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Student Stories - Patrick Tipler (Delay Grounds)

Patrick Tipler's relationship with music has always been dominated by his desire to bring something new and interesting to the table.  Now in his final year at dBs Music, that desire is the driving force behind an exciting collaboration that brings together music and sculpture. 

We joined Patrick to learn more about the project and the inspiration that spawned it, as well as delving into those early days creating music and the events that led to HAAi playing his track 'Ruction' on BBC 6music. 


Where did music first make an appearance in your life and how did that passion for it blossom over the years? 

I’ve always played music in one form or another from when I was a kid. I learnt the bass guitar from age 9 and through my teens picked up anything else I could get my hands on, and thanks to my great guitar teacher who taught me a lot of music theory, I've been able to translate that (roughly) over to any other instrument I try and play.

I got really into psychedelia when I was around 16/17 and played in a very noisy psych rock band for a few years, we were quite heavily influenced by bands like Radiohead, (early) Tame Impala, Spacemen 3, My Bloody Valentine… That kind of thing.

The use of electronics in Radiohead and Tame Impala’s work inspired me to buy my first synth, a microKORG. I messed about with it for a while and kind of felt my way around it teaching myself basic synthesis as I had no idea what I was doing.

At the same time I started recording my own music at home, still very much psych rock influenced dreamy kinda stuff with terrible vocals. Later on when I was around 20/21 I was one half of a dream pop/psych/experimental electronic duo that lasted a few years and during this period discovered dance music - techno specifically - and began attempting to make my own.

Patrick Tipler (Delay Grounds) 

I am a big believer in experimenting and finding your own way through the noise. All the music that I love, I love because there is something different about it. This defines my taste in art/music and my approach to music production in general. I think there are a lot of tried and tested ways for making dance music and also a lot of incredible artists pushing the boundaries and doing it differently.

Dance music has a purity and functionality to it that is so important, which in the beginning I was reluctant to adhere to as I didn’t want to have to compromise when trying to make it. For me, I only feel satisfied with something that I’ve made if I think that it has something about it that is different, so I guess my tracks come out of the relationship between making something that works as a functional dance track and squeezing enough interesting sounds in there to give people something to listen to. It’s an ongoing battle. 

When did you realise that the next step for you was music education and what inspired you to choose dBs Music? 

My dream/psych electronica duo burnt itself out and I decided that I didn’t want to work with anyone else for a while, I was bored of being in bands as there are just too many egos involved and from my experience they just implode after a while. I’d love to do it again someday but you just can’t find the staff! 

I wanted to take a step as an individual and make a fresh start somewhere and it was at this point that I found dBs. I took the plunge, moved to Bristol and never looked back.  

Congratulations on having your track ‘Ruction’ featured on HAAi’s guest show on BBC 6music. How did it feel hearing your track on air? 

Cheers! Yeah felt pretty good haha... HAAi is one of my favourite DJs so it was really nice to have the confirmation that something I had made was at least good enough for her and apparently good enough to play on a national radio station.

I have learnt not to look for affirmation in others too much, but this was a really nice confidence boost - it made me want to get back on it and start making more. 

This isn’t the first time HAAi has included one of your unreleased tracks in her mixes. How did you first go about getting your music in front of her? 

She recently included one of my other unreleased tracks in a mix she made for TRAX magazine I’ll drop a link here for anyone interested to hear it. My track Coruscant mixes in around 53:40. Eyes peeled as it is getting a release soon…   

She is really active and responsive on social media, particularly on Instagram. I was heading to Motion to see her and sent her my track beforehand, she loved it and downloaded it straight away. Got my hopes up as I thought she might play it that night, but it wasn’t to be unfortunately.

I think around a month later my friend found it snuck into that TRAX magazine mix and I was mind-blown. When I made Ruction I thought she might be into it so I sent it over and again she loved it and asked if she could play it in her guest mix for Mary Anne Hobbs.    

