Pat Knox is a legacy musician and artist who has turned his personal challenges and pain into power. His music is a testament to speaking your truth out loud, connecting with others through life experiences, and the transformative power of accepting the rawness of the first draft. Pat shares practical tips for artists in the writing process, why learning to produce music was useful to his career, and how he is making generations proud through music.
“Everyone has a story to tell, and there are many ways to tell it. Instruments and lyrics are a great medium.”Pat Knox (2023)
Photobombshell’s Interview with California Artist, Pat Knox
Photobombshell: Hi, Pat! Thank you so much for agreeing to take some time to discuss your music career with me. I have been a long-time listener and am curious to learn more about your story. Can you share the basics about yourself and how you got started in music?
Pat Knox: Let me start by sincerely thanking you for this opportunity! I appreciate you tuning into my music and taking the time to go behind the scenes here. I’m a big fan of you, your love for music, and your amazingly generous actions to represent artists in the best ways.
Photobombshell: Thank you. I truly appreciate that. ❤️
Pat Knox: I grew up forty minutes outside Los Angeles in Thousand Oaks. I decided to pursue music in college, where I was on the football team and choir for four years. I majored in music production, where I learned my foundation for music creation.
If we rewind a little, music has been in my family for generations and most notably started with my grandfather, Tom Knox, who was an audio engineer in Los Angeles for years. He received a Grammy with the 80s band TOTO for their TOTO IV album in 1982. My father is also a musician and started giving me drum lessons in elementary school, my first introduction to performing.
A few years out of college, I linked with David Paich, the founder of TOTO (through my grandfather), and have been his personal audio engineer and assistant since 2015. David mentored me throughout this time, and I’ve gained priceless insights from him on life, songwriting, performing, and the music business, among other things. He also let me use his state-of-the-art studio to record all of the music I’ve released to this day. I’ve been blessed enough to have this opportunity, and use the knowledge to write, record, perform, mix, master, and market my music.
Photobombshell: That’s amazing. While some may be serendipitous, I believe a lot of hard work goes into everything you do as a creative. I suspect you have more than just your dreams riding on your shoulders. While conducting my research for this interview, I learned you have considerable press surrounding your name and are carrying on a musical legacy, which you alluded to earlier. Speak to that and explain how you carry on your grandfather’s legacy.
Pat Knox: For sure. My grandfather always told me to write as much as I could. I believe deep down, he always wanted to be a writer himself, but never went all in for it. I like to think I’m picking up where he left off, so to speak. My passion is songwriting and performing, but I knew being able to engineer myself would be useful. When my grandfather passed away, or as he would put it, “joined the party in the sky,” in 2017, I went full throttle with it. May he eternally rest in paradise. I know he would be proud of the work I’ve done and the path I am on as an artist today.
Photobombshell: That is beautiful and must be a source of motivation and inspiration. As an independent artist in Los Angeles, there is no shortage of motivated and inspired artists. It is challenging to set yourself apart from other artists in such a saturated market. What do you think is your special sauce?
Pat Knox: LA is a tough scene to be in. Like other cities, there is so much talent. I like to lean into my melodies and harmonies a lot. Let the choir boy out a little bit. I’ve always loved words and creative writing, so I try to make my lyrics reflect that. I write about what I’ve experienced and what I’ve seen. I want to connect with people who share my feelings and help them persevere through whatever trials and tribulations they face. If I can reach even one person who can relate and vibe with it, I’m fulfilled. If I can do that in a way that’s clever and fresh, then I’m doing my job. Ultimately, I want to lift people up the way the music I am inspired by does for me. Pain is powerful. It can be flipped and used as fuel to the fire.
Photobombshell: Interesting that you mention the power of pain. My next question is about your backstory. Your biography mentions the basis for much of your catalog, influenced by your experiences with depression and substance abuse. Do you feel music has had a place in that healing journey, and if so, how?
Pat Knox: Absolutely. Those issues have been a part of my story for a long time, having gone to rehab twice. Music, family, and friends are the reasons I put the pills and drink down. I was down bad, but I can only view those struggles as lessons to use for success.
After a whole grip of therapy and other treatments, I gained a solid sense of spirituality and value in my life. For years, I thought I was never good enough for anything. I never felt like I belonged, so much so that it almost sent me to an early grave. In my mind, I thought it would always be that way, but being on the other side of it now, I can feel a new peace of mind. Going through all of that changed my perspective of myself and the world. I know I’m not out of the woods with it and never will be, but it’s a lot easier to manage now.
Music is a way for me to turn the pain into power and accept what is while always striving to be better. It’s been one of my sources of motivation through all of this, and I could never imagine letting it go. I plan on diving deeper into it in my future projects.
Photobombshell: We know what motivates you and influences your work, but what inspires you to create? What is your writing or creative process like when working on something new?
