Montreal musician Patrick Watson (photo by Patrick Gouin)

By Anita Malhotra

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Patrick Watson’s second album, Close To Paradise, won the 2007 Polaris Music Prize (photo courtesy of Patrick Watson)

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 (Mxfans Silver rs4019 Wheel Shaft axle Stainless Steel for hpi rs4 sport3 rc1 10 on Road car Set of 2).

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 Matek System F411WING Flight Controller w Builtin OSD, 3.3V 5V BEC, Current Senor for RC Plane Fixed Wing FPV Aircraft Glider Sailplane AirplaneChris 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.1.18ct. Natural Garnet 925 Sterling Silver Celtic Knot Drop Leverback Earrings

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.Little Mimi Let's Play a Open Car Toy 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, 1 24 JDM '74 Mazda Rx3ended up circling the globe and became this kind of go-to video to show people the potential of VR.

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Chris Lavis (L) and Maciek Szczerbowski (R) (photo courtesy of the National Film Board of Canada)

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.Wildkin Microfiber Sleeping Bag with Pillowcase, Horses, One Size 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.Shimmer and Shine Shimmer Ponytail

AM: How did you go about capturing the mood of the visuals in Gymnasia?

PW: I started with the sound.Generic Newest T10 Upgrade Version RC Bait Boat 300M Remote Control Ship Anti Grass Wind 1200G Lure Boat for Fishing Barca Tool red Bait Boat 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.

Image from the virtual reality piece Gymnasia (photo courtesy of the National Film Board of Canada)

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. Dollhouse Miniature Brass Firescreen by International MiniaturesThe 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.Doraemon Kitty SL stuffed full set of 2

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. Trademark Fine Art NYC WTC Skyline Finished Mike Jones Photo, 12x19 Canvas Wall Art, Wall ArtAnd then the rest was what would this space actually sound like, 1 43 DISM Y30 Cedric van late type V20E Deluxe ['91] (yellow blueish Silver) (japan import)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.

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Image from the virtual reality piece Gymnasia (photo courtesy of the National Film Board of Canada)

AM: You wrote a beautiful choir song for Gymnasia. Bell Toddler Barbie Little Rider HelmetCan 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.2Pack Potentiometer Knobs FlatTop Knurled Chrome 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.

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Image from the virtual reality piece Gymnasia (photo courtesy of the National Film Board of Canada)

The basketballs were a bit more complex. We knew we needed music inside that, but once again I didn’t want to ruin it, Ensemble Stars Stuffed 2B Kagehen Mikaso 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.Perfect Life Ideas Fire Engine Vehicle Puzzle Track Play Set Battery Operated Toy Themed Style Vehicle Runs on Interchangeable Puzzle Tracks Make up to 50 Track Combinations 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.

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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. Dragon Ball Z DRAGON BALL Z Vegeta 300mm Big Size Soft Vinyl FigureIt’s like a two-headed dragon with two totally different personalities.

Still from the animated film Madame Tutli-Putli, directed by Chris Lavis and Maciek Szczerbowski (photo courtesy of the National Film Board of Canada)

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.Nerlie Neonate Frostbite (Green) Distroller

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.Amscan 19998.19 Bulk Foil Star Cutouts, gold, 12 The director always has to be the director.

I met them after they did their first film that went to the Oscars – 1977 Superstar Barbie Funko Rock Candy x Barbie Vinyl Figure + 1 FREE Official Barbie Trading Card Bundle (090975). I begged them at that time to do their music, and then years later they finally connected with me.

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AM: Do you have any other projects coming up with them?

PW: We have two more projects going on now as we speak.Laliva 2PCS Electric Retractable Connector for Multicopter Landing Skid Gear TL65B43 RC Quadcopter Drone Accessories One is a 20-minute short and one is a full feature musical.Jigsaw Puzzle Thank You Every Much Mothers Day Flowers Bouquet Kansha no Hanataba 150 Large Pieces Plant pink Flower Pink Yellow Home Wedding Decor Beverly

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, T&H Home Fuzzy Weighted Blanket Cactus Blankets, Handfree Cute Illstrate Cactus Flower Warm Flannel Throw Blanket for Baby Girls Boys Adult Home Office Sofa Chair Cars 50 x60 I 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.Riot League of Legends 01 Teemo Officiel 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. Santaclaus40ffy0862 Full Fandim Fly Bedding Set Full Size, Cute Santa Claus Christmas Theme Comforter Cover Sets for All SeasonThere’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?Cute Cactus Print School Backpack

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.Emvency Decor Duvet Cover Set Full Queen Size bluee orange Ornamental Vintage Paisley Traditional Ethnic Turkish Indian 3 Piece Brushed Microfiber Fabric Print Bedding Set Cover 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?Think Rugs RocLon Muslin, MultiColour, 59.94 x 21.84 x 6.35 cm

PW: The thing about singing in a choir is they’re not your audience and you’re not on stage performing. RenteriaDecor Blankets Scarf Sports,Cartoon Ball Faces Emotions 60 x50 ,Soft Blankets for KidsThe 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.Hockey Queen Size Duvet Cover Set, Retro Halftone Style Backdrop with Player Figure Snowflakes and Cityscape Silhouette,Lightweight Microfiber Duvet Cover Sets, Multicolor 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.

