Ana Patan Interview
Interview with Pete Devine of Pete’s Rock News and Views (http://petesrocknewsandviews.com)
PD: What type of artist are you?
The nice type, of course!
PD:Tell us the brief history of yourself.
My first songs were made on a borrowed guitar, with chords half stolen from my brother, for the kids in the neighbourhood, back in my little home town in Romania. As I continued with my school into university and moved to Bucharest, things started to take off in my music and with the winning of a national festival I got a lot of attention from the media and got to play on some pretty impressive stages, surrounded by amazing people. I crossed the national borders into the wide world, to expand my personal and musical growth, and lots of music and life education, as well as tons of hard work followed, some of which you can hear on my upcoming album “Spice, Gold and Tales Untold”.
PD: Who are your musical and non-musical influences?
I grew up with Romanian folklore and modern music, being exposed to the romantic style of Italian, French and Spanish culture, as well as Turkish, Russian and of course British (the Beatles) or American (Elvis, Johnny Cash). If people find it sometimes difficult to pinpoint my style, it’s probably because of this bizarre mixture of influences. I started playing guitar to be like Chris Rea. I adore Mozart and I sing Monty Python songs under the shower. Basically everything I’ve ever heard or read is a source of inspiration and stays with me even without my knowledge, since my mind picks up melodies and texts quite easily. Any thought, blockage, question, worry, hope, piece of news or occurrence will eventually come out in a song. Cheaper than a shrink…
PD: Tell us about your next album, “Spice, Gold and Tales Untold”
It’s been recorded on 2 inch tape, on a Studer A800 machine, with some of the greatest musicians and engineers I could have ever hoped to meet, let alone work with! They raised my standards sky high and I basically had some serious improving to do just to be at the same level as them. The whole process took around seven years, from the songs conception, through the writing down the instrument parts, organising the equipment, finding the right musicians, arranging, rehearsing and putting down a couple of dozens of songs in a few different versions and polishing them into the best form of whatever they wanted to be. All this time was necessary for my understanding to ripen and my skills to develop for what it involves to make an album as close as possible to what I wished it to be, and keep up the quality at the same time, make as few compromises as possible. All my work, passion, energy, creativity and pennies went into this project while witnessing the twisted way in which expectations turn into a reality one would have never guessed, while getting rid of misconceptions, ignorance and even tendency to control things that are bound to be bigger than you, and instead learn to be a dutiful servant into the larger purpose of music.
PD: Who writes your songs, what are they about?
I just get them already made (texts, melodies, rhythms…) from some sort of universal consciousness I’m somehow connected with. They’re about each one of us, how we are, what we feel, what’s going on around us, about everybody’s problems and questions of life. Even if each one is unique, we’re all made the same and function the same, and I like to find those common points in which you and me are one, because then we can genuinely connect, meet in the middle and understand things about oneself and each other, defeat common demons, smoothe some of life’s rough edges and maybe have a joke and a laugh in the process.
PD: What are your dreams and goals?
I’d like to grow to be a serene, happy and giving old person. It involves a lot of discovery, patience, discipline and letting go – especially of the ego. It’s quite a daily training and it takes tremendous courage observing yourself honestly all the time, see what you’re made of, accept, modify a bit where you can and move on, let go, try a bit further, get a bit better, a bit less afraid or confused, a bit more joyful…
PD: What do you think about downloading music online?
It’s a cool thing, as long as we remember that the artist deserves to be paid. And also act on it. It’s surprising how few people are actually aware that platforms like Spotify are not using the listener’s subscription money to pay the musicians whose work they’re so graciously selling.
PD: What’s your outlook on the record industry today?
Must have been nice when it existed! Right now it feels like we have to start again from the level of manufacture. And unfortunately the “record” aspect of it is more or less gone. Especially the “ear science” and experience behind it. For example it’s impossible to find a company that cuts vinyl the proper way, from a lathe machine, without transferring it through a computer and thus defying the whole idea of vinyl, which is that soothing, natural analog sound. I’ve been looking for this all over the world for my own record, without any success so far. I’ve read that even Sony has a similar problem – they actually found and bought a couple of such lathe machines but can’t find the good old specialists who can use them, since it was indeed an art form, combining hearing abilities with complex calculations and a feeling for steering the machines to fit the music style (dynamics), length and amplitude of the sound material into the physical space of the record with maximum level/sound quality and minimum distortion or waste of information.
PD: What song do you wish you’d written and why?
“Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life”. Because it’s so simple and intelligently silly and it makes people happy!
PD: What are some of your pet peeves?
Dog owners who leave their pet’s poop on the sidewalk, self entitled behaviour, copycat artists behaving like they’ve just invented the wheel…
PD: What is your proudest moment in music?
However this may sound, each time I’m on stage, each time I may share my music with others is a new height for me.
PD: Tell us about your next shows and why we should be there.
I’m planning a couple of tours around Europe and Scandinavia beginning of summer and end of fall next year. The live playing has a totally different kind of energy, I’ve had people telling me that although they love listening to my music at home it doesn’t compare to when they can feel/see all those emotions directly in a live concert. That’s why you should be there, not just at my concerts, but generally, at live concerts! Beyond supporting the musicians, you actually get the whole spirit of music.