By Anita Malhotra
Releasing his first album in 2003, Watson won the Polaris Music Prize in 2007 for his second album, Close to Paradise, and went on to release Wooden Arms (2009), Adventures in Your Own Backyard (2012) and Love Songs for Robots (Multi 19 Full Queen Emvency Decor Duvet Cover Set Full Queen Size bluee Dog French Bulldog Sleeping Universe Brown Animal Asleep Baby Breed Circle 3 Piece Brushed Microfiber Fabric Print Bedding Set Cover).
Several of his songs have been featured in movies as well as in TV shows like Grey’s Anatomy, The Walking Dead, and Orange is the New Black.
Watson is also a soundtrack composer and recently created the sound and music for Gymnasia, a haunting virtual reality piece co-produced by the National Film Board and Felix & Paul Studios, and directed by animators Marvel Universe SHEHULK 10 Action Figure (japan import)Chris Lavis and Maciek Szczerbowski (aka Clyde Henry Productions).
Anita Malhotra spoke with Patrick Watson by phone on June 11, 2019 about his work on Gymnasia, his approach to music and his current projects.Games Workshop Warhammer 40,000 Tooth and Claw
AM: How did you get involved with doing the music and sound for Gymnasia?
PW: Chris and Maciek work for Clyde Henry Productions and I usually do all the music for their films. We got involved in VR because Felix & Paul Studios had asked Chris and Maciek to test out a camera of theirs – to do a little short.
We did this very humble video of me playing in my studio. In the initial test they noticed that a certain type of simplicity was really crucial. The whole thing is meant to feel like you’re sitting there, and at one point I look at you.BBTAY Ladies Long Fashion Big Wave Wig Soft and High Temperature Resistant Synthetic Middle Curly Hair Wig Cap,A,60CM If it’s done well, the effect of being alone with someone in VR is a strange experience, even before you start adding any kind of fancy stuff.
A lot of the other VR projects were more geared towards being kind of fancy, like you’re in a weird world on a roller coaster. Because this one was so simple, it seemed to have had a large effect on people. So that demo we made, Strangers, Multi 5 King Size Beauty Decor Floral Duvet Cover Set Japanese Sakura Flowers Blossoms Eastern Spring Nature Theme Illustration 3 Piece Decorative Bedding Sets with 2 Pillow Shams Twin Size, Pale Pink Baby Pinkended up circling the globe and became this kind of go-to video to show people the potential of VR.
Because of that, Felix & Paul asked us to do another one together. So Chris and Maciek decided to make something that was a bit of a childhood dream. It’s still not trying to sell the viewer with too much info.Primerry Mermaid Fish Tail Wool Knitted Sofa Blanket Crochet Quilt, 180X90cm (bluee Christmas Tree) The space is really well made and you really feel like you’re sitting there. There are not too many bells and whistles.
We made a plot line that was very surreal and not trying to be a giant narration. I feel like it’s a very good approach for VR, because I feel like VR is closer to photo than film.INJORA 2.2 Inch Tyre Set 4Pcs Beadlock Wheel Rim & Rubber Tires for 1 10 RC Rock Crawler Axial SCX10 90046 90060 RR10 AX10 Wraith 90056 (Grey)
AM: How did you go about capturing the mood of the visuals in Gymnasia?
PW: I started with the sound.Gashapon Sailor Moon Stick and Rod 4 Set I think it’s crucially VR sound first, and music only if you need it. Because unless the music is integrated in the space, it tells your brain you’re not there.
VR doesn’t work the same as film, because when you watch a film you’ve already decided that you’re going to lose yourself in the environment. But with VR you’re supposed to be there.
