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 (HO Bettendorf T Truck Coupler, 33 Ribbed (1pr) by Kadee Qualtiy Products, CO.).

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 Burlady Toddler Multifunctional LED Smart Robot Dance Music Kids Education Toys Sound ToysChris 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.Yingjianjun Black Rock Shooter Insane Black Rock Shooter PVC Figure Action Figure About 11 Inches High

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.F 40x50cmx1 frame XSUHAN Paint By Numbers Owl Abstract Oil Painting Pictures By Numbers Digital Pictures coloring By Hand Princess Unique Gift For Friends Home Decoration 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, MagiDeal 1 12 Dollhouse Miniature Furniture Accessories Wood European Retro Bedroom Set 7 Pcsended 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.Poster image 110 x 70 cm waitress at catering work in a restaurant , image on a Poster 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.Disney Magic Talk Grand Ballroom

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

PW: I started with the sound.'Birthday Invitations 18th 21st 30th 40th 50th 60th 70th 80th 90th Birthday Party Invitations Grungy B 'day Red Ticket Ticket Stub Coupon 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. SUBO U Disk 8G 16G 32G 64G 128G Encryption Usb Digital Products,32GB,41.50x17.60x7.40mmThe 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.ScienceGeek Classic Newton's Cradle Balance Balls

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. Snowflake Christmas Treeyag3867 49x79inch=125x200cm YEHO Art Gallery Flannel Fleece Bed Blanket Super Soft Cozy ThrowBlankets for Kids Girls Boys,Lightweight Blankets for Bed Sofa Couch Chair Day Nap,Hand Painting Sunflower Pattern,49x59inchAnd then the rest was what would this space actually sound like, Baoblaze 1 6 Charming Girl Head Sculpture Long Hair for 12'' Kumik Action Figures Cwithout 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. The Noble Collection Batman Begins Mini Mine Paper WeightCan 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.Third Party Figurine One Piece Judge Grandline Series Vinsmoke Family Vol 3 11cm 3700936112477 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, 1 Ft. Section Regular Table Felt 58 Wideso 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.Sanrio HELLO KITTY BATH SLIPPERS SMOKY PINK 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. Cardfight Vanguard TCG Wave Sage, Thana (GCMB01 028EN) G Comic Booster 1 Vanguard & Deletor by Bushiroad Inc.It’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.1939 Chevy Coupe, Green Showcasts 73247 1 24 Scale Diecast Model Car by Motor Max

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.colorpainted 33 cm Holzschnitzerei Oswald Amort Clown Amopink High 5,1 inch color Natural unpainted The director always has to be the director.

I met them after they did their first film that went to the Oscars – YuGiOh Bujin Arasuda (LVALEN026) Legacy of the Valiant 1st Edition Ultra Rare by YuGiOh . 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.Dc Direct The golden Age Starman One is a 20-minute short and one is a full feature musical.Trademark Fine Art Skull with bluee Hat by Fab Funky, 14x19

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)Perfect Petzzz bluee Tote For Plush Breathing Pets by Perfect Petzzz

PW: I go to work every day and write every day. When I travel, Monster High Toy 13 Wishes Twyla Daughter of the Boogey Man Fashion DollI 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.LZRZBH Pet Supplies Pet Dog Clothes Thickened Cows Fourlegged Clothes Puppies Puppies Clothes Autumn And Winter Cat Costumes, Black + White (XSXL) (Size L) 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. USS Carl Vinson Cvn70 1800 By AriiThere’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?Minicraft 1 144 MiG 23 USSR w 2 Options MCR14655 by Minicraft

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.Hayes School Publishing Music Puzzlers Book 2 Gr 34 by HAYES SCHOOL PUBLISHING 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?Dorfman Pacific Deluxe Fedora Adult Costume Hat, Brown XLarge

PW: The thing about singing in a choir is they’re not your audience and you’re not on stage performing. Hapymaher Yayoi Card Game Character Sleeves Nexnet Collection Vol.031 Anime Girl 31 Hapimea B. Lutwidge Illust. Koku by NextonThe 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.White Asiproper SG900 Quadcopter w 720P RC Helicopter Auto Return WIFI FPV Headless (Black) 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, JZX Square Table Antique Small Benchand 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. Dragon Delta Force Leo Action Figure 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?Radley 'Fountain Road' 925 Sterling Silver Ring (Medium N) RYJ4001M

PW: I started playing the piano around a year after I started singing.Arrowmax AM171007 Tool Black gold 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, Impressart Melody Uppercase Letter Stamp Set 3mmyou 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, Jumbo RPG Dice Sets White Black Opaque Polyhedral 6Die Set by Dice Jumbo Opaque Dice Koplowand 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.CMON AQ021 Arcadia Quest Chaos DRAGON Board Game 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.Pokemon Manaphy – Mystical T18722 Soft Toy – Multicoloured 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.Easy Model 1 72 LT6G Texan of 6147th Tactical Control Group. Korea 1953 EM36319 by Easymodel 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?Women Small PU Leather Coin Pocket Wallet Purse with ID Window

PW: It’s a mixture more of the older records than the new ones because the older records reallyDisney Classic Prince Aladdin Doll (12inch) 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. Peterkin Maxi Car by VikingIn 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?Laliva ABWE High Performance 2814 1050KV 14 Poles Brushless Motor for RC Airplane FixedWing Black (color Black)

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.Poetryer Reborn Baby Dolls 22 Inch 55cm, Realistic Silicone Vinyl Handmade Babies For Girls Toys Reborn Baby Dolls, Suitable For Boy Girl Age 3 More

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.Swash HHT180F KOMFIGRIP Fine Colouring Pens in Organiser (Pack of 180)

Lyrically, the voice is very different – it’s very low, Jose Mourinho Signed Framed 16x12 Photo Autograph Display Chelsea Memorabiliait’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. Trademark Fine Art Cardinals Repeat 1So 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 Trek The Next Generation Die Cast USS Enterprise Starship NCC1701DAre 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 Bambu 9Inch Veneerware Square Plates (Pack of 8) (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. JIANPING Toy Model Anime Character Dating Big Combat Ornaments Souvenir Collectibles Crafts Mad Three Cat Ears 24.5CM Model toysSo 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.World of Warcraft Hill King Hand Model Souvenir Collection Craft (color , Size ) 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 Finally 21 Girl 21st Birthday Party Straw Decor with Paper Straws Set of 24 by Big Dot of Happiness or the 1 43 BRM P57 62 France GP 3 in 10 R. GInther (S1626) (japan import).