- Words Stevie Carter
Emerging British/Polish rapper Pat speaks about his incredible journey so far and new music on the horizon.
With a vibrant and eclectic sonic style that draws elements from rap, hip-hop and pop, emerging artist Pat has certainly proven himself as a rising star with his breakthrough onto the music scene this year.
Making his debut with the inaugural single “Kodak”, Pat introduced us to his fresh and original artistry that delivers a unique take on modern Britain, as well as touching on relatable human emotions and experiences.
Showing no signs of slowing down, he rapidly followed this up with sophomore single “White Air Forces”, which served as a perfect example of his varied sonic style. It exposed an entirely new side to Pat’s sound while bringing us deeper into the thoughtful and humorous world of Pat.
Hailing from Bedford, Pat moved from Poland to the UK at the age of seven and quickly found a love for the UK grime and hip-hop scene, learning English by listening to music, namechecking JME and Devlin. With his multi-cultural background influencing his artistry, individuality and authenticity have become prominent features of Pat’s music and craft.
Notion caught up with Pat to chat about all things music, including his forthcoming new single, life as an artist, and what we can expect from him next.
How have you been finding the past year and a half and life during these very wild times?
I’ve been alright you know. I’ve kind of had it the opposite to everyone else because everyone was kind of down in the dumps the first time it [the pandemic] hit and everything happened. Whereas I was kind of buzzing, I can’t lie to you, because I was in a bit of a weird space. I wasn’t really cool with normal life, and I was figuring out what I wanted to do with myself. So, when lockdown hit, the first one, I was like ‘wow, this is the perfect opportunity for me to go into myself and find out what I actually want to do’. There wasn’t any pressure of doing normal everyday life, like going out and seeing people and stuff, so I just chilled at home and wrote loads of music and just figured myself out. I was pretty gassed when the first lockdown hit to be honest because it was like a big weight off my shoulders and just like, ‘life has paused, I don’t need to do anything, just let me work on myself for a bit”’ And then obviously as things kept going and we were in and out of lockdowns, obviously things start to catch up with you. So I’m alright now, but it kind of caught me later.
It definitely has been such a strange experience and I think everyone is trying to find things to keep them motivated. Have you found that there’s anything in particular that’s really kept you going; either in your general life, or musically and creatively, and helped keep your creative energy focused?
Yeah, I go in and out of phases like that because creatively for me, I don’t really draw creativity out of complex things that require me to live life. What I see is what I get creatively. So, when I was writing loads of bars in lockdown one, I would just be looking at my blank walls or posters or toasters or fridges and I would just write about that. It’s just taking what you’re given and making the most out of it for me because I think every situation has its beauty in it. That’s really kept me going. But then again, it’s only so long you can do that for, so you need other avenues as well and it’s rationalizing in your brain that there’s beauty in everything.
Trying to find that creativity in this whole different environment, would you say that that’s influenced the kind of music you’re writing and the creative direction you’ve taken?
One million, trillion percent. Yeah, fully. It’s made me a better writer I think as well because I started taking music seriously as all of this happened and I went back on memories that I used to have because I couldn’t write about the current – there was nothing happening in the current. I was writing about my walls, my bed, my flipping room, that’s all I was seeing. And after you’ve written about that, you’re like ‘I’ve literally rinsed everything that’s in front of me, what happens now?’ so then you’re forced to think, ‘do you remember when that happened?’, or ‘this happened when I was a kid’, or ‘I wish I was doing this’, so you get out of the space of what you’re seeing and you’re forced to go back on nostalgic feelings you want to portray in a song or things you wish were happening. It’s definitely shaped my writing creatively and I think it’s made me so much better.
That notion fits in really nicely with your debut single, “Kodak”, which has a really chilled vibe to it that is very nostalgic and reminiscent of artists like Rex Orange County, Jamie T and Loyle Carner.
Hundred percent. There’s a funny story with that one actually because that was written way before lockdown hit as well. I wrote that in an RE exam in A Levels. That was the first song I ever properly wrote, and I was sitting in an exam hall. I remember the teacher had a pep talk with me because I gave up way before the exam happened, and I went in and opened the paper and I was like, ‘this is not happening’. So, I literally shut my paper and I was like ‘what can I do’. It was a two-and-a-half-hour exam and I was like, ‘I am not going to sit here and stare at walls for two and a half hours’. At that time, I had stopped going to school for a bit because I had had enough of it. I was in my house doing creative things like taking photos on Kodak films and all those photos just reminded me of childhood. And I remember thinking I would rather be playing hopscotch or chilling with my mates like I used to and I thought of the hook because of the Kodak pictures that were running through my head. I remember asking for spare paper – I just needed it to write down the hook and half of the first verse, and then I went home and finished the tune to a YouTube beat. Afterwards, I got it produced properly.
