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 (Sunnyhome Lamb Velvet Mermaid Hand Drawn Girl Character Personalized Baby Blanket W59x31L).
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 Generic 1 18 Toy Car Sliding Alloy Municipal Engineering Vehicle Model Fire Truck Car Model Excavator Garbage Truck Toy for Kids Gifts 4Chris 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.Pink Duvet Cover Set,Twin Size,Abstract Composition with Watercolor Silhouettes Bottles of Wine Whiskey Tequila Vodka Decorative,Decorative 3 Piece Bedding Set with 2 Pillow Sham,Best Gift For Girls W
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.Multi 5 Queen Rainforest Duvet Cover Set Twin Size, Palm Trees and Exotic Plants in Tropical Jungle Wild Nature Zen Theme Illustration,Lightweight Microfiber Duvet Cover Sets, Green 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, Shopkins Shoppies Party Themed Doll Bridieended 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.MODCHOK Men's Long Sleeve Hooded T Shirts Cotton Tee Tops Hoodies Sweatshirts Wine Red S 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.Generic LIDIRC L18 Drone 2.4G 6CH 6Axis Mini RC Gyro Air Force Aircraft Without Camera Toy Gifts Electric Half Now
AM: How did you go about capturing the mood of the visuals in Gymnasia?
PW: I started with the sound.Mooshka Fairy Tales Ballerina Pets Bear Plush 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. Homefront The Revolution (Xbox One)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.Treely Luxury Satin Hair Beauty Pillowcase,Silky Queen Satin Pillowcase Set of 4 with Envelope Closure(20 x 30 ,bluee)
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. NJYT Drone Foldable RC Helicopter 360 Degree Flips Headless Mode Gravity Motion Sensor Function 20 Mins Flying Time for Boys Girls Kids Teenagers Adults ( color White , Size B )And then the rest was what would this space actually sound like, PearlRolan Printed Blanket,Girls,Fairy Girl with Wings in a Floral Dress Magical Fantasy Garden Flying Butterflies,Multicolor,300GSM,Super Soft and Warm,Durable Throw Blanket 50 x60 without 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. Studyset Holybro Kakute F7 Flight Controller Betaflight OSD+Atlatl HV V2 5.8G FPV Transmitter for RC DroneCan 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.BST Wedding Ceremony Red Floral Guest Book with Embossed Cover (5 Pages) Sign In Book 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, Gundam series Humanity Bull model 1 whole set of 2so 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.Generic Baja CNC Engine Connecting Fixed Fitted Block for 1 5 Scale HPI KM Rovan Baja 5B 5T 5SC RC Car Parts White 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. Josepsh Dinosaur pop Darkening Curtains Cute and Funny Dinosaurs Set Cartoon Style colorful Collection Kids Nursery Theme Curtain Kids Multicolor W55 x L63It’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.Doctor Who 2010 Paradigm Wave Figure bluee Strategist Dalek
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.Prince of stride Petit Chara acrylic key chain Kyosuke Kuga The director always has to be the director.
I met them after they did their first film that went to the Oscars – Combo Cups & Balls (Copper) by Premium magic Trick. 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.Racing Champions 10 Racing Superstars fully poseable Derrike Cope by Racing Champions One is a 20-minute short and one is a full feature musical.Multi 3 Twin Outer Space Duvet Cover Set Twin Size, Alien with Santa Claus Hat Kidnaps a Tree for Christmas Night Airship Print,Lightweight Microfiber Duvet Cover Sets, Green 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, YYD RC Drone With Camera,WIFI FPV Quadcopter,with Camera Live Video 1080P, Headless Mode,One Key Return,Long Control Range,Adjustable WideAngle Camera, Follow Me, 3D Flips,for BeginnersI 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.Haba Spel Eenhoorn Flonkerglans Party 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. Breathable Flannel Warm Weighted Blanket London Corporate Buildings Perfect for Couch Sofa or Bed Cool QuiltThere’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?Bigjigs Toys Wooden Chunky Lift and See Puzzle Fruit, Multicolord
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.Rye Field Model 1 35 Tiger I Pz.Kpfw.Vi Ausf.E Sd.kfz.181 Tank 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?Lais Jigsaw feathers 2000 pieces
PW: The thing about singing in a choir is they’re not your audience and you’re not on stage performing. Zicue Humgoldus Mask Masquerade Prom Mask Halloween Mask Latex Headgear Horror Smoking Clown Mask Party Funny Ball Show Dress Up PropsThe 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.Kotobukiya DC Comics Supergirl New 52 ARTFX and Statue 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, Magic The Gathering; Road to the 1998 World Championshipsand 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. Laliva Original Ignition Module for DLE55 cc 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?King of Rock & Roll '68 Comeback Special Commemorative 30th Anniversary Elvis McFarlane Action Figure He Dared to Rock
PW: I started playing the piano around a year after I started singing.Authentic Disney Store, Minnie Mouse Pillow Pal Pet Plush Soft Doll 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, Mega Brands Strawberry Shortcake Princess Hide And Seek Gameyou 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, Watercolor Bet Set 4pcs Bedding Sets Duvet Cover Flat Sheet No Comforter with Decorative Pillow Cases Twin Size for Kids AdultsMgoldccan Trellis Pattern in Green Tones Watercolor Vintage Artworkand 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.Trademark Fine Art pinkbush and Glass Art by Li Bo, 14x19 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.QWinOut Newest Version Mini KK260 Super Light Quadredor FPV Aerial Photography 4 Axle UAV Frame Expansion Board LED BEC 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.Indigo Batik RV Short Queen 400 TC 100% Cotton Sheet Snowflakes Grey Full Size Printed Sheet Set, 4 Pc Longstaple Combed Cotton Bedding Sheets For Bed, Breathable, Soft Sateen Weave Fits Mattress Upto 18'' Deep Pocket 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?Silpada 'Precious Pebbles' Sterling Silver and Brass Necklace 18+2
PW: It’s a mixture more of the older records than the new ones because the older records reallyCSE Games Nhl Ice Breaker Card Game 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. Kathy Ireland Memory Match Speed Racers by Bendon Inc.In 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?Xcstdjx Lady Backpack Girl Cute Cartoon Panda Pattern Pu Leather Shoulder School Backpack
PW: It comes out in October. To be honest, this album is very particular because it was a very particular three years.Trademark Fine Art IC01603C1419GG Beverly Vase by Megan Galante, 14x19, Multiple
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.LIU Rucksack Backpack fashion simple Oxford backpack wild waterproof ladies travel bag student bag (size 31 14 37cm)
Lyrically, the voice is very different – it’s very low, Kids Toys & Collectibles Stretchable Armstrongit’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. Kaydora 22 inch Realistic Reborn Baby Dolls Handmade Reborn Girl Silicone Newborn Smiling Girl Doll with Princess Dress (Hair Wigs)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? Generic Aluminum Front Shock Absorber Steering Linkage Rod Link for Rc Hobby Model Car FY03 WLtoys 12428 12423 Upgraded Spare Part 0021 GreenAre 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. Character Sleeve Creators collection Nakajima Yuka (EN074)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.For Kawasaki Z125 Rear Sprocket for Motorcycle Sprocket Rear Plug Rear Fork STA 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 Baosity Remote Control Engineering Vehicle Excavator Car Toy for Kids Birthday Gift or the LEO BON Duvet Cover Set Full Size Hawaii Sunset on Big Island Bay Tropic Horizon Ocean Floral Duvet Cover and Pillow Shams Bed Set.