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SXSW 2013 PREVIEW: PATRICK KRIEF

Patrick Krief.jpg To label Patrick Krief’s Hundred Thousand Pieces a midlife-crisis album might be an overstatement, but lyrically, it does deal with some anxieties that Krief says reached a peak when he hit age 30. Finishing the album, due March 19 through Rock Ridge Music, was a reminder to the Montreal-based Krief that music is what he does — whether it be as a solo artist, scoring films or as the longtime guitarist for The Dears.

Medleyville.us: Hundred Thousand Pieces deals with your anxieties about growing older and continuing as a musician. What is your biggest concern?
Patrick Krief: “The biggest concern was compromising the art, by having to place too much emphasis on life’s realities. Or losing sight of what the true definition of success is. Trying to make art support me versus trying to support the art. In the end, I’m back where I started, which is to just approach it with blind faith and forget about any of the goals or ambitions attached. Happiness is the only goal in mind, and I get to that via great art.”

When did these anxieties begin to creep up? And have you tried dealing with them by talking to other musicians around your age?
Krief: “[In my] early 20s, the ‘music is not a realistic career choice’ voices echoed loud enough to send me back to school. I dropped out again at 23, but the anxieties remained with me only to reach a boiling point at 30 — everyone freaks out at 30 right? It was an existential crisis like any other, I suppose, but having musician friends my age and older to talk to really did help. But the biggest enlightenment came from finishing this album, and being reminded that this — music — is what I do. It’s who I am, and I just have to accept it as a ‘dark passenger,’ as [the TV character] Dexter might put it.”

In your career, you’ve also scored films. How has that influenced your other songwriting, and vice versa?
Krief: “I’ve always approached my arrangements as a score to my memories or a visual in my mind, so when I finally got around to scoring to actual images, it came quite naturally. That said, a film is someone’s vision other than my own, so I have to really tap into what they’re feeling. That kind of communication has helped me immensely as an artist.”

Do you anticipate any Dears activity at all in 2013? Or will this be a year dedicated to supporting your new solo album?
Krief: “I’m definitely placing a lot of energy into this album, for however long it takes! The Dears are also starting to make some plans for a new record, not sure when we’ll track that yet — probably early 2014.”

Finish this sentence: During this year’s SXSW, I will …
Krief: “… drink and play.”

— Introduction and interview by Chris M. Junior

Patrick Krief at SXSW 2013 (schedule subject to change):

9 p.m. March 15: TenOak, 409 Colorado St. (official SXSW showcase)
1:30 p.m. March 16: Shangri-La, 1016 E. Sixth St.