That’s wild! Do you find that’s usually how it works for you, where inspiration just hits you at any moment rather than sitting down and doing it more formulaically? You kind of just get a moment where you’re like, ‘yes, this is it’.
Definitely! Most of my songs are written in the weirdest scenarios ever. Dog walks and showers probably, I can’t lie to you. Probably showers more than dog walks, but I did write some bangers on dog walks as well. Yeah, that’s how I do it really; I’ll get a word that pops into my head and I’m like, ‘that would be so sick as a title’, or I’ll find a word and I’ll rhyme it with something and I’ll be like, ‘okay, that is a lyric and a half’. Literally, I could be sitting right now and thinking of a song lyric. My brain is just so quick and there’s no real structure or process to the way that I write things, it’s just spur of the moment. But also, when it comes to getting a structured session, it does help me as well because my head’s so mash-up, when there’s someone else in there with me saying, ‘Pat, you need to chill out, let’s write the chorus now’ when I’m already writing the bridge to a song that we’re not even writing.
So when you’re actually producing the song and putting it all together, does that part of the creative process happen in a more structured way, like you’ll just go into the studio and smash it out?
Hundred percent, hundred percent! I’m super fortunate to be working with the sickest producers in the game – Lymejuce, who produced all my songs – they’re just geniuses. Because with the music, I have verbal diarrhea. I go into the studio and say, ‘listen, I want something that sounds like this, this, this and this’ and don’t ask me how, but they just know what I’m saying. I don’t even know what I’m saying but they know. For example, with “Kodak”, I literally wrote it on a YouTube beat which wasn’t very good, it was just a normal YouTube beat, and I sent it over to Greg who is one of the producers and he really liked it and he literally remade the beat because I told him what I’m hearing and said, ‘this is what I need it to sound like’. He literally stripped back the beat, made it completely his own and it just blows my mind how these lot understand what I’m saying when I don’t understand what I’m saying half the time. So yeah, that’s very much more structured and I need that because of the way my brain works.
I can imagine that’s the best scenario when you have a really good team with you and you’re working with amazing producers and writers who just get you. Are there any other producers, writers, or artists you’d love to work with in the future?
Lymejuce are the guys, I’m really not bothered about working with people producer-wise. I’m a big fan of a lot of producers, I love Benny Blanco – I would cry if I ever got to make a tune with Benny Blanco, he’s just the sickest. A lot of Kenny Beats. Obviously, Kanye West, yeah that guy is amazing. I would love to do a soul-type beat with him, that would be sick. But artists as well, there’s a lot I’m digging at the moment. I would love to do a song with Loyle Carner at some point. You mentioned Rex Orange County, absolutely love Rex Orange County. I love the UK scene that’s coming up, I don’t know if you’ve heard of Frankie Stew and Harvey Gunn but they’re underrated as I love how real their lyrics are. And do you know who else, Ed Sheeran and Lily Allen. I would absolutely love a hook for Ed Sheeran and Lily Allen. I think that would be amazing. But I could sit here all day and tell you about all the guys I’m rating. Dominic Fike as well. You’ve got me started now! There’s some really cool music that happening right now it’s an exciting time in music I think.
The UK music scene is just so diverse and there are so many new talents who are coming up. Do you find you draw quite a lot from your local music scene?
Yeah! So, when you say local, I mean there’s not much going on where I’m from which is Bedford. Obviously, we’ve had Tom Grennan who’s come up, he’s absolutely smashing it – big up Tom! He’s a super sick guy as well. He was the main guy who showed me that you can do it from where I’m from because he is absolutely popping off, so I was like ‘if he can do it, I can do it’ kind of thing. But the London scene that’s kind of underground – I don’t know why because they are too sick, people are just sleeping on the greatness – but it’s a matter of time and everyone will be shining. And hopefully, I’ll be lucky enough to be shining with them.
Absolutely! And I know you’ve mentioned Devlin and JME in particular have been some of your biggest influences. Would you say those are the two main artists who inspired you to get into music and particularly the kind of genre you want to focus on?
