Vancouver's Pat Lok is a name you've most likely heard by now, and if you haven't, well, get with it. With a catalogue of productions that includes past work approved by DFA, Radio 1's Monki, and countless fellow artists, a new official remix for Daft Punk collaborator Todd Edwards, plus recent successful originals Same Hearts and Move Slow — the prolific producer is on a hot streak to say the least, and 2014 is shaping up to be a big year for him. We've been supporters of all things PL for awhile now, and were lucky enough to have the chance to sit down with Pat for a chat, about everything from his current approach to producing and Facebook's diminishing role for artists, to his monthly night in Vancouver 'White Noise' and hypothetical rooftop pool parties. We also coaxed him into putting together an exclusive mix for us, following the concept of influences and encompassing those artists and tracks that have played a role in developing his own sound. You can hear it below in all it's glory while you read.
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Track List: S-Express - Theme from S-Express (overture) Arrested Development - Mr. Wendal (Perfecto Mix) Cathy Dennis - Just Another Dream (7" Mix) Frankie Knuckles - Workout (1992 Vocal Mix) Blaze - Whatcha Gonna Do Underground Resistance - Living For The Nite Depeche Mode vs Deep Dish - Future Dream (James Zabiela Mix) Le Knight Club - Nymphae Song Armand van Helden - Work Me Gadmit DSK - What Would We Do Kerri Chandler - Hallelujah Paul Johnson - Get Get Down Peter Godwin - French Emotions D'Bora - Dream About You (Hurley's Extended Mix) Fonda Rae - Over Like A Fat Rat Teena Marie - Out On A Limb
Caveman Sound: You’re fresh off the release of your single ‘Move Slow’ alongside an official video and remix EP. Can you speak to the experience and process that went into the production of that track, and it's follow-up pieces?
Pat Lok: Ok you're starting with a big one. So I was having a particularly brutal day last fall and these sad chords sort of popped into my head. Right when I got home I wrote it all out because usually I forget stuff like that. To me it was clear Move Slow was more of a poppy love song so it was fun to write, it was actually inspired by someone from a long time ago.
The vocalist was a random girl I met at an open mic, we recorded everything in three short sessions. Unfortunately I can't go into much detail here because I have been threatened by lawyers but let's just say to all you producers out there, be really careful who you collaborate with.
The cover was done by this amazing designer from Australia by the name of Karan Singh who I was lucky to meet through friends. Make sure to check out his work at wakeupmrsingh.com.
After signing to BMKLTSCH RCRDS we started hunting for remixers, I had already been chatting with GANZ and then met Jeffrey Jerusalem who plays drums for RAC live. Rounding out the list were my pals WMNSTUDIES, so the only stranger to me was SirOJ - but that's actually the remix I play the most! I like the whole package, there's something for everyone. Random trivia: the song title was actually suggested by my pal Goldroom - the original title was "Just Breathe" and he pointed out there were a few other songs with similar names.
The video was directed by my talented friend Jen Oleksiuk. Coming from a dance/choreography background she immediately got what the song was about and brought it to life. Never having been on set before, it was inspiring to see everyone do their thing and how much work it takes to deliver a final product.
CS: You seem to really be hitting your stride right now, what’s changed in your approach to producing and the direction you’re taking?
PL: Thank you! One thing I am doing is writing more originals. It's a common dilemma among producers, do you spend your time doing bootlegs/remixes or are you going to produce new material? I definitely have benefited from both but personally find it more rewarding to release original music. That may change by next week though, I'm kind of mercurial that way.
CS: You recently posted this picture of your (temporary) studio in a tropical paradise. Please explain this blatant gloating.
PL: Hah, that was at this gorgeous house my friends and I rented on vacation in El Salvador. Beautiful country, friendly people, very raw and full of adventure. I even tried to surf for the first time and I can barely swim. Coming from a city with eight months of rain it made me wonder if I need a more permanent tropical workplace.
CS: You’ve had some great artists — Treasure Fingers, Bit Funk — play your new monthly party in Vancouver, White Noise, tell us a bit about that.
