As the world fights a pandemic, we’ve been reaching out to some of our favorite artists to get their takes on these unprecedented times. Here’s what Faith No More and Mr. Bungle singer Mike Patton — who just released Necroscape, an enveloping and unsettling avant-rock odyssey by tētēma, his collaborative venture with Australian composer Anthony Pateras — had to say in response to a few quarantine questions via email.
What are you doing with your unexpected time at home?
Writing. Writing. Writing. Working on several records at once, which isn’t abnormal for me, but it is somehow refreshing to not have other distractions interfering. However, the gravity of this situation does make things feel … uh, different.
Although I am lucky enough to hopefully survive this, I have had an entire year of tours canceled, between different bands, and that certainly does weigh on me, the bands I’m working with, and obviously the fans who may or may not have purchased tickets! So … basically, it sucks.
But personally, this lockdown lifestyle is not terribly different from my normal routine, as I’m quite hermetic and private. But sometimes it does resonate deeper — like, when you want to hit a restaurant with family or friends. No. What do we do? We adapt or die.
What music have you been turning to for solace — or for any reason — during the quarantine, and why?
Musically: I’ve been listening to comforting, yet hallucinatory stuff. Meaning all types of “exotica” — the imagined musical/fantasy world within the palette of certain composers in the Fifties/Sixties. It somehow transports me into a happy place, between the Enchanted Tiki Room and Haunted Mansion at Disneyland. Not all of these releases fall into that realm technically, but they all have a galactic level of composition and supreme execution.
Les Baxter: Space Escapade, The Passions, and Ritual of the Savage.
All of these records are a perfect, otherworldly voyage/escape. If you wear headphones, it’s a beautiful war, a transportation to somewhere you may have never been.
Ferrante & Teicher: Denizens of the Deep
An underwater fantasy with prepared piano and electronics. Again, if we wanted to escape, why not go underwater?
André Popp: Delirium in Hi-Fi
An absolute classic, specializing in stereophonic trickery and insane instrumentation.
Dick Hyman: Electric Eclectics and Moon Gas
Both discs are an electronic Moog enema that is so cheerful and refreshing, your intestines will thank you.
Yma Sumac: Voice of the Xtabay
A soothing vocal mud bath, with wonderful arrangements. The voice of Yma is a guiding light!
A true triumph in the early days of stereophonic pop/experimentation. Wear headphones and strap yourself into your chair.
Bernard Parmegiani, Pop’eclectic
An avant-garde voyage into electro pop, from a gleefully classical point of view.
Jean-Claude Vannier: Electro Rapide
A collection of some of his deep tracks — all are transformative, groovy, and completely innovative.
Raymond Scott: Manhattan Research Inc. or Soothing Sounds for Baby
Electronic experiments from a legendary composer, who is famous for Warner Bros. and Hanna-Barbera cartoons.
The Voyager Golden Record
A box set/collection that was recently re-issued to us terrestrials. It was designed to travel with Voyager 1 and 2 missions, into space — hopefully to end up on Jupiter Saturn. This record was intended to be a document, a sort of hello to aliens, to illustrate what humankind sounds like. As an interstellar handshake. For that alone, that’s a comforting listen, for me!
Anything else you want to say to your fans right now?
Hang tough. Watch epic films. To me, watching anything less than three hours doesn’t work in this time. Check out any sword-sandal epic, or gangster epic — anything that soaks up this quicksand of time we are in.
Lawrence of Arabia
The Godfather / Goodfellas
Sergio Leone’s “Dollars Trilogy”
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers
Or, if you are feeling frisky, here are some paranoiac ones:
Woman in the Dunes
Take care, remember, the only way to stay active and creative is to create! You guys got this. It’s up to you.
Sending love and strength, MP!