Patoirlove: Reminding You That You’re Alive
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Danielle Patoir, also known as Patoirlove, is on a mission. She wants to remind you that you’re alive by pumping bass through your chest and electronica through your heart. You know what? She’s doing a damn good job of it. Danielle took a short break from her mission in order to spread her musical message via an interview with Progressive Man. We talk to her about the current state of electronic music, what it’s been like having been involved in music since childhood, and her next steps.
Hi Danielle, thanks for taking the time to speak with us! Now, you’ve been writing songs since you were a child. What was it that first interested you in creating music and songwriting?
Hmm..well …a series of things sparked my interest in music. I have always loved the arts. I love being creative & using my imagination. I used to write little plays and poems when I was a kid but I was sucked in when I started writing songs. I began to see melodies in my words & I felt like I had to get the songs out.
I have always felt a special connection with songwriting. Words are fascinating to me, especially when they seem to flow so effortlessly. They have the ability to change one’s mental-state, to bring someone to another place, to open one’s mind to concepts not yet thought about…& so forth. Music does the same thing & it is a universal language. It is a nice combination.
From the get-go my grandparents had me singing at family events such as weddings and my uncle’s medical school graduation.
I was also inspired to continue making music when I found out that I had the same birthday as Dolores O’Riordan from The Cranberries. She was and still is a huge influence of mine so I took it as a sign haha.
Growing up there was always music playing on the radios & I had my collection of cassette tapes & CDs. My parents signed my sister and me up for dance shortly after we learned how to walk & I ended up sticking with it for 7 years. That could most likely be where I got my rhythm from.
I learned a little bit of recorder in school, played flute for a year, and experimented with other instruments that came across my path. I was part of the choir in high school as well though I remember feeling a bit shy at that time. My grandparents gave me a guitar back then and that changed the game A LOT because it enabled me to really complete & express my songs at a higher level.
It also sparked more ideas & more songs were formed because of it. My Uncle Todd was the first one to really start teaching me how to play & the fact that he played helped me stay with it. My family has thankfully been pretty supportive in general, especially my poppy, grandma & my parents. They have helped me believe in myself during some of the most difficult times.
I’ve gotten to work with some talented vocal coaches who helped me stay focused & intrigued along the way as well. I’d say every friend-especially my closest friends, every family member, & every fan who has ever given me feedback or shown they care has meant the world to me & helped make songwriting worthwhile.
Music is such an overwhelmingly powerful experience especially when shared with other people, whether they are playing with you or listening.
Let’s talk about your latest musical endeavor, learning the mandolin. What made you want to start learning the mandolin and how has it been coming along?
Well I have always dabbled with different instruments, but actually my girlfriend is probably the main reason why I play the mandolin now. She had gotten a banjolele and I remember thinking about how cute and happy sounding it was. It caught the eyes of people & you’d see them smile with joy just because she was carrying one.
I wanted to do that for people as well but I wanted something different than her and I really liked the double strings on the mandolin. I had gone to a pawn shop in Charlottesville, VA and I remember trying out the mandolins and feeling like I finally found my instrument.
It is very travel friendly and is just so unique to me because I often run into people who play the guitar but there seems to be less mandolin players.
Anyway, it has been going well and it has been great because I’ve gone to see some bands here now in Eugene OR and they’ve had mandolin players up there on stage. It lets me connect with more musicians. It is just nice to be able to portray yourself in multiple ways & to have a fresh sound. It is really helping me open up creatively.
It almost has become my main instrument but I still make sure to alternate between the two & play my guitar.
The music you create generally tends to be in the electronic and pop genres, although you do have plenty of variety to your music. What is it about electronic music that keeps you creating songs in that genre?
The SOUNDS you can create with electronics are just mind blowing & capturing in my opinion. It is like an “ON” button for the imagination and I can visualize the sounds taking off sometimes.
I tend to zone out or feel almost like “a buzz” because of all the stimulation. I love when I can feel the bass through my chest & when I can feel my heart pumping. It can remind you that you are alive- in case you forget.
It has always been fun for me to make up dance moves to a good beat. It is actually quite amazing how many different vibes can be produced & how they can help energize you or chill you out. I also like the idea of being able to create sounds that are not commonly produced by a human mouth unless you are a really good beat-boxer.
Sometimes the noises and effects are necessary for that extra touch, to get some additional point across, to keep the mind wandering, or just to complete the song.
What are your thoughts on current mainstream electronic artists such as Alesso, Zedd, and Swedish House Mafia? Are you a fan of the direction electronic music is taking?
Yes, I am, I am a fan of them but I tend to listen more often to bands that are less main-stream and fall more under the indie category.
I really do like Swedish House Mafia’s songs, “Greyhound” & “Don’t You Worry Child”. I don’t know a lot yet by Alesso but “If I Lose Myself” definitely has a nice vibe to it. As for Zedd, he definitely had some notable remixes and collaborations but I haven’t been listening to him very much recently.
When it comes to more mainstream artists, I also like David Guetta, Skrillex, Tiësto, & Avicii. I am also a fan of Morgan Page, who might be less mainstream, but he has done terrific remixes for two of my favorites, Tegan & Sara, & Dolores O’Riordan. I get really drawn in when producers remix female vocals, like Butch Clancy’s remix of Sia’s “Breathe Me”. If you are into that kind of stuff & haven’t already, I recommend checking that song out.
