Photo by Brigitte Henry
Patrick Watson, a brilliant quartet based in Montreal, is coming to Minneapolis this weekend! They released their fourth album, Adventures In Your Own Backyard, this past April via Secret City / Domino Records and kick off a US tour today in Chicago.
Adventures In Your Own Backyard has been critiqued as a ‘patient’ album in comparison to the last two, 2006’s Polaris prize winning Close To Paradise and 2009’s Wooden Arms. Where those projects focus on experimental sounds and DIY instruments, Adventures… focuses on vocal melodies and strong arrangements. In a recent chat frontman and band namesake Patrick Watson explains, “I think the vocals are more melodic. In terms of the arrangements there is a lot of just singing which is a strength of this record; whereas on the other records the voice can get lost.”
The previous two albums were recorded in a roundabout way, bits and pieces here and there and everywhere. This time around Watson and his band holed up at his home studio in Montreal with a single engineer and emerged with a beautiful project that showcases the band’s growth and drive to do something different. As Watson puts it, “I think what we really wanted to do was a live sound; we hear what we are playing. We put most of our brains into the songs we arrange. Before we tried to make them crazy and with this we were like ‘let’s make twelve really touchy songs,’ [it’s a] simpler direction.”
Though the mastermind behind the group, Watson assured us that every member of the band is an important piece to the music.
“There is nobody in the band that can’t write and everybody has different talents. The bass player has brought a lot of ideas because he is really melodic and comes from a pop background. Some songs I brought in. Sometimes it’s different; it really depends on the song.”
The band attributes a lot to their fair city of Montreal, the largest in Quebec located on the Southwest end. When asked how the city has influenced the growth of PW’s music, Watson responded with “Montreal is like half Europe half North America. There wasn’t a lot of labels here for a long time and it was hard to tour outside of Montreal. The community is very friendly, no one does the same thing. Years ago there were nights where band members would meet up, bring an idea, rehearse a show, then go perform. When Montreal was building a music scene we [the band] were also building. We’re just farther away; no one gave us a formula so everyone kind of made up their own. We made our own rules to the game and made it work. It’s an interesting place.” Watson cites Timber Timbre and The Barr Brothers as some of his favorite local bands.
Patrick Watson, the person, has kept busy with various film projects as well. Among others, in 2008 he scored the French-Canadian film C’est pas moi, je le jure! (It’s Not Me, I Swear!) and also worked on material for 2009’s heartwarming Where The Wild Things Are. Watson uses film scores to experiment with new ideas and find things he can bring to an album later on, especially when working on instrumental project. “Into Giants,” a track off of the newest release, was originally part of a film score that a director never used. His current venture is scoring a film that Watson refers to as “Jim Henson meets porno in space. I can’t think of another way to describe it, it’s a pretty weird film.”
Business aside, this band likes to have fun. On their days off they strive for crazy new adventures (like helicopter rides with strangers a bit off their rocker), and outdoor spots where they can exude their passion for nature. Watson also admits to churning his thoughts to many an episode of Ancient Aliens last tour.
“My favorite thing that gets my brain going is science-oriented stuff; I find it food for the soul. It’s a nice break from the modern world; hearing new ideas that are so different. There is us, then there is science, and that is so far past what we are now that I don’t know if we will ever really catch up. For me, it is kind of a beautiful thing to hear what the scientists are doing next. How weird is that? My brain will come to its own conclusions that are ridiculous. I don’t hear music or film anywhere near as strange as what scientists do.”
Now the beautifully strange sounds and haunted melodies we love from this band make sense, eh?
You can catch Patrick Watson tomorrow evening at The Cedar Cultural Center.
By Laura Yurich
Saturday, June 2 2012
7pm // $15 // All Ages
The Cedar Cultural Center
Posted 11 months ago