So great to have you on the blog Pat, please introduce yourself before we jump to the interview.
[V] You’ve mentioned that it took you quite a bit of time to complete The Elevation LP. Is there a particular reason why it took you so long to complete this album?
[PM] Well, I’ve been making music a long time but The Elevation LP my first real album, so I kinda drove myself crazy in making it haha. The majority of the album was done some years back, then I just kinda kept picking at it and picking at it listening and listening, trying new things reworking it, for years, till I got it to the point that it is now. I didn’t want to just put out a collection of songs, some of the tracks on the album are really important to me and I wanted to put them out in a cohesive body of work. I tried hard to create a narrative that flows through the entire project and I think I did that successfully. Also it was an entirely self produced effort, so I made all the beats, recorded and mixed it all, that shit takes time haha. All in all I’m happy with how it turned out and excited to build on what I’ve learned. Big shouts to all the featured musicians and contributors to the project that made it what it is!
[V] I’m curious about your methodology of writing raps and producing music. First of, how did the concept of The Elevation LP come about? Did you have a prior vision and an idea for the sound and lyrical content before you began working on it or is this something that came to life naturally, without prior planning and too much thought?
[PM] For The Elevation LP, I’d say the album’s content came about naturally, but the execution of the album was very planned. I saved up some dough, quit my job, moved to a new city and just kinda holed up for some months and just got to work hard. As far as the concept of the album, I had the idea for a while, Elevation. To improve, to go up, to build. I was going through some shit when I started working on this album and I was committed to self improvement and growth, my album was documenting that. I saw people close to me struggling too and I wanted to give them an album that could push them to strive, just the idea of elevation, upliftment, reaching. The message is like here, I’m trying to build, let’s all go on this journey together, let’s go up. I want people to reach, to do better, whatever that means for them.
For my process when I’m actually making my music, I pretty much always gotta make the beat first. I want my voice to fit right in with the music so I work hard at capturing the feels of the music and the pocket for the vocals to sit in. It changes from time to time but usually a song starts with like a rough draft beat that gets the juices flowing and I’ll write some lyrics to that, then I’ll add some new musical parts to play off my voice, and then that will inspire new vocal parts etc etc. The parts just build off each other and by the time I’ve done enough of back and forth with myself I’ll have a fully developed song.
[V] What influences you the most in producing and writing? What are some topics that you gravitate towards more often than others when you’re writing rhymes?
[PM] Musically I’m influenced by a lot of different stuff. I’m always checking for new music, I’m also a vinyl head so I get into the crates and listen to everything from korean funk to bugged out musique concrete. I grew up on golden era hip hop and underground shit and I’m a sucker for a beat break. For the rhymes, I write about what I know, so it’s usually what’s going on with me or people close to me. The new stuff I’ve been working on has been more writing outside myself and things in the world that I see happening. I don’t really know what I gravitate towards most, but I always try to put layers of depth and understanding in my music. Even if I’m doing a song about being hungover or something theres gonna be some lines in their that take it to a bigger picture. I want to show something in my songs that if you listen to them you will learn something, sometimes that comes out in stories, or advice from my own understandings, or sometimes it comes out as a lesson in just feeling the music and having fun.
[V] I’ve also read that you’re a music editor and producer for Snap Judgment radio show. Is this your fulltime job? And how did you get so involved in the music industry? [Did you attend school to learn how to make music or was this completely self-taught?]
[PM] I’ve worked at Snap Judgment for the past 3 some years. It’s a really great radio show that I am proud to be a part of. Working with Snap has brought me all over the world and been a great outlet for my love of sound and music and also my admiration for people. It’s a really cool environment to work in and deadlines can be crazy but all in all it’s been a great experience. I’m self taught in the sense that I never went to school for music or audio, but I got my education in other ways. I’ve read a bunch of books, shadowed engineers at studios, I’ve just tried to soak up all that I can from watching pro engineers do their thing. I’ve been experimenting with sound for since the early 2000’s, done all kinds of projects, so I feel like technically I’m at a good place. Musically I play by ear, self-taught, I’m not completely ignorant to music theory but I don’t write or read sheet music. I consider myself a kind of a hack player with a good ear. I just know what I want to hear and try my best to translate that to the instruments I know how to use. If I can’t play it because I lack the skill, I have a good community of musicans who can bulid with my ideas and take em to new heights and I try to incorporate that when the track calls for it.
[V] What about songwriting, is this something you also had to teach yourself ?
[PM] I been writing songs since I was a little kid. I used to do covers of songs from the 90’s where I would write rhymes following the emcees rhyme schemes and stuff, just pick new words and write new songs based on their blueprint. Haha, except with like content you could imagine an 8 year old coming up with, mostly just stuff from my imagination and raps about cereal, haha. I always enjoyed studying songs and really seeing what the artist did, analyzing the lyrics and arrangements and stuff. I think that I am just like a product of studying the greats of the 90’s era and then taking those lessons and going into a way of my own with them.
[V] Do you perform live? If so, where can your fans come see you in action?
[PM] I do! And usually it’s crazy and I’ll do like backflips off of chimpanzees riding bicycles an shit haha. I just played a show a couple weeks ago and am looking to play more coming up. Best way to come see me is to follow me on facebook or twitter, I always post about what I’m up to there.
[V] Besides your recent release, The Elevation LP, what are some other tracks you would recommend to those who aren’t familiar with your work to listen to?
[PM] Check out an instrumental project I did with fellow producer Wax Roof called Wax and Sounds meet at Grooves! That was Definitely a fun one, we went digging together and then flipped the same samples independent of each other. I did a tongue in cheek project where I remixed a bunch of cartoon theme songs, called Saturday Morning. That ones also got a video edit to it. My soundcloud page has a bunch of other productions I’ve done and new joints coming soon!!
Check out this fun video that Pat created: Pat Messy – Gone Gadget (Inspector Gadget Remix)
[V] How does your surroundings, for instance Bay Area, influence your music?
[PM] I love the Bay. Being here is great. I live in Oakland and there is a bunch of really great music and art out here, it’s a really creative community so I’m always getting inspired by hearing what people are doing and putting out. Also the imagery and stories that come out the bay are the unmatched so if you dont know come visit!!
[V] What is your ultimate goal for your music career?
[PM] I just wanna make good music. Making a living with music would be nice and I’ve managed to fill my life with music and sound to support myself these days, I feel blessed for that. I’d like to work with more musicians and take on more of a producer role and help people realize their visions. But with my music, I just wanna make music that people can connect to, learn through and enjoy. As long as people can feel good and improve their life through me sharing mine in sound, I will feel like I have succeeded.
Be sure to visit Pat’s Soundcloud page to enjoy, download and share his new album for FREE – Elevation LP
Here are a couple of my favorite tracks from Pat’s music collection + an interesting story about J-Dilla’s lost scrolls, which was researched and narrated live on Snap Judgement radio by Pat himself.
J. Dilla’s Lost Scrolls – narrated by Pat Messy
Giving it Back (new!) – Pat Messy (Pas Doo)