Patrick Holland (f.k.a. Project Pablo) Throws Out the Rulebook and Experiments with New Styles in Isolation

"I've been pushing myself to make music everyday, even if it's just for a short while. I always feel great after doing it, even if I make something terrible."

BY Alex HudsonPublished Apr 25, 2020

Having abandoned the alias Project Pablo for his given name, Montreal electronic producer Patrick Holland had set aside the month of April to work on an album. It turns out he's had a lot more time than expected to work on new music — and his daily walks to the studio have gotten him out of the house, where he's currently spending his time alone while his girlfriend isolates with family in Ontario. Holland's debut EP under his own name, Simstim, is out on May 1, so we caught up with him about his strategies for avoiding totally sinking into a cave-dwelling lifestyle.

What's your self-isolation setup?

I'm balancing between my home and studio in Montreal. My studio is about a 35-minute walk from my house. Having the luxury of an isolated studio, a distance from my house, keeps me motivated to carefully walk outside (rain, shine, hail or snow) twice a day. Otherwise I may just sink into a cave-dwelling lifestyle and never breach. Unfortunately, I am fully solo during this time, as my girlfriend is isolating with family in Ontario. Before I arrived home from tour in Australia, she had stocked the house with groceries and household provisions, so I am still living mostly off that over a month later. Thank you Bronwyn!

Are you working on any music while on lockdown?

I'm in the midst of releasing an EP I made late last year. It's called Simstim and it's out May 1 through my label, Verdicchio Music Publishing. I've been pushing myself to make music everyday, even if it's just for a short while. I always feel great after doing it, even if I make something terrible. I've used this time to focus on using instruments I don't normally use (guitar, voice, live percussion), and write songs in a style I've been too scared to try. Putting it all out there now, though who knows if what I'm making now will surface. I had already set aside April as a time to work on an album, but it looks like I've got way more time than just a month. I'm sure I'll start missing travel once we're in the middle of May.

What are you watching and listening to?

I've been watching lots. Some notable bits: The Grifters, Solaris, Delicatessen, Art School Confidential, The Daytrippers, Atlas, High Maintenance Season 4 and Playtime. Kind of all over the map really. Going on walks everyday has given me way more time than usual to listen. For tunes, I've been listening to TOPS' new album [I Feel Alive], Zsela, the Rhythm & Sound catalogue, this amazing reggae version of "Return of the Mack," New Musik, everything by MBV and Yo La Tengo, (Sandy) Alex G, Bullion, and always listening to too much Dean Blunt and Grouper.

How do you feel about the response to coronavirus?

I tend to dip in and out of reality on a daily basis when catching up on what's going on. Without physically socializing – which usually provides a bit of a reference point to what's relevant in the press/world – I feel a bit lost with it all. It's been reassuring to watch folks build a strong sense of community through live streaming, like Club Quarantine, and witnessing the success Bandcamp has had when waiving their revenue share on certain days.

Have you picked up any new hobbies or routines in isolation?

Programming my coffee maker to make coffee at 8 a.m. every morning has been one push to get out of bed at a reasonable time. Making lunch in the mornings, so that I can stay productive making music in the day. Trying my best not to go to bed at 2 a.m. every night... though it sure is tough to accomplish when there is only nothing to do!

Find out what other Canadian musicians have been up to under self-quarantine with our Isolation Nation feature.

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