Patrick James Grossi is an American singer, songwriter, and record producer
Interview: Ljubov Dzuzhynska
Photo: Riccardo Castano
What’s it like to be you?
It’s pretty great honestly. I’ve got my hands gripped firmly around my greatest passion, creating music, and I’m surrounded by the ones I love most. Sometimes I wonder how I got so lucky.
You`ve released a new visual work which was directed by Martin De Thurah for the song “Color Me” – a film that explores our shared humanity and the darkness inherent in each of us. How would you describe your own darkness?
My darkness is associated directly with my fears, the greatest of them being death, an end of existence.
You’ve said that the fear of death has been with you since you were a boy. What’s your perception of death and how do you manage the fear associated with it?
My perception is that there is life, then death, and then an eternity of nothing. I realize this sounds extremely dark, and I’m actually laughing out loud to comfort myself but that is just what my gut tells me. I’m always searching for evidence to prove my instincts wrong, and in my music, I am searching for an answer or a response to this from somewhere within. So in that way, music has helped manage, but also I’ve found reading books about near-death experiences has been insightful.
What do you think really matters at the end of life?
Becoming a father has helped me understand this to some degree.
I think that spending your life on something truly fulfilling, like raising children is what will soften the finality of life. And with that purpose the end will be easy.
Would you like to live forever?
No. But I would like to live a bit longer. I’m nearing the midway point of life and I think ideally I’d like to tack on another 30 years. If my children have kids of their own I would love to have more time to see them grow.
Do you think the mind works best creatively under a certain amount of pain and suffering? Why?
I think for certain creators, yes. I can say for myself I’ve benefited creatively from both pain and pleasure, but I have a stronger pull from suffering. Not necessarily my own, but collective pain is a place I pull from very often. Making lasting music is about submission, disappearing for a bit. Pain is the quickest route I’ve found.
What is fucked about the world of today?
Our inability to prepare for future catastrophe and see beyond our own self-interests.
We’ve removed ourselves so completely from the natural world that we have become separate from our planet. It feels as if we are visitors here now.
What is one thing that you would want to wipe out from existence?
Religious dogma, or any set of rules that are beyond questioning regardless of their reason or logic. That and prawn cocktail crisps.
What have you learned about yourself through your art?
I’ve learned that
there is such complexity within us. We live most of our lives and days on the surface, dealing with what confronts us in the moment or near past/future. But with the freedom to explore my psyche through music I’ve realized there’s a great deal happening below the surface.
What was the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen or experienced in your life?
That initial moment of eye contact when my children were born. It was like looking at god. It was a moment that challenged my perception of everything.
Does your perception of beauty differ over time? How?/Why?
As I’ve grown older my perception of beauty has sharpened, become more nuanced. It’s always been that way with music, I always found myself gravitating toward the hidden moments. But in some ways it’s become broader also, the simplest things are now the most wonderful.
What have you learned through fatherhood?
Patience. I’ve got a long way to go still.
Did you reach your personal definition of happiness? What does happiness consist of for you?
I’m very happy now.
Happiness is a tended garden, other times it’s the chaos and calm of a busy house. But it always hinges on purpose.