Speaking of unreleased tracks, it was some time ago that we saw talk of an upcoming EP from you, is that still in the works? 

I kind of planned an EP before but it didn’t really materialise as I lost interest in all the tracks. I do have two releases coming out soonish, but it's all been pushed back because of the doom virus.

I’m not sure if I'm allowed to say which labels they’re coming out on as I might get told off, all I can say is *ahem* FOLLOW ME ON INSTAGRAM *ahem* for updates on releases and whatnot.   

You’re in your final year at dBs Music right now and embarking on a very cool project called 'Upcycling'. Could you tell us a little bit about it? 

It’s kind of complicated to explain so I’ll just pop the abstract here: 

Upcycling is an audio visual collaborative project between myself and visual artist/sculptor Liz Naden (Quaint Bloom) that aims to highlight and tackle environmental and consumerist issues through the repurposing of recycled material/objects into an artistic form.

The project is multifaceted and consists of two halves; music and sculpture. A five track E.P of dance floor orientated music is mirrored by an equal number of sculptural works, each intrinsically linked to one another and produced under the same concept with the intention of using each artistic platform as a point of conversation to which the underlying themes of the work may be discussed.

The project embodies abstract hyper-realism within the material of the works to encourage a forward thinking attitude, upcycling the traditional artistic mediums into a means of communication.

Each piece focuses on a particular material/object that is playfully articulated through an accompanying exciter to produce a hyper-realistic product with the aim to contextualise the reality of Capitalist consumerism and consequential environmental detritus.

For example, exploring plastic through its sonic and visual characteristics, while using the concept of audio/visual degradation to encapsulate the breaking down of the material as it enters environmental ecosystems. 

It’s been really fun to make and it's just starting to come together now, would love to release this one too but we’ll see! 

Where did the inspiration come from?

There are a few artists/projects that inspired this one. Holly Herndon and her album Platform, SOPHIE and her approaches to sound design and Yosi Horikawa's work with field recordings and the environment. 

I would talk more about these, but I’m just gonna say go check them out because they’re all amazing and I think their work will speak for itself. 

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Viewer warning: video contains flashing images

How important has this module been for your creativity, by pushing you to try something entirely new and left-field? 

I mean in one way it has been kind of annoying because I hate things that are really explicitly conceptual most of the time, yet here I am making a largely concept driven piece of work. It’s important to me that the tracks and the sculptural works hold up on their own without a concept being force fed down your throat. Not that we were forced to do it in the way that I’ve gone about it, I just had the idea and it stuck.

Also I don’t know about helping my creativity, but it's certainly forced me to approach the music making process in a new way and that’s always good practice. 

The one thing it has been really good for is helping me understand the mindset of producing an extended and coherent piece of work. I have always really struggled to make even two tunes that sound even a little bit like they belong together (at least since I started uni) so this project has helped me understand how to use ideas and production techniques to render a particular sonic aesthetic. 

What one lesson from university has really stuck with you? 

We had a couple of lectures last year from Gareth Williams who had a release coming out on Max Coopers label, Mesh. The album was made from recordings he took while in the rainforest, we had two or three lectures with him and he ran through a load of sound design techniques in those lessons, which I found so useful.   

What’s next in the pipeline for you?

I guess back to working for the man for the time being until my superstar DJ career skyrockets (joke), in all seriousness though I’m just really excited to have my releases, start gigging, meet some cool people and have the occasional boogie. 

Finally, any bits of advice you want to share with someone pursuing music? 

I feel like I don’t qualify to be giving people advice quite yet. I’m just a guy who got three minutes of airtime on 6music. So yeah, follow your dreams!

I guess what I am trying to do though is cultivate and nurture as pure a relationship with sound as possible. The sounds that resonate with you reflect you as a person and I've grown so much from analysing this relationship. 

Where can people find out more about you and your music? 

I guess the usual places Instagram and Facebook are the best, hit me up!

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