Patrick (a.k.a. Dirk) has been DJing for around three years, but has quickly earned his stripes from the tight-knit nightlife of Oxford. “Oxford hasn’t got the biggest scene, but what’s there is really nice,” Diggler tells me. “It is quite small so when there are the good nights on it’s like smaller, more intimate venues… there’s a club called The Bullingdon there, that was the one we all used to go to [though not to be confused with Oxford’s notoriously dodgy elite members’-only club].” The rest of the time Diggler was playing house parties across town. But like many of us, he just started out on a little controller. “It was like, a shitty Numark Party mix,” he says, laughing. “It broke pretty quickly.” But experimenting with mixing quickly snowballed into a fully-fledged love for vinyl. “I think at first I got into [vinyl] because I thought it looked cool,” he laughs, only half-joking. “But without sounding too pretentious,” he admits, “it makes the music more sort of dexterous, it’s something you can touch, and feel. So when you listen to it you kind of get a different appreciation for it.” As well as spending his university years partying, then, the rest of the time Patrick was trawling record shops around Oxford for hidden gems. “There was a store called Truck, which in my last year I was going to quite a bit. But then as a uni student you can’t really afford records that much either.”
Of course, Dirk has been confined to browsing Discogs during the last few months of the pandemic, further bringing to light what’s so special about the real record store ritual. “There’s sort of like the community around records, you know? You like go to like a record shop, and you talk to someone and say aahhh I’m into X artist at the moment, and they’ll find you something, as opposed to, you know just like doing it online. So you’re kind of more in tune with like the whole process.” He finds some of the best records looking through the bargain bins. “Sometimes there’s some really random stuff in there that’s actually, some quite good stuff!” As stores begin to open up again, Patrick’s words ring true since we’re start to welcome our first handful of friends into Let It Roll Records ourselves. Locals are popping in and out again; the coffee machine’s cranked back into gear; beers are flowing in the garden; and the curious neighbours are poking their heads round the door as we at Bleached take over the soundsystem every other Monday.
Dirk’s style varies, and with his talents being borne out of the intimate Oxford parties, he knows how to orchestrate a good time. “It’s so fun being the guy, the like, main catalyst for the party,” he laughs. His selections fluctuate between darker rave-ready techno and danceable juicy house melodies, the products of his many pre-pandemic crate-digging ventures, as well as journeys down the deep rabbit holes of YouTube and Discogs. But importantly, Dirk has an invaluable ability to create an atmosphere. “Starting out, you’ve gotta appease the crowd,” he tells me. “At a party you’re playing for the party. Some of the top famous DJs have the freedom to play whatever they want. But you can’t be that guy playing, I dunno, ambient bird noises if no one knows you,” he laughs. “If someone like Four Tet did that it might pass, but…!”
Instead, Patrick has a more flexible approach, taking the audience on a bumpy ride on Dirk Diggler’s party bus, a journey mutually informed by his diverse record collection and the particular energy of the night’s passengers. “I’ll put like, 40 songs in a playlist or something, then I’ll just like, whatever’s right at that time, I’ll like chuck it on.” It’s unpredictable, fun, and as a result nothing is off-limits.
Of course, during the pandemic, Dirk has only been able to play a small handful of live events. His appearance with us will be his first in a while, and he’s been dusting off his records to prepare us a special guest mix ahead of his live set. We can expect some darker techno selections in the mix, so keep your eyes and ears open for its release this week via our Soundcloud. Now based back in London, Diggler is experimenting with different genres, and intends to branch out this summer. “I think when things open up I’ll push the boat out, and see what I can do,” he says. “Mosca, just like released some really good club heavy stuff. So I’d like to like see some of those played out this summer.”
We at Bleached also have special treats in the works. We are pleased to now be Twitch affiliates, which means our paying Twitch members will have access to exclusive content whilst directly helping Bleached and our projects. Don’t worry, there’s no price for the stream (you freeloaders are forever welcome<333). But if you like what we’re doing, drop us some coinz on Twitch, where Mr Diggler will be right at home, preparing a live, all vinyl set for us from the comfort of Kentish Town’s own record collection, Let It Roll, on Monday 10th May 21:00 BST (event starts 19:00).