Ahead of their upcoming record release show, the Brooklyn post-punks remember the time Mitski blessed them. Seriously.
You know that expression, “Fake it till you make it?” Well, the Brooklyn-based post-punk trio Patio literally did fake it until they made it.
Let me explain: Before Patio was a band, it was a concept. There were no songs, no members, no practices—only colors and themes envisioned by Loren DiBlasi, who, in the middle of a self-described “little mini life crisis,” joked that the name Patio would be perfect for a band “of people trying to figure out their way in the world.” This was in 2014. She was at a party. It was spring, or it felt like spring. Patios were in.
Soon, Loren joined forces with Lindsey-Paige (LP) McCloy and Alice Suh, who knew each other from their undergrad years at Princeton, to make Patio a reality. LP helped Loren learn bass, while Alice picked up the drums. The trio eventually booked a few DIY shows around Brooklyn. “[We had] no recorded music and no evidence that we existed,” LP recalls.
Now, following their searching, lo-fi 2016 EP Luxury, Patio is getting ready to release their debut record, Essentials, on April 5 via Fire Talk. The record’s third single, “Vile Bodies,” is pounding and precise, with vivid lyrics (“Your skin is cracked and peeled / I’m already forgetting how you feel”) delivered over throbbing bass. As always, Alice plays drums, Loren plays bass, and LP plays on guitar. Loren and LP alternate vocals.
Ahead of their sold-out record release show at Union Pool on April 5, we spoke to Patio about their early days, including the time when Mitski blessed them at their inaugural show. Read the interview below, and stream Essentials on Stereogum.
AdHoc: When did you guys meet each other?
Alice: LP and I know each other from [Princeton]. We intersected in the engineering and music scenes.
LP: Alice ran our show house, and I ran our radio station, so we were very powerful for, like, six months. We were really killing it.
Alice: She was mechanical engineering, and I was environmental engineering.
When did you come into the picture, Loren?
Loren: I met LP first, because we have a mutual friend who played in the band Spit. He and I were really close and would go to shows all the time at DBA and Shea and all the places. And he was like, “You should really meet my friend LP. You guys have similar music taste.” I think we met at an Ovlov show.
Were you both playing music at the time?
Loren: No, I was not a musician. I wrote about music—I’m taking a little break right now, but I used to work for MTV News and some other spots.
Had you ever played music?
Loren: No, never even dreamed of it.
Loren: So, I had a little mini life crisis.
Please say more!
Loren: So many things converged. I was semi-involved with a person [who] played bass, and I always really liked bass. Then I was laid off from my first job—it was for a music startup that never took off. It was a terrible job, so it was a relief, but I was like, “Shit, what am I going to do for money?”
I had a lot of free time on my hands, then at the same time I also had my first big break-up. I was like, “I’m fucking free! I have nothing in life right now.” I was 25 when this all happened. It was post-college, and LP was playing in another band.
What band was that?
LP: It was a band with my best friend from college and some guys we knew. We played like two shows. It was one of those things where you practice for like four years, and then you play two shows. It ceased to be a regular thing, but I wanted to start a new project.
What year was this?
Loren: This was the end of 2014. And this never would have happened without LP’s urging, because I had made a joke at a party one time that I was in a band called Patio.
LP: It was a conceptual band.
I’ve been in several such bands—none have taken off.
Loren: They usually don’t become real, except for this one!
Where did the name Patio come from?
Loren: I’ve told this story so many times, but not to writers. I was at David Blaine’s The Steakhouse. It was your classic Exploding in Sound show, like Grass is Green and a few other bands. It was a day like today—one of the first really nice days, where you’re like, “Spring is definitely coming.” I was talking to a bunch of people, and I was like, “What’d you guys do today?” And everyone was like, “I drank outside on a patio!” And I was like, “How great would that be for a band name of people trying to figure out their way in the world? Patio. It’s perfect.”
[Then] I started envisioning colors and themes and all these things. Some of them have ended up in the real band, and some of them were just thoughts that evaporated. But eventually, LP was like, “What if Patio was real?” I feel like I still have that text on my phone.
[Then] I borrowed a bass, and [LP] taught me one song—Pavement’s “Cut Your Hair.”
LP: It was the only song I knew how to play all the way through!
Loren: I practiced it and did YouTube tutorials for Blink 182 songs, [because] they’re super easy. We needed a drummer, [and LP] knew that Alice was starting to take drum lessons at the time.
LP: The idea that I was the experienced one in the band is very funny, because I didn’t know what the fuck I was doing.
