Interview: Getting local with Vancouver's Pat Lok

Dec 19 2017, 11:29 pm

Vancouver’s local electronic music scene is bursting with talent. As we continue exploring the depth of our city’s knack for music, we reached out to one of the first artists I met in Vancouver. Pat Lok has established himself as one of Vancouver’s “must watch” producers locally and internationally. With over 2.5 million plays on Soundcloud, and regular appearances on global music blogs, BBC Radio One and iTunes, the Vancouverite has certainly found his place in the growing music scene.

From our local dance floors to dance floors in Europe, Mexico and all over the USA, Pat Lok has gained international recognition and support from such artists as The Magician, RAC, The Knocks and Goldroom (just to name a few). And here at home, Pat is always working with other local talent, and finding ways to help the growth of the local electronic scene. Over a year ago, Pat teamed up with WMNSTUDIES to fulfill a small idea they had. Their idea turned reality, and White Noise Vancouver is now a monthly dance party that features local and international, up & coming and established artists alike.


Before setting off on his U.S. tour, Pat sat down with us on a rooftop overlooking the city to discuss electronic music in Vancouver.

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Did you always want to be a musician when you were growing up?

I was a musician growing up. I started playing piano when I was three, and I was pretty competitive. Then I gave it up when I was 12.

Do you still play the piano?

Any remix or tune I start writing begins with the chords, so technically yes. But if someone asked me to play something, then I get really freaked out. But if I have a few drinks and I walk into a room and see a piano there, that’s where I’ll be.

I was just at the Greenhouse Studios with DiRTY RADiO, and when you walk in the main entrance there are several pianos.

Oh yeh, every time I walk in there, that’s the first place I go.

That’s awesome. Is that how you got inspired to be where you are at now music wise?

I guess so. In high school, I went to a couple of raves back in the day and got into the music from that side of things. Everyone starts off with a really cheesy taste and I started there and just DJ’ed for a long time. I started messing around with making beats, but then a few years ago I started getting a little bit better and taking it more seriously. I spent a while making a lot of really terrible stuff, so it’s funny that a lot of the kids that come up these days – when I say kids I mean like 20 or 19 – they seem to only have been doing for like 18 months, that’s ridiculous. Most of us have been making terrible music for a long time.

So how long have you been in the music scene in Vancouver?

Long enough to remember some names, I suppose. Music is in such a place now that it’s more about, this time right now, it’s really exciting. I think that is what is inspiring. Even when Chromeo was getting big or starting to go mainstream, or A-Trak, that whole thing, that was six years ago or something. That was when things started to pick up. People started getting excited about it. In Vancouver, for me, that shift went from being underground to now -when it’s really cool to go spend a Friday night in a studio with anyone of these guys working- and it doesn’t feel like work. 

Being in the scene for a while, and you’ve travelled and seen other scenes in other cities, how is Vancouver’s electronic music scene comparable?

Vancouver is great in terms of its size. We have a world class scene in terms of the shows that come through because of Timbre Concerts, Blueprint, and Live Nation. We have a really educated crowd, and it informs even the stuff that I make because I’ve been playing long enough and, you don’t want to say it does, but it has to shape you somehow. So it is interesting when you go somewhere like Mexico or Colombia, it’s totally different. You have to read just, but you are still there for a reason. People are down with your music, so you figure out which side of yourself you want to show them. I wouldn’t play the stuff that I do at White Noise in Bogota. I tried, it doesn’t really work as well.

Your latest release “All in my head”, I read that you met Desirée Dawson while she was busking in Vancouver. Is that true?

I saw her at Make Music Vancouver in Gastown. She was the standout performance for me when I went down there. A week later, I saw her in Olympic Village. She was by herself on the water just doing her thing, so I said ‘let’s link up’ and sent her some stuff. She sent over some ideas, and she showed up and we hammered it out.

So collaborations wise, who else are you collaborating with in the city right now?

I have a single featuring DiRTY RADiO on vocals. And I am also working with Claire Mortifee. We actually met playing at a Bondax show where we were both performing.

And you mentioned White Noise Vancouver earlier, you co-created that. How did that whole idea come about?

Yeh, it is myself and Nathan from WMNSTUDIES. We were just playing a lot of shows together, so we thought, ‘why don’t we try and pool our resources and try to build something.’ We see eye-to-eye on the vision for White Noise- basically what it’s been. Bring in up and coming acts that we really like we’re excited about having a party that is accessible in terms of like walking off the street and you don’t have to know who the act is to have a good time. That’s why we often bring in surprise guests to amp up the vibes – for example, live vocals from Bear Mountain or Dirty Radio, and we had a vogue dance performance at the last one. Then we partnered up with Timbre about halfway through out first year, so we’re really excited to keep growing. We’ve moved to Alexander Gastown now, and we’re just about to announce our boat party, which is called “White Buoys”. 

How do you see White Noise going forward?

I think the key is to continue to grow what we are doing in terms of having the fun side of it and adding to the unpredictability. We’ve been lucky to start building a reputation outside of Vancouver for White Noise being a great party to play – artists are hitting us up asking to come perform. We also want to continue supporting local – whether that’s vocalists, producers, dancers. Vancouver has so much amazing talent. We are just trying to support the local community at the same time making it bigger on an international level.

For you personally, what’s next for you?

I’m really excited for this tour. Focusing on that, and writing a lot more.

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Catch Pat Lok this summer in Vancouver!

White Noise ft. Cherokee

With Pat Lok, Wmnstudies
When: Saturday June 6, 2015 at 10 p.m.
Where: Alexander Gastown, 91 Powell St, Vancouver
Tickets: Available online for $15. 19+


And just announced:
Timbre Concerts and White Noise Vancouver Present:

WHITE ‘BUOYS’ ft. Hotel Garuda

with Pat Lok, Wmnstudies, Can I Live, and Social Norms
When: Saturday July 11, 2015
Where: The Abitibi (Boat) and Alexander Gastown
Boat Cruise: Doors/Boat Loading: 7:00pm, Show 8:00pm, Curfew: 11:00pm
After Party: After Boat Cruise at the Alexander Gastown until Late
Early Bird Tickets: $45 (plus appl. s/c) advance available online.
Regular Tickets: $55 (plus appl. s/c) advance available online. Tickets also available at Red Cat, Zulu and Beatstreet.


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