The Globe studios in Belgium is a place where magic happens and where ideas become great songs. In this podcast episode, host Tara Joseph talks with multi-award winning composer, arranger, and producer Patrick Hamilton about his journey to becoming a successful writer and producer and how the Globe came into existence. Having had great success in the pop world, particularly in Asia, as well as in the classical crossover world, Patrick shares the first step to producing an album, how to handle technical issues, and how it feels to be looking at releasing his own album as an artist.
Listen to the podcast here:
Making Music Around The Globe With Patrick Hamilton
You know when someone is so talented, it’s one big wow. He has the loveliest personality and is kind and generous. On top of that, runs their own recording studio, Globe in Belgium. He is also an internationally successful writer and producer. I’m lucky enough to call that person my friend. Secondly, I’m lucky enough to represent this person. Let me introduce you to the fabulous, Patrick Hamilton. Patrick, how are you?
Tara, I’m fine. How about you?
I’m good. Where are you?
I am at my studios in Bruges, Belgium. I hope you’ll know this beautiful city of Bruges.
I was lucky enough to come and visit you there. You took me around, as well as going to your recording studio. We also went on a little tour of Bruges, which was so beautiful. You took me to the best chocolate shops.
It’s not good for our belly but it’s so good. We are quite proud of our chocolates, waffles and the French fries here in Belgium. We are quite famous for those chocolates.
You’ve got to rush to Bruges. You’ve got to do everything that Patrick said because he’s totally right. It’s deliciousness in all different directions.
Everybody has to do that.
Patrick, tell me, how did it all start? How did you become this incredibly successful writer/producer? How did The Globe come into existence?
Do you want to know it from the very start when I was a little boy?
Tell us about it. Were you a musical child?
Yes, both of my parents were musicians, not in a professional way. They were amateurs, for a hobby. My mom played the accordion and also my dad. I think I have their blood a bit. At the age of seven, I already said, “I want to be a professional musician.” From there on, I try to play the drums but then I started playing the piano, organ and so on.
Were you trained at the Royal Conservatoire in Bruges?
First in Bruges in the academy, then the Royal Conservatoire in Ghent. I have my degrees to be a teacher at Royal Conservatoire. I did piano and I also did church organ. I have the luggage of it. I never played again after I become a professional musician, but I love playing it.
How did you break into the commercial world? How did that happen?
I was a musician. I played with a lot of bands. Suddenly, some of those guys were saying, “Do you want to play on my record?” The next step was, “Do you want to write a song for me?” Also they asked, “Do you want to produce it?” I tumbled in it and it’s all from a musician’s perspective. I’m mixing all the tracks I’m doing, almost all the tracks, but I’m really a musician.
I see you smile when you say that you’re a musician. Is that what it does for you most when you’re up there playing the piano? Do you still play the drums?
I have drums but not really. I’m a piano player. I play all the keyboards. I have a big collection of old synthesizers that I have in my studio. I love doing that and exploring things.
When I came to visit your studio, I’ve been into many studios in my time and they’re always very impressive, but I’ve never seen a studio with so much equipment. There are many different buttons, lights and synths, it’s like, “What does all of this do?” I felt totally ignorant.
It’s from a long-time career and a lot of those things were from the ‘80s. I sold them but I bought them back because they’re quite vintage. They sound different than all the virtual synthesizers we have on our computers. I have a lot of them as well, but the real thing is still the real thing.When you’re in a difficult situation, keep calm. There’s always a solution. Click To Tweet
What’s interesting about your career is that you’ve had great success in the pop world, particularly in Asia, which is fascinating. You’ve also had huge success in the classical crossover world as well. Not many producers swap between the two. Do you like doing that or is it something that just happens so there you go?
I have a classical degree. I studied classical music. All those years, as a musician, I was in the pop-rock genre and I produced that a lot of times. I wrote many pop songs, but suddenly in 2013, I was asked to produce an album for a Canadian artist. That was more in the classical crossover genre. That came into Decca Records. They discovered that album and they wanted to meet me. From there on, they asked me to produce Katherine Jenkins and that was directly my crossover to the crossover music.
That’s about the time that you and I met.
Yes, because you are managing Katherine.
