FROM CHOCKABLOCK 2007 TO TRENCH 2017: AN INTERVIEW W/ JOSEPH PATTERSON (TRENCH/COMPLEX UK)

With now 10 years in the game under his belt, JP AKA Joseph Patterson has been a major contributor to youth culture in our rapidly expanding Urban British scene. Hailing from Stockwell – South London – but making his name in his teens as a promoter back in 2007, to not only being a regular on the MOBO Awards committee, but Senior Editor of Complex UK and founder of new editorial platform TRENCH.

I hit JP up to talk the old days, the new days and everything in between. From it making from the Estate to Editor, Influencer and certified Ambassador of British Urban Music.

For those that don’t know, what’s your background? How did you go from doing club nights at EGG, in 2007, to heading up Complex UK and TRENCH today?

I remember you and the BNTL gang used to come to my raves on a regs! Shout out you lot. So I started holding raves, called ChockABlock, in 2007, and then I just started up a blog and when the passion for writing hit, that’s when my journalism journey began. I’d say I wanted a proper career in writing around 2009/2010, and in 2010 I was appointed editor of MTV UK Online’s urban sections. It hasn’t been an easy journey one bit, but I wouldn’t change my story for nothing. I think people like the fact that I’m a young black man—coming from a hood environment—who writes about music for a living and didn’t go down the typical wannabe rapper or top shotter route. I rate all those hustles, though. Get it how you can get it!

Shoutout the BNTL fam, the back of my head and the rest of GANG on the SBTV cameo’s…

Would you agree with the achievements of Link Up and GRM that editorial platforms like ours took steps in the same direction? And assuming you do, what inspired TRENCH?

I love what those platforms have done for British artists over the years, but we definitely do different things; they’re more video-led, while we focus more on strong written editorial. What inspired TRENCH is the lack of representation in mainstream media—or more like the wrong type of representation. Right now, I believe our content levels are up there with some of the biggest publications on road, most of which have been going for decades, and we’ve only been going for about three months. It’s not me being big-headed, it’s just that with mine and [fellow journalist and TRENCH executive editor] Hyperfrank’s experience going on 11 years in this thing, we know how a publication should be ran. So you’ll never see us mistaking people for other people or calling an Afrobeats artist a grime MC. They might be minor things to some, but we pride ourselves in knowing the scene inside out and respecting it to the highest degree. We’re like the Rolling Stone for the UK underground scene… Yeah, I said it! [Laughs] Nah, I’m more humble than this, but when you know you’ve got a good product, there’s nothing wrong with shouting about it from the hills.

With Wavey Garms also launching an independent media platform—with fashion to likely be the core of the brand – Watson Rose focusing on more anti-establishment/youth culture trends and intellectualised music focused content, where do you see TRENCH’s place in this new work? There’s enough bread to eat, and identify our individual brands can only be a good thing, right?

I want everyone to win. I’m excited to see what Wavey Garms come with; their online presence has been strong for a few years now. I see what you’re doing and wishing you all the best with it—again, shout out the BNTL massive! With TRENCH, we just want to show the greatness of today’s young Britain—the best in music, style, and culture—and, so far, so good.

Seeing as independence and empowerment is growing in prevalence in all forms because of social media, and the resources that the internet provides, what else would you like to see happen in the UK scene?

More films and TV shows that depict our culture in an authentic way. I was gassed to hear Top Boy was returning to Netflix, but that’s in 2019 so we’ve got a bit of a wait. The Intent 2 will be out next year, I think, so that’s good too. Things are happening on that side of things; slowly, but it’s happening.

Where do you see TRENCH in three years, and what’s the long-term vision?

I like to take every day as it comes but, from 2018, we’ll be doing a print, zine-style edition of TRENCH four times per year. The first one drops in January with one of the UK music scene’s most respected artists. I’m very excited about that. Events, too! We’re also taking TRENCH live next year.

Seeing as it’s December, and you’re a UK music aficionado, who are your personal top three artists of the year?

What J Hus has achieved this year is incredible, as well as Dave and Jorja Smith. I’m also interested to see what Mabel does next year, and K-Trap, and Fredo, and Harlem Spartans. The British are coming, as they say.

POSTED: @TIMI.WATSONROSE

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