So it’s kind of mad, if you listen to my music and I told you JME and Devlin are the biggest inspirations, you wouldn’t think that because it sounds absolutely nothing like that. But the thing with those two is, when I was around eight, I couldn’t speak a word of English. I came to this country and I didn’t speak a word of English and I wanted to learn as quick as possible because I didn’t like being that kid where I couldn’t chat to anyone. So, my method of learning how to speak the English language was through watching CBeebies and listening to Devlin and Skepta and JME sets on YouTube. I found the grime scene when Risky Rose was doing videos and I proper fell in love with it, especially Devlin. His ‘Blood, Sweat and Beers’ album was one of the first albums I actually bought.
Would you say that moving from Poland at an early age and having that multi-cultural background and upbringing has had a significant influence on you as an artist?
Definitely! I think when you’ve got a lot going on culturally, or you’ve seen a lot of things, you think differently to someone else because you’ve seen other ways of living. And especially adjusting to the way that people live in the UK was so different to the way we do things in Poland. And still now, I have that juxtaposition in my life. Like at home, my dad doesn’t speak English so I still very much speak Polish; my mum can speak English. I find it easier to speak English now. I feel more English than I do Polish, but that element of Poland is forever in my heart and that’s my roots. I’m super grateful to be able to say that I am multi-cultural and that I’ve had that experience because when it comes to creating it’s like you’ve just got so much more to draw on. But like big up, I feel like a lot of people don’t know about the Polish culture, and the Polish nationality is a bit underrepresented in mainstream media and the music industry in general, so I want to put that on the map a bit. Not force it or anything, but it’s just a natural part of me and I just want to put that across because all I ever do is realness. So I think the fact that I am multi-cultural and the fact that I did grow up a bit in Poland and mixed it with the British thing just made me who I am today and I would be a completely different person if it weren’t for that.
That’s so cool. It seems like being really authentic is a very key part of you as an artist, and that’s seems to really feed into your music and the messages you portray.
Yeah, I can’t do the fake thing. If you try to be someone, you’re always going to get caught up. I feel like I used to, even as a kid, like little things when you just want to fit in and you start wearing things because other people are wearing it. There was a time in my life when I was doing that. And then you get to a point, which was sixth form times, where I was like, ‘this is not what I’m trying to be’. I don’t know who I was trying to impress. The realness, authenticity, and me being me just had to happen from then on. I was not gonna put an act on because there was just no point. You’ve got to be yourself. If people like me for me then that’s great and if they don’t then what can I do?
You’ve blown up on TikTok, rapidly gaining lots of followers and attention. How do you feel like that feeds in with you trying to remain really authentic and true to you and your artistic vision?
TikTok started for me by picking up a phone and talking waffle like I would do anyway and that’s how the traction started coming up along with little freestyles. That’s how it kept popping off. The real advantage for me is that I built an audience on being myself, and now that all these numbers are growing and the songs popped off on there, especially with “Kodak” as well, I’m not going to let the fact that I’ve been validated and my music’s been validated change the way I do things. I’m not trying to do massive campaigns on Tik Tok now or trying to throw money promoting these singles. I’m just going to pick up the phone and record a video. I think the way we promoted “Air Forces”, the first video we did for that when the song came out, I took the phone out and started dancing, absolutely taking the mick, and was like, ‘guys, I’ve got a new song out, stream it’. It was as simple as that. I think people just see that as, ‘this is just a kid in his bedroom trying to push his music’, and if you want to listen to it I’m super grateful but if not, cool. It’s one of those ones, you’ve just got to keep being yourself because even when I do try to do a forced thing – I never would – but there are times where I feel like I should post a video – if I’m not feeling it, I’m not going to do it, because it just won’t be good. You’ve got to keep it authentic, one hundred percent.
Totally. And it definitely comes through in the music and the videos, with “Kodak” such a strong example of this with it having some truly fantastic visuals that align so perfectly with the message of the song. However, compared to “Kodak”, Air Forces has a completely different sound and vibe.
I’m glad you said that because I wasn’t sure how people were going to take that. For the first one, we did a hip-hop, upbeat banger that you’re going to want to rave to; a head bopper. And then we went and dropped the second one which is like a sad boi rhythm, it’s just a madness. I’m kind of talking in the verses but rapping at the same time, it’s a bit all over the shop but I love it. It’s a big change from the first one but I kind of wanted to display the fact that you never know what you’re going to get with me. It’s the same going back to the authenticity thing, I don’t really have a style or genre. If I go into the studio and I feel like making a country song, nine times out of ten we’re going to come out with a country song whether it goes out or not. What I’m feeling, I’m gonna make it.
