An Interview With Rockaway Beach-Based Singer-Songwriter, PATSY, On His Recently Released Debut EP and More!
Posted On 20 Mar 2019
“Sometimes it’s refreshing to get away from the massive pop hits on today’s radio or the fast-paced rock tunes put forth from huge bands like Imagine Dragons and Fall Out Boy. And the new self-titled EP from Patsy is the perfect place to start.” – Substream Magazine
Rockaway Beach’s favorite surf cowboy, Patsy, recently released his highly-anticipated, self-titled debut EP via Beach Channel Records. Patsy is a beautiful bit of nostalgia-tinged folk rock that feels like it would be as ‘at home’ on the Big Lebowski soundtrack as it is on any modern playlist or “best new indie rock” compilation. The EP is a walk through the Great American Songbook that explores vintage rock rhythms, blues riffs and warm textures while Patsy displays his masterful command of melody and meticulous compositions. Listen now on Spotify or watch a series of videos set to the EP on Patsy’s YouTube channel.
Patsy about the EP: “In an ever more robotic world, this music was made by humans… and my dog. We tracked it in a big beautiful room full of wood and tube amplifiers, 100 steps from Rockaway Beach. It’s about desperately being yourself. The visual companion my wife made just couldn’t fit nicer with the music and the message and I’m very lucky to have her.”
The video series for the EP was created by Patsy’s wife, noted filmmaker Laura Nesci, who perfectly captures the vibrancy and love of nostalgia that defines the project. The series of videos debuted as a featured short film at the Rockaway Beach Film Festival.
Filmmaker, Laura Nesci, about the creation of the video series: I shot six or so rolls of super 8 film over the course of a year, which happened to be the same year Patsy was crafting his EP. It’s a love letter to our hometown of Rockaway, the people we love here, the recurring memories and repetition of everyday life and work superimposed over the magic of people working together in creative process.
In his diversity of life experience and appreciation for the American Canon, you’ll find two foundational elements of Patsy’s music. To find his other major inspiration, you would have to travel to his current hometown of Rockaway Beach, Queens. Rockaway is an open-minded, surf haven on the outskirts of New York City. It’s the sort of tight-knit, blue collar artist community where the guy singing to a packed house on a Friday night will be tending bar at the same place on Saturday. Artistically, it’s a vibrant young scene that has become a beacon of experimentation and collaboration, but still finds time to surf. Between his solo work and role as a guitarist in Wild Yaks, Patsy has established himself in the innovative music world brewing in Rockaway. His new EP will surely lead Rockaway to new heights.
Connect With Patsy Here:
Learn more about Patsy in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time today! Where does this interview find you?
Today I’m on a flight from Savannah GA, traveling home to Rockaway. I’m super tired as I just wrapped up a quick week tour of the southeast. I had a blast. Maybe I had a little too much fun actually.
Now that 2019 has started, what musical goals do you have for yourself and your music this new year? Did you make any new year’s resolutions?
I’m excited to record a full length follow up to the debut EP in 2019. My team and I are working on bringing my music to a larger audience which is both exciting and scary, so I want to take my time and continue to make music that I’m proud of. I have a tendency to spin my wheels sometimes and get ahead of myself, so my resolution is to slow down and enjoy the process – let my music continue to introduce me to good people, places and experience.
Growing up, how important has music been in your life? Can you recall the moment when you decided that you wanted to be a musician? Was it an easy or difficult choice to make?
I was very young when I realized I wanted to make a life of music. Maybe 5 or 6 years old sitting in the front seat of my dad’s car when he played for me King Crimson 21st Century Schizoid Man. I had such a vivid fantasy of being the conductor of that band, being the one responsible for putting all those pieces together with such impact. I think that seeing my dad’s excitement at sharing the music with me, him rocking out and banging on the steering wheel, impressed upon me how powerful music was. I wanted to wield that power.
Was there ever a time when you thought about doing something else? If you weren’t a musician today, what could you see yourself doing?
I went to college and studied mandarin. It was a lot like studying music and I really enjoyed it. When I lived in China on study abroad for a year I spent most of my time staying out late, playing music in bars with locals and skipping class the next day. My grades were bad but my language skills were pretty good. I entertained the idea of being an international diplomat or ambassador with gray hair someday. Since then I’ve done little language study and a lot of touring, so all I got was the gray hair.
What has been the biggest surprise so far about making music your career? What has been an unexpected or welcome challenge to it all?