You have produced two albums for her, both of which went to the top of the classical charts in the UK. Congratulations to you and her. What’s the process when you were brought on board to produce, to write an album. Let’s share it with all those people out there. What do you do? What’s the first step when you’re asked to produce an album?
Back then we didn’t know each other. I had to do a lot of research and talk a lot with her to know her. Normally, when I start a record, I want to know the artists. How they are thinking and what they want? Musically, we start to think about the repertoire. I go sit on the piano and trying to figure out, “Once we know a certain repertoire, what’s the key? Where does her voice or his voice sound best?” We take it from there and making big orchestrations out of the songs. Obviously, an artist like Katherine Jenkins, you keep on being in the classical world a little bit more. We need a symphonic orchestra. I make a demo with all the samples and then we know how it sounds, but once we go into the studio with the live orchestra, it’s always goosebumps because it’s coming to life.
Where are some of the studios that you enjoy recording in most?
There’s a very famous studio in Abbey Road in London. I’ve been there quite a few times. There are a lot of good studios, but that studio has such wonderful acoustics. Especially, studio one and also studio two. The people are very nice. The people that are working there really loves music. That’s what I like. You’re not just the client, we’re working on a project together and that’s what I love about Abbey Road. I’ve worked in Westlake and EastWest in Los Angeles, Hansa Studio in Berlin, Metropolis Studios and AIR Studios in London. It’s all fabulous. I am lucky.
Tell me a little bit about The Globe Studios. Tell me how that all came about and how it works. Do you invite artists to record there? Do you rent the space out or do you keep it very much for yourself?
I keep it to myself. Sometimes, there are people that are renting it but that’s not even 5% of what we are doing here. It’s a little bit of a luxury for me that I have the equipment for myself. It started as a home studio. Back in the days, my first studio was in an attic. The singer had to sing in the same room as I was with headphones on, then I built a big studio. We rebuild it three times and it’s a little bit of a home studio that escalates.
What happens if you’re in the studio with an artist and something goes wrong or the things never go wrong? How do you handle a difficult situation?
Keep calm. There’s always a solution.
What would be that thing that goes wrong? Is it that the artist has a moment or there’s a technical issue?
Most things that happen in my career were technical problems. In most of the studios, we either cancel the session and look for another date. Sometimes, we have tight deadlines. You have to stay calm. Everybody will do their best to solve it. Don’t get angry with anybody.
You’re so Zen. I love that.
I wouldn’t say I’m Zen at that moment, but I try to keep calm and keep being Zen because I see that somebody is doing his best to solve a problem. In the end, it’s my decision when we are canceling or not canceling. Luckily, those moments are very rare but it happens.
If you could work with any artist in the world, who would it be? Give me maybe two, classical, pop, it can be anything. Probably alive though, so we can work towards it.
When I started working with Katherine, I was dreaming of working with Andrea Bocelli because I love his voice. I was at his concert in Antwerp, Belgium because he started his real well-known career here in Belgium when he was at the Night of the Proms. I was there. Thirty years after that show, I was lucky enough to meet Andrea and also his lovely wife, Veronica. He’s one of my idols because I was following him for the longest time. In the classical crossover, I think he’s the biggest artist. In pop, Sting maybe.
He’s had an amazing career. He doesn’t appear to have put a foot wrong. What I like about Sting is that he’s been married to Trudie Styler forever. They seem to have a solid bond between them and in this industry, that doesn’t often happen.
He’s a kind guy.When you get so much support, it keeps you going and believing. Click To Tweet
It appears that way. That leads me to another part of my podcast. As you know, this is called For Love and Music. I always like to throw a little bit of love in there along the way. With that in mind, is there a specific song that resonates romantically with you? A song that makes me think of ex or whatever.
There are so many beautiful songs. I don’t have one in particular.
Has love ever helped or guided you to make an unexpected decision in your career?
Yes. I had a girlfriend, she was my muse. I was writing songs with her in my mind. In fact, my first number one hit in Japan was a song for her. She was a widow. I knew her husband. We were neighbors back in the days when her husband died in a car crash. I wrote a song a year later because we were already good friends then. I wrote a song for her that’s saying, “You’re not alone.” I normally write music, not the lyrics. In my whole career, I only wrote two or three songs that I wrote the lyrics as well. That song became number one in Japan. It was in Japanese and the title is Not Alone because often they do that. They sing the whole song in Japanese, but they keep the English title.
