The third album from Montreal musician Patrick Krief — Hundred Thousand Pieces—is out today on Rock Ridge. It’s a beautifully crafted alt-folk collection filled with hopeful, poignant, lush arrangements. Krief, guitar player for The Dears, played all the instruments, layering them for the self-produced album. At 10 years old, he got a guitar, playing what he’d hear on the radio. His musical family encouraged his artistic pursuits.
While on his current tour, Patrick and I spoke by cell [Rather unreliable coverage. We rescheduled by a week and then unfortunately I couldn’t hear the last few questions I asked. I’m blaming Texas.] as he drove through Texas en route to Austin and the South by Southwest Music Festival. The tour finishes up at O’Brien’s in Allston this Saturday March 23.
Amy Steele: Do you think you have a different approach and perspective being a self-taught musician?
Patrick Krief: I’ve always only been interested in writing my own music and I’ve never felt the need to actually be able to score it. With the technology these days I just bang out on a keyboard/ piano and the music sheet comes up. Whatever I’ve needed to communicated with musicians that do read I either sing what I want for them to play and they dictate it or I use software to translate what I’m playing on the keyboard onto manuscript paper.
Amy Steele: How has technology changed the writing process?
Patrick Krief: Sometimes you rely on your eyes more than your ears. When I write I try to get all my ideas out in my head on a guitar and arrange it there before I go to the computer to lay it down to execute it.
Amy Steele: What comes first music or lyrics?
Patrick Krief: I just wait. Songwriting hits me at random times. Whatever I happen to have around me, I’ll grab the voice recorder on my iPhone and a guitar or lyrics that come to me I’ll write down in a note pad. But I’ve never succeeded at sitting down and trying to write something. I’ll never be happy with that type of song. Usually a good one hits me like a lightning bolt and I’m rushing to find something to document the idea.
Amy Steele: It’s a beautiful album. Lovely songs. Really gorgeous. Some of the songs linger in my head after I’ve heard them.
Patrick Krief: I appreciate that.
Amy Steele: Why’d you want to do solo projects?
Patrick Krief: The idea of being a guitar for a band was more the why did you want to do that because I’ve always been doing this. The keyboardist and I have been playing music together for 10 years. Before joining The Dears I’d been reluctant to be a guitar player. I got something out of it that I didn’t think I would. It’s a focused, no-stress kind of vibe. I enjoy it. This is always something I’ve wanted to do and what I’ve been working towards. It’s a lot more stress and it’s a lot more rewarding.
Amy Steele: Who are you as a solo artist?
Patrick Krief: I’m just a fucked up guy like everyone else. I just want to be as real as possible and give people something they can relate to.
Amy Steele: What are the greatest challenges as a solo artist?
Patrick Krief: Being as strong as being able to be selfish and not caring what people like. Making art for yourself and it’s self-indulgent. Once it’s done you hope that it connect with people so that you can have a career. In the process you have to divide those worlds of career and artist.
Amy Steele: What’s the best part about being a solo artist?
Patrick Krief: When you feel like you’ve actually connected with anybody. When somebody talks to you and says “I love this song” or they get it, there’s no single greater reward than that.
3/19 – Local 506, Chapel Hill, NC
3/21 – Rock Shop, Brooklyn, NY
3/22 – M Room, Philadelphia, PA
3/23 – O’Brien’s Pub, Allston, MA