Saturday 26 January 2013

Interview With Patrick Power

20 questions with Patrick Power
March 2012

1. Please describe for me your current musical projects.

Valued Customer ( and, 
and the Patrick Power Memorial Library ( are my main things right now. 
I'm also working on solo guitar arrangements of pop songs and doing a film score for a Sheridan student.

2. What distinguishes the approach you take in each of these groups?

Valued Customer is a very catch all group. We've done oldies cover sets, 
albums of weird original music, Spice girls covers, and solo guitar improv sets. 
My friends Justus (@_Ugggy) and Chris (@_hvy and @chrisbaragar) are in that group with me. 

The Memorial Library plays my songs and is an attempt to bring together the different kinds of songs 
write (across the spectrum of lots of chords and notes to very few chords and notes) into a cohesive set.
 And I have a lot of fun being a goof when the Memorial Library plays live.

3. What consistent musical threads tie your music together?

My weird obsessive musical tics are one thing, 
but mainly I just try to write music that people will have a positive response to.

4. What venues in Toronto would you like to play in the next 2 years?

I want a warehouse somewhere that I can hold shows in anytime I want. 
Besides that... I'd say, Massey Hall, Molson Ampitheatre, the ACC, maybe the CN tower skywalk.

5. What musical projects do you want to be involved with over the next 5 years?

I want to keep getting better at guitar. I want to write a musical. 
I want to make a million Valued Customer albums. I want to do more hip hop.

6. Do you feel that Canadian New Music has a distinct identity?
Not really.

7. Can serious music be funny?

8. Can funny music be serious?

9. What is the most important formative influence on your music?
Probably Genesis 1971-74.

10. Would you rather invent a genre or defy all categorisation?

Defy. But I want to have an unmistakable sound.

11. Would you rather your live shows incited orgies or riots?
Orgies are more fun.

12. Do you feel that a new Golden Age lies ahead for Toronto musicians?

I don't know enough about the history of Toronto musicians 
to know of any past Golden Ages to gauge whether or not there is one impending. 
As long as we're all having as much fun as possible then every day is a golden age!

 13. Would you rather see an artist-controlled capitalism or a kind of unionised musical socialism?

Artist-controlled capitalism. From what I can tell, 
the classical music world is kept alive by government money and rich donors. 
If classical performers/composers had to fend for themeselves, 
they would have to do the unthinkable and start making 
music that the average person has a chance of giving a shit about. 
That would be really interesting and perversely satisfying for me to see.

14. Do you feel that there is anything left of classical music for the avant-garde to deconstruct?
Nope. Maybe the concert setting itself, it's a stale format. 
But I think that classical composers need to step back from the notes and look at the big picture.

15. Is pop music sustainable in its current form ie 
can a global cult of celebrity continue in the age of information?

The cult of celebrity seems to be doing fine so far. 
I think it's human nature to have those big names and so things will probably stay that way. 
Though in this age there is more of an opportunity for weirdos like me to get their music out there 
which is great.

16. How has Jazz as a tradition become stronger and/or weaker through its acceptance into the academy?

There's so many young people who are so good at playing jazz now. That's all I can really say. 
It seems like they have an even harder time than classical musicians finding work though. 
Jazz is cool in a purely musical way - I don't see a lifestyle that can be attached to it. 
It's pretty abstract and sequestered.

17. Do you feel that hip hop can expect a similar form of acceptance by the musical establishment?

By establishment, do you mean academics? If so, then no, I don't think it will, nor would I want it to. 
Hip hop is kind of always going to be outsider music. 
But at the same time it's become such a dominant force in pop music.

18. Why don't people dance at shows in Toronto?

I have often lamented this fact to my audiences while I'm on stage. I don't know man. 
They don't court boldly enough, don't drink enough, don't have enough joie d’vivre? 
People are more likely to dance if the person beside them is dancing though. 
Nobody wants to be the first. But people don't think you're weird if you're the first, 
they just secretly envy you. So go for it!

19. Which Toronto musicians are you most excited about?

Valued Customer,
 the Torontiade, 
Charlotte Mundy, 
Tommy Foolhardy, 
Toy Piano Composers, 
First Act Productions, 
Taylor Cook Quintet, 
Evan Cartwright, 
Brandon Wall, 
Chelsea Shanoff.

20. What's the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?
Eat a banana and peanut butter sandwich. 

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