P.A.T. – Interview

There’s only one P.A.T., or Pat Fraser if you prefer the government name. A creative and entrepreneurial type or better yet an “artistpreneur.” Abstract rhymes combined with high-level consciousness, cutting-edge wit and an uncanny sense of humor along with a complex, off-kilter approach to storytelling full of awe-inspiring punch lines, metaphors, and one-liners makes him one of the world’s top tier lyricists. A graphic designer by trade, Pat is one in a few entertainers with a college degree. An actor whose persistence and tenacity landed him roles in HBO’s The Wire and The Dark Knight Rises. Overall an enigma ready to set the world on fire with powerful artistic truth.

What is your name? My family calls me Patrick. My friends call me Pat. But you and the rest of the world can call me P.A.T. I know the next question would be what the hell does P.A.T. stand for? The answer to that is, Powerful Artistic Truth.

Where are you from? I’m originally from New York but Maryland is where I was raised. I’ve lived in Montgomery County, which is on the outskirts of Washington, D.C., and now Baltimore is home. I rep the DMV, Maryland more so, but the DMV is the movement that the state of Maryland is a part of along with D.C. and Virginia.

How long have you been making music? A longtime. I’ll just put it like that. I don’t want to make myself seem old but yeah, I’ve been at this music thing for a while. If anyone needs numbers, we’ll just say a little over a decade.

How many songs /albums have you released to date? I do albums so if I had to be real technical and tell you how many albums I’ve done so far, we could easily say a good 7 or 8. As far as the music that I’ve presented to the world at large, 2 solid albums. One being more of a demo or “project” to let people know what I’m capable of and the next being a debut album more so capitalising off the last project.

Can you tell us about your last album and the background and inspirations behind it?  The last album I put out was called “Powerful Artistic Truth, Misunderstood or America’s Nightmare” also known as “P.A.T.M.A.N.” for short. “P.A.T.M.A.N.” was inspired by quite a few different things, for one, Patman is a character I created when I was little. He was me as a superhero and he was inspired by my favorite superhero, Batman. The mask and the comic book-ish album cover was inspired by all of that. The Patman mask was kind of a throwback to my childhood while at the same time representing a faceless or anonymous character who hides his identity in order to get people to pay attention to his message more than superficial things like his looks.

As far as the deeper meaning behind the title/acronym, P.A.T.M.A.N., I feel that I’m an enigma to a lot of people I meet which in turn makes me misunderstood. I’m known to be quiet and observant but on the flip side, I’m very outspoken and even radical in my thinking so when I say things or speak out against certain things going on in society, especially social injustices, it tends to rub people the wrong way because a lot of times it’s misunderstood. Not only that, but sometimes it just goes against conventional wisdom and popular opinion. Only a few embrace that mentality, but for the most part, that’s a nightmare to many people, more so the elite few who really run things behind the scenes.

To me, anyone who is aware, knowledgeable, honest, or maybe just outspoken is America’s nightmare.  A person courageous enough to voice their opinions, beliefs and (most importantly) facts about what truly goes on in this world of ours is America’s nightmare.

America, especially Corporate America wants people to be docile and compliant. They want people to just shut up and do what they’re told, as long as it’s general consensus, you don’t question authority. Modern day slavery at its best. When I say “America’s Nightmare,” I’m not talking about being the ordinary American citizens’ worst nightmare, I’m talking about The Establishment.  The Establishment who for so many years have ruled America (and the rest of the world) with an iron fist is who I refer to when I talk about America. Someone who’s America’s nightmare is also someone who exposes willfully ignorant people to the TRUTH.

Why do you want to be involved in the music industry?

 I do but I don’t. But to answer the question in two ways, I do because I love music, especially hip hop and being a rapper is something I’ve always dreamed about. I’ve always wanted to share my talent with the world and we all know the music industry is the platform to do that. I don’t want to be involved in the music industry because I grew up and I got more informed on what actually goes on in the music industry and what being a part of an industry like that entails. Anyone who’s well-informed knows that the music industry is 90% business and 10% talent. We’ve heard all of the horror stories of artists getting raped left and right. I’m talking about when it comes to contracts, creative control, etc. If an artist isn’t educated on the business side of things, they’re fucked. A label will take advantage of that and pimp you. With all of this in mind, getting signed to a major label isn’t attractive to me. But if I somehow came across a label that is willing to work with me and the situation I’ve been building for myself, then we can see what we can do.

What do you think of the Music industry in 2015? Well, from 2015 and beyond, the music industry is going to continue to crumble. I’m talking about the traditional music industry. Actual albums that sit on the shelves in stores are not only collecting dust, but a lot of stores are starting to sell less and less albums since albums don’t really sell anymore. People download music off the internet and while labels were running around suing teenagers for downloading, they didn’t allow themselves to embrace the changing times and adapt. Now they’re trying to play catch up while trying to sign artists to slave type deals like the 360 deal for example. With the internet and artists’ having the tools and resources available to them to put out their own music and being able to market their music to tons of people from the comfort of their own home, that part of the music industry will continue to flourish.

How do you think the internet and social media affected the music industry and how artists are able to market themselves?