Pat Knox: I know I talked a lot about pain being an inspiration, but happiness is definitely one too. I try to capture moments of joy and triumph in my music because I think we have to celebrate the victories and remember the losses. I take different situations that have affected me and start writing lyrics about them. Usually, it’s to an instrumental that I’ve already created or someone else I’m collaborating with has. I’ll have a theme and elaborate on it so I can paint a clear picture.
Most of the time, I’ll have a melody or cadence in mind and start writing verses and then the hook. I’ have also taken a part of the verse and made it the hook, and vice versa. I try to write, let it flow naturally, and structure it out from there. It is the same kind of concept when making a beat too. I often like when it has a build to it, so by the end of the song, it’s like the climax to a story. That is not to say it works out like that every time, but I enjoy that approach.
I am more in the habit of being able to call a song done sooner. That came with a lot of repetition, but I think it’s crucial when creating a body of work. I realized it’s ok if it’s not so perfect or if I think of something I should’ve done better after the song is released. I’ll learn from it and apply that to the next one. I’m looking at the big picture more now because I think there is a lot of value in the listeners being able to follow an artist’s growth as they put out more and more material. When I’m able to do that with an artist I’m a fan of, I’m growing with them in a sense.
Photobombshell: Being so authentic and raw with your experience is beautiful. Thank you for sharing your story, as it is one many artists will connect with. As a trained and educated producer, what tip would you give other independent artists or producers that they can use right away?
Pat Knox: Everyone has a story to tell, and there are many ways to tell it. Instruments and lyrics are a great medium. If I were to give another independent artist a tip, it would be to try as best you can to channel your story. Be deliberate with every aspect of your work, and show us who you are. If it feels scary to release and put it out to the world, chances are you are doing it right, and it will stick. It can be terrifying to be vulnerable for the whole world, but that is part of what makes music so beautiful and transcends past any language barrier or difference in background.
Don’t spread hate. Let your story rip. Music can have a way of unifying us when done right, in my opinion. I know I’ve experienced this, but try not to be too much of a perfectionist with your craft. Have high standards for yourself, but don’t let them hinder your productivity. It can be hard to know when a song is done, but there comes a certain point where you’ve given as much energy as possible, and it’s time to let it fly. On my first project, I went and tweaked it and re-tweaked it to the point where the song was unrecognizable from when I first started it. Try to maintain that rawness of the early demo stages because that often is the most genuine. That’s where a lot of the gold is, and if you constantly fine-tune for hours on end, that can get lost.
Photobombshell: I love that. That’s valuable advice and something I relate to as well. It’s tough to get out of your head sometimes and take the leap of faith on a project. With that, talk to us about ‘Union II,’ the vibe, and the intention.
Pat Knox: The ‘Union II‘ album was like peeling off another layer of the cake from ‘Union.’ My goal is to let people in on who I am a little more with each project. I wanted to give some insight into what has been going on in my life.
Because I was on drugs for both albums, I was channeling my frustrations a lot. I can hear it when I listen back. It’s a trip. I can hear myself fighting to get out of that space of feeling sick and trying to find joy in life. I was reaching for all these external things that I thought would make me happy, but neglecting myself and not fixing what was wrong internally. All of the outside pleasures in life were like putting a band-aid on an injury when I needed surgery.
I intended to sort through all the bullshit, bring myself out, and try to overcome it, even if I didn’t know how. It was a humbling process, and I felt like a child at times, but I appreciate the opportunity of humility because it gave me a chance to grow.
Photobombshell: Wow. I can imagine it’s challenging to listen through those projects considering how far you have come, knowing the battles waged in your heart. On the other side, I am sure you have a new perspective. What has been your greatest accomplishment as a musician?
Pat Knox: I am proud of the body of work that I have been blessed to release and the ability to stay consistent and not give up. I never say no to opportunities and am constantly willing to put myself out there. Hearing positive feedback and even negative, but just the fact that people are listening is an accomplishment. I’ve been blessed to perform at all sorts of places, but my absolute greatest accomplishment was when one of my best friends asked me to do my song at his parents’ memorial services on separate occasions because they loved it so much. That completely blew me away. May they eternally rest in paradise.
Photobombshell: That’s so powerful. I imagine it is humbling to have such a request. It speaks to the power of human connection through music. How can we look forward to connecting more with you in 2023?
Pat Knox: There will be another album and shows to follow that. There will be new videos too. I’m excited about what is up ahead.
Photobombshell: That’s awesome. I am looking forward to it! Keep me posted so I can share your pre-saves on the release calendar! What is something you have not yet been asked in an interview but have always wanted to share?
Pat Knox: I don’t think anyone has asked me about my all-time favorite artists. They are Andre 3000, Eminem, Biggie, Kurt Cobain, Tupac, and last but not least, David Paich.
Photobombshell: I love it! We share a few musical favorites. Thank you, Pat, for sharing your time and energy with the independent music community. I look forward to your upcoming releases and projects. If anyone wants to connect with Pat Knox, connect with him on Instagram or TikTok, and check out his music on Spotify and YouTube!