The way I dressed, the way I dated. I was a total slut for the first month. Every day I was like bam, bam, and then after a month I felt like, okay - now I can concentrate again. I just had to bang the ten past years out of my system, he laughs.
”Berlin gives you a feeling that you can be whatever you want to be. Just walking down the street in Munich for example, people are starring and talking behind your back. Munich and Düsseldorf and these cities are very pretentious, like they show what they don’t have. Everybody looks the same and wears the same and if you move just a little bit aside from what is perceived as normal, they get angry. They’re also super racist. They don’t understand how a colored guy can be dressed this well, how he can afford it, and they’re like; what is he even doing in Europe. They’re confused about it. And they get frustrated, probably even jealous.”
Patrick doesn’t deny that there is some racism in Berlin as well, with the uprising of AfD and the right-wing winds that blow all over all Europe
”But it’s still a safe haven compared to many other places. I feel comfortable here, I feel comfortable walking on the streets in whatever look I chose to wear. Although I don’t feel safe in all clubs, I don’t go clubbing in straight clubs, because I don’t like the energy. It’s super testosterone driven. I have never been to Kater Blau, I have never been to Sisyphos and I don’t even wanna know. Not that I’m not open minded, but I’m content in Berghain where I know people and where my friends go. Why would I go to another club?”
But if he does, he chooses one of OHM, About Blank:// or Zur Klappe among a few other places.
"Before I used to dress up in layer of clothes and colors and all, and I didn't even sweat. I don’t know what changed. But now I’m like the others, just with my little rave bag - I just wanna dance and be free.”
Although clubs are not open this Fall, Patrick reveals that he’s working on something that will launch within 12 months and revolutionize the way we party in Berlin.
”"It’s gonna be a very local playground for DJ’s. It’s gonna start in Berlin and if all goes well it will also grow beyond this city.”
Two years as Radio Slave
It’s been two years since Patrick and Matt Edwards (Radio Slave) teamed up as SRVD. A way for Patrick to combine almost all his talents and passions in one project.
”I get to be on stage and perform, being dressed up in the finest couture, singing, DJ’ing, and being outspoken on stage. Even illustrating.”
The love story between Patrick and Matt started off when Patrick was in his club phase and on the edge of leaving Berghain.
”The music was shit, but the DJ’s were about to shift so we waited to see who’s up next, and on the schedule it said ’Radio Slave’ a name that we made fun of for like ten minutes. All of us had these expectations of who was gonna show up, and then in comes this middle-aged skater, and we were like, okay this can go really wrong. But from the first beat he dropped, literally we got shocked and all of us went to the front and stayed for four more hours, no drugs just the beats. After his set I grabbed him and told him it was insane and that we need to get some shots, right now. From that moment on he taught me everything and mentored me, and today I’m like godfather of his children and his wife is my manager and I’m basically part of their family.”
At some point Matt found out that Patrick could sing and invited him into the studio to do something together.
”We played around for one day and then next time he was playing in Pano, he was like: ’I’m gonna request a microphone, and you’re gonna do your thing - just improvise.’”
”And when I was up on stage, I blacked out but then the lyrics for ’Elevate’ just came to me. Since people don’t sing live in Pano normally, people freaked out and after that he was like; write the lyrics that you sang down. Tomorrow we gonna meet at the studio and record it. A week later we had Elevate. We did it again at Pano, like we had our try outs there pretty much.”
”Then we got our first legit gig as SRVD, I’ve never been more nervous in my whole life, I had four outfit changes. Pano was packed, and half-way through the set people were taking their clothes off. The bar personal went up and danced on top of the bars and people were dancing naked in the windows. While I was playing, I was literally crying. I realized that this is it, this is what I want to do, and I want to do it with Matt. We have something really unique together and can read each other, for example we finished 12 tracks in a week. That says it all.”
”Before I go on stage, I’m always super nervous, but the moment I go up there something clicks in my head and I become this performer identity.”
The music is something that goes deep, and connecting with it means connecting with a bigger issue in the industry. Patrick understands this frustration that can have an undertone of some sort and he has a lot of respect for its roots.
”Techno and house come from the black community, it comes from a lot of despair anger and frustration. It’s very white-washed. The scene today is very male and white dominant.”
Therefor being accepted in the underground techno scene is not the same as being accepted in the commercial industry.
”Being cool within the techno scene means being underground and means not being a sell-out. It means staying true to yourself - and that’s very important to me. I want to learn where it all originates from - and build up from that.”
PATRICKS FAV BERLIN DJ’S
- LEN FAKI
- FREDDY K
- SPENCER PARKER
- HONEY DIJON