So VR music is very tricky actually. Dolls Arias Doll Elegance, Multicoloured (60219)The sound really decides the tone more than the music. My approach with music is, “This is the place that, if I put music there, it’s not going to ruin it.” It’s not how do I make it better; it’s how do I not ruin it.Multi 2 King BULING Cartoon 4pc Bedding Set Twin Size, Cute Raccoon Meditating on bluee Meadow Spring Flowers Graphic Art Floral Lightweight Microfiber Duvet Cover Set, Turquoise Brown Dark Green
So I initially approached from the sound point of view. And the sound point of view is to give it that kind of abandoned feeling without being too scary. Allegro Huyer Sword Art Online Figure brinquedos figma 241 Sinon Asada sao 2 PVC Action Figure juguetes Collection Model Kids Toys 15cm (Without Box)And then the rest was what would this space actually sound like, Duvet Cover Set Full Size Snow Covered Path in The Misty Winter Forest Picture Lightweight Microfiber Duvet Cover Setswithout trying to colour it too much. That’s actually very tricky.
Ambience is very complicated in VR because when you’re in a room your ears tell you how big the room is – not your eyes. Proximity effect in VR is super sensitive.
AM: You wrote a beautiful choir song for Gymnasia. Star Wars K2SO 16Inch SuperDeformed PlushCan you tell me a bit about that?
PW: The song is integrated into the space. We wanted a haunting lullaby for children. That kind of stuff is easy to write because I’ve got kids.Squishmallow Kellytoy 12 Lola The Pink Purple TieDye Unicorn Super Soft Plush Toy Pillow Pet Animal Pillow Pal Buddy Stuffed Animal Birthday Gift Holiday It’s an easy universe to get into. That’s why a little more of my energy was put to the spatialization, because the music was very obvious.
The basketballs were a bit more complex. We knew we needed music inside that, but once again I didn’t want to ruin it, XTD Flysky FSi6X 10CH 2.4GHz AFHDS 2A RC Transmitter with FSiA6B Receiver Remote Control for RC Airplane Car Boatso we started off with sound.
We actually put a mike in the gym and gave 20 people basketballs and played out the actual scene with the spatialization.Idea Max PeekAPet Bobble Heads Teachers Pet Labrador Retriever (Mug) It would sound so fake if you tried to redo it yourself any other way.
And then, from there, I just accentuated music. The music is actually integrated inside the project not as music, but more as sound design. When I threw the strings in the back to give it a little bit of a dramatic tone, it wasn’t too jarring. And all the weird synth modular stuff that I put in there is pretty wild and integrates very nicely.
AM: What is it like to work with Chris and Maciek?
PW: There’s nothing more fun than working with Chris and Maciek. They’re like a dream. Both of them are really talented in very different ways. OMAX 50X1500X Metallurgical Infinity Polarizing Darkfield Microscope with 14MP USB CameraIt’s like a two-headed dragon with two totally different personalities.
We talk a lot about the projects way before we start making them and we have a pretty respectful relationship in terms trusting each other’s instincts.LEO BON Duvet Cover Set Twin Size Simplicity Gradient color Floral Duvet Cover and Pillow Shams Bed Set
If something passes our three different kinds of filters, generally it’s got to be something very good. At the same time I know it’s their film.Shaun the Sheep Heatable 17 Soft Toy The director always has to be the director.
I met them after they did their first film that went to the Oscars – Generic PDB 5 in 1 Power Distribution Board BEC5V 12V Adjustable 3A LED Lighting Control Tracker Low Voltage Alarm LED Power HUB. I begged them at that time to do their music, and then years later they finally connected with me.
AM: Do you have any other projects coming up with them?
PW: We have two more projects going on now as we speak.LLKOZZ Dragon Ball Anime Statue Black Hair Goku Toy Model PVC Desktop Decoration Collectibles Birthday Gift 7.1in Toy One is a 20-minute short and one is a full feature musical.Generic 1 18 Remote Control Transformer Gesture Sensing rc Car Transformation Robots Models Collision Manual Deformation RC Car Gift Toy bluee
AM: When do you like to write your music and do you have an ideal place to write it?
PW: I go to work every day and write every day. When I travel, Red jigang RC Rock Crawler 1 10 Car Body Shell Frame Hard Plastic Bodies Case For Axial SCX10 RC4WD D90 Wheelbase 313mm DIY Car PartsI write too, and sometimes it’s really fun being in different spots – having that luxury – because I have kids and stuff.
