KRAAK FEST 2022 HIGHLIGHTS: Barn Sour
A thief of others' illnesses well-versed in the art of happy accidents, Winnipeg's enigmatic Barn Sour lifts the shroud of mystery ever so slightly to discuss his process and progress as a champion of purgative strategies. Grotesque concepts paired with actions of unlikely beauty: seems to be the way of the Sour.
Where are you from & where are you now?
My name is Pat and I'm from Winnipeg, Manitoba. I've lived my whole life there, and am likely to die there.
There’s virtually nothing on the internet about you. What’s your story? How’s life treating you these days?
Not too much to share to be honest. I've been making "experimental" music of varying quality for around 15 years. Went through art school without gathering much knowledge, and worked several laborious jobs up until late 2020 when my partner and I had a child. I'm fortunate to have a partner with a real brain and quality employment so it's allowed me to transition into a stay-at-home father. For the last 16 months or so I've just been hanging out with our little guy 24/7 and have been enjoying it a lot, although my productivity has dropped off significantly.
Your sound is unique and uniquely haunting, and there’s a definite darkness to the music. What is the process behind your compositions?
Before the tape/7'" that Careful Catalog put out, barn sour was more of a garden variety ambient/field recording style project. I ended up getting some really nice feedback from that release and decided to try and flush it out a bit more. My musical interests have always leaned towards melancholy, so I guess that has translated into the mood of most of my material. I'd say I'm more of an arranger than composer. I don't have a goal in mind when beginning a track. I rely mostly on happy accidents for things to come together. I have tons of material I've collected over the years, sometimes it is self-made, sometimes it’s ripped from internet videos, sometimes it's manipulated classical music. I'll loop a sound that I'm interested in as a base track and flip through Youtube or other recordings until something clicks. Once I have a few sounds in place it usually has a direction of its own and I just add and subtract. The dichotomy of pairing the grotesque with something more beautiful is not a new concept by any means, but I enjoy pairing the two and making my own version.
The spitting, crying and coughing noises in Belgian Gelding feel almost purgative. Does making music have such a cathartic effect for you?
I'd say once a track is completed I get some catharsis, but the actual recording of body sounds can be taxing and irritating especially if it involves your throat. On one of the tracks on Belgian Gelding I dumped water down my throat over and over while breathing and I coughed for a few days afterwards. I do often sample sounds from other sources to save myself the sore throat or if I'm looking for a sound that I wouldn't be able to recreate. I'm a thief of others' illnesses.
Any dream projects you wish to share?
I have a new tape coming out soon on Matthew Sullivans Staighre label, after that I think I might shelve barn sour indefinitely. I find myself using the same recipe over and over and need to find a fresh approach before I release anything else under that name. I am also working on a collaboration with Dan Gilmore right now. He's a master arranger so I just chuck a few sounds over and he does all the heavy lifting.