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Patrón | Photo: Patrick Baleyider
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Patrón: “I’ve Always Been Attached to the Desert”

I still remember when I first listened to Loading Data, a project started by Lo (a.k.a. Patrón) in 1999 which combines smart grooves and stoner rock—or, as described on their website page, “heavy groovy hypnotic robot rock.” It was simply spectacular. Over the years, they released several EPs & albums: Frenchman Nevada (2002); Rodeo Ghettoblaster (2010); and Double Disco Animal Style (2013), produced at 11AD Studios by Alain Johannes. When Patrón released his self-titled album in 2020, it exceed my (already high) expectations.

Lo is just putting his newborn baby Beau to bed when I call him. As soon as Beau is asleep, Lo and I start our conversation by going back to the very origins of the project, and how everything was set in motion.

You chose a quite curious name for this project... Where did it come from?

I believe there are two reasons. One is because when we were recording Loading Data's Double Disco Animal Style, I had a habit of calling Alain (Johannes, ed.) "Patrón" for fun. Another reason is because it was just a little wink to the member of a French band that called me Patrón for years, also for fun. I didn't really have any name in mind, but I thought that Patrón sounds cool, you know, and it's easy to remember, so I went for that. And that's it.

Album Cover

How would you describe Patrón's sound?

Well, there's a little bit of everything you hear: there's a little bit of crooning, there's a little bit of '80s in a sense. There's a little bit of rock and roll, a little bit of desert rock, stoner rock, you know—a little bit of everything I like and listen to.

How did this project start, and where did the idea of forming this band come from?

I’ll go from the beginning. It all started 20 years ago, when I got into the whole scene. Loading Data started in 1999, and in 2001 I met Nick Oliveri through the drummer I had in the U.S. in that period—his name was Adam Keller, and he was friends with Nick. One night, Queens of the Stone Age were playing… This was in 2001 or 2002, I was in Florida at the time. After the gig, we spent the night out with Nick and became friends and that's basically how it started. We stayed friends with Nick ever since. And well, years going by, I gradually started meeting everyone else, until the day I met Alain Johannes.

How did you meet Alain?

OK, that's actually a pretty funny story. In 2010 or 2011, I was at a friend's place in Los Angeles and this friend says: “So, you're looking for a producer for your new album?” (for Double Disco Animal Style, ed.). I was considering contacting Joe Barresi or Chriss Goss, but the one I really wanted was Alain Johannes. My friend said: “Oh, Alain, I was at school with him at Fairfax High, like, 30 years ago!”. Some other famous personalities, such as Demi Moore, Flea, Jack Irons, and Hillel Slovak, also went to that school. That school was just fucking crazy. My friend told me to send Alain a message and mention her. Meanwhile, we were going to see a Tim Burton exhibition, so we took both of our cars to go there. All of a sudden, she turned right in the street, and I parked right behind her. She got out of the car, gave me her phone and said: “Here, it's Alain!”. And I was like: “Yeah, hello Alain, how ya doing?" and then he said: “Hold on, I think you guys have just parked in front of my house!” Literally, total coincidence. Alain just walked out of his house and across the road, and that's how it all started.

And that same afternoon after the exhibition, I went to his place and spent the afternoon with him. At the time, he was mixing Mark Lanegan's album Blues Funeral. While we were there in the studio, he also had the chance to listen to my stuff. He said: “Love your stuff! Let's call my manager and try to book something for next year”. And then, well, years went by and I met more people thanks to Alain, like Joey Castillo and Barrett Martin. 

Which other musicians contributed to the project? And what was the recording process like?

We contacted Barrett Martin, Joey Castillo, Nick Oliveri, and at some point even Flea and Jack Irons were supposed to come play on the album. We did a couple of takes of each song, but the whole thing went really, really fast. We recorded bass and drums in four or five days, and after that, the rest was mostly guitars. Keyboards, percussions, and vocals probably took the longest. There's a lot of singing, a lot of different vocals on the record. Vocals are really important to me; if I'm not satisfied with what I have, then I just I won't release it.

Alain in studio is like a mad scientist. 11AD is a wonderful house, there are tens or hundreds of instruments everywhere. The second Alain got an idea, he'd pick up any instrument and start playing it, whether it's a guitar or something out of this world, Chinese or whatever, and he'd just start playing and trying this and that. And he always got it in the end.

It's a lot of fun working with him. He's full of ideas and inventions. Sometimes you think you're going as fast as him, but you're not. It's a pleasure to listen to him and to play with him, so satisfying and gratifying.

Patron with Barrett Martin | Photo: artist's archive


Your album was released in the midst of the pandemic last year. Were you also planning on touring after the album’s release?

