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A Dirty Dozen with ANIMALWEAPON – December 2020

| 30 December 2020 | Reply


According to a recent press release: “Staying true to the name, Raleigh, North Carolina bedroom electronic performance artist ANIMALWEAPON took sounds of nature to cultivate the early inspiration for the new single “Summer’s Over” which will be released on October 9, 2020 via Polychromatic Records. Animalweapon has been working on the upcoming 2021 EP throughout the pandemic and also composed the mysterious otherworldly theme song for the highly anticipated new podcast called The Hidden Djinn that debuted September 1, 2020 on iHeartMedia.   The podcast explores centuries of tales, traditions and beliefs about the supernatural beings and the source of genie mythology and is currently Top 20 on the iTunes history podcast chart.  The podcast is hosted by Rabia Chaudry, attorney, New York Times best-selling author, producer and co-host of popular criminal justice podcast Undisclosed; and co-produced by Aaron Mahnke, writer of Lore on Amazon and produced by the team from The Walking Dead.” We get Patrick to discuss new music, reflection on his past, and much more…

1. Tell us a little about your latest release.  What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through?  Are there any hidden nuggets you put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

Oh, there’s a hidden nugget, alright! I hide a lot of samples in my songs – almost always something meaningful to me, but sometimes is it a funny thing from YouTube? Yes. Is there a sample of one of my own farts hiding somewhere in one of my songs? Probably. My lips are sealed on what I buried in “Summer’s Over” and where, but I will say that after issuing a challenge on social media, one of my fans was able to find it. Other than that, a lot of the lyrics in that song mean multiple things, and some of them are references to earlier songs of mine.

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

My parents listened to a lot of oldies, lots of Motown, the Beatles, Beach Boys, Elton John, Carole King, the Carpenters, James Taylor. I got into contemporary pop rock on my own as a kid in the late 90’s – just whatever was on the radio. It wasn’t really until around twelve that I thought music might be something I want to do, when I started learning guitar and bass; then I got a knockoff Strat for my fifteenth birthday and learned to play pretty basic stuff. I didn’t start writing anything until then, and I definitely didn’t write anything even halfway passable until I was nineteen and started playing acoustic singer-songwriter stuff in coffee houses. At that point I knew it was something I wanted to do in the long term, but I guess there wasn’t really an epiphanic moment so much as a slow, steady progression.

3. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?

I don’t think there’s any one thing. My dad, with his weird lifelong conviction that Nirvana (whom I have to presume he has confused for a goth band?) irreparably warped my brain for life at age twelve, would probably say it’s that, but my tastes started getting so varied and so wide by my teen years. I was listening to at least a little jazz by the time I was sixteen. There are strands of my taste in music that are very linear up to a point, and then once I reached a certain age I just wanted to listen to everything. I mean, I like Taylor Swift now, so I suppose there’s not really a right answer to this.

4. Who would be your main five musical influences?

I don’t know how to narrow it down, because it goes all over the place. Obviously Nine Inch Nails is one – I know I wear my influences on my sleeves, but they’re also so incredibly varied. The Beatles, John Coltrane, but also newer stuff like Flying Lotus and Baths and Phantogram. Is that five? I did a bad job answering this question.

5. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?

The caveat to this question is that I have an admittedly uncool tendency to hero-worship all my favorite artists, so by that same token, I’d probably be too scared to work with any of them. Would I be able to die happy if I had Sarah Barthel sing on one of my songs? Duh. But that would mean she’d actually have to hear my music and that’s horrifying to me. That said, I’ve already worked with or am currently working with some of my favorite musicians that I just happen to be lucky enough to know and be friends with.

6. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before? What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe or you disagreed with?

I have a really hard time with this, because my music can be all over the place, but you don’t want to say it’s beyond classification because then you sound an asshole. I usually go with some awkward version of “Like electronic, but not club stuff? Kinda poppy and kind of experimental?” I’m so bad at this, so whenever I’m with a friend and they introduce me to someone and the inevitable “he does music” happens I immediately throw the responsibility of describing my music upon that friend. The comparison that makes me cringe the most at this point is Nine Inch Nails, and that’s largely because I am very aware of the degree to which that’s my own fault, since like I said, I know I have a tendency to wear my influences on my sleeve. It’s one of very many shortcomings I have as an artist, but it can be hard not to have music that you’ve listened to religiously for years bleed into your own despite your best efforts for it not to. I do think I’ve made a wide enough variety of stuff different from that sound, but it does creep in there.

7. When was the last time you were starstruck and who was it?

The 2017 Webby ceremony where I won for the music I did for Undisclosed. This was in New York – I was all by myself, and I had imposter syndrome, and just feeling like I didn’t belong there. Joel McHale is hosting, and Solange is sitting a few tables over from me, and I ran into Van Jones. Louis C.K. (who was my favorite comedian at the time, before I knew he was a creep) and Steve Buscemi, and Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich (the guys from Radiolab, a podcast that’s hugely inspirational to me), and David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson, are all on the stage at different points and I’m just sitting at a table with a bunch of YouTube personalities that are way cooler than me. I made it to the after party, where Questlove was the DJ, but I left before he went on because at that point I was mega-drunk and anxious and I was like “I don’t even belong here in the first place and I should get the fuck out of here while I can still figure out what train to get on.” Coolest mess I’ve ever been in, I guess.

8. What is the best part of being a musician? If you could no longer be a musician for whatever reason, what would be your dream job?

Hands down, the best part has been someone telling me that my music made them feel something. Doesn’t matter if it’s from a stranger or someone you’re friends with. One of my best friends said that when his grandfather passed away he listened to one of my songs (“Stay Close”) a lot and it meant a lot to him during that time. If I can do that for one single person, every single hour I’ve ever put into music is worth it.

9. What is one question you have always wanted an interviewer to ask – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

I really don’t want to say there’s anything I’m tired of answering, because I’m lucky anyone is asking me in the first place. I do like any interview that also includes some kind of innocuous, non-music related question where I get a chance to talk about hobbies or nerdy shit or something. Those feel fun and relatable and make me feel like I’m in less danger of coming off as a pretentious dick than I do when I’m talking about my own music.

10. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over,” even if it didn’t change your current situation?

There’s not really “one” thing; instead it’s some variation of almost everything. There’s always something I could have done better on a song, or performed better, or promoted more correctly, or whatever else. Everything feels incredibly mediocre to me sometimes, so rather than one thing, it’s more of “okay, all of that, but like, better.” I feel like there’s so much of my musical career that I’ve almost gotten right and very little of it that I did, but I feel like that’s what makes me strive to do better.

11. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

BT’s This Binary Universe is maybe my favorite album of all time, and I’d kill to have been a fly on the wall while he was making it. That album changed the way I think about music and it’s one of the most ambitious, genius works I’ve ever heard, so I’d love to just see it coming together.

12. Due to the current world situation with COVID-19 / quarantine / shelter in place, what have you discovered you miss the most from your life before the pandemic struck?

One word: Bars.





Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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