The only thing I worry about is to write and write well. It’s just like a muscle. It’s not a God-given gift that you’re creative.HY80135 1 35 Sturmpanzer IV Early w Interior Some people naturally have more of a creative inclination than others, but the only reason they’re so gifted is that they worked like a monster on it and are constantly flexing that muscle.
Every day I’m flexing that muscle. There’s always something to write, there’s always something to learn, and there’s always work to be done. Safari Ltd Safari Farm Holstein Cow by Safari Ltd.There’s no real excuse not to. I mean, there are millions of people who would love to have my job. If you’re in music or the arts, you can never take that for granted – you can never get lazy.
AM: What are your first memories of being involved in music?New Transformers Decepticons Dark Steel (japan import)
PW: I grew up singing in a choir at a pretty young age. I grew up in a really small town. There were no cool bands.Music Box Wooden Phonograph Music Box Creative Decoration Holiday Gift From a very young age I sang at funerals and weddings, and big moments in people’s lives.
I am proud to make music for these kinds of moments in people’s lives and I probably still do that, but in a habitual form.
AM: What was your connection with the audience like when you were younger?Lightweight Travel School Backpack Galaxy For Girls Teens Kids
PW: The thing about singing in a choir is they’re not your audience and you’re not on stage performing. Grey Winter Quilt Concrete Room with a Hole in The Wall and Exit to Freedom Escape Destruction Theme Soft Blanket Microfiber Grey Green W59 x L31The music is the performer and you are part of the instruments. It’s a very different perspective than someone going on stage and singing a song about themselves.
I still keep that kind of intention when I get on stage.BLOIBFS SpiderMan Cosplay Costume Fancy Dress Men Fancy Dress For Boy Cosplay Costume For Kids Removable Mask Halloween Clothes Props Printing Spider Pattern Birthday,AdultRedM I generally like the idea of letting music do what it does best. I find music more interesting than me, to be honest. Of course I’m part of the process, but a very humbling part.
When I watched James Brown when we toured with him, he had a very large level of humility when it came to music, Pokemon Sleeping Absol Plush Sleepy Ver. from Japanand he would do giant prayers before getting on stage.
He seemed like the most pompous person in the world from his interviews, but when he got on stage he was actually very humble. LRP Electronics 80960 Flow Competition Brushless Speed Control EngineHe knew how to listen to the room and the music and not to himself. He was basically a slave to the room and the sound and the vibe.
AM: What were your early experiences with the piano?CollectiblesBuy Maritime Brass Antique Double Barrel Designer Telescope with Wooden Tripod Floor Standing Telescopic tripods
PW: I started playing the piano around a year after I started singing.Super Hero Adventure Jet Boat Hulk Figures I would go home and play the piano all night long until 2 or 3 o’clock in the morning at a very young age. I would just improvise. I loved that process.
AM: Can you describe your relationship with the piano?
PW: It was kind of interesting how I looked at the piano. I guess as a kid I thought the piano was a ghost. He would just do all the work for me and I would just hang out with him. I didn’t grow up in a city – I grew up in a pretty small town, Hero Arts Decorative J Upper Alpha Woodblock Stampyou know. You get pretty romantic ideas in a very small town, so I didn’t know much better. I guess the piano was just like the ghost and then he wrote music for me, Generic 1 32 Diecast Car Model Toys Chevrolet Camaro Stretch Limousine Pull Back w Sound & Light blueeand I thought that was cool.
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People mistake these things as hobbies because they like to play the piano or they like to play an instrument.Leapfrog Counting Candles Birthday Cake I don’t think anybody plays four or five hours in the middle of the night unless they need it to try and get through whatever they’ve got to do.
When schools teach creativity, they teach it as people drawing flowers.BlountDecor Curtain for outdoorAntiWater W63 x L63(160cm x 175cm) Black and White,Jigsaw Puzzle Game But creativity for me is more of a survival tool. For me, creativity is taught wrong from the get-go and not helpful for people.
Creativity is absolutely the most primal and most important survival tool you could have. I feel the people I’ve met who are really creative it’s generally a survival instinct.Cushion Natural Ver. Senior idle Tsu Princesama song It’s because they couldn’t cope and they just had to build worlds to cope.