We managed to play a couple of gigs together with Alain, and a tour was planned for 2020, but obviously, that was impossible. We already have a tour planned together with Stöner and Slomosa for spring next year, with about twelve gigs in the UK and Ireland. Before that, at the end of January, we are going on a short tour to France together with the French band Dust Lovers. We played our last gig in October 2019, so it has been a while. We're ready to hit the road again.

You played and recorded with many musicians coming from the Palm Desert rock scene: Alain Johannes, Nick Oliveri, Joey Castillo, just to name a few. What was your first encounter with this genre?

I started my first band when I was 15. One day in 1998, I was on a road trip through the U.S., and this friend of mine bought the Queens of the Stone Age's first album. We got home to my buddy's place and we put on the record. I was like: “Fuck man, this is good, you know?” I remember listening to the fourth track of that album, “Walking on the Sidewalks.” And, you know, towards the end, it goes: bom bom, bom bom bom bom bom bom bom! Super repetitive, hypnotic stuff... I love it!

I was also listening to grunge at the time—I was more into Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, all that stuff. I had no clue what Desert Rock and stoner rock were. And then suddenly, this was a revolution to my ears. And what's funny is that on that trip we started buying CDs everywhere we went, and a lot of them we bought just because of the artwork. This way, we discovered some bands from the Desert Rock scene, like Fatso Jetson and Kyuss. My mind was blown. 

When I got back, I started recording my own songs, which would turn out to be Loading Data's first album. And that was the beginning of the whole adventure. 


Why the desert? And Desert Rock?

I've always been very attached to the desert. When I was five years old, my parents took me on several road trips through to the West of the U.S. I had a wonderful childhood, but those are probably the best memories I have. I've probably gone on 15 big road trips through the west. I just love being out there, and I've taken all my friends out there. And so, yeah, when I listened to that music and discovered that it was called Desert Rock, it made a lot of sense to me. This was definitely the music that I wanted to make. 

Which musical aspect catches your attention the most in this genre? And in music in general?

I'm a singer and I like melodies. I mean, I don't like music that's 100% pop, but when it comes to choruses and catchiness, I'm not afraid of a bit of pop. I like there to be a real vocal line or real vocal melody. So, those “pop stoner” bands are the ones I like the most. In that scene, my favorite bands are definitely Masters of Reality, Fatso Jetson, and Mondo Generator.

Do you think that your music somehow reflects your musical taste?

You can hear this pop/stoner mixture in Patrón's music as well. With this project, I didn't want to take myself too seriously. And you can find a third-degree or at least second-degree black humor. You know, the lyrics and the subjects are dark and heavy, but they're also light—there's also irony. 

What music do you listen to nowadays?

Lately, I haven't been listening much to stoner rock anymore. Honestly, I listen to a lot of jazz. My dad was a big jazz fan, and I grew up listening to jazz and never stopped. But, you know, when it comes to rock, I listened to Sonic Youth a lot last week. Also, I like David Byrne and Talking Heads. And there is also this crazy Afrobeat guy from the 70s, William Onyeabor. Yesterday, I picked the Eagles’ Hotel California. Also, Bee Gees recently.

There's not much I don't like. I mean, I'm not a big adult contemporary fan, to be quite honest. I don't listen to Celine Dion much. But apart from that, I'm really pretty open to many things.

You've had the chance to collaborate with many interesting and inspiring musicians. Is there anybody, let's say a producer or musicians, that you would like to collaborate or jam with?

I guess any of the big jazz or rock musicians that I admired as a child or as a teenager—the guys from Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, or Alice in Chains, that would be amazing. Or even Beach Boys or Bee Gees! It's always a really enriching experience and you just got a lot to learn from all those people. So basically anybody. And as for producers, I don't know. I mean, I really like working with Alain. 

Is a second album in the works?

We went out to record some tracks a month and a half ago. We had planned to record maybe four or five tracks, but we ended up with nine, so why not release an album? We recorded with the members of my live band. Christophe Hogommat, producer and drummer of the last Dust Lovers’ album, took care of engineering and producing the tracks.  I really liked the sound of their album and I decided to work with him. But for now, there's mostly drums and bass and just some scratch guitars. So, there's still a shitload of work to be done. And in the end, maybe I won't keep all the songs. Maybe I'll record some new ones as well. Maybe I'll go back to the U.S. and record some more stuff with the other guys. I don't know yet. I haven't made up my mind. There’s no rush. For now, I'm going to wait for the holidays to go by and I'm going to focus on the concerts and then think about it, after listening to the songs again. If I'm really satisfied with the songs, then maybe I’ll release an EP or who knows maybe the whole album. Whatever happens, I'm sure I'll release something in 2022.

Patrón | Photo: Patrick Baleyider



Tagy Patrón Loading Data Frenchman Nevada Rodeo Ghettoblaster Double Disco Animal Style Alain Johannes

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I am a musician and music journalist based in Prague. 42 is also the name of my project founded in 2008, experimental Dada music with a touch of noise. My latest album,…