American indie pop project Possible Impossible recently talked to ai love music via email about the musical inspirations for the project, the reason behind creating Possible Impossible, and the recent release of “Oxygen”. Patrick Wayne (Frontman, Vocals) of Possible Impossible, is best known as a critically acclaimed and commercially successful Video Game Director and Producer with over 200 “Game of the Year” awards.
What emerged from his collaboration with LA-based Producer Trent Park was Possible Impossible, a pop project with garage rock vibes. The result is a forward and experimental collection of indie-pop singles. By merging garage rock vocal grit and modern R&B pop instrumentation, the sound of Possible Impossible is both fresh and familiar and holds its own sonic space.
Check out the meaning behind “Oxygen” and what inspired Patrick Wayne to write it. Also, check out the Possible Impossible single down below, and let me know what you think in the comments!
First of all, please introduce yourself to those who don’t know about you!
I’m Patrick Wayne, the founding member, and voice behind the band, Possible Impossible. I’m most well known for two decades of award-winning video game Direction/Production/Design, including Mass Effect 2 and 3, and an early Avengers mobile game. I’ve always been involved in music and decided to take it seriously last year…because it’s never too late to create.
How did you get into music?
My household growing up consisted almost exclusively of acapella gospel, classical, and soundtracks from the 1940s – 19070s films. One day, my friend played Siamese Dream by The Smashing Pumpkins which was like taking the red pill in the Matrix. My entire world exploded with possibility. I became heavily into the local San Antonio punk scene in the mid-to-late 90s, playing in bands into college.
At the same time, I taught myself computer Engineering, hired by a local tech company while still in high school. Video games became the new punk rock lifestyle, and I’ve gotten to live the life of a tech rockstar for over two decades.
Music continued to be part of my life, but only recently could I do it in the way I wanted. The tools, eco-system, and organic reach have finally reached a point where I could create a virtual alternating cast of collaborators and experiments, or find world-class engineers and musicians from anywhere in the world.
Recently, I left Southern California for Virginia, to reduce my expenses, in support of my music, while also having access to world-class talent virtually and within driving distance, when needed.
What artists or genres influence your artistry?
Grunge rock and mid-90s punk are the seed. I see the same energy, experimentation, and heavily layered sounds of the grunge era reflected in today’s pop music. So, I’m very much into today’s pop music, with such artists as Shaed, Ashe, Grandson, and so many more pushing the envelope. I’ve also been moved by some older albums as I start to write music for 2022, including Amy Whinehouse, Bill Withers, Outkast, and I’ve been nerding out on TOTO’s 1984 Soundtrack for Dune. I hope someone remasters it. I’m generally a fan of anything Rich Costey produces. The last two Manchester Orchestra albums, produced by CJ Marks, have been highly influential. It’s a big list.
What inspired you to create Possible Impossible? How has the project been since its creation?
Regret minimization. I’ve been conceiving of the project (Possible Impossible) ever since 2003. I knew if I didn’t, I’d always wish I had. Part of me doing this is to show others the way and to inspire them to do their project, no matter when they are starting. Just start and trust the process, you know?
I’ve recorded a set of four songs, which will end up being three singles and a b-side, all released this year. To help build up courage I listened to the releases from many of my favorite Artists and was reminded how most music projects don’t start strong. Their early works don’t stand the test of time as much of their later catalog does.
I’ve gotten to collaborate with David Tosti, an incredibly talented visual and music Artist, and Joe Heath, film Director. Bringing in others who are relying on me helped me push through the massive insecurity and fear which comes with fronting a project.
Only time will tell, but I believe these first three singles of (Possible Impossible) are a very strong debut for any Artist. I study fast and take criticism well from my inner circle. I want to be pushed and to achieve my very best, and I think these first three singles show my growth during the writing and recording process.
Let’s talk about “Oxygen”. What is it about?
I got married young at twenty years old, and my wife has been with me as I’ve changed and grown, through health and sickness, successes and failures, and let me live out my dreams. She’s made sacrifices to allow me these opportunities and always pushed me to keep trying and dreaming. In another dimension in which she isn’t by my side, I think I’m just a shadow of who I am today.
Without the unconditional love and push, I’m living life trying to breathe in the darkness of the ocean, as the metaphor in the song speaks about. For anyone listening who feels and knows this type of love, or those who dream of this type of love, I hope it’s moving.
