14th Annual Music Producer Winner
14th Annual Indie/Alt. Song Nominee
12th Annual Folk/Singer-Songwriter Song Nominee
[mp3player width=170 height=140 border=1 config=multiplesongconfig.xml file=http://www.independentmusicawards.com/ima/ima_wordpress/wp-content/fmp-jw-files/playlists/PatrickJoseph.xml]
*Patrick’s album Moon King is also featured in
a nomination for: 14th Album Art / Photography
Record Label: Self-Released
Home Base: Los Angeles, CA
Genre: Indie Rock, Singer/Songwriter
Categories Entered: Music Producer; Alt. Rock/Indie Rock Song; Album Art
Work Submitted: Latest record Moon King
Artists Featured: Patrick Joseph
Label: Independently released
Who are your influences?: I’m a big Radiohead fan, Tom Waits fan, Beatles fan. Early Dylan of course. Producing stylings of Nigel Godrich, Jon Brion. Lots of ear candy stuff to ornament great songwriting is what I’m all about. I’m really rooted in marrying traditional songwriting with modern production. Nothing takes the place of a well-written song, but elevating it with otherworldly production just makes it all the sweeter.
Describe your nominated work: My nominated work is the latest record I released under my artist name ‘Patrick Joseph.’ The record is called Moon King and took me a long time to finally finish, but it’s done and out there in the world now. With the help of some close friends, my live band and lots of long nights in my studio in Burbank, CA. I’m proud of the record, which I self-produced and am also nominated for Best Producer here at the IMAs for as well.
My album art was done by the brilliant Los Angeles-based artist Eleanor Crane, who designed the whole album package and painted all of the album art by hand. I was lucky to have such great quality artwork for this record, and I think it really set the mood and the quality for the album as a whole. I’ve had more than a handful of fans contact me and tell me they discovered my music solely based on the album art.
Did you use any unusual effects or instruments in this recording?: All kinds! I got a bit more experimental on this album. This album is my second studio album, and I wanted to push my production chops to the next level and experiment especially with sampling and splicing sounds and repurposing them. On quite a few tracks I recorded sounds into a sampler and manipulated them to taste to fit whichever song they were being used on. For the opening track I took my drummer’s drum pattern and spliced it throughout the song to create a more glitchy-sounding loop that I then superimposed on his original part, and I think it created a unique sound. On other tracks, such as ‘The Sidelines’ and ‘Piece Of Your Love’ I pushed the vocal envelop a bit by processing a lot of vocals through guitar amps and pedals, creating an ambient atmosphere that I liked. I also, of course, used quite a bit of traditional things, namely some nice vintage guitar amps and on my nominated song ‘Better Off Alone’ my guest organ player, keyboardist Tim Butterworth, brought in a beautiful Hammond organ to play on the song.
Were there any happy accidents while in the studio, or did everything go as planned?: For ‘Better Off Alone,’ I think things went more or less as planned. The song was actually written jamming with my drummer, drummer Samuel Murphy, in the studio quite a while before the album was even tracked. He was just grooving on a shuffle drum pattern when I entered the studio. I came in to work for the day and without saying a word, just sat down at the piano and came up with the chords and that lead line hook on the piano and guitar. We tracked a demo of it that day and actually ended up using a good bit of the original parts that were recorded. After the idea sat for a long while, I finally got around to finishing up a chorus and bridge and all the lyrics back at my house, and my guitarist, Lucas Martinez, came in and finished the guitars at his studio. That track was a great collaborative effort.
As for the record Moon King as a whole, there were a few happy accidents for sure. Nearing the end of completing the record I was completely burnt out, and kept trying to record just a simple honest acoustic take of the last song on the record, I’ll Believe Every Word. After many attempts and just not feeling like I was capturing the emotion of the song on record, unhappy with the acoustic guitar recordings, I just felt like I wasn’t offering something unique production-wise to the song; I felt like it was more special than that. So ultimately I ended up tracking piano with a lot of atmospheric elements as a garnish, and it turned out way better in the end. Production really can really determine whether a song truly shines or not. There are a million ways to record or produce a song, but it’s all about capturing that initial feeling that made you write the song in the first place.
How did you raise the funds for this project? How long do you expect it will take to recoup your out-of-pocket recording expenses?: I more or less paid for the recording expenses from both touring revenue and licensing revenue during the production process. As far as recouping the expenses, it’s hard to say how much I spent since a lot of it was just the cost of time mores than a financial price tag. But, the album has already paid for itself in terms of licensing success and touring success I’ve had since its release, and I intend to continue that success into 2015.
Why did you choose to submit this work to The IMAs?: I’ve been following the IMAs since I began writing and recording, since my first record came out really. I respect the voting panel and think it’s a great way to share the work you’ve done with the independent music community around the world. You put so much effort into creating something special, and it’s nice to see that it’s heard.
What’s your definition of success and how will you know when you’ve achieved it?: I believe I’ve answered this question once or twice in the past, and I don’t think my answer changes. The feeling that you’ve achieved success is a dangerous state of being. You can’t rest or dwell on the past, or else you’ll never escape it. Once you achieve something, no matter how great or small, you just have to file it away and move forward. To start anew is the only way to grow.
How will you leverage your IMA honors to achieve your career goals?: The IMAs offer a great network of exposure that always leads to new opportunities and work. Just being nominated is a great honor and a great way to start conversations with people who you may want to work with in the future.
Who’s sitting in your audience and what makes your fans unique?: I get emails from all around the world from people who listen to the music I make and tell me how it makes them feel or how it inspires them throughout the day, and for that I’m grateful. I have a wide range of fans, and I don’t think they fit into any one particular category.
