Black Then, Black Now is a podcast produced by four young Black Londoners aged 18 to 24, with the support of the Voltage Revolution. Each episode is a conversation between one young person and an elder, providing an inter-generational take on topics such as identity, music, education, and love. This podcast is concerned about change and continuity. What was it like then? And how is it now?
In episode 3, Antonia (our host) sits down with Pat Da Kat to talk about the universal language, Music. In this episode, conversations ranged from Pat’s childhood and musical influences, the movement of people, and the mixing of cultures and how this is reflected in the music that is produced back then and today. Is being influenced by another artist stealing if it is part of what music is?
Patrick Smith, Pat Da Kat is a DJ Antonia met when she was young when her mum would take her to ballroom dancing. It's been over a decade since they last saw each other. Pat Da Kat is one of the best-known and respected DJ on the vintage dance scene in London and surrounding areas. He has been both running his own clubs and playing music for other clubs since the 1980s.
Talking about influences, Pat shared Djing started for him in the blood. From the age of 10, Pat was obsessed with music and listening to his mum’s records and radio back in the 60s. In his household, the music that played the most was Ska Music(former Jamaican R&B) and those were his main influences. Ska music serves as a bridge between 1960s Jamaican music, 1970s British dance music, and 1990s American punk music. It does this by fusing many musical influences to create a genre unique to itself.
Pat shared, “Music was a way for Pat to stay connected to the Jamaican culture. Every Saturday, most Caribbean people (including Pat) will go to Brixton to visit various record markets as Reggae wasn’t being played on the radio.” He went on to say that “ Most radio stations only played English music.”
“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things.” — Steve Jobs
In addition to this, on the conversation of influence and stealing, Pat stated that when it comes to music copying is common but what makes a difference is adding your own flavour or style to the material to distinguish it from the others. He said “We all need each other, we all get help and are influenced by each other but some people set the bar for the example and those people also took a lot from others.”
It’s a cycle. Everybody is stealing.
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