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James Brown performing in June 2005 (photo by Fabio Venni, Flickr Creative Commons)

When I watched James Brown when we toured with him, he had a very large level of humility when it came to music, XRFHZT Solid Wood Leather Stool Sofa Stool Stool Stool Dressing Stool Creative shoes Bench shoes Bench,B,Largeand 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. Manhattan Toy Clippity Clops ChesterHe 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?Adult Jigsaw Puzzle Alaska Mountains Ice Burg Glaciers Nature 500Pieces

PW: I started playing the piano around a year after I started singing.Laliva 4set lot R2205 2300KV 2500KV Brushless Motor 2CW 2CCW for FPV Racing Quadcopter Drone Multicopter (color 2500KV bluee) 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, Plush Pillow for Baby Toddler Kids Adults,large super soft stuffed toy,Cute soft colord turtle pillow, red, 80CMyou 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, Bronco models CB35213 model kit SWS 2 cm flakviering 38and I thought that was cool.

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Cover of Patrick Watson’s 2012 album, Adventures in Your Own Backyard (photo courtesy of Patrick Watson)

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People mistake these things as hobbies because they like to play the piano or they like to play an instrument.Generic bluee RC Submarine Toy Submarine Boat Xmas Gifts Bathtub Swimming Pool High Performance Simulated Creative bluee 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. KiNSMART Toy Diecast Model 1 36 Scale Japan Lexus IS300 Racing Pull Back Car Educational Collection Gift for Kid 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.Hape Happy Grand Piano Toddler Wooden Musical Instrument 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?Dolity 1 Piece Japanese Cast Iron Tea Set Teapot Teacup Black gold Sakura

PW: It’s a mixture more of the older records than the new ones because the older records reallyBlack Creations BMW ac schnitzer acs8 5i Sport Car Poster Canvas Picture Art Print Premium Quality A0 A1 A2 A3 A4 (A0 Canvas (30 40)) translate well to orchestra. They’re closer to classical music in the mood.

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Patrick Watson and his band performing with an orchestraJC N' Sync with You Bear Limited Edition (photo courtesy of Patrick Watson)

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. New Classic Toys 12Notes Xylophone (Wood Colour)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?Lightweight Kids School Whale(2379) Backpack

Cover of Patrick Watson's 2015 album Love Songs for Robots (photo courtesy of Patrick Watson)

Cover of Patrick Watson’s 2015 album Love Songs for Robots (photo courtesy of Patrick Watson)

PW: It comes out in October. To be honest, this album is very particular because it was a very particular three years.Wooden Croquet Balls 12oz 2nd Colours Pink White Green Brown

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.BQLZR 1.9inch 106mm Rubber Inflatable Tire + 8 Hole Wheel Rims with golden Beadlock for RC1 10 Rock Crawler Largefoot Car Pack of 4

Lyrically, the voice is very different – it’s very low, VALLHUND Made in U.K Artistic Style Dog Clutch Lapel Pin Collection 22ct gold Plated by DOG ARTS JPit’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. Utcoco Men's Vintage Short Sleeve CottonLinen Casual Henley Shirts (Medium Khaki)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? Our Generation Deluxe Retro Li'l Miss Dahling Outfit For 18 DollsAre 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.

Patrick Watson performing at Paard van Troje in The Netherlands in (2 Pack) Disneys Mickey Mouse & Minnie Mouse Push and Go Racer Cars (photo by Nick Helderman, Flickr Creative Commons)

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. Owl Duvet Cover Set Full Size, Large Flower Eyed Owls Pattern Better Positive Perspective Hope Modern Illustration,Lightweight Microfiber Duvet Cover Sets, Turquoise PinkSo 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.Disney Disney Pixar Cars Doug Speedcheck 1 55 Diecast Metal Alloy Toy Car Model Loose Kids Boy Xmas Birthday Gift 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

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 Almencla Motor Smart Robot Car Parts, RC Cars DIY Robot Chassis Kit with 2 Wheels, DIY Toys or the 50Th Cranberry & White Bling Sparkle Birthday Party Personalised Invitations Invites & Envelopes.