 Also do you think an artist will be able to survive in today’s music industry if they’re not social media savvy? I think the Internet opened up a lot of doors for people when it comes to extending the reach of their music much further. In other words, once an artist knows how to navigate the Internet and is on most of the popular social media sites out there, then they are able to market themselves to people who are nowhere near them. You can live in Chicago but get people from the U.K. to listen to your music without having to travel there to perform. If they like it, they’ll become a fan and most likely they will follow you via social media to keep up with you and your music. Artists don’t necessarily need a label to help them market themselves anymore because the tools are available online for them to do it themselves. An artist can survive in today’s music industry if they aren’t social media savvy only if they are attached to the hip with someone who is. Outside of that, if you’re not savvy enough and don’t work with people who are, you’re playing yourself. This is the era we live in now, so not being social media savvy or at least working with people who are would be real counterproductive.

The music industry is full of talented individuals who don’t get any recognition for their talent and/or work. What do you plan to do to make sure that this doesn’t happen to you? Honestly, I plan on just being myself and for the most part thinking outside the box like I’ve been doing. Everybody’s entry into the music industry doesn’t need to be the same. Everybody is different. There is no one size fits all method. I just plan on doing things on my own terms. This includes making music myself and others like to listen to and really taking full advantage of this thing we call the Internet and leveraging the shit out of it.

Dead or alive, who would be your dream collaboration? Not to sound rapper cliché but I would have to say 2Pac. If we’re talking dead or alive, then I’m going with Pac. I think we’d collab really well because we’re both kind of cut from the same cloth.

What was the first album you bought?  DMX – Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood

What’s your favorite song at the moment?  I have no favorites at the moment… at least not mainstream-wise. I don’t listen to the radio so unfortunately I don’t have any Top 40 billboard type of song to throw out there to be politically correct. I have a lot of favorite songs but I don’t want to make this interview any longer than it needs to be by giving you all of my favorite songs. Also the question was singular, not plural lol.

Who is the most influential artist now, and 10 years ago?   I’d probably have to say Kanye West. I think before Kanye, there was period in hip hop when everyone was trying to be hard and beef was the in-thing. Everyone seemed to have beef with someone and it was used for marketing to help sell albums since controversy sells. I think Kanye killed all of that and he just did him. He put out College Dropout, told his story, became wildly successful and of course, the rest is history. I think that opened up the flood gates for a lot of cats to just be themselves. Now we’re in an era where artists are more comfortable being themselves and making the music that is more true to them.

If you had to sell your music collection tomorrow, what album would you leave in your draw?  It would be a toss up between Ghostface Killah’s Supreme Clientele or Raekwon’s Only Built 4 Cuban Linx.

How do you think you differ from other artists?  I know that I am different from other artists but it’s hard to put into words. I think when you listen to me and listen to other artists’, everything will more so speak for itself. But to answer the question more directly, I would say that I differ from other artists because not only do I have a distinct sound vocally but also I’m more well-rounded and versatile with my content and subject matter. Talking about drugs, money, cars, clothes, jewelry and hoes is seen as the norm when it comes to a lot of rappers’ subject matter and content, but I don’t follow that blueprint. I’m comfortable being myself and making my own music. I differ from other artists because I’m not cookie-cutter and manufactured like all of the other artists’ out there.

What other hobbies or interests do you have?   Other than music, my other hobbies are graphic design and illustration. I’ve really taken a liking to creating websites through WordPress over the past few years. Anyone who needs any work done should go to my website, PATUNIVERSE.com and click on the Professional Art Services link and hit me up. That was a quick shameless plug for my business, but going back to hobbies and interests, I’m into comics, martial arts, acting, performing, music marketing, internet marketing, building my brand/business among other things.

You have a music video to your songs “Tic Tac Toe” and “Pay Me”. What was the concept of that video?

   The video starts off with “Pay Me” and that song is basically saying, give me what’s mine, in other words pay me what I deserve. Too often people work jobs that they hate, living paycheck to paycheck and being underpaid just to make ends meet. We’re all in search of doing what we love for a living and being able to live the American Dream. The video shows my character on a mission. He goes through that frustrating period of not having enough money and just getting fed up and getting to a point where he’s going to have to take matters into his own hands. This leads into “Tic Tac Toe” where he makes the transition from being someone who’s fed up to being someone who is more aware and more in control of his destiny.

What do you think your listeners get out of your music?  I think they get the unadulterated truth. Sprinkle that unadulterated truth with humour, creativity and thought-provoking material and they get a listening experience like no other.

Tell us about any upcoming projects you have in the works?

  I’ve started a crowd-funding campaign for my next album. I’m using GoFundMe to get people to help me fund my next album. That next album will be P.A.T.M.A.N. pt. 2, and it is tentatively titled “Identity Crisis”. I need a big budget to not only make this album at its highest quality but to market it and distribute it on a large scale. Anyone who is willing to help make this album possible can donate at GoFundMe.com/patman.

What’s next for P.A.T.?   What’s next is to continue to take the P.A.T. brand to the next level with PATUNIVERSE.com and my indie music marketing website, Startyourmusicgrindnow.com. Plan A is to succeed on my own terms and Plan B is to stick to Plan A. Plan C is to refer to Plan B. I know my response to this question is a little vague but once people go on those two websites that I mentioned, they will get a better understanding of what I’m doing and where I’m headed. If they like what they see, I encourage them to come along for the ride!

Thank you for your time and may you carry on making dope, fresh music.

Thank you for your time…