The Steely Dan-inspired, Vancouver born Project Pablo had a chat to us

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The Steely Dan-inspired, Vancouver born Project Pablo had a chat to us

I had a chat with one of Vancouver’s brightest up-and-coming house producers Patrick Holland, a.k.a Project Pablo, to discuss the inspiration behind his infectious retro sound, the welcoming Canadian music scene and his debut full length effort I Want To Believe.


First things first, congratulations on your debut full length I Want To Believe on 1080p. The tracks send me to a virtual cruise ship with a tropical backdrop where even the palm trees were oscillating in unison with the music. What kind of emotions and reactions were you hoping to evoke whilst making it?

Thanks Bryce, I’m glad the tunes took you to a pleasant place! I wanted to make people move, and forget about their daily troubles; a 47 minute blissful escape, if you will.

The album is rather diverse in the sense that some tracks are undoubtedly club-friendly, like ‘Always’, and others like ‘Follow It Up’ feel like they’re geared for a coastline drive or an afternoon in the sun. My own preconceptions aside, where did you imagine the setting was for the tracks to be consumed in the production process?

I was aiming for an open ended and inviting listening experience, catering to both active and passive listeners alike. I enjoy listening to music, especially tapes, with a groove while making food, putting me in a meditative state of sorts. I aimed to aid that vibe, for kitchen and club use.

Your ‘Utensils’ EP on the Hybridity imprint was class. Since then you’ve been working hard, with a string of mixes and releases this past year. How have you found the progression since changing monikers from 8rpn to Project Pablo?

It has been an interesting switch up, and it has taken me about a year to get comfortable with it. The earlier Project Pablo stuff was a little more hard hitting, and wasn’t entirely honest in my opinion. I felt like I was making tunes I wanted to hear and play at the club, versus stuff that actually meant something to me, which made me unsure about the output. It’s with the more relaxed and vulnerable tracks I feel content about sharing, and hope to develop more as I go.

I like to think of your sound as retro-inspired and synth-laden house, but in terms of genres, I noticed that one of the tracks in your mix for Leisure Link includes a vocal sample discussing genres and how putting labels on things restricts creativity in a way. What are your thoughts on genre separation? Do you believe your sound fits into a particular genre? Or do you believe labelling music has a detrimental impact?

I don’t really have a strong opinion concerning classification. I find it helpful when sorting/digging through records and playlists. Those who put heavy weight on such descriptors and let if effect their listening experience and discovery in negative ways are definitely missing out. Some of my tracks lean closer to specific genres than others, and if someone feels the need to label it under for organisational purposes I do not mind to the slightest. I’ve been using the term Canadian House when people ask, which I’ve come to enjoy because it’s fairly open ended.

Where did the inspiration for your retro-laced sound originate?

I grew up on a great deal of Steely Dan listening and I finally revisited that influence in the last year. I’ve also increased my record purchasing, with an emphasis on older, funky North American sounds, which has pushed my melodic sensibilities in a certain direction.

It seems like Canada is on the rise from an outsider’s perspective, with the likes of Tiga, Dan Snaith (Caribou, Daphni) and Jacques Greene making waves, as well as the don Richie Hawtin (Plastikman) having built up a sterling reputation over the years. So being based in Montreal and growing up in Vancouver, how’s the music scene in Canada?

Montreal is great. In comparison to Vancouver, everything is cheaper so a a lot of folks are able to create non-stop without their day jobs getting in the way of their day jobs. Collaborations on shows and productions are easier/smoother due to such, making the scene fairly stress free for a newcomer like myself. The usual Canadian problems exist though, strict liquor laws meaning clubs typically close at 3AM and prices remain high. Harsh enforcement on DIY independent venues is present as well, making the options narrow for throwing late night events. Limitations make it all the more exciting and fun when it works though.

Top 3 favourite tracks you’ve been rinsing lately?

1. Conga Radio – Naturalmente [Good Timin’]
2. 1800HaighStreet – Insects [Lobster Theremin]
3. Feingold – Palo Santo [1080p Collection]

Top 3 up-and-coming artists?

1. Feingold
2. Wolfey
3. Infamous Boogieman

Where can we get our hands on I Want To Believe?

The tapes are sold out, but the digital copy can be found via 1080p here. A repress will be on the way in future months.


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