After 2 albums and over a dozen solo exhibitions, neurodiverse musician and artist Patrick Samuel’s life stalled just like everyone else’s did in 2020 when COVID-19 thrust the world into a pandemic, and the UK went into lockdown.
Patrick is our Digital Resident throughout May, read more about his experience of creating through COVID and the making of Lost Shadows.
How did the events of 2020 influence you creatively?
2020 frustrated me as much as it influenced me. The year began really well, I had art exhibitions lined up and lots of events in my calendar to promote my previous album and I was already working on new songs.
Outside of my life there were so many things unfolding; the Australian bushfires, the pandemic, the general state of the world, climate change… I didn’t feel the songs I was writing were relevant anymore. I didn’t want to sing about things in my life in a gentle, pleasant voice anymore.
What is Lost Shadows about?
It was always meant to be an EP, a bridge between the pleasantness of Distant Star and the ugliness of what would come after. Consisting of 5 songs, it was really about where we were at the time. The title track tries to make sense of the darkness we were about to head into.
Although it was all recorded in the summer of 2020, it was released later in the year when we were all heading back into lockdown again, the US elections resulted in a lot of chaos, the UK still hadn’t come to its senses with Brexit… it felt like we were all lost, with our eyes closed and following fools down a trail that leads nowhere.
What were some of the things you did differently this time?
I began to write from a different perspective and sing with a different voice. The guitars sounded much more aggressive, basslines were much thicker and heavier, and the drums really became my own. I revamped my synths as well. I was learning more about the palming technique with my electric guitar and used that throughout the EP, which is one of the things that gives it a unique sound from anything else I did before.
The vocal styles are definitely different, and I didn’t rely on any masking or auto-tuning to make my voice sound anything that it isn’t. I wanted a certain rawness to it all.
Which genre would you place Lost Shadows in?
I think it certainly has a goth-rock tone throughout and it’s very heavy on the guitars. Perhaps darkwave as well. You can hear a bit of the 80s in there, but it’s also quite contemporary as well.
I think it’s more for listeners to come up with their own genre-placements than for me to do it. But I do enjoy being a musician outside of what people associate autism with because it challenges their perceptions of what you can do and what autism is.
How did the pandemic affect promotion?
It’s been especially challenging as I had a couple of live shows planned to showcase all 5 videos we filmed for the songs, and to perform as well. I’m much better in person because promoting music online is especially difficult if you struggle with connecting with people generally.
We’ve had online video premieres and whilst a handful people do join in, for the most part it’s exceedingly difficult to get people to care. It’s been a difficult EP to market because I don’t think it’s being seen by the people who would really love it. The EP was featured on Bandcamp’s weekly pick, but that hasn’t translated to sales unfortunately, which is a shame, because I think it’s a great collection of original songs.
Where can people find Lost Shadows?
The EP is an online only release, available on my Bandcamp and Spotify.
In terms of merchandise, people can also get a set of limited-edition postcards featuring the images we shot to promote the singles.
If you go onto Tiergarten Records’ Youtube channel, there’s a playlist with all 5 videos we filmed to make the visual EP.
Digital Residencies is part of Drake Music’s covid-secure artistic programming and is supported by the Arts Council England Culture Recovery Fund. It is a self-directed online residency for Disabled artists.