What is your guilty pleasure on the road? Any close calls or mishaps while on tour?: Eating terrible food! Traveling to other cities, the band of course always wants the local cuisines. Austin BBQ. Toronto poutine. Philly cheesesteak. New York Thin Slice. You always return feeling a bit less human in the end because of an awful diet. The band and I have somewhat of a love for finding bars with a shuffleboard table anywhere we go, as well. Things get pretty heated.
As far as close calls or mishaps.. always and all of the time. I feel like no matter how early you wake up or how hard you plan, you’re always making the gig at the buzzer, and stressing about having enough time to load in, soundcheck, and warmup.
We showed up to a stage in Toronto once only to find that the event staff wasn’t even there. Just us in a seedy area of town with a boatload of expensive equipment, waiting around for a sign of somebody. When we found out that the gig was ultimately canceled without any notice to us, we sat dejected on our gear outside of the stage only to behold before us a parade of hundreds of nudist bicyclists passing before our eyes, smiling and waving at us. And not the kind you want to see on a Saturday afternoon in Toronto. When it rains, it pours, and sometimes during the low times you just have to laugh.
Are there any songs you wish you wrote and why?: I always say Bob Dylan’s To Ramona just because it’s the sweetest and most sincere thing ever written. And lyrics & conversational songwriting don’t get much better than that.
What artists are you listening to that would surprise your fans?: I relax a lot on my back deck in Silverlake and listen to a lot of old records. Chet Baker, Ray Charles, Nat King Cole. I like to get my head out of the style and era in which I’m living.
How do you discover new music? Do you buy music or are you content with streaming?: I always buy whatever I’m into. I still haven’t fully switched over to streaming. I’ll admit, it’s convenient, and great for the casual music listener. Nothing really beats owning something though, especially a physical record of whatever you’re a fan of. I liken it to the difference between taking public transportation vs. owning your own car. Sure, they both get you there, but there’s much more of a sense of pride and an identity that goes into owning your own car as opposed to say, taking the metro to work. Streaming songs, you lose a lot of quality. It just doesn’t respect the art as much. Or another analogy, the difference between purchasing a book and renting one at the library. The rental book, you don’t care about that book, it’s not yours. You’ll read it, put your coffee mug on it, leave it on the floor of the backseat of your car for awhile, and eventually return it. If you buy a book, it becomes apart of your collection, your identity, you. I hope someday that sentiment returns back to music, but I’m not holding my breath. For a small pocket of us, it’s returned through the revival of vinyl records. But we’ll see how long that lasts.
How will musicians make a living if fans continue to expect music to be free?: I hate to think about it. Every year that passes, there are only more and more great bands or artists who emerge and create new music, and that just floods the pool of quality music out there, which drives the rarity of what we do down and along with it, the monetary value. I make a decent living through producing, touring, and licensing my own music, but the more bands there are, the more likely people will eventually just start doing everything for free, whether it’s allow their song to be in a national commercial for free, in a film for free, or play highly coveted gigs for free. And how do you compete with that? Musicians have to be smarter than ever these days, the savviest of businessmen and women who can convert their dreams into realities by unconventional methods.
What don’t fans/audiences understand about the music industry today?: I’m not sure everybody understands how little artists get paid for streaming services such as Spotify or Pandora. I think it’s easy to dismiss an artist’s problems or complaints because, in the end, they’re doing something really fun for a living (or trying to, for the most part), and it’s hard to feel bad for the guy or gal who is labeled a Rockstar in the eyes of a fan. But the truth is, it’s harder now than ever, and I feel like artists are struggling more than ever to not only continue making their music, but to just make end’s meet. I have a lot of talented friends, some very popular, who contemplate just giving up because they simply can’t do it in this climate. There are ways, but it takes some real ingenuity. It’s not the fan’s fault, though, don’t get me wrong. They’re just taking advantage of what’s being provided to them in terms of Spotify or other streaming services. But if you like it, go buy it, go see it live, and spread the word. It’s the only way to ensure you keep hearing the music you love.
Are digital singles/EPs vs. full albums the future?: I think people will always make new albums, so I wouldn’t say it’s the future. Singles and EPs have been with us since the dawn of recorded music. It’s just all about whatever works for the individual artist. I’ve always been a fan of full-length albums, which is why I’ve released two of them already in my career, but I’m starting to appreciate the immediacy of the single or the EP. You don’t have to wait so long, fans don’t have to wait so long. Easy to digest, easy to focus. We live in a day and age where focus is a real issue. You’re watching or listening to music on the internet, where you’re distracted by cat videos, political Facebook tweets, articles about how the world is ending. And you’re trying to keep someone’s attention to listen to your 45 minute record? Brevity is an art form in itself, and I think music can evolve with the changes of the times. The 3-4 minute single evolved from old Edison cylinder records in the late 19th Century, simply because that’s all the space that one of those little wax cylinders can hold. My parents have a great collection of that stuff at their house in Pittsburgh, it’s fascinating to put them on and listen to them. But it’s because of those that today we still are only conditioned to have enough patience for a hit song that only lasts 3 minutes and 30 seconds. Nowadays, with the internet, who knows? I’ve seen some hit songs that are only two minutes long. In math, your goal is always to simplify equations. Maybe in music, or at least in the world of singles and popular music, you can adopt a similar theory and just get straight to he point. Find the common denominator with your audience and connect with them as quickly as possible. It’s a challenge, it’s an art in itself. Or, you know, rules be damned, and make that seven minute track. I sure have done that once or twice. But I also have two minute tracks. As with everything in life, a balance of it all is often the best approach.
Finish this sentence: The music industry is… in the end, worthwhile.
What do you have in the works for the upcoming year?: I’m already ready to release some new singles this year, supported by some tours across the US and Europe. Stay tuned!