INTERVIEW BY CHRIS ZALDUA.
Oakland-based DJ Patrick Wilson isn’t new to the game. In fact, he’s been DJing longer than some of us have been alive — he’s been at it 39 years, first putting hands on decks around the age of 10. Now that’s dedication.
He and fellow Oaklander Nina Sol (who recorded her own AYLI podcast in 2018) are resident DJs at Elements, a party dedicated to deep, soulful house, both classic and new. They’re celebrating five years of Elements on Saturday, January 18 — this latest edition of the AYLI podcast is actually a live recording of Patrick and Nina at a previous Elements party.
Read on below to learn more about what makes Wilson tick and listen to the mix below to hear he and Nina in action. Then catch them both opening up for one of the most brilliant DJs in the business, Fred P aka Black Jazz Consortium, handling the deeper, psychedelic side of things.
CZ: Tell me where you’re from and how you landed in the Bay Area.
PW: Originally from Shreveport, LA but have been in California since I was two months old. My mother decided to move to California (Oakland) to be near her older sister.
CZ: How long have you been DJing? When did you first start mixing, and what inspired you to get there?
PW: I’ve been DJing for 39 years now, first started mixing around the age of 10yrs old. My older brother and a good majority of his friends were all Dj’s and or music collectors. I was definitely inspired by them and also the wide variety of music they exposed me to.
CZ: Talk to me about “soulful house.” I know genre descriptors can get out of hand sometimes, and every genre means something a little bit different to everyone else. But I think there’s a particular strain of soul, and soulfulness, that lives in a lot of house music that isn’t always talked about the way it should be. What does it mean to you? Is this the kind of house music you find yourself specifically drawn to, or something else?
PW: Although I’m not a fan of placing a certain sound into one genre, I believe you can find a bit of soulfulness in everything from techno, Afro, vocals, or jazzy instrumentals. I like to pull from all aspects of the “soulful” or just plain good music spectrum. I do not like to stay in one space or stick to one particular sound.
“Soulful” house to me is definitely a spiritual thing. Having come from a heavy church background and having a special connection to my African roots definitely inspire the way I play and the message I convey through music.
House music and the dance community have both been and always will be an integral part of my journey. I am drawn to any type of music that moves me or that speaks to my soul.
CZ: You’ve been throwing a party called Elements with Nina Sol. Tell me about that party, how it came together, and what it’s all about.
PW: The “Elements” party I have with Nina Sol is something very special. Saturday January 18th we will be celebrating 5yrs of “Elements.” Nina and myself have both attended and played legendary clubs and spaces worldwide and decided we needed to try to capture that same energy in the Bay Area.
Complete with the music we love, the vibe, the dancers, and most importantly the sound system! We have created a space made for music lovers and dancers where everyone can be free and get lost in the music!
CZ: Speaking of Nina, you’re going back-to-back with her at this upcoming AYLI party. How do you approach B2B sets? Is it something you enjoy? Do you find yourself preparing or playing differently in a B2B situation vs. a solo mixing situation?
PW: B2B sets I can’t really do with just anyone. Nina Sol and I have been playing together for some time, so I feel we are able to complement each other and keep the dance floor moving. Nothing is planned we tend to vibe off of each other and the crowd.
We are excited to be a part of AYLI and look forward to rocking the floor with these legendary guests!
CZ: Tell me about your AYLI podcast. How’d you put it together? Is there a theme or a concept? Is it representative of yourself as a DJ?
PW: This AYLI podcast episode is actually a “live” recording from one of our “Elements” parties so this may give you an idea of how Nina and I hold court over there.
CZ: Tell me about what makes a great party for you — as a partygoer. When you go out and you feel something special, what is it that makes the moment work for you?
PW: The thing that makes a party special to me is if the music is on point, the audience are responding to the music, and the dj is taking me on a journey with past, present, and future sounds!
CZ: Last but not least, tell me about some music you’re digging lately. Could be old, could be new, but something you’ve discovered recently either way — and it doesn’t have to be dancefloor-friendly.
PW: Oh wow!!! What a question!! Lol!! There are so many titles I am feeling right now! On the soulful vocal tip would be anything with Josh Milan.