Montreal musician Patrick Watson (photo by Patrick Gouin)

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 (Christmas,Blankets Santa in Red Vintage Truck with Fun Cartoon Xmas Tree and colorful Fairy Art Print Comfortable and Warm Beach Blanket 70 x50 ).

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 LIULAOHAN Wooden building model living room DIY handassembled creative toy ornamentsChris 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.Watchover Voodoo The Smiler Voodoo Novelty by Watchover Voodoo

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.Forum Novelties Inc 19366 Cupid Bow And Arrow Set 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, Barbie Pretty Treausres 1995 Horse Care Setended 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.Return to the Future World's Smallest 1000 Piece Airport is also the day the TW1000811 (japan import) 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.Hexiansheng Multicolor Mahjongg Mind Game Acrylic Material Mind Games Leisure Time Travel Game Set 26mm 144 Tiles Pink Or Green Or bluee Or Purple ( color Green )

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

PW: I started with the sound.Komonee golden Bloody Skull Adult Costume Halloween Mask (Pack Of 25) (HM14) 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. Hometown Basics Sports Ladder Toss GameThe 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.Car + pink balloon bottle + pad 3 Car model car decoration car decoration Car + white diamond balloon + pad 1

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. BARBIE Stylin' 6's Card Game (The Barbie CRAZY 8'S Card Game)And then the rest was what would this space actually sound like, Miniland Chains, 120Units Per Canister (Discontinued by Manufacturer)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. Trademark Fine Art The Beauty of Emptiness by Stefano Scappazzoni, 12x19Can 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.OS Engine 23873000 Flex Shaft .21 XM by OS Engine 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, SYFO Toy Figurine Toy Model Movie Character Souvenir Crafts Birthday Gift 15.5cm Doll Doll Anime modelso 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.Orlob Men's Jacket Pirate De Luxe, Black 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. KLEDDP Toy Model Anime Character One Piece Decoration Souvenir Collectibles Crafts Gifts Lu Fei Modeling King On The Battle Of 14cm Toy statueIt’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.FUJ48003 1 48 Fujimi Bf 109G14 AS Peterle MODEL KIT

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.CAYYOU DIY Digital Painting By Numbers The Dove Angel Oil Painting Mural Kits coloring Wall Art Picture Gift Framed 50x60cm The director always has to be the director.

I met them after they did their first film that went to the Oscars – Kotobukiya Frame Arms 030 1 100 NSGZO K DURUGA 2 RE Plastic Kit. 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.EBBRO 1 43 Lotus Elan S1TYPE 26 White (resin model) (japan import) One is a 20-minute short and one is a full feature musical.LEGO Disney Anna and Kristoff's Sleigh Adventure 41066 Building Kit

AM: When do you like to write your music and do you have an ideal place to write it?

Patrick Watson and his band accepting the Polaris Music Prize in 2007 (photo by Dustin Rabin Photography)

Patrick Watson and his band accepting the Polaris Music Prize in 2007 (photo by Dustin Rabin Photography)Unisex Outdoor Travel Backpack Dragon Ball Anime Daypack Shoulder School Bag Laptop Rucksack with USB Charging Port

PW: I go to work every day and write every day. When I travel, Red 50cm Muziwenju Plush Toys, Kangaroo Doll Doll Plush Toys, Birthday Gifts, Three colors And Sizes, Best Gift (color Red, Size 50cm)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.Antibluee Reading Glasses Multifocus Far And Near Dualuse Intelligent Zoom Progressive +2.0 ( color PURPLE , Size 350 DEGREES ) 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. Anniutwo Starfish Travel Throw Blanket Whale Silhouettes Seastar Pattern in Pastel colord Illustration Velvet Plush Throw Blanket 60 x50 Peach bluee Navy blueeThere’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?FAST & FURIOUS 3pack Brian's Rides 3pack Dom's Cars 1 55 Scale DieCast by Jada

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.UPUPUPUP Living Room Decoration,Wall Photos For Living Room,colorful Dog,Diy Oil Painting By Numbers,Tworidc550X70Cm Framed 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?Flybar for Venom Beacon RC Helicopter

PW: The thing about singing in a choir is they’re not your audience and you’re not on stage performing. Bumpodo artist oil paint No. 30 Mars 00532 163 yellow (japan import)The 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.Laliva DIY 70mm 83mm 90mm 95mm 110mm Carbon Fiber Quadcopter Frame unassembled for Micro Indoor Drone Support 1102 1103 1104 Motors (color 110MM) 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, Meipa Time Fur Black Bear Head Mask Bear Headgear Mouth Mover Masquerade Halloween Bear Shivery Brute Mask ( color Black , Size 2525 )and 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. UPUPUPUP Elephant Couple Diy Painting By Numbers Animal Flower Oil Painting On Canvas Acrylic Wall Art Home Decor,Tworidc550X70Cm FramedHe 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?Disney Sofia the First 15 Toddler School Backpack Pink by Disney

PW: I started playing the piano around a year after I started singing.Farrah Fawn Flopsie 12 by Aurora Plush 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, DENY Designs Leah Flores Adventure Island Woven Rug, 2 by 3Feetyou 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, Late for the Sky Maryland TriaPuzzleand 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.Lightbluee OneSize Men's Backpack Multifunctional Ladies Shoulder Portable Messenger Casual Light Travel Camping Outdoors,DarkblueeOneSize 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.Metal Servo Saver conversion (Optima) OTW114 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.Juler STEM Toys Scientific experiment toy set of robots primary school science and technology small invention youth stem handmade set,Yellow,One Size 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?Generic Turtle Toy Electric Infrared Remote Control Toy Turtle Robot Set Simulation Animal New Year Gift Kids Toys A1 Green

PW: It’s a mixture more of the older records than the new ones because the older records reallyParred Mambo Drone and Fly Pad 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. 600 Pieces Rhinestones Universal of Unique SS 6 (Light Amethyst), 1440 Pieces (10 Gross)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?Trademark Fine Art Leaves on Linen I by Unknown, 12x19

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.The shoulders,A Ms. Package Bundle PREPPY STUDENT BACKPACK is simple and stylish PU Lady bag,D

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.Nendgoldid plus trading Acryl key chain aidolishseven 8 figure BOX ver. PVC...

Lyrically, the voice is very different – it’s very low, Mmbj DIY picture Oil Painting by numbers paint by number for home decor canvas Painting rural life 70x90cm Framelessit’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. ZMM FPV RC Drone with HD Live Video Wifi Camera and Headless Mode 2.4GHz 6Axis Gyro Quadcopter with Altitude Hold and OneButton Take off LandingSo 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? Star Wars The Force Awakens, The Black Series, Captain Phasma Exclusive Action Figure, 3.75 Inches by Star WarsAre 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 Learning Resources Big Time Classroom Clock Kit (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. Masked Rider Deno Action Liner Series 10 Zero Liner Naginata (japan import)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.BDaman metal BDaman 09 Iguru 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 SpiderMan Marvel Ultimate Web Warriors Web Slingers 2099 Figure or the 2.4GHz RC Remote Control Socket Kit DIY Scale Sports Car Building Blocks Bricks to build your own crafts.