“What’s better than recording in your pyjamas?” Why Mike Patton hearts the digital age

Faith No More, Mr Bungle and Peeping Tom vocalist Mike Patton gives the skinny on his hi-tech heroes.  The Korg Kaoss pad is pretty amaz

Faith No More, Mr Bungle and Peeping Tom vocalist Mike Patton gives the skinny on his hi-tech heroes.  

The Korg Kaoss pad is pretty amazing

I run a mic through a Kaoss pad and process my voice live. The mini Kaoss Pad doesn’t have a mic input but the fact you can just put it your pocket and roll is still pretty cool.

There’s the other Japanese toy I just got, which I think is available in the UK called the Tenori-on and it  reminds me of an old game I play as a kid called Battleship. Its kind of a cross between that, and a 16-step sequencer. It's just a little hand-held thing with internal effects and sounds and it looks like something right out of the Jetsons.

I still have my old four-track cassette recorder

I use Logic and ProTools in my home studio for demos but I still have my four-track! There are certain things you can do on there that you can’t do on a digital workstation. Sometimes I’ll record vocals into the four-track and then pipe them out into ProTools just because I like the sound a little better – there’s things you can do with the pause button that are really hard to do in the digital realm.

Digital recording helps bypass the demo stage

What I used to do is make demos and then teach them to the band and the band would go into the studio. But now, the demo stage is to all intents and purposes gone ¬– you can now make good enough sounding material while you’re demoing, which is a beautiful thing.  The process can happen much quicker and much more instantaneously and it’s gratifying when you can come up with something in your basement that is record-worthy.

You can bring some people into a shitty basement as long as you have some decent microphones and some proofs, and know what you want you can do it in your pyjamas – and what’s better than that?

I’m a PlayStation fan

I’m definitely a PS3 fan. I never really got into Xbox, I had all the PlayStation versions and just stuck with that. There’s only so many hours you can twiddle away with that stuff, so one system is enough for me. I just finished Manhunt on PSP – it took me a few tours to get through it, but now I need a new obsession. I heard God of War  is out on PSP, I’m thinking about getting that.

I didn’t know Epic (by Faith No More) was in Rock Band until I played it!

I didn’t actually know about it until I did an interview with a video game magazine not so long ago. When I played that song, I was like “oh my God”. The fact that that game has become sort of an institution is kind of amazing to me. I wonder if at some point down the line there will be a whole school of kids who cant play music, but are great on that system.

Perhaps instead of making it a karaoke thing, what if you could actually compose on that system? It just made me think if at some point down the line we’d see people on stage with screens playing original music using that technology.

(ed. In fact with Guitar Hero 4 offering the ability to record your own songs, Mike’s vision could be not so far away)

I hate the rat race element in technology

Knowing when to make the leap to next new OS, or a new gadget, or new system irritates me. The fact that you’re never really comfortable with whatever system you have, even it you’re making great music and doing well, eventually a bug is going to come along or your computer is going to be too slow or your hard drive is going to fill up and then you’re going to have to think about it.

Releasing music for free is great if you can afford it

I’m not in that position, I don’t know if I ever will be, but if I am at some point maybe I will do the same thing. But right now, music is my livelihood, its how I live. I spend a good amount of time and energy making it, and I want to make sure that it is available for people. I love the fact that you can download it, but the fact that it can be pirated or in some ways owned by the public before I can even have a say, is disconcerting, disillusioning, and it makes you bottle up as an artist. It makes you very protective, and it makes you more and more conscious of what you let out and what you don’t.

I download to listen, buy physical to keep

The kind of music that I buy online is, I would say, stuff that I don’t really care about owning, stuff I don’t feel a fetish for. If I want to see what Timberland is up to, I’ll download that. But I won’t download a Throbbing Gristle box set, I will buy that!

 I feel like there are certain artists I want to support and there are certain things that I want to have in my hands, and certain pieces of music that benefit from artwork and having the product.  I don’t think everyone is like that, nor should they be. But I still love the chase of going into a record store and thinking ‘hmm what’s going to change my life today?”, and that’s much harder to do online.

Mike Patton features on Mondo Cane – an album of Italian pop covers from the 50s and 60s.

He is also co-curating All Tomorrow’s Parties presents The Nightmare Before Christmas with The Melvins on 5-7 December 2008.