If you were stuck on a deserted island for eternity and you could only have three songs with you, what would they be?
To be happy, I would take a song of Earth, Wind & Fire because I’m a fan. I love funky music. September, maybe and a Kool & The Gang song.
You’re very upbeat and happy. This says a lot of people about who we’re talking to, upbeat and happy with a little bit of Zen.
You’re there on your own on the islands, you should be happy.
It sounds quite fabulous on a deserted Island with sea and sand. We need to tell everyone that as well as being this incredibly talented musician, you in your past have also been quite the athlete. Can you tell everyone what you were doing?
That was many years and sixteen kilos ago. I did the full Ironman.
Please explain what that is.
That’s a full distance triathlon. It’s 3.8 kilometers swim, then you’re doing 180 kilometers of biking and after that, you’re running a marathon.
I don’t feel very well. That’s filled me with fear.
I can’t believe I did it.
How many times did you do it?
I did it only once. It was in Barcelona when we did it. That was for a television program here in Belgium television. They followed me for my training for a whole year. I had to finish because the whole country would be laughing at me. I enjoyed it. I was energetic. I love doing it. It was very nostalgic.
Do you think you’ll do it again or that’s it for you?
Never say never. I have to be more motivated again.
That’s the biggest problem.
I trained so much. I produced many tracks that year and I still made time to go training. Afterward, you’ve done it. You don’t have to prove anything. The motivation was really down. I still do triathlon but for smaller distances.
Let’s go back to music. Have you ever thought of releasing a Patrick Hamilton album?
I’m working on that. I was working on some tracks. It’s been in my head for years. At last, it’s coming up and at the beginning of 2020, you can expect a lot of tracks from me.
Can you give us a little teaser as to what we’re going to hear or is that top secret?
No, I’m not playing bouzouki or whatever.
You’re not going to rap, are you?
No, I would love people to stay listening to my music so I won’t be singing.
How does it feel to be looking at releasing your own album as an artist?
I’m very excited about it because as you know, we had some meetings with my publishers. It’s a top publishing in the UK and the whole team is very fond of it and they’re excited about it. I’m so lucky that I have such a team with you as my manager and also with the publishing team that I have. It gives you so much support and it lets you keep going and believing in it. When I listen to it, it’s not that I wrote something and that I’m excited. I let it mature. I’m taking the time but still, I’m happy with it. I hope a lot of people will listen to it and buy the record.
I’m sure they will. Although I’m asking you some questions like I don’t know the answers, which I actually do. I’m trying to cheat the audience, but I am fortunate enough to have heard a few of your numbers as an artist. Readers, you’ve got a treat in store coming your way from Bruges. That will be another reason for people to head to Bruges, not just the chocolate and fries, but also the place where Patrick Hamilton creates his masterpieces. We know a few of your dreams, but tell us a little bit more about what your dreams and aspirations are. Several years from now, what would you like to have achieved?
I’m a man with goals. I’m always trying to get my goal. My next goal is I want to write a little bit more film scoring and TV series. I want to get more into that thing and more composing. That’s what I really like to do. I hope I can succeed in that.
Are there any film directors that you look at and you think, “I’d love to work with this director. I wish I could have worked on this film?”
Movies like Lord of the Rings, Pirates and Interstellar, all those kinds of movies, I would love to do that. Also, The Crown and Downton Abbey, that’s my style. I would love to score on a TV series or films like that.
How would you like to be remembered?
I would love that people are still listening to my music. That will be fun. That I’m still alive in my music. That would be great.
I’m sure you will be. Thank you so much, Patrick, for joining me on For Love and Music part of the La La Landed series.
- The Globe Studios
- Katherine Jenkins
- @LaLaLandedPodcast – Instagram
- La La Landed – Facebook
About Patrick Hamilton
Patrick Hamilton is a multi-awarded composer, arranger, and producer based in Bruges, one of the most beautiful cities in the world. He’s known for his work with UK’s best selling classical artist Katherine Jenkins, Japan’s Girls Generations, US’ tenor Fernando Varela, Branden & James, amongst a lot of other great artists ….