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Montreal

If You're a Fan of Dead Horse Beats, There’s a Good Chance You’ll Get Laid

We chatted with Dead Horse Beats about Googling yourself, producing music late at night, and his new album Single People.

by Connie Chan
Apr 9 2014, 6:43pm

Patrick Wade, or as you probably know him, Dead Horse Beats, is keeping busy. This Halifax native has lived all over Canada, producing the smoothest of smooth hip-hop and electronic beats to document events and memories along the way. Just this week, DHB released his new album, Single People. Can you guess the theme for this one? We sat down with Patrick to talk about all the above, and some other eventful memories.

THUMP: What got you into sampling and producing?
Patrick: It was an album called Beauty and the Beat by Edanthat came out in 2005. It was a concept album that was one continuous sound and ran the whole way through. It's '60s psychedelic rock samples and hip-hop. It's sweet, such a great album. One track especially called "Promise Land" really inspired me to start sampling.

Have you ever gotten any warnings or complaints for sampling?
I don't think so, nothing big. People sometimes want to buy songs that I don't have the rights to, which is kind of a pain. But no, I'm still running from the law, so just don't broadcast my location. It's a secret layer somewhere beyond the surface of the moon.

You live in Montreal, but you're from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. Any musical influences from your hometown?
Oh yeah, for sure. Where I went to high school snap music, trap and hyphy seemed to be way more prevalent than elsewhere at that time. We listened to a lot of Keak Da Sneak, D4L, E-40, Gucci, Project Pat. We used to download and listen to the audio from these videos of Gucci Mane, Courtney Money, OJ da Juiceman, and all those Atlanta guys free styling in places like parks and junkyards. That music was mixed in with traditional suburban high school canon; Weezer, Green Day, Blink-182, classic rock, 2000s hip-hop. I think I've sampled the acapella for "Laffy Taffy" by D4L like seven or eight times. I've also used a Soulja Boy acapella more times than I can count. It's currently my text message ringtone.

Your music also has some electronic components. Where did that influence come from?
I've always liked guys like Caribou, or Kaytranada more recently. They take the hip-hop influence of sampling and loopy rhythms and bring it to a higher BPM and make it more electronic. I've noticed ever since moving to Montreal that there's a lot of that going on here. It's an infectious kind of music; it seeps into your consciousness, and it seeped out into the music I make.

Do you think Montreal is more supportive of the hip-hop community than other cities in Canada?
I'd say Montreal is really supportive of the electronic genre in general and anything that it encompasses. The big thing right now is not limiting yourself to one subgenre, and just doing anything you feel like doing. Everyone listens to so many different kinds of music, so the beauty of the DIY electronic scene is that whatever you listen to, or whatever you like, you have the ability to create it yourself. It's also a good way to showcase your producer chops as well in terms of working with other people. Right now my roommate, Jay Sean, and I are doing an afrobeat dancehall album.

Who are some of the promotion groups you've been working with and booking you for events?
Samourais Des Jungles Urbaines (SJU) has been the big one. My management team is—that sounds like such a douche thing to say—my manager, the guy who books all my shows is also the guy who runs SJU. He's put me on a lot of shows and is extremely supportive. Shout out to Lucas Jacques! All of the promoters have been really great in Montreal. It seems like the kind of place where everyone is given a shot, as long as you're making something that's dope.

If you had to choose between your two popular mix series', would you pick Greasy Spoon Sessions or Campfire Sessions?
Oh man that's tough to choose. I had a great time driving across the States going to weird little cafés during Greasy Spoon. There's this place in South Dakota that had a huge sign on the door saying "Testical Festival" and that was a nice spot. But I don't know, I really loved living in the woods, too. So I'd have to go with Campfire Sessions.

Do you miss living in the Rockies?
I wouldn't say that I miss it. It's a chapter of my life that was extremely enjoyable, but I love living in Montreal, and I wouldn't move from here to go anywhere else right now.

You've lived pretty much all across Canada: the Prairies, the Rockies and now the city. Do you think location influences your sound and production?
Yeah I think so, not consciously but people will tell me they can hear some nature in Campfire Sessions. I guess it just affects your state of mind, whatever it may be.

Your album was number two on Bandcamp's best-seller. How does it feel to have people buy your album and be able to live off of that during University?
It's pretty sweet, something I never thought would happen when I was making really weird, conscious hip-hop in first year University. People have been really great and supportive. It's hilarious to see strangers say things about you. I Google my own name sometimes, I did it this morning and I found a tweet from a girl that said "I hope my boyfriend buys the Dead Horse Beats t-shirt because I guarantee that he can have sex anytime he wants."

It's pretty sweet to hear that people are having sex to my music. Someone's got to be doing it for me.

What's the story behind your new album Singles People?
People keep asking me that, because all my other albums have themes. Campfire Sessions was done all outside, Stop, Thief! when everything got stolen, Chains 'Round My Legs was all about prison work songs and gospel stuff. This one is mostly about breaking up with someone and acting like a child for a subsequent period of time. You know, doing drugs and listening to loud music. Making kind of fucked up music late at night.

So basically that's been your life for the past year…
Uh, mom and dad if you're reading this—not just that.

Last but not least, Montreal poutine or Halifax donair?
Halifax donair. If you've ever met anyone from Nova Scotia, they'll tell you, it trumps all options.