PL: The appetite for new underground music has really grown in Vancouver over the last 10 years, this White Noise party is a cool opportunity to bring in up-and-coming acts to crowds that are up for it and less about the "scene". I'm really excited about our next two acts, Lane 8 and Moon Boots.
CS: What artists have been an integral part of your musical upbringing and an inspiration to your own sound?
PL: There's so many. My favorite producer of all-time would be Shep Pettibone, my influences are heavily disco and 80s boogie/electrofunk, and a lot of classic house, the glory days of Strictly Rhythm. It's funny to hear people now say "everything sounds like Disclosure" when really what they mean is it sounds like old school house music. Also Tony Humphries and Greg Wilson and legends like that.
When I started producing, the Valerie collective was fresh and amazing and blog house was peaking. I was very into the classic French touch and disco house '2.0' like Swivel Hips (J Paul Getto) but also everything from The Twelves to GRUM to Siriusmo. Guys like U-Tern and Laberge were kind of the only locals I knew that were DJing and making great dance music so pretty much everything they did inspired me, musically but from a production standpoint as well.
CS: What role has Vancouver played in influencing your music and artistic method?
PL: Vancouver is a tough city to pin down. The city has as much raw talent and beauty as anywhere but can struggle with its sense of community and direction. As someone born and raised here I was always exposed to different cultures and ideas and maybe that helped shape my perspective. For example, what that might mean artistically is that I'm down for listening to a pop album or an obscure postpunk record or a Serbian gypsy ballad and finding something in each that might inspire my next thing. Or maybe that's just an affectation of being a DJ since forever.
CS: With Facebook effectively cutting off artist's voices unless they provide copious amounts of money, what sort of social shift do you think we’ll see in industry as far as communication and access to important information?
PL: There's definitely an opening for a strong competitor, as you said Facebook has been making some questionable decisions that really hurt artists. Maybe another social network or one of the existing players, such as Soundcloud, will expand or partner to fill the niche. I'm excited about this new app called FanFair that allows artists to combine all their social media audiences in one place and communicate with fans more efficiently, the app should be launching really soon.
CS: Your music is the soundtrack to what city?
PL: Hmm...anywhere you can walk for hours and hit different neighbourhoods along the way. If you wanted to spend a day in New York walking from Harlem to Bushwick, I'd like to think that my music could soundtrack the variety of experiences you might have.
CS: Let us paint a scene for you: You were asked to play at a rooftop pool party with only 5 tracks to mix, 2 items of food, and 1 beverage — what would you choose? Also, who would be your stage dancers?
PL: Tunes: Slum Village - Untitled/Fantastic AlunaGeorge - Outlines (Pat Lok 'Crayola' Edit) <= shameless self-plug Crystal Waters - Makin' Happy (Hurley's Happy House Mix) Mr. Joshua Presents Espiritu - In Praise Of The Sun Hermitude x Flume - Hyperparadise (GANZ Flip)
Drink: Jameson. Food: Stuffed mushrooms for savory, canelés for sweet (a French pastry made of rum and vanilla). Dancers: I would borrow Peaches' dancers as they absolutely tore up the room when I played in Barcelona, and also my director Jen O and her bestie Jean Okada. You gotta rep local and those two have some of the craziest (and hilarious) moves around.
CS: Where is your favorite place you’ve played a show, and why?
PL: Either Razzmatazz in Barcelona or The Flat in Brooklyn. The first because it's a legendary spot where all the greats have played. The second because it's NYC! We went until 4am on a Sunday and I saw a girl roll on the floor twice and then pop to her feet and dance out of the place, it popped off.
CS: What’s on your plate for the rest of the year and beyond?
PL: More writing, collabs, touring. The follow-up/response single to Move Slow is dropping on Mani:Pedi (the new label from Cyclist and Karl Kling of RAC) later this month. It's called Needy and has remixes from Robotaki and Ekali. More originals in the works and some East Coast shows in May including Toronto and my debut at U Street Music Hall in DC.
A huge thank you goes to the man Pat Lok for taking the time to do this exclusive with us. Be sure to get your boogie on with his fresh new mix, and stay up-to-date with all PL happenings via the links below.