”Do It Yourself” doesn’t mean do it alone. You have to build up and incentivize those that can help you in this business, but you also don’t have to wait for anyone else to get started. The challenge is finding balance and the right people you want to work with. This has been a hard lesson for me, and I’m grateful for my musical family that’s going in on this thing with me. I also take other jobs all the time, pour beer at the local brewery and some carpentry gigs here and there. Whatever pays the bills, teaches me things, and keeps the dream alive.
How do you think you and your music have been influenced by your hometown and where you live now?
I think place is one of the most constant influences on my music. My hometown was where the passion came from; my first beloved guitar teacher. He was so in love with music and the guitar that it was contagious. He made me believe I had a voice and it was worthwhile. He put me on one of his local gigs when I was 12, his little grom protege that he was proud to show off a little bit. Without that fuel I would not be here today.
Now I live in Rockaway Beach, NYC a gritty blue collar beach community with a surfing problem out on the end of the A train. Crazy in the summer, quiet in the winter, living in the shadow of the greatest city in the world.
Let’s talk about your new EP. What was it like putting this collection together? Did anything surprise you about the overall process?
These songs are a few years in the works. I wrote a lot of music when my previous band splintered and my relationships were on the rocks, and I needed a new home and a normal semblance of life. I crash landed on Rockaway Beach. I got a normal job flipping burgers at a bar/venue right on the boardwalk. Eventually I annoyed the manager enough for him to give me a gig there. He liked it and gave me a weekly gig for which my band and I never rehearsed, too busy surfing or working. If I had a song I would throw it at them live and see what happened. When you play with good musicians they listen more than they play, and week after week the songs evolved into what’s now on the record. We tracked it live, no click track and minimal overdubs just like you’d hear us on a Friday night on the boardwalk. The studio where we made the record, Oceanus NYC, is about 100 yards from that burger bar where this all started. Simon Chardiet and Mike Severino are two local legends on bass and drums respectively and I’ve been honored to have them on my record.
How would you say that your first released single “Why Am I Waiting On You” prepared listeners for the rest of the EP?
Why Am I Waiting On You is a clear example of an Americana folk song meets a vintage surf rock band. The lyrical content deals with modern issues in modern language but the rest is nostalgic.
What was it like making the music video for “Why Am I Waiting On You”? How creatively involved were you with the making of it? What was it like working with your wife on the video?
It was very fun and natural. The film is images from our beloved hometown around the recording of the album and also the months leading up to our wedding last fall. Laura had 100% creative control. Her medium of choice is Super8 film which has a nostalgic home movie quality to it. She started getting footage processed around the same time that the EP was being mastered. We decided to team up. She would make an edit with my music, show it to me and I loved it. Eventually the entire EP had a cohesive visual companion to it and we debuted the film at Rockaway Film Fest last year.
What has it been like keeping up with your social media accounts and all of the different platforms? Is it hard to stay up to date on it all? What would you say is your favorite way to connect with your fans now?
This is my least favorite aspect of the business. I have a very hard time managing social media platforms because it’s not where my heart is. I like staying in touch but I’m not a huge fan of how the algorithms seem to reward self aggrandizement. I’m a musician, not an “influencer”. I use Instagram most often to stay connected, I’m the worst at twitter.
Who are some of your favorite artists or rather, what musicians have continued to inspire you and your music? Who would you absolutely still love to work with in the future?
Sturgill Simpson. Bill Frisell. Twain. Wild Yaks. Inspired by and would still love to work with in the future!
Where can fans see you perform next? Do you have any kind of a 2019 tour scheduled yet?
Catch me in Rockaway all summer long. Thinking about a west coast run in the fall. Hopefully the second record will be under way by then.
If you had an unlimited budget and your schedule was free, what would your dream music video look like?
My dream music video looks like a spaghetti western meets sci-fi B movie. I picture many of the shots being set in front of painted landscapes like in the old days of studio cinema. I want to design and build the cockpit of my spaceship too.
If you were going to be stranded on a deserted island, what musical item would you take with you and why?
No brainer! My guitar, my shield, my lifelong friend!
If your music was going to be featured on any TV show that is currently on right now, which would you love it to be on? Or if you prefer, what is a movie that you love that you wish your music was featured in?
I’d want my music to be on the show Vikings, though I imagine the producers won’t find it suitable. As for a movie? Any installment of Star Wars, even the bad installments. Hehe thats a funny thing to imagine.
At the end of the day, what do you hope people take away from your music?
There’s a lot of robotic music coming out these days. I hope people hear my music and feel human.
Would you like to share anything else with our readers about your music?
I’ve spent most of my musical life seeking opportunities to play for and with as many people as possible. I think it’s what I do best and where I have the most fun. If anyone really wants to get to know Patsy you just have to come see me live in-person. I’d be glad to meet you.