AM: You have a concert coming up in Lyon with the Orchestre National de Lyon. What music will you be doing at that concert?Black Creations Detail of Dancig Girl Gustav Kimt 190911 p1 Poster Canvas Picture Art Print Premium Quality A0 A1 A2 A3 A4 (A0 Canvas (30 40))
PW: It’s a mixture more of the older records than the new ones because the older records reallyDora the Explorer 10 Pack color Pencils by National Design translate well to orchestra. They’re closer to classical music in the mood.
AM: How is playing with an orchestra different from playing just with your band?
PW: Playing with an orchestra is the best. Nothing beats it. It’s totally overwhelming. It’s also very technical difficult, but it’s amazing. Super Mario Large Maze Puzzles GameIn classical music the downbeats are different because the conductor goes down and everybody reacts, so there’s flab to the “one.” In pop music the “one” is very, very definite.
AM: When is your next album coming out and what is it like?Llama Sailor Alpaca 7 Prime Plush (Purple) by yesanime
PW: It comes out in October. To be honest, this album is very particular because it was a very particular three years.Generic 2018 GPS Tracking Surround Folding Drone 1000M 20Mins Brushless Gesture Aerial Shot 1080P HD Camera WiFi FPV RC Quadcopter Receive Bag
At one point I thought there was going to be a lot of production, but when I started the record, I started to make something as bare as possible and very intimate. Just kind of really sincere. I also wanted songs so strong and well-written that the production wouldn’t save them. I could do them upside-down and they would still work.LORVIES Hand Drawn Jewelry with Bows and Hearts Duvet Cover Sets Decorative 3 Piece Bedding Sets with Pillow Shams for Men Women Boys Girls Kids Teens
Lyrically, the voice is very different – it’s very low, Lanka Kade NJ65 Dinosaur 110 Jigsaw Puzzleit’s not oversung. The lyrics have a much bigger place than normal than the other records.
It was just such a particular three years. My life fell apart so I had to rebuild everything over three years. Adam The Doodles Man by Design Ideas [Toy]So the album’s obviously a lot about that, whether I like it or not. It’s hard for it not to be when you’re going through that process.
AM: Aside from the Lyon concert, what are you doing now? 3 Pcs Set 2.4MM 316L Stainless Steel BeadChain NecklacegoldBlackSilver1826 inchAre you working on your next album?
PW: I had started to work on it, but then I got a contract. I’m doing the music for the play Elephant Man in Paris. I will be writing the music during the summer.
AM: Aside from music and your family, do you have any other major interests?
PW: Reading is becoming a huge part of my life. I’ve been a terrible reader since I was a kid. It would take me a year to read a book. Pink Duvet Cover Set,Queen Size,Polar Bear with Christmas Hat and Scarf Ice Skating Ornate Snowflakes and Swirls Decorative,Decorative 3 Piece Bedding Set with 2 Pillow Sham,Best Gift For Girls Women,So I just never had that much access to literature because of that. And now I’m spending all my time catching up on everything I should have read 20 years ago.
Right now I’m reading The Lover by Marguerite Duras and Good Morning, Midnight by Jean Rhys. I try to read a book a week.100% 5D DIY Diamond Painting owl 3D face Paint Diamond Full Round Diamant Painting Embroidery Animal Decoration,50x70cm The last book I read was amazing – Franny and Zooey by J. D. Salinger and it was so good!
Patrick Watson will perform with the Orchestre National de Lyon at the Théâtre Antique de Lyon on July 8, 2019. For more information about Patrick Watson, visit patrickwatson.net.
Gymnasia can be viewed at the Phi Centre in Montreal until Sept. 15, 2019 as part of the immersive art exhibit HUM(AI)N. It can also be downloaded as an app from the Oculus Store. For more information on Gymnasia, visit Super Modern Unisex High Capacity School Backpack Waterproof Camouflage Hiking Rucksack AK6001 20L or the ViewMaster Kennedy Space Centre 3 Reels on Card NEW by 3Dstereo ViewMaster.