Equally at home with crooning, screaming, rapping, beatboxing, growling, scatting, singing opera, hitting the high falsetto or belting out his signature sound, Mike Patton is a true genre-defying vocal alchemist who has always been willing to go where the music dictates.
While he gained massive public recognition in the nineties for fronting rock super group Faith No More, scratch the surface even the slightest and you’ll discover the sprawling oeuvre of a man who fully embodies the philosophy of “voice as an instrument”, happy to leave his ego at the door and transcend any traditional notion of what a singer should be. The clearest example of this lies perhaps in his work with avant-garde composer John Zorn and the Moonlight Trio, an outfit billed as “improvisational music from the outer reaches of madness”, but concurrently he has scored films, voiced video games, released a solo album of 50’s and 60’s Italian classics, and provided lead vocals for Tomahawk and Fantômas (amongst a multitude of other projects) – proving wonderfully impervious to any kind of pigeon-holing.
This vocal versatility is also what makes Patton’s voice unique and instantly recognizable. It may sound like a contradiction in terms, but the multitude of voices is so decidedly his that you’re never in doubt as to who’s the creative genius behind the always strong vocals on display, be it the smooth croon of an Italian pop song or the surgical precision of contemporary avant-rock that is Fantômas.
Ultimately, Mike is a fantastic singer who has honed his craft to a degree that is unusual – and mind-bending – for one man alone. It takes a great set of pipes, discipline and an open mind, also to the ways in which the voice can be extended and played with via electronics. No stranger to using stomp-boxes, circuit-bent toys and the like for his live performances, Mike has recently added the VoiceLive Touch 2 to his effects arsenal and we are extremely excited to follow his exploits. From the small glimpses we’ve had already the world of vocals better watch out – there’s going to be some serious ass-kicking.
- Mike Patton on his vocal philosophy:
"The way I see singing, you have to be very adaptable, very musical...and not necessarily an instrument that needs to be front and center."
- Mike Patton on VoiceLive Touch 2
"I would use this for effects. Honestly what I’m thinking about using it for is an improv situation, where I'll play with a guitar player – or a sax player – as a duo and it’s all improv… but I need to have some weapons."