Loren: I didn’t have a tuner for like a year and a half! We do have a very DIY method. We definitely want to be good and sound good, and we’ve gotten a lot better at our respective instruments. But for me, the technical side of music is not what is fun about it. It’s more like, designing album art and figuring out what you’re going to wear to the show.
Had you played music before, Alice?
Alice: Cello and violin, since I was a kid.
So why’d you start learning drums?
Alice: Cause it always seemed really fun! Have you ever seen a drummer? The lessons were pretty short-lived, but now I feel like I could do it for the rest of my life.
When did Patio start performing?
LP: For some reason, people booked us on a couple of shows with no recorded music and no evidence that we existed.
Loren: We did a really good job at marketing ourselves.
LP: We told everybody [about Patio], then we played a show and it could have been worse. We wrote our own songs and played like six of them and Mitski was there.
Did you meet her?
LP: Yeah, she came backstage right after [our set at Palisades].
Loren: I had just interviewed her for MTV News. So this was before she was, like, Mitski.
When was this?
Loren: Our first show was October 2015. We had [just done the] interview and we were bonding, and I was like, “You know, I’m playing my first show tomorrow. It would be great if you were around.” I never thought that she would come. And she came!
LP: She blessed us.
She blessed you?
Loren: She hugged each of us, and then disappeared like a fairy!
LP: It was amazing.
Loren: We were touched!
Alice: I’m still touched!
LP: A year or so [earlier], I had been playing in a band and I was really struggling as a vocalist. I was listening to Mitski’s Bury Me at Makeout Creek, and I was like, “Man, she’s playing with all these fuzzy backing instruments, but you can hear her crystal-clear.” I saw her play live and I was like, “How does she do it?” So I Facebook messaged her.
So you guys go way back?
LP: I was like, “Help me, Mitski! I don’t know what to do.” And she wrote me this long, detailed [response], like, “Only be on stage how you want to be. Consonants are important. Here’s some tips about how to set monitor levels. But do whatever the fuck you want!” So now I play half the show with my back to the audience, thanks to Mitski.
Loren: She’s Patio’s fairy godmother, for sure.
LP: She doesn’t know it, but she is.
Loren: I hope she would remember that she came to the show. And then I saw her at SXSW and I did give her a hug.
What year was that?
LP: We went to SXSW before we had released our first EP, on the strength of two singles.
Loren: Technically, we did open for Mitski.
LP: We did, technically.
Loren: And the band that played directly after us was Japanese Breakfast. So…
Like, no big deal.
Loren: That’s Patio’s origin story. We got lucky, and people really believed in us. New York is just so insanely supportive. I feel like it’s definitely changed, with a lot of the venues closing, but back then Ariel [Bitran] at Palisades just knew me, because I was at a lot of shows, and he was like, “Yeah you can play!” You didn’t need to prove yourself.
LP: Or sell 100 tickets, or any of that shit.
Loren: In a lot of ways, those early DIY shows were our practice. We learned how to do what we do without people judging us. [After] messing up on stage like crazy, everyone [would] be like, “You were so sick!” New York is great in that way.
How did you guys get connected to Fire Talk Records?
Loren: I knew Trevor [Peterson] because I wrote about one of his bands, Deeper. And we opened for Deeper for their record release here.
LP: We played very well at that show.
Loren: We did—we killed it.
LP: That was our first show where we had “fun” while performing. Cause performing is kind of insane. I had one bad audition in high school for the all-state choir that went really wrong, and I had terrible stage fright from that moment forward. So for me, playing was for a long time the thing I actively dreaded the most. But when we played the Deeper show, we were like, “Ohhhh. This is fun!”
Alice: We were just being ourselves.
Loren: You lock into a groove. I [used] to compete as a tiny child figure skater, and I remember my coach would always be like, “One element at a time.” It’s muscle memory. I think it’s similar with performing. [And] the minute you see people grooving, the nerves start to melt a little bit.
LP: I know I’m going to have a good show when my guitar is loud enough. There have been times [when] assumptions have been made about us, due perhaps to the gender we present with, that we should be playing less loud. When I can play loud enough, I’m like, “This is going to be alright.”
Are there any artists you heard and that made you say, “I want to be in a band?”
Loren: Talking Heads, for me. Tina Weymouth. [And] Cate Le Bon. LP was like, “Listen to [Mug Museum]! We’re going to be like Exploding in Sound grunge bands meet this!” We always say she’s the dream.
All of us love Life Without Buildings. I’ve always really liked classic British post-punk. Joy Division was my favorite band in high school, and Gang of Four and Wire. Another band that was always a huge inspiration to me, and that I’ve written about many times, is Household.