Joseph ‘JP’ Patterson has the dream job for any music fan. As the music commander-in-chief/editor for Complex Magazine, JP gets to play a hands-on role in the development and curation of the UK’s music taste.
Similarly, as a host for the country’s best alternative radio station, Amazing Radio, JP can bring the best in hip-hop, dance, grime and R&B right to your kitchen or living room.
If you want to know more be sure to hit JP up on his Twitter, in the meantime, check out his conversation with List For Life about early tastes, successful journalism and what artists you should be listening to in 2016.
1. Let’s start things simply, can you tell us about the development of your musical tastes from a young age to now?
I grew up in a household where listening to gospel was the only thing that was allowed, but my older brother and sister used to sneak-listen to R&B, hip-hop, and jungle, and I was very much apart of that sneakiness. At around the age of 16, I found and fell for grime music. I never used to like it at the beginning, but it slowly became a big part of my life. I like all types of music though — house, techno, bashment, Adele, even a bit of Florence + The Machine.
2. What characteristic of yourself do you attribute your success to and can you give us any examples?
I’m just a clean-hearted guy, and those with pure, clean hearts with no agenda always tend to go far. It makes me genuinely happy to see others achieve greatness, especially my young black people, and I don’t think that will ever change.
3. Can you run us through the most rewarding and most difficult parts of being an editor at Complex?
The most rewarding part is supporting artists very early on, and seeing them musically evolve and their fanbase grow. We’re big on grime, hip-hop, R&B and dance music and are always on the lookout for the stars of tomorrow; so we get to play a big part in a lot of artists’ development, and that’s probably what I enjoy the most. Difficulties? I don’t really have any, to be honest, other than going through 100 emails every Monday morning.
4. What advice would you give any young, maybe struggling journalists trying to break into the music scene right now?
It’s not an easy gig. I never did an internship, but I would definitely recommend it in today’s climate. A couple of interns at Complex have gone on to gain full-time employment, and I’ve seen that with a few other publications as well. It’s all about going in there and showing that you’re in it for the long-haul. Don’t get in at 9.05 when you’re due in at 9.00am. Be there 10 minutes early, if anything. But that’s the easy part.
The difficult part is really carving out a strong voice for yourself. The internet is full of respected voices, but what makes your one important? It’s all about having a plan of what type of writer you want to be from the start. I’ll never say I’m the best writer in the world, but I know my subject well enough to write it in a way that it is respected. Plus, I’ve been doing it for years. When you put the work in, and the work is good, people will have no choice but to respect it.
5. What new and upcoming artists are you personally really excited about?
There’s quite a few: Jammz, Cadet, Ray BLK, Rachel Foxx, Fredwave, Wet, Your Old Droog, Big Zuu, Nines, Kelela, AJ Tracey, Skrapz, Ms Banks, Nadia Rose, Rocks FOE, Capo Lee, Majid Jordan, GoldLink, Sango… I could literally be here all day.
6. Where do you think the future of music journalism is headed? Will listicles and video content take over or will long form content remain?
I think it’s heading down more of a social media-led route, and listicles are on the very same journey. I’ve seen a gradual change in how newspaper sites churn out news and do their long-form features — now, there’s loads of Instagram and YouTube embeds and links all over them, but that wasn’t the case a few years ago. Long-form features don’t need to be dry; it’s okay to throw in some videos and Instagram posts to help get your point across too. It’s really not that deep. I’ve always known Complex to do in-depth list features — way before Buzzfeed — and now I’m seeing more and more list features from titles whose journos used to turn their noses up at said ‘listacles’. Times have definitely changed.
7. If you could, what would you say to yourself 10 years ago?
Stay well away from those house raves, kid.