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CRSSD‘s 7th edition is a special one —it marks the official third birthday of the festival. Hosted at its usual location at the picturesque Waterfront Park in San Diego, the semi-annual event certainly hasn’t faltered in its lineup curation, inviting the likes of Cirez D, Empire of the Sun, Henry Saiz, and Tchami onto its bill across March 3 & 4. Dancing Astronaut joins organizers in digging a little deeper into its roster to unearth its top underrated performers to find out their backstories thus far.
A decade of hardwork and consistency has firmly planted Alan Fitzpatrick in the upper echelons of the underground. Emerging in the latter half of the 2000’s with singles like “Nine Hours Later” and “Weed Killer,” the UK native quickly made a name for himself. Before long, he was invited onto labels like Bedrock, and later Drumcode, where he became one of the powerhouse imprint’s favored regulars.
One skill Fitzpatrick possesses in spades in his keen ability to wreak destruction on the dancefloor. Whether formulating more vintage-tinged productions with heaps of funk, or hard-hitting stompers that shake the body to its core, his distinctive sound leaves listeners subjecting themselves to his music’s demands to move. He recently launched his newest label endeavor, We Are The Brave, which embodies this ethos. In fact, its entire message is that Fitzpatrick refuses to adhere to whatever arbitrary “rules” and trends that are set in the industry, instead forging a path true to his vision. His fans are happily following along for the ride.
Having recently released a dynamic compilation alongside Sasha and also preparing for another abundant year full of releases from himself and others on We Are The Brave, Fitzpatrick sat down to have a chat with Dancing Astronaut ahead of his CRSSD debut about all things musical and festival-related.
CRSSD Fest is sold out, but you can still view further information about the fest here.
What catalyzed your love for dance music?
I was born at the right time. By the time I was 11 or 12 and becoming interested in music and being cool etc it was the mid-90’s, and the whole dance music explosion was in full force in UK so it was actually impossible to avoid. Dance music was not just a massive part of youth culture, but it was new and exciting and that made for a totally intoxicating mix in my young and impressionable mind.
What was your first label release? Would you still play it?
Funny you mention this as it came up in another conversation today. My first ever released track was called “In Full Effect” written under the alias Testube Babies (with Dave Robertson) and released on Ilogik’s UK Hard Dance label, Elasticman Records. I think it has stood the test of time, but not sure I’d get the chance to play it these days as its about 135bpm!
Describe the moment or event that made you realize that you were meant to be a full-time DJ.
I’ve told this story a few times in interviews, but it was the summer of 2009 and I’d been releasing music as Alan Fitzpatrick for about 12 months. My music was being well received and I had done a few gigs, but I was still working my day job with an insurance company. One Friday night I had picked up my girlfriend (now wife!) and I heard Pete Tong play ‘Reflections’ on BBC Radio 1 as his Essential New Tune for the week. That moment, hearing my track be singled out on national radio, having just finished a week at work and doing a very normal thing like going out with my girlfriend was certainly pivotal in terms of me making DJ’ing my full-time job.
What’s your opinion of the dance scene in the US right now?
I don’t think it has ever been better, and I am excited to be back this weekend to see for myself.
What are you looking forward to most about CRSSD Fest?
The San Diego sunshine – it’s snowing in UK right now!
Where are your favourite places to play in the world, and why?
Urgh – are you seriously going to make me choose?! I did a show in Belfast just before Christmas, in a huge old newspaper factory with the most amazing energy from the crowd and tons of lasers and amazing production. That takes some beating.
What are the biggest things in your pipeline at the moment?
March is a really big month for me. On 17th I am hosting my own day-long, 5000 capacity festival in Dublin which promises to be unreal and then on 23rd March my new release is out on We Are The Brave with two tracks ‘Colour Of A Dream’ and ‘Joy Rider’ that I think are going to go down well with everyone, so I am super excited for what is to come over the next few weeks.
If you could recommend three artists to catch from the CRSSD line-up, who would you pick?
Cirez D – because Eric’s music and live shows always blow me away
Sasha – because the guy is just on fire again right now and we owe each other a big hug for how well our El Jefe collaboration did at the end of last year.
Gorgon City – because they put on a sick live show and they are good lads who I’ve always enjoyed hanging out with when we bump into each other.