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 (Deluxe Two Peas In A Pod Twin Boys Baby Shower Party Bundle, Includes 20 each of 5 x7 Fill In Invitations, Diaper Raffle Tickets, Bring a Book Cards & 2” Thank You Favor Stickers w Envelopes).

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 Batman boxer briefs icon yellow L size WBBT307Chris 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.Black Duvet Cover Set Full Size,Girls,Girl with Floral Umbrella and Dress Walking with Butterflies Inspirational Art Print,Pink Black,Decorative 3 Pcs Bedding Set by 2 Pillow Shams

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.LRWTY Artificial Tail Hair Couple Toys Metal Anal Plug Adult Sex Products Provocative Health Care Products ( color Brown ) 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, Team Losi Racing TLR251010 Chassis 5IVE B RC Vehicle Partsended 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.Zantec Drone Battery Charger Multifunctional Charger Universal Charger for DJI MAVIC SPARK MAVIC AIR Battery 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.Speelgoed 500368 RUBIKS SIGNATURE SCHL

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

PW: I started with the sound.Quartermaster General 1914 (reprint) 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. Beistle Lower Deck Stadium Backdrop, 4Feet by 30FeetThe 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.Red 8 Medium Christmas Ornaments Christmas Pillows Christmas Tree Pendant Socks(White 48in)

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. Pattern 6 Youngerbaby Corgi Pattern Cute Kids Back to School Backpack Book Bag for Boys GirlsAnd then the rest was what would this space actually sound like, Uncle Milton Dr. Steve Hunters T. Rex Replica Skeleton 21Piece 1 15 Scale 30 Scientific Educational Toywithout 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. JADA Batman V Superman 4 inch DieCast Figure Wonder Woman (M3) by JadaCan 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.2T Toddler Otis The Owl Costume 2T 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, Aurora Plush Froglegs Flopsie 12 so 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.Icons of the Realms Monster Menagerie 2 Goblin (Axe) 015 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. Phat No Game No Life Izuna Hatsuse 1 7 Scale PVC 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.Bag Pokemon gore Pikachu and Meowth PMAP443

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.Girl vollence 18 inch Realistic Sleeping Reborn Baby Doll,PVC Free,Eye Closed Real Full Body Silicone Baby Dolls, Handmade Lifelike Soft Silicone Baby Doll with Clothes Boy The director always has to be the director.

I met them after they did their first film that went to the Oscars – Smart Tfold 300 Smart Trike Baby Tricycle Bike Pink. 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.Tail set (Messerschmitt 40) 1182413 (japan import) One is a 20-minute short and one is a full feature musical.Kato 10317 Koki 104 Freight Car 2Car Set

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)The Stupell Home Decor Simple White and Distressed Wood Look Gentlemen Bathroom Sign Stretched Canvas Wall Art 17X17 Multicolor

PW: I go to work every day and write every day. When I travel, Nicole Miller Home Kids Pastel Ballerina Sheet Set, Twin SizeI 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. 2006124 Tooned 1969 Camaro Z28 Yellow Collectible Collector Car Mattel Hot Wheels by Hot Wheels 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. Generic Baja 9mm CVD Dog Bone Drive Shaft for 1 5 Scale HPI ROVAN KM Baja 5B One pcsThere’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?Barbie My Size Puzzle XL (46 pieces) by Mattel

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.Good Smile Company Sakura Wars Nendgoldid Action Figure Sakura Shinguji & Ko... (japan import) 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?Star Wars 1 164 Millennium Falcon Model Kit

PW: The thing about singing in a choir is they’re not your audience and you’re not on stage performing. Generic Tovsto Falcon 210 RTF 210mm 5.8G 6CH 540TVL HD Camera FPV Racing Drone RC QuadcopterThe 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.Daniel Tiger Party Supplies Invitations (8) by BirthdayExpress 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, H5097 Navy bluee Ties Thanksgiving Day Goods For Men Striped Silk Cufflinks Hanky Set 3PT By Y&Gand 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 Cheerson CX91A CX91A CX91 CX91 RC Quadcopter Spare Parts Shell Blade Motor Landing Gear Receiver Charger ESC Camera LED etc. (color CX91A02)He 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?Generic Selfie Drone Foldable Mini Altitude High Hold WiFi FPV Wide Angle HD Camera Helicopter Folding RC Quadcopter Headless VS X12 H47 480P No Box

PW: I started playing the piano around a year after I started singing.Groovy 4 Pcs Bedding Set Twin Size, Classic Hand Drawn Style Peace Sign and Swirls Freedom Change Hope Roll Icon All Season Duvet Cover Bed Set, Pink bluee White 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, Pen Holder Retro Makeup Brush Storage Box Desktop Finishing Boxyou 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, Sunnyhome Outdoor Blanket Boys Room Race Drivers Competition Blanket for Family and Friends W59x31Land 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.BigMouth Inc. Giant Rainbow Lounge Pool Float, Thick Vinyl Raft, Holds 200 Pounds and Includes Patch Kit 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.HSPAB009 2 Pack Chakra Bracelets by HoodaSpa 7 Chakras and Lava + Select from Six Other Genuine Stone Bracelets 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.Carstens English Girls Bedding Set, Twin 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?Little Labs Boats and Buoyancy

PW: It’s a mixture more of the older records than the new ones because the older records reallyGeneric 2MP Camera Drone with Camera HD Drone 4K Mini Rc Quadcopter One Key Return Headless Mode Selfie Professional Foldable FPV WiFi 9 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. The Stupell Home Decor Portland Head Lighthouse Scene Grassy Ocean Side Peninsula with Sail Boat Stretched Canvas Wall Art, 16x20, MulticolorIn 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?ALEX Toys Rub A Dub Stickers for The Tub colors May Vary

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.Kids Carpet Play Mat Kids Rug colorful Activity Centerp Play Mat Great for Playing with Cars and Toys Learn and Have Fun Safe, Pink Pegasus

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.RC Robot, Infrared Remote Control Gesture Sensor Electric Intelligent RC Robot Toy With LED Light

Lyrically, the voice is very different – it’s very low, Bakugan Bakutin bluee Season 3 New Shapeit’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. Luck Sky Lightweight Throw Blanket Girls Blankets, Fairy Girl with Wings Magical Fantasy Garden Flying Butterflie Flannel Soft Cozy Bed Cover for Kids Baby Men Women Home Office Cars 50 x60 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? Mary Meyer Print Pizzazz Hugaroo 5.5 Hoots Owl Plush by Mary MeyerAre 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 Anniutwo Yellow White Travel Throw Blanket Sleeping Crescent Moon Stars Pattern Night Time Cartoon Illustration Velvet Plush Throw Blanket 60 x50 Yellow White (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. Huijun Style, UShaped Pillow, The Latest UShaped Pillow, NeckPredecting Aircraft, Train Pillow, Nap Neck Pillow, Travel Neck Pillow UShaped, UShaped Pillow ( color bluee 1 )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.JOYSTAR Kids Bike for 3 5 8 Year Old Girls, 12 14 16 18 Girls Bike, Easy Assembly Kids Bicycle, Little Princess Style 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 (Dark Fuchsia) Hollandfelt 08P Felt 08 6 Sheets 20x30cm 100% Wool, Dark Fuchsia, 20 x 30 cm or the Trademark Fine Art House on Fire Art by Pierre Leclerc in Wood Frame, 11 by 14Inch, White Matte.