Starting off as an ambitious solo project by Vancouver’s Enzio Verster, Leon Patriz features an eclectic collection of music ranging from mellow beats to lively instrumentals.
Behind the scenes, Verster employs the help of individuals to create the band’s iconoclastic sound. Notable individuals include C.B. Ellis, who has played the bass and drums–even going so far as helping Verster record, and mix, his most recent studio album Nice Try.
We caught up with Verster to learn more about the band’s success so far and plans for 2016.
1. Can you describe the origins of Leon Patriz?
I started out playing in bands but I’d always make [or] record music on my own. [I’ve been doing this] since I was about 15-years-old. I put out my first release Hate Seeking in 2012, under the name Colonial Eloquence Terminal Illness (which I don’t use anymore) and then a bunch of other things happened after that.
Not many people listen to my music, some of it I don’t even like listening to. It’s a testament to my own perseverance as a human that I’ve kept putting out music on Bandcamp, and then shared it with a mostly apathetic audience of people I know on Facebook.
2. Do you write your own songs?
Yes, I do write my own songs. Always have, always will. My process is probably pretty typical. I usually try to come up with something on guitar or keys and then I just try singing whatever comes over it. [Secondly], I write this down either on paper or my computer and try to make it into something that’s cohesive and makes sense. I add other parts and instruments over it, and, if I’m happy with it, I feel good inside.
Sometimes, I have an idea about what I’d like to write about, other times not. A lot of it is just therapeutic.
3. When was your act formed?
Last year (2014) is when I started using this name. But it’s not really an act, if it was, I would have to say that I don’t have my act together.
4. Have you worked with any music labels?
I have my own label called Paradise Meadows. It’s basically just me right now, with the help of Ur Audio Visual.
I’m also involved with my friend Masahiro Takashi’s label, Uhira Uhira, based in Japan. I was involved with something called Safe Amp, which is a non-profit [organization].
5. You’ve released nine EPs since September 2014, it’s obvious that you’re a very prolific composer. What lead you to releasing so many EPs in such short of a time?
I have to confess, those releases go back to 2012 so I’m actually not as prolific as you were lead to believe I was. So I guess I can’t really answer your question. But I’ll just say that I got used to just putting out whatever I recorded as long as I thought it was good or even if I thought it was just “okay.”
You get a real mixed bag of nuts if you do that. I’m going to try to be more discerning about what I release from now on.
6. How do you think your sound has changed from your first EP, Hate Seeking, and your most recent EP, Nice Try?
My first EP Hate Seeking was made spontaneously: I was sort of learning how to make loops and was really into repetition. I had a cool synthesizer back then, [which] I sold to go to Montreal. So, I’m not sure if much has changed in terms of my songwriting but different instruments come and go.
I’m so glad I know someone who can mix for me. That’s something that’s been a huge difference, is collaborating with different people like Ellis. It’s made it more interesting
7. My favourite track from Nice Try is “Penguin,” it has a very upbeat tune. Could you provide some background to this song?
Sure, that’s the oldest of the songs, it was originally played in my old band called Half Chinese, but it never got recorded. It’s sort of inspired by a song by Penguin Cafe Orchestra. It’s probably more upbeat because I was feeling [like that] at the time.
8. Can you describe the scenario being told in “Otter Song?”
It’s the tale of a troubled young man who goes to a show at a bar with fighting on the mind and he drinks six beers. [He] then engages in fisticuffs with someone, sneaks away, […] ends up in the ocean, and [transforms] into an otter! Sort of a tale for modern times.
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