Electrogrunge and Jesus Music: Meet David Pataconi

David Pataconi 2021

David Pataconi is a rising musician, producer and mixing engineer who debuted this year at Kingdom Come Festival in Indiana. The Arizona-based artist is poised to launch his sound into the world— an industrial electronic rock sonicscape that draws on everything from Depeche Mode to Demon Hunter.

Rock On Purpose contributor Matt Sassano had a conversation with David about his music, his mission and the journey that led him onto the stage this summer.

My first exposure to your music was when I saw you perform at Kingdom Come Festival 2021. I found out later that I got to witness your very first concert ever that day! Recap your time at KCF 2021 and what was going through your mind leading up to and during your very first show.

KCF was a wonderful experience. I had never been to a music festival, and only to a few concerts in my life. I had only played bass guitar in the worship team at church. Naturally, I felt very unworthy to be there, as many artists have been performing music far longer than I have. It’s both humbling and uplifting.

The day before, we had planned a fun stunt with the people on our label (AD Windblown Media Records) to come out and sing the last song for RELESSER. Being a worship song, it was really awesome to be able to praise our King with everyone. This helped calm me for the next day.

I actually have a lot of firsts in my life that God uses to make it seem like I’m a natural and have been doing it for a while, from running sound at church to officiating my sister’s wedding. I didn’t know what to expect, but knew I was supposed to be on stage performing my first show. God provided the means financially, and every other aspect of it. I had my best friend with me on lead guitar and my labelmates as my backup band, so that was really encouraging and helped ease my nerves.

One of the cool things that happened is that on Friday night, I started to lose my voice. I woke up Saturday morning with it being much worse. My best friend and I prayed on the way to KCF, and just as I was going on stage, God unlocked my voice. There are a few moments when I was saying thank you to Josiah from FireBrand for instance, you can hear my voice crack (my set is on YouTube now). But I was suddenly able to hit notes with power that I was not able to hit as I stepped on stage.

For those new to you and your music, tell us about your project, your influences, your upbringing and what led you into music. 

I started writing music back in 2007 knowing absolutely nothing. I’ve always had a beat or melody in my head, and I just needed to get it all out. In 2013, I attended a friend’s e-course on music production, and in 2014 I got signed to a label in Europe. Fast forward, with lots of failures and learning from mistakes, I signed with AD Windblown Media Records in January of 2020. I have grown as an artist, producer, mentor, and follower of Christ.

My music has changed many times over the years, mostly just trying to find my sound. I started by writing EDM and Trance music, and I have produced tons of other styles. In the last couple of years, I’ve really settled on making a mix of 80s pop and industrial music. I describe it as retro electro rock, evocative music for the nostalgic future. Others say it’s as if Depeche Mode and Nine Inch Nails had a musical baby. 

Regardless of the genre, I always infuse the hope of Christ, redemption, and even personal testimonies in the midst of pain, suffering, and darkness. I aim to incite hope and joy in the heart of each listener, and to help them not only understand that they’re not alone, but to hopefully give them a voice in whatever they are dealing with.

My musical influences range from NYVES, Demon Hunter, Circle of Dust, Delta-S, Depeche Mode, Klank, Saviour Machine, and far too many more to list.

After listening to your self-titled album, there were a variety of songs that stuck out to me personally— tracks like “Captivate My Heart” (featuring Monica Soe of the band Aseity) and “Too Late.” Could you shed some light on what brought those tracks together, the meaning behind them and what the collaboration was like on “Captivate My Heart?”

Thank you! “Captivate My Heart” is purely a worship song. It was birthed while I was listening to instrumental worship music at work while walking between buildings (William Augusto’s “Soaking in His Presence” series is one of my go-tos when spending time alone with God in my prayer closet). The lyrics and melody came, and I recorded the rough idea on the sound recorder on my phone.

While the lyrics remain the same, the melodies are slightly different as they changed a little when I got home and started producing/recording it. I had been friends with Monica (check out her band Aseity!) for a little while and asked her if she would be interested in singing on it as a featured artist. She and Rob Volkoff recorded it at Renewing Music Studios, and it came out far better than I ever expected. Monica was wonderful to work with and nailed the ideas I gave her!

We also worked on the music video together, and I highly recommend working with her and Rob. More things to come from there, but keep an eye out in the future.