As for the direction that electronic music is going, I would say that I am a fan because it is getting more & more popular. There are more options readily available at our fingertips now when it comes to creating electronics, which is definitely a huge plus if you are an artist.
In addition there is more out there for the listeners with new subgenres & effects constantly being made. It is exciting.
I just found out about Kito & Reija Lee thanks to Spotify. New artists seem to emerge all the time…it is very inspiring.
Tell us a bit about your featured song, “Higher Ground.” How did the song first get developed?
Well I actually started writing it on guitar. The lyrics for this one just seemed to flow out of me & fit together like a puzzle. A lot of passion went into “Higher Ground” and as I wrote it I was constantly replaying memories over in my mind.
There were a lot of intense emotions, including the state of euphoria & confusion. I drew from experience while referring to such by using metaphors, which is how the chorus developed. I usually have a vision or strong feeling that forces me to write & when I go with it I tend to capture my best songs.
I recorded the electronic version when I was back in school studying music technology, which was cool because it was also a learning process & it enabled me to experiment a lot with Logic.
Some songwriters draw on personal experience to write lyrics and others are more of storytellers with their lyrics. How would you classify yourself and how did the lyric writing process go for “Higher Ground?”
I definitely tend to draw more from personal experience, but there have been times where I have combined both styles of writing. Usually something happens though in my life that is so compelling that I need a song to let it out. It is my way of coping with a lot of things in my life or to say something that I feel cannot be said in usual conversation.
“Higher Ground” is another example of this…it was written out of pure love & confusion as I stated earlier. I wrote this song when I was in the bouts of starting a new relationship that had no label. I was confused about the entire situation & what we were though I was aware of my feelings simultaneously.
The chorus was written in a way to express multiple meanings metaphorically, though I wanted to paint an image/concept in the listeners mind. I was also making reference to an actual movie that we had seen together in a theater in Chelsea, NYC, though this is not obvious to the listener. I wanted to leave some vagueness in the song.
Another one of our favorites here at Progressive Man is your chilled out version of Higher Ground, which ditches the electronic sound for a traditional acoustic singer-songwriter feel. What made you want to remake the song?
Well actually, the chilled out version was recorded first but I didn’t release it ‘til a little bit after.
I had originally recorded that version as a guide and just added the different parts in as I felt them. It was actually a lot less time consuming than the electronic version which I spent countless hours on. It just turned out better than I thought it would so I let it out there in the world.
In a way I feel that having the different versions allows me to relate to more listeners. The energy level or mood of a person could be matched up with each particular version.
In a way it express our different mental states; sometimes we have a lot of thoughts & noises in our heads, while other times we are very clear minded but our thoughts are at the forefront.
So what can people expect from you in the second half of 2013? Will you be releasing any more singles, or perhaps an EP?
Surprises..haha. To be honest I often surprise myself. Life has been an adventure for me & I have moved around a good amount recently..coast to coast. I tend to go with the opportunities life hands me & keep an open mind.
I can tell you that some things I plan however include continuing side projects with DJs/electronic producers and some of my own original material that has yet to be released. I have a ton of unfinished songs that I am working on completing & I will be recording them ASAP.
Some remixes are coming up as well but the main thing now is to get back out there gigging so I have been working on my new set list. I am talking to quite a few musicians now about getting a full band together.
Right now I am working on getting into the scene here in Oregon but I am still keeping my ties in NY, NJ, Charlottesville VA.. etc. Ideally, when I am ready I would like to be gigging on both coasts…all over the map really.
Like we said earlier, you’ve been involved with music since you were 9 years old. You’re 27 now and as heavily involved in music as ever. Looking back on the time you’ve spent making music, what’s one of your fondest memories?
Well, I definitely remember singing one of my first songs that I wrote to my extended family back in the day at a family party. I also remember when I was singing for my uncle’s medical school graduation party, everyone in the party thought me & my sister were done singing so they all start clapping & cheering… & we just stood there and finally finished.
I remember feeling like it was a big deal at the time & I was startled when it was happening. I also remember finding “an album” of hand-written lyrics, covered in stickers, and stapled together that I had written probably when I was 10.
I have had some classic times playing music with different people & gigging in bands that it is hard to pick just one memory. I have some really great memories making up songs in my friend Steph’s garage that we played out later on.
A lot of memories were made being in the band, The Prettiest Meltdown as well. Recording songs with Anthony & Fernando especially will always stick out in my head. Anthony knows a lot about the technical stuff so he would mic all the drums in his bedroom at the time and make a vocal booth in his doorway, we got creative with it.
Song-writing late at night with Anthony, outings with the entire band, having band practice in a storage unit. We have had a few crazy shows, one where we had all dressed up in Christmas lights and I had gone out on stage wearing a cape to hide it at first… that was memorable.
Honestly, what I probably loved most was when our best friends would come support us, dance around to our music & hang out after. That always made me really happy. I want to make more of those memories again.
Thank you for your time Danielle! Where can people go to find your music?
Thank you for your interest in my music & for the interview Progressive Man! It has been a pleasure!
My main website has all the links but at the moment I mainly use Soundcloud. I also have a Facebook fan page & twitter account. Feel free to follow/join me there and connect. Feedback is always wanted & appreciated.