Joseph 'JP' Patterson is a rare find in the media industry. He has worked his way from knowing no-one in the business, and no relevant qualifications, to creating renowned foundations that led him to his current Senior Editor role at Complex UK. Behind the scenes his constant desire to push the sound, and relentless motivation to connect and improve, has allowed his words to flow between the streets to boardroom radio playlists.
JP will be in the hot seat for this October’s Industry Takeover All Dayer leading the discussion, on the Complex UK powered panel, covering the future steps for the grime scene. His experience in promoting a successful club night, hosting an alternative music show on Amazing Radio and being a Senior Editor, are just a few reasons this seminar will be one you won’t want to miss. Grab your tickets here before taking in the interview.
You're now the Senior Editor of Complex UK – what's been the journey up to this point?
I started out in the music biz as a club night promoter. I used to put on grime raves called ChockABlock and we used to hold it at EGG Nightclub every month for about three or four years. They were the best days! The crowd – street kids through to bloggers and fashion designers – it was always mixed, which meant the vibe was always super, super cool. So that was in 2007, and in that same year I made a blog, honed my skills, and here I am today. It hasn't been an easy ride, what with me not studying journalism or anything after secondary school – but God had a plan.
Do you think not having a degree has worked against you – is it really that important?
I would've been in this position a lot sooner if I'd studied journalism or media, but teaching myself everything from scratch has been the best thing for me. I didn't have any mentors or anyone to call on coming up, other than you Hypes [laughs], but I'm genuinely cool with that. Making mistakes on your own and learning from them, I think, is a very important part of life and now it's time to pass on some of that knowledge to the next generation. I get contacted regularly by new writers looking for advice and I'm always happy to share it with them.
If you were to employ / commission a journalist tomorrow, what key skills and experience would you be looking for?
Just know your subject inside out and show that you have a genuine passion for it. Grime is the cool thing to write about now, but is it your passion? Editors can see through pitches and tell if it's real or not. I'm not sure about anyone else, but I want to read pieces from people I know love and have a real passion for the subject they're writing about. We don't have time for novices or bandwagon-jumpers in this day and age, and carving out a lane for yourself is more important today than ever before. I write about grime and underground music mainly, but don't be surprised if I pen a feature on a pop artist if the spirit leads me [laughs]. There's nothing wrong with experimenting, but have that foundation that people know and check you for on a daily.
Where are the best places to look for jobs in the media?
All my jobs have come via recommendations or me pitching, so I've never had to really look for a media job like that. But Gorkana is a good site – and to generally see what's going on in the world of media. There's that, or you could always look on the website of the place you want to work for. Most of them have job boards.
Do you find that social media has hidden a lot of the hard graft and only concentrates on the highs?
You shouldn't have to justify your movements by putting them on Twitter. If you're a boss, you don't need to prove yourself to anyone. When it's time to gas – gas! But when it's time to work... I need the new guys coming up – artists to media folk – to really take that in because there's a lot of premature gas floating around when more work needs to be done and a lot less chat. "I'm gonna do this, I'm gonna do that." Cool. You do that and THEN we celebrate your achievement. We had to learn the hard way, and I want everyone to succeed but just in the right way.
What keeps you motivated?
The music. Just the music.
You've contributed to the underground music scene by being a promoter, journalist, influencer and presenter – what's been your favourite role and why?
I've always wanted to write for Complex. I never thought I'd be a Senior Editor for them, so I'd say my current role. Why? Well, I get to push the sounds and scenes that I want and how I want and it's been going well so far. I don't take my position for granted.
The perks of your job?
Getting to hear new music before the rest of the world, and sharing my thoughts and opinions and being respected for them.
The downside's of the hustle?
Less sleep!!! A lot less sleep... Big up the 4am editing crew inside! That's the only downside, really. Everything else is a blessing from above.
Don't forget to grab your ticket for this years Industry Takeover All Dayer - Buy Now.