Are there are particular sounds, styles or themes that you’re possibly wanting to experiment with in the future?
Definitely. I want to keep in rooted in hip-hop, that whole 90 bpm/ 80 bpm, that’s my bread and butter. But I love everything; I’m very open minded. The weirder the better as well, especially when it comes to sampling and stuff. I want to really experiment with samples. I would have done so much with that already, it’s just that it’s such a hassle to clear. If samples weren’t so hard to clear, I’d be smashing through sample songs so much because that is one of the things I love so much about hip-hop culture and music in general. Sometimes people go ‘oh you’re just copying someone else’, but no, there’s a real art to taking something from another song and flipping it and re-portraying it to the world. I think it’s so beautiful. I’d love to do some more of that in the future. Also, I love soul music, I love jazz, also pop as well. Pop’s not a genre as such, it’s like a feeling and a culture, and I love that about it. I love catchy choruses and melodies. They’re more fun for me to write than verses, I just love when you can melodically put words into something that you hummed five seconds ago.
It seems like you’re so involved in every aspect of your music, from the writing to the producing; you even self-release which is amazing. We can really expect a diverse sound and vibe from you.
I don’t really like being told what to do. I’ll throw my toys out of the pram. I was one of those kids in Tesco when you wanted a Kinder Egg and your mum wasn’t getting you one, I am on the floor crying. It’s my way or the highway, I can’t lie. Even the videos and the music, the way I write the lyrics, if I don’t like a bar or something, I’m not going to write it. It needs to come completely from me. And I love it, that DIY thing is sick because it also shows people that you don’t need this fancy stuff. You just need the will to do it and persistence; just keep banging it out. Even if no one’s listening, the more you do it and if you believe in what you’re doing, people are going to listen one day. That might be in ten years, but it’s cool. It’s just patience and doing it because you love it. Because if you’re doing it for a quick bit of P’s, there’s no point and it’s just going to be peak for you.
Your heart really does have to be in it. You have to be focused and quite strict about your vision, because at the end of the day, your vision is your vision and if your heart and soul isn’t in it then it’s almost a case of what’s the point.
Definitely. I think a lot of people get caught up in the sauce as well because they feel the need to do something because this other person’s doing it and it’s working. You can’t do that, you’ve got to find what’s working for you and do it – because what works for this person might not work for you and then people get bummed out because they can’t do what this person is doing. But that doesn’t mean you’re rubbish, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be doing this music thing or this creative thing. You’ve just got to find your way to do it, and I think everyone’s got their way to do it, and that’s sick, I love it. I just love seeing people doing them. If you’re doing something that’s a bit out of the box, I rate it. So everyone, just do your thing man, don’t worry about what everyone else is doing.
Talking about doing your thing, you have an upcoming new single which is exciting, set for release later this summer. Can you tell us what we might be able to expect from that, especially give your last two singles were both very different from each other?
You’re expecting a moment. A real moment that’s going to define the rest of my journey. This next one is a really special one, very very special. And if you’ve been keeping up with the socials and stuff, you’ve seen that the video is gonna be a mad ting, it’s gonna be crazy. So yeah, I don’t want to talk too much because it’s still early days, but I’m going to describe this next one as a real moment and something that I’m going to look back on in my career and go ‘this was a mad ting and I don’t know how we pulled it together’.
I hear the music video was filmed and shot in Poland?
It was, yeah. We’ve literally just come back now and I’m isolating. It was mental but we went out in the depths of Covid and filmed a video. I’m going to look back at this and be like, ‘how on earth did we do this’. It was mental, it was literally forty-eight hours in Poland mission. We’re hoping to get the edit back soon. I’m super buzzing for everyone to see it because it’s going to be a real moment.
How did filming that video differ from filming your previous visuals in terms of the creative aspect?
I won’t lie, every single one has had an element of this. The “Kodak” video was literally just me and my mate walking around with a camera where I live. Then the “Air Forces” video, we wanted to go a bit more down the storyline route which was still very much directed by myself and one of my management, Chris. He’s sick as well, he’s got such a sick vision. We sat down and formed the storyline around it. This next one was so DIY it’s crazy. We went out to Poland with a camera and we sort of let it happen. When you see it, I’m telling you it couldn’t have gone better, it’s something that you can’t plan even if you tried to. Everything you see in that video happened naturally and it was just so many moments that happened that no one’s ever going to capture again because it was just a once-in-a-lifetime thing, you just had to be there in the moment to experience that.
