“I shift between anger and apathy, luxury and violent tendencies,” bassist Loren DiBlasi intimates on the opening track on Patio’s debut EP. It’s a feeling that resonates, especially with people still finding their footing in early adulthood, and it’s also one that aligns well with the band’s ethos. Patio formed in fall of 2014 and have since slipped into a restless post-punk sound that dips and swells in intensity. They have an openness that’s paid off.
The trio—drummer Alice Suh, bassist Loren DiBlasi, and guitarist Lindsey-Paige “LP” McCloy—say that “luxury” has become their descriptor of choice. (“Luxurious” is off the table, and “lux” is OK used sparingly.) The EP is well suited to its name: it’s minimal, carefully laid out, with room for big and shocking moves. LP’s voice floats ethereally over the crunch of the jagged guitar and pronounced bass, and Loren’s half-sung-half-spoken lines add a sharpness and seriousness. The lyrics are blunt and hard-hitting: one minute they’re singing about feeling stuck and discontented, the next we hear “Damn right I can look you in the eye, so keep your hands where I can see them” in a perfectly cold assertion and reclaiming of power above the pounding drums. Patio mix serious moments like these with moments of total lightness—following “Half Dark” is the blinding thirty-second punk anthem “Gold”, with LP and Loren shouting in unison, “I may be punk, but I love gold!” All the while, there’s something glossy adhering to every note. Even when LP’s singing about being bored and stuck and broke, her smooth voice against the mounting tension of the instrumentation is so luxury.
Luxury is due out April 22, and you can stream it in full below. Catch Patio’s Luxury EP release show that night at Palisades with WALL, Fern Mayo, and Spit. Impose had the chance to speak with Patio over brunch, and you can read on for the interview.
Impose: Where did the idea for Patio come from?
Loren: I had never played anything, but the concept of Patio was born at a show where I was talking to some friends at David Blaine’s, and everyone was like, “I drank on a patio today!” and so did I, I had done that that day too. It was one of those first really nice days of spring, where everyone spends the day outside. And I was like, wouldn’t that be a hilarious band name for a group of idiotic, sad millennials just complaining about their lives when their lives are actually fine? It started as a total joke concept. I had met LP at an Ovlov show in early 2014, through our mutual friend Joe who’s in Spit. She was playing in another band at the time, so we never rushed into making anything, but then we were like, “Oh, we could make this a real band.” She gave me my first real bass lesson ever, where rented a room and she showed me how to hit notes. She taught me how to play “Cut Your Hair” by Pavement.
LP: Loren hates Pavement, but that’s the only song where I could play everything and it’s very simple throughout the whole song.
Was the title of the EP, Luxury, intended to be read as tongue-in-cheek?
Loren: It wasn’t really a calculated move to name it that. I just came up with the line that I sing in “Luxury”: “I shift between anger and apathy, luxury and violent tendencies.” I had kind of a rough year last year—personal stuff, lost my job, turned 25 and was like “I don’t know what I’m doing,” so it kind of became this joke between my friends and I where we were like, luxury is our thing! We started wearing robes a lot and were like, “I’m gonna eat nachos in bed and watch The Barefoot Contessa because I need luxury!” You know, kind of a joke but it bled into the stuff that Patio was coming up with, and I realized a lot of the stuff that LP was writing about happened to align.
LP: It’s a bit of a tongue-in-cheek attitude, but it’s also the attitude I have toward making music and things: it’s fun and it’s lighthearted but it’s also serious and cool. We’re being very considerate about all the notes we’re using and all the chords we’re using and it feels very luxurious to be spare and only use what you actually need. Creates a sort of luxury product.
Loren: It’s not completely unintentional but personally, for me, I would consider us a punk band, and it’s not like we’re not punk because we’re like “I hate my shitty life!” and screaming. We all have jobs, and I like to go shopping sometimes, and that’s fine. I’m not not a punk because I will occasionally indulge in something consumerist or whatever. And I think that’s kind of a lazy narrative—to be like “Everything sucks!” So it’s funny, and it’s a little irreverent, and it just suited what we were feeling at the time.
Did you have a progression in mind when making the EP? To me it seems like it gets a little darker in the middle and then lightens up.
LP: Basically how I write songs, lyrically speaking, is I’ll be working on something instrumentally for a while, and then I’ll be sitting in my house, I’ll be maybe a little bit hungover or it’s like 4:00 and I haven’t like gotten out of my pajamas yet and I’m just like, “Damn, I’m just gonna write about what I see and what my life is right now, which is like a little bit bored and a little bit suspended. So where some of that comes from is like, when I don’t have any food in my house, but I’m not willing to get it together enough to go outside and get more. The chorus of “Luxury” was definitely written when I was feeling very floaty and bored. But I think in terms of selecting the songs for the EP, we kind of just picked our favorite ones that we had, of our material. We thought originally about trying to do a very consistent set of songs for the EP, but then we were like, we’re just gonna put out our most awesome songs. We’re gonna record our awesome songs, and we’re gonna do it, and that’s what we’re gonna do.
Alice: There’s a sense of stagnation and frustration, mixed with redemption, on the record.