“Too Late” is also inherently a worship song, dealing with the question “when you find yourself at the end of your rope, wondering how you even got here, is it too late to turn back?”

This was the first single I worked on with the guys at ADWMR. It had been released prior to signing, but with some coaching and direction, it became a far better and approachable song than it was initially. AD Windblown Media Records is not only a label, but a discipleship and a co-op of like-minded Christian artists. Together we are stronger than any one of us individually. Each artist brings talents and abilities that we use to help one another. “Too Late” is evidence of this collaboration.

To a new listener, which tracks from your album are essential to get a feel for what David Pataconi is all about?

“Captivate My Heart,” “Into the Light,” “Bathed in Starlight,” and “Too Late” are essential tracks from my latest album. I believe these best represent the starting point of what to expect musically, but I’m not done yet! I still have some new material that will be released soon that broadens the horizon even more.

One of the things I really admire about you is your transparency and vulnerability when it comes to talking about your life’s journey and the struggles you are overcoming. You stated on social media that you recently hit the one year mark of sobriety. Congratulations! Would you be willing to share a little about your journey?

Absolutely! I struggled with alcohol addiction from 2012 until 2020. I hid it well enough that most of my friends and family had no idea. I would mostly drink to escape stress and life. It became sin in my life, and caused sin as well. u

Everything escalated from there. I lost a friendship over it, and God basically put a stopping line in my path and said it was enough. I agreed. I made choices and changes after stopping cold turkey (by the power of God), and He gave me the ability to see alcohol as sin.

The thought of drinking makes me nauseated, now. I’m completely free, and there’s no temptation, attraction, or draw to alcohol whatsoever. I was really in bondage to it before, and now I’m really free (John 8:36)! God also made it clear that this freedom from addiction was not only for me, but for others to hear, so that He can free them too.

For someone seeking their own sobriety, what are some key things you’ve learned in your journey that may help them?

It all starts with surrender and agreeing that it’s sin. From there, God can free you completely in a moment, or it may take time. The most important part is involving Him in the process, making small changes daily, and taking it one day at a time. Small daily victories add up. Not all deliverance comes instantaneously (though they can), so give yourself a bit of grace, and celebrate with God every night over a daily victory.

A lot of addiction is filling ourselves with something we actually lack, so even when we get free from something, we must replace that void with God and what He provides. Goals are always a good idea, but sometimes a daily victory from alcohol, pornography, drugs, etc. can add up and encourage us. Those daily changes over time will actually rewire our brains physically by starving the monster, if you will.

Where can people catch a live performance from you?  

I don’t have any plans yet for live performances outside of KCF yearly (if God allows that to happen again), but people can view the performance from this year at: https://youtu.be/qoEYH6zgpW8

I also do live karaoke from time to time on my personal Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pataconi

Lastly, you can catch some other videos, the latest music and news on my music page:
https://www.facebook.com/DavidPataconiMusic

From what I understand, you not only have a 12 track album out, but you recently released a unique instrumental album. What inspired it?

The instrumental album is largely provided for fans to hear the intricacies not normally heard on the main album, or if you want a soundtrack to whatever action scene you are living in the moment.

What do you hope listeners take from your music overall?

Both to be inspired, and to be encouraged. Life can be dark at times, playful, joyous, exciting, and dull. I hope to capture it all musically, to give language to those who hurt, to speak truth and life into their trials, and to equally provide moments of dancing, worshipping, and joy in whatever they are going through.

To be honest though, I write music for myself and to honor God. If anyone gets something out of it, that’s simply amazing!

Jesus Christ is real. His freedom and salvation is real. We all need it, and He provided the way to God the Father through His death on the cross and resurrection from the grave. Music is cool, but life after death is eternal. The most important decision in your life is to put your faith and trust in Jesus right now, and experience a wonderful relationship with Him now and after death.

I would have died of suicide in 1997 if He had not intervened in my life. I’m far from perfect, but more like Him every day as He continues to change my life, one day at a time. Today is the day of salvation. Tomorrow is not promised. I’m happy to talk with anyone about this, music, and my testimony of God’s ability to change a life that is surrendered to Him.

Where can people listen to your music or connect with you?

My website has all the links at the top: davidpataconi.com

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