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Patch: 'Mental health is something that people suffer with in silence and that's why I want to speak about it'

RnB/Hip Hop | Tuesday 16th May 2017 | Patience

Unlike most MC's London-based rapper Patch isn't afraid to tackle the issues that really matter. From mental health, embracing our own contradictions and creating intricate flows that are drenched in 'drunken philosophy', Patch isn't one to be boxed in.

The 20 something talks to us about his future projects, the back story to his latest track 'Prison' and the reason behind his message.

So how did you get into music?

So basically from a young age I always wrote poetry from the age of 10, and then school I used to rap, for jokes like, and that was it, I was always able to rhyme, but I never really thought of doing it as a career. 

And when I was like 23 I went to see J Cole perform and I was like, 'ah, that's what I actually want to do' and then I started making music and that was it.

You blend spoken word poetry with hip hop so effortlessly, how did that come about?

At first I was more driven by just being a poet, music was more of a vehicle to get my messages across, but I would always write with that poetic  intent in it, so I always wanted to be able to, if it wasn't going to be a song that's going to be released with instrumentation I wanted to always be able to pull it out and make it work as a verse on its own.

How would you define your music?

Genuine, open, and conflicted.

So where does the name Patch come from?

Patch is from my mum, my mum's called me Patch since I was a baby so when I was like ' Oh I need a rap name' I just automatically choose that and now more people call me Patch and she thinks that weird.

Tell us about your latest track 'Prison'.

I actually wrote 'Prison' a long time ago, and I had been given a beat, and the beat that was given to me was called Prison, that's just the name the producer had given it, not with any idea of a theme.

But then when I heard it, it just gave me this idea to write a poem, write a song, maintaining a prison metaphor. I like doing that anyway I like taking a subject and then maintaining a metaphor for a long period of time and because I love anything to do with the mind, that just came to me, 'the mind can be a prison'.

Me and you could look at exactly the same situation, at completely different directions, so the variable isn't the situation, it's the people looking at it, it's the filter which is our mind, and if you have got your mind in a prison boxed in type of state you may not be having the most enjoyable experience possible. 

Each verse in Prison is filled with powerful lyricism, but right at the end of the song, you say 'Happiness is the true currency', could you tell us a bit more about that statement.

Well, I think a large part of the 'Prison' metaphor that I am talking about is that people are striving for things, that I don't think bring happiness, they bring pleasure.

Material things are cool, there's nothing wrong with them but I think that it is just pleasurable to drive a nice car, it's pleasurable to have nice clothes but it doesn't give you lasting happiness.

And so if you are sacrificing, your happiness, which for me, comes from like relationships with people,  doing things you are passionate about, and if you are sacrificing that for money, for currency,  I think you could possibly fall short.

And that's why I am saying happiness is the true currency, if you get around things that make you happy, then you will be in another sense wealthy!

Why did you choose to specifically talk about mental health in this song?

The reason I choose mental health was just because well  I have experienced my own ups and downs with mental health.

I am quite a happy go lucky kind of person,  so for a long time I never really noticed when things were bothering me, and I started to realise that other things were getting to me more than I think and I used to shrug them off!

And it was something I struggled with because my role within my social group, I am not the 'down guy' so it's kind of hard for me to express it to people cause people don't take it seriously, cause even when I am feeling down, I am normally still cracking jokes, so I felt it in that way.

But more so, I guess I have just kinda observed it in people and I think that we all have so much going on in our heads but there's so much taboo around mental health, especially for males as well,  there's so much taboo around that, and I really just want to as an artist to personify just being a complete human, I want to be a complete human and show that vulnerability, and I really want to talk about it because I have felt that way.

Every time I write what I am hoping is that someone who hears it, is going to hear a line that makes them think ' oh fuck it's not only me that feels this way, and make them feel better'. Mental health is something often that people suffer with in silence and that's why I want to speak about it. 

You clearly know your stuff, so what can other people do to start on this road to enlightenment?

If you have the natural feeling that 'hmm' I want to know more about this, then the best way to build on that I think is to read, so there are lots of different books that you can read on spirituality and the mind, like some of which I would recommend would be 'As A Man Thinketh' by a guy named James Allen, or 'The Four Agreements', there's loads of books but reading is for me the key!

You describe your music as the 'Drunken philosophy', is there a story behind that?

From what I have said so far you've gathered that I am into philosophical kinda things, spirituality and all that, and that's one element of who I am but I am also very much a party, hedonistic type of person like I go nuts when I go out!

So I was just trying to bring the two together, 'Drunken Philosophy', but the reason I wanted to make sure that they were fused, was so I have got like conscious songs but I have got turn up songs as well.

Cause once people have heard you from one aspect people think right that's a conscious rapper or that's a turn up rapper, and even in my turn up songs I try to make sure I still say spiritual lines, references and things like that, because nobody is all one thing so I just want to represent all sides of who I am and 'Drunken Philosophy,' sums it up.

So as an artist would you prefer to not be labelled as a conscious rapper?

The term conscious has got a little bit of  stigma about it, the people who were first called conscious were quite preachy, and I feel like there are certain people that the way that they convey their message it's as if they personally don't put a foot wrong in their life, and I am not tryin to portray that.

I want to show the full human of who I am so yes, you just want to be an artist but people are going to throw labels on it and I guess 'Drunken Philosophy' is my way of like already saying well if there must be a label 'Drunken Philosophy is the style and I thinks it's nice also to be able to turn up and still some way in there, there is still a philosophical gem you might be able to take from the song as well.

If there was one message you are trying to get across in your music what would it be?

The phrase that actually fully sums it up is 'embrace your contradictions'.

Again 'Drunken Philosophy', the contradiction in terms of being like, drunk and then reading books about philosophy, 'embrace your contradictions' sums it up in the most succinct way.

If I build on that, it would be to say, I am trying to encourage people to be every element of who they are and be comfortable with that, especially the bits that the rest of the world might not take to so willingly.

So is this the reason behind why you choose to have the term 'Embracing Your Contradictions' for your clothing line?

Well, I think that phrase 'embrace your contradictions' is important to encourage people to do that and I think that it's also a helpful statement in a universal sense.

So the reason I choose it for a clothing line is I don't want it to just be like Patch merchandise I want it to be an actual clothing line, so you can come across 'Embrace Your Contradictions' and never have heard of Patch, and I just feel like if you are wearing a statement like that, hopefully, it can really reinforce that in you, yeah like, I will embrace who I am, I am not going to hide this away.

So can we expect an EP soon?

Yeah! I have got an EP coming out within the next two months and it's called Regardless, it called Regard, but not Regardless like the full word, its Regard - Less, it's a little play on the words, and you will also be seeing a lot more poetry videos, posts and live sessions!

So what would you do to make the world a better place?

So I think that children they are the future right, so I would basically make spirituality like a compulsory and large part of the curriculum so that people grow up feeling more connected and in tune with the world, and in tune with themselves.

Cause there is a certain amount of avenues that this world lays out for you and it is quite easy to just get stuck in those and I think the world would be a better place if people were doing what they really loved.

What ideas changed your life?

The idea that you can affect your reality with your mind. 

What would you fill a swimming pool with if it could be anything?

Women! I will be real with you, I am not going to go chocolate, nah, women!

So what's next for you right now?

I just want to travel around the world performing my music and poetry, and spreading the message of 'embrace your contradictions' and as a result, that helping people, making people feel okay and comfortable with themselves and comfortable being vulnerable as well.

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