Loren: I feel like it’s a lot of what people our age experience. I’ve had experience with depression, a lot of people I know have had experience with depression. It’s not really the sort of thing where you’re like, something awful happened to me and this is why I feel sad. And sometimes people don’t understand it, but I feel like a lot of people our age are dissatisfied with a lot of aspects of their lives, even when it’s good. I feel like I’m an extremely lucky person. I’m never going to complain about my life and say I have it bad. I have a great job and friends and family who love me, and a lot of people don’t have that. So I’m not going to write a song that’s like, “Everything in my life sucks.” But there is a sense of, like, why do I feel this way, why does everything around me make me feel like shit…
LP: I think there’s also a sort of “what’s next,” maybe, as well. Alice and I are engineers, we’ve been working as engineers since we got out of school, but we’re both creative people, too. Do we do something with that? Or do we just do this thing that apparently we’re supposed to do—just do the career, the job, and have the boyfriend, have the apartment, have the place you stay. Is that what I’m supposed to do? I don’t know. It feels weird. So there’s a feeling like maybe there’s some turning point that you’re supposed to be coming toward, but also not being able to see that at all, or maybe not even be able to see that when it hits you.
Loren: I feel that in a creative career, too. You can always be pushing yourself, but you’re still not doing enough of what you want to do. I can write a great article or whatever, and then I’m like, “But I’m not doing the greatest article ever!” It’s hard to be satisfied when you’re a more creative person, because you’re constantly pushing yourself, and you’re like, when is enough enough? When am I going to feel like I’m actually accomplishing awesome things? Even though I am, it’s just hard to step back and relax. So there’s a tension to the record… I wrote “Gold” out of tension and frustration, and there’s a Mitski quote in that, too, from an interview I did with her. She had this beautiful gold jewelry on, and she was like, “I may be punk, but I love gold.” That is the luxury aesthetic in a nutshell. That’s something I can relate to. It felt so perfect for that moment.
LP: So basically Mitski is the queen of everything. This whole album is a tribute to Mitski.
Aside from Mitski, who are some artists who’ve influenced your playing?
Loren: LP and I first bonded over Krill. Krill is huge to me in my life and everything I do, basically. We weren’t immediate friends but I would see her at shows a lot, so we realized we had the same music taste. We saw each other at a Parquet Courts show, Ovlov show, every show at Death By Audio that Exploding in Sound put on for a year straight. Another band we both really love is Ought, and that influenced the EP a lot. She and I have very similar taste but also very divergent taste.
LP: I don’t really listen to punk on purpose.
Alice: In terms of what music I like to listen to I’m all over the place, but for this band at least, what I do is basically what I’m learning at the time is what I happen to be interested in.
LP: One of my favorite songwriting mottos is “play fully within the limits of your own abilities.” It’s good to stretch yourself, and it’s good to write things that stretch you, but if you really love playing a certain kind of thing, then just be the best at that. Write that thing.
Loren: That’s how the whole talk-singing thing started. I have one song I do that I fully sing on, but everything else is talk-singing, and it was mostly because it’s really hard to sing—like, sing-sing—and play bass. It’s so methodical, and you have to keep that rhythm really tight and precise. And then I listened back to it and was like, this is actually kind of awesome. People have been like, “That’s really Kim Gordon.” I love 80s British post-punk bands, and there’s a lot of that on those records—really melodic, precise basslines and a lot of talking. So I like that that’s kind of what I bring, and then LP has a really nice, ethereal singing voice.
LP: I’ve played in a couple of bands before where when you decide you have to get good, it becomes like soccer practice or something. It’s like running drills. You’re playing the same song 9 to 10 times in a row, and it’s never quite right. But I feel like this hasn’t been so drudgery-oriented.
What other bands had you been involved with?
LP: I played with a bunch of guys I knew in college. This is actually the first time I’ve been in a band with not dudes, which is great, I highly recommend it. It’s a totally different kind of collaboration. I started playing guitar, really, in college, which was seven or eight years ago, but I was mostly strumming an acoustic guitar in my room by myself and writing little country songs, that kind of thing. I was playing with these guys who’d been playing since they were like nine years old, and they were very technically talented and very comfortable with their influences, and it’s a totally different orientation. It’s not like, let’s feel this out, let’s create a thing because we want to create a thing that sounds good—it’s like, “I want to play well, and you need to play well, you need to play this part that I tell you to play at this time.” Which sometimes is totally fine. I wasn’t good enough, technically speaking, to play a lot of that stuff. They would tell me to simplify my bass parts. I would be like, “This sounds cool and weird!” and they’d say, “No, we’re not trying to do that. Don’t do that.” Or we’d be playing songs that I wrote and they would play so loudly that I would send them scratch tracks and they’d listen to them a year later and be like, “Oh, I didn’t realize, that song’s really interesting, I couldn’t hear it.”
Alice: Print all of this, because it’s all of her current best friends.
LP: They know this. Don’t worry. But yeah—it’s a different thing. It’s also a big part of the reason why I really love our three-piece instrumentation. It’s minimal, but it all locks in really nicely. Alice’s drum beats are so cool and syncopated, and Loren’s bass parts are really nice and melodic, and I just try and do whatever and not fuck up.
Loren: I love a band like Kal Marks. I’m obsessed with them. But that’s not the kind of music I want to play, and I feel like a lot of bands right now that I love and see a lot are incredibly technically proficient and doing such complicated parts, and I admire that, but like you said, play within the limits of your own abilities—I’m not just going to join a band like Kal Marks and be able to play like Mike, the bass player. But even if I wanted to, I kind of like the idea of what we’re doing, because it’s such a stark contrast from a lot of the bands that are in Brooklyn right now.