I use a lot of specific imagery and storytelling from my life to try and convey this is very much a real and possible gift to receive.
What inspired you to write the track?
My wife, as described above.
Funny, the song started as a joke. I wrote the trap beat, and threw the 808 booms, followed by the triangle, because I thought it was funny. As days passed, I couldn’t stop thinking about it, so I decided to write a single word hook. I tried lots of different words, but “Oxygen” stuck. The rest of the lyrics and structure were built around the thematic idea of someone as your oxygen.
Although the instrumentation mainly features an R&B Pop sound, I really like the little details you added like the strings in the chorus. What was it like to produce the song?
Thank you. I brought Trent Park on board to produce and co-write. He’s an extraordinary talent, and I can’t believe he hasn’t popped yet. He helped add a lot of the R&B pop verse cadences. I had some strings already, and we decided to double down and build them up as dramatically as possible. I joke the song sounds like “Cinema Pop”, showcasing the sort of building tension and drama you’d expect in a film.
We collaborated virtually until we hit the studio to record vocals. The vocal engineer, Eric Colvin, manufactures his own vocal microphones, Sonderlon Microphones, and runs them through vintage Neve preamps. He’s a vocal wizard and it’s been great to do all three singles with him. Trent sang backing vocals, and I think our two vocal styles and textures are pretty interesting together.
This was my first time in the studio recording vocals, so it was great to have a team supporting me. Our vocal sessions last 8-10 hours per song, as we do a ton of layering and all want it to be great. Trent has the same drive for greatness I aspire to hold myself to.
Could you tell me one thing you want the listeners to listen for in “Oxygen”?
We worked incredibly hard to blend genres into something which doesn’t sound quite like anything else. I’d rather fail than make something mediocre or unoriginal. If you love Artists who experiment and push boundaries, I invite you to come along for the ride.
One of the challenges with promoting “Oxygen” has been that it doesn’t fit neatly into genre definitions, playlist criteria, and the audience who loves it most isn’t the most apparent. It’s over-indexed with hip hop fans, and I guess historically hip hop is a genre that always bent the rules and embarrassed experimentation and innovation. The larger music ecosystem struggles to support cross-genre experimentation, which has been a surprise to me.
Any future plans?
Yes, I have two more singles dropping this year. Writing will start in August on 12-15 tracks for next year, which means I need to write 30-50 songs. My cross-continent move disrupted the writing process, but I now have a dedicated home studio, and I’m starting to identify collaborators on the East Coast.
Lastly, since you are a video game director and producer, what is your favorite game and why? What is your favorite video game composer?
The promise of interactive entertainment is providing agency and power to the player to live out their own stories. My favorite examples of this are titles like Rimworld, Roblox, Minecraft, and Stardew Valley. In a game like Rimworld, you settle on a distant planet with a handful of crash-landed settlers. They have names, personalities, and remember their history with other characters. Their colony almost always ends in disaster, but it’s ultimately the emergent and unique stories that make the game so captivating. It’s probably my favorite game of all time.
Russell Shaw’s work on the Fable series is incredible. As is the soundtrack for Black & White, Syndicate, and with a better mix and master, his work on Satellite Reign would be world-class. Video game music would find a lot more success with better mixing, mastering, and samples, but with the limitations of it having to be real-time rendered and mixed, there are often harder constraints on video game composers than film composers. Still, despite the constraints, companies like Nintendo, Square Enix, and Blizzard have found massive success with their game soundtracks, their titles’ soundtracks becoming iconic sounds of our pop culture.
As we see music and interactive gaming merge into meta-verses and in-game live performances, the line is about to get quite blurry between the music and gaming industry. Gaming’s level of engagement and audience sizes will make it a major discovery opportunity for the music industry, and we might see a tectonic power shift in music to the video game industry. I hope gaming will democratize their tools outside of the major label partners they’ve taken on so far. The music industry will need to understand, appreciate, and authentically approach gamers to find success. Much of the music industry’s conversation about gaming I see on LinkedIn among label personnel isn’t there yet.
Someone like myself who knows gaming inside and out now as a gaming industry executive, and actively releasing well-produced music is in a unique position to partner with the industry. A resourceful and forward-looking label will identify such collaboration as an opportunity to grow and evolve its entire business model. I’m excited to see where this goes.
Make sure to check out Possible Impossible at the following sites: