By Sarah Iannone
Photos by Sean Dalin

8prn was the call sign of Concordia, a steel-hulled sailing ship that sank in 2010 following a severe storm off the coast of Brazil. 8prn is also Patrick Holland, the 21-year-old Vancouver-based experimental producer who spent his senior year of high school aboard that very ship (it’s all good, no one died). Holland’s musical alter ego first surfaced last year with the EP “Over It.” We caught up with him to discuss his musical endeavors, as he propels as a producer, while working to open his own performance space in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. 

Vancouver's nightlife is pretty weak. What's your take on trying to strive as a musician in a city with such a small selection of venues with poor hours?

I agree that it doesn't compare to cities on the East Coast…Montreal, New York, but there are a lot of underground-ish events. You gotta know about these things though, because they are rarely marketed, and the community involved is small. As for getting gigs, I'd imagine it's like any city; some venues value quality, talent, and others only value money. A lot of big names pass through here and go unacknowledged, but that happens everywhere.  

Vancouver's pretty dreary. Do you think it might help with your aesthetic? 

The dreariness doesn't really get to me, but the constant rain does cause me to sit inside and make music and be antisocial. 

Where do you draw your musical inspiration?

Cliché, but it all goes back to Radiohead for me; albums like Kid A and Amnesiac were my intro to electronic music that I liked. Currently, I get most inspired by my friends, who make art, both musical and visual. 

Who are your favorite artists right now?

Kelela, Four Tet, Rook Milo, Jacques Greene, Heartbeat(s), Kline

So, 8PRN is the call sign of a boat that sank that you went to school on? You went to school on a boat? Was it super Breaker High? 

Yes, it's the radio call sign of a tall ship that I lived on for my senior years of high school. I was not on it when it sank off the Brazilian coast, but a number of my friends were – no one died though! They spent about 40 hours in lifeboats; it was very intense. 

Crazy. What are you working on now? 

I’ve been working on originals, remixes, and collaborating with Heartbeat(s) as of late. Heartbeat(s), Chef, Jean, and myself are starting a digital imprint called the ASL Singles Club that will feature singles from a line up of producers, musicians of different locales and styles. 

What’s your musical community like in Vancouver? 

I've got a close group of friends that produce, MC, DJ and such, who function under the collective name Chapel Sound. There are a number of collectives, crews and labels like Moodhut, Lights! Sound, and 1080p; they keep it interesting with different styles and backgrounds. 

We heard you opened up a space in Vancouver and just put on your first show there. 

A friend found a basement in downtown Vancouver that we turned into a music, video production, photo, and design studio. We plan on hosting shows, but with the strict laws against underground events it'll be tough to do often. In the last year, a number of studio venues have been shut down due to zoning issues concerning over capacities, faulty liquor licenses, and other stuff that draws attention. Most places that function primarily as after hours usually end up gaining the cops' focus quickly, and any slip up will cause closure. Technically, these parties are for the most part illegal, but it seems the city has been cracking down especially hard, as of recent. We're new to this whole thing, but if we focus primarily on production versus shows, we'll be fine. For the first show, we were lucky to have sets from Francesca Belcourt, Young Braised, and Kieran Fearing – all very talented humans.

What's next? 

I'll be in Vancouver for a while due to school, but I want to transfer to Montreal or something next year. 

You're in School?

I'm taking a major in music with a focus on modern composition and electro-acoustic music. I use some of what I learn in my 8prn project, but a lot of the content doesn't apply to the tonal music that I make. In general, I learn how to make music like Steve Reich, Philip Glass, Morton Feldman, or John Cage.

ID Magazine recently described your musical genre as “new age trap”. 

I wasn't too big on that description, but I can see why they said that. I use similar sounds to that genre, but trap, as everyone knows, has been so misused as a term to describe music that I don't know what it means anymore. I like Project Pat and old Triple 6 Mafia and use some of their production ideas, but recently I've been making tracks with a different tempo and motive. 

I hear you go by 8prn, but online your Patrice, but you're friends call you Patrick, but your real names Sean?

I have a lot of fake names on the Web, and I can't switch them back to my real one, because I've exceeded my limit. I go by Patrick usually.

Patrick it is.