Four years ago, Patrick Topping was just another dude from England wandering the South Beach strip, hopping from party to party, getting his mind totally blown by Miami Music Week, Winter Music Conference, and the hundreds of satellite parties around the city.
This year, he's back to play Ultra Music Festival this Saturday on the Resistance Stage alongside some of the most respected names in the deep-house and tech-house movements.
"I've been playing quite a lot of festivals, but Ultra is one of the ones I've been really dying to get on," he says. "[Ultra] always gets the biggest artists. It turns people's heads to be on that lineup. Also, I've seen the stage I'm playing on, and it's really cool."
The Resistance Stage returns for its second year at UMF, but this year, it's even bigger and badder than before. A creation of the Arcadia Spectacular art collective, the Resistance Stage is a giant, fire-spitting spider made from recycled scrap metal that spins at the center and is absolutely, totally bonkers. Topping saw it last year when he performed at Glastonbury Festival but unfortunately ended up playing at a less-impressive-looking stage. When he learned he'd be spinning in the Spider at Ultra, it threw him over the top.
"It's amazing," he says. "It's probably the best DJ room I've ever seen. It's so cool."
Clearly, Topping is no stranger to fast success. He's been a working DJ for less than five years, yet he's already performing among masters at one of the biggest music festivals — EDM or otherwise — in the world and has also become a frequent collaborator with one of his favorite producers of all time, the legendary Green Velvet.
"You can learn loads off him," Topping says. "It's a bit surreal still to be doing stuff with him."
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Topping sees this trip to Miami as another opportunity to meet with his most esteemed peers and perhaps begin new creative and collaborative relationships. That's what Miami Music Week and its parties have come to represent for the DJ community at large.
"Last year, I ended up spending a lot of time with Skream and Eats Everything," he says. "That was the first time we ever got to hang out really, and from there we started playing back-to-back together loads. I think, in Miami, everyone knows it's going to be a big one and hopes to socialize."
If Topping's track record is any insight into the future, wild collaborations are yet to come.
Patrick Topping 2:30 p.m. Saturday, March 19, at Ultra Music Festival, 301 Biscayne Blvd., Miami. Tickets cost $324.95 to $1,249.95 plus fees via ultramusicfestival.com.