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Radar

The Work That Made Me: Patch Rowland

Machine’s senior sound designer soaked up a lot of high-quality creativity in the ‘90s and hasn’t stopped channelling it

The Work That Made Me: Patch Rowland

Patch Rowland is a senior sound designer and composer at Machine, a sound and music production company in London. Getting a taste for studio life in demo and rehearsal studios in his native Newcastle, Patch then moved to London, where he first began in audio post production.

Get to know Patch better and tuck into the work that made him.



The ad/music video from my childhood that stays with me…

1990 - Partners in Kryme - Turtle Power

I must have seen this on Top of the Pops because I don’t think we had MTV in our house at this point, however, nine-year-old me was hooked. I made my mam take me to the cinema to see the movie, I bought it on seven inch and played it endlessly on my dad’s turntable. 


The thing that stayed with me to this day, however, had nothing to do with the Turtles; it was the Wrigley’s ad in the commercial reel. The track to the ad was Free’s Alright Now blasting out as I had never heard it before - it was powerful - my first ‘sound’ memory in a cinema.



The ad platform that made me want to get into the industry…

1995 - Babylon Zoo - Spaceman Levi’s

The way the track was edited in this spot, made me respect (in hindsight) the power of a good hook - everyone rushed out to buy the track only to find 30 seconds in that it was an indie/emo dirge, and not at all what they were hoping for. I remember talking with my bandmates at the time about how we should stick an intro onto one of our songs to get us on an ad… they weren’t into it. After that I committed myself to landing a track on a commercial or film, I wanted to be involved in the industry and get under the skin of how it was done. I later found out that Final Cut’s owner and founder Rick Russell cut this spot and track which is very humbling.



The film that I keep revisiting…

1992 - Michael Mann’s ‘The Last of The Mohicans’

I saw it first at the Metrocentre in Gateshead for a friend’s birthday. It was life-changing, everything about it! Trevor Jones’ score, the incredible Oscar-winning sound. Daniel Day-Lewis… “I will find you…” I still watch it once a year... Classic. I recall they were still running the Brad Pitt/T-Rex Levi’s commercial


More recently and less ‘90s: The Revenant, Interstellar, Gravity, Roma, Under The Skin are all films I reference and revisit on the regular.


My first professional project…

20 years ago, when I was first starting out, the studio I worked at did loads of work for the major music labels, TVCs for their artists’ album and single launches. You’d load in the tracks, pick out the hooks and splice them together into a 30-second music bed and then a Radio 1 DJ would come in and voice it, Zane Lowe and the like. One of the first sessions I had to do was for the So Solid Crew - Megaman & Asher D aka Ashley Walters (Top Boy) came in to do the VO. Then the following week we had the S Club Juniors (look ‘em up!) it was varied, to say the least.


The piece of work that made me so angry that I vowed to never make anything like *that*…

Virals! Virals in the early 2000s were all trying to be like a fake ‘You’ve Been Framed’ video. I helped fake/make so many films that were to ‘go viral’, well before you could pay for it to happen, it was like ‘be funny’ urggh!


The piece of work that still makes me jealous…

I’m in awe of and hate the sound designers of this mega epic spot in equal measure!
Only kidding, this is any sound designer’s dream gig. JOYRIDE Tundra - Pennzoil.



The creative project that changed my career…

Ford - Rule Britannia

The brief was ‘turn a transit van into an orchestra and make it play Rule Britannia!’ This radio ad was one of my first gigs for a major agency. I’d only just got my own studio after being in the machine room, and it was a dream. They sent us to record the Van to get the ‘elements’ needed to be the ‘instruments.’ Then, once back in the studio I sampled them and got it working. I also got to meet and record Ray Winstone who was massive at the time. I knew then that this was what I wanted to do.


The work that I’m proudest of…

The first feature I did the sound design for: ‘Blood Cells’. We’d just opened the new sound studio at Final Cut and were looking for a project that we could really sink our teeth into and launch with. The directors were editing it upstairs and asked if we wanted to be involved. I also ended up supervising the music score and mixed it for the theatre. Check it out on iTunes.


I was involved in this and it makes me cringe…

A few years back, I was doing the sound post on a TVC. There was a need to put the guide voice down for an animated character and so I hopped on the mic. The spot was for a reasonably famous brand of Indigestion tablets. The VO artist didn’t turn up for the session and it left the agency with no choice but to send the WIP with my guide VO on. Turns out (embarrassingly) that the client loved it. I ended up having to turn up to our own studio to attend the VO session and introduce myself as the voice-over (so that the client didn’t realise I was the Sound Designer). That spot ran for two years. I cringe because it’s the only thing my mam mentions to her friends. They all think I’m a VO, not a sound designer.


The recent project I was involved in that excited me the most…

Earlier in the year, I was lucky enough to do the sound design on a film for the Ubisoft Game The Division 2, directed by Nicholas Winding Refn (Drive). It’s a shoot ‘em up and it was pretty exciting! 
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