Do you like to get quite involved in the visual side then, and essentially direct and produce the music video as well?
I love it. I know what I’m seeing, I just don’t know how to make it [a reality]. The same with music, I know what I’m hearing, I just don’t know what buttons to press to make that happen. And it’s the same with videos, I know exactly what I’m seeing; I know the shots, I know the angles, I know the location, I just need someone that understands me on a level. I’m a creative person in general and I love making something that wasn’t here five minutes ago a thing. I love getting involved in everything. I’ll give anything a go. I want to do clothes in the future hopefully, I want to make some Pat tracksuits. One day, it will be sick.
Heading into the future, it seems like your upcoming single is going to mark the start of this next phase in your musical journey. Is there anything in particular we can expect from you over the next months and years to come as you begin this new chapter?
This next chapter is going to be super-duper exciting. This is just the warm-up, this is my announcement to the world that’s like, ‘I’m here to make good music and I want you guys to enjoy it and connect with it. I want you lot to feel something’. We’re just warming up, we’re not even on the pitch yet. So once everything happens, the next few years are just going to be super exciting because I’ve just been absolutely in my craft and in my own head. I’ve had so many ideas that we needed to make come true, so there’s a lot of stuff coming. And hopefully, I’m going to be everywhere.
Are there any key goals you have in mind of what you want to achieve over the next couple of years?
It doesn’t take too much to make me happy. I’m quite a simple guy as a long as I have enough money to do what I’m trying to do, which isn’t expensive stuff. I’m just trying to be happy and do music full time for as long as possible and keep myself sustained. But the bigger goal is I want to buy my parents a house, that’s what I’ve always said. We’re currently renting right now and we have done since we’ve come on this immigrant thing. My parents just work so hard but we’ve never had the opportunity to buy a house. So I want to be able to dash my mum the keys and be like, ‘this is yours’. That’s a big dream. But other than that, I’m cool. As long as I can chill, have enough money to buy some clothes – I love clothes, tracksuits – I’m cool.
What’s your favourite way to listen to your music?
Before I started releasing music, I didn’t even have Spotify. But you know them ones where you just have to put your song on for twenty-four hours to get a couple extra streams, that’s what I was doing, that’s why I got Spotify premium finally. But before, I used to just use YouTube. But since I got Spotify, it’s made things a bit easier because I like to listen to projects. Whereas, when I used to listen to projects on YouTube, you just get an ad in-between and you don’t get the same feeling, because I’d be listening to a Kanye West album and I’d get a Fitness First ad in the middle. In the car as well, I love bumping music in the car, I think there’s something to it. But also I’ve never been that guy – you know when people go on trains or long journeys and have their earphones in, I can’t do that. I need to be aware of what’s happening because, like I said, inspiration for me strikes at any moment. If I’m zoned into headphones when I’m on a train or bus or something, or I’m looking at people and I’m doing a long drive, I might miss something that I can make into a song, so I always like to be alert and aware when I’m doing long journeys. So earphones, I’m not that guy. You’ll always find me out here looking at the world when I’m walking by.
Where would be the one place for you that would be your optimal zen, writing retreat-style place where you could go away, zone out and just be inspired?
So there’s a couple. I want to write some music in Poland, I think it will be sick because it’ll just be going back to my roots and creating some madness. There’s a lot of places in Poland where it’s literally just mountains and you can’t even get wifi, people are literally living in wooden huts. I just think it would be sick to go there, make some music and see what happens. But also, on the same vibe, I wanna catch a flight to Thailand, some island that nobody goes to, and make some music on the beach. But I’m talking disappearing. I hope to get to the Ed Sheeran level one day where this guy can just go; he’s not on emails, he’s got no phone, he’s got nothing, he’s just gone. That’s what I’m trying to do. I’m trying to catch a flight, go, not even chat to anyone, and then just come back with a big beard looking like Hagrid and I’ll be like ‘here’s the next album’.
Would that be the next big goal, to just drop the album after these next singles?
Hundred percent. It’s not album time just yet, definitely not, because you only get one shot at that I think and I’m a bit funny with stuff like that. So when it’s album time, people will know. I hope I get to the stage where I can make a big-sounding album with loads of madnesses. I want to go big on the album when it’s time for an album.