When I first met Patrick Rourke back in 2009 he was a lanky, ginger, freckly kid. We met in secondary school and for the first year I knew him I was adamant that his name was James. However despite my ignorance, and forced together through endless school projects we became best friends. Now 7 years, 2 Number 1 consecutive singles, and BRIT award for British Breakthrough Act later he sits before me again, and as you can imagine smug as anything.
It’s been a busy year for Devon born boy as catching up deemed difficult due to touring arrangements, the release for his first solo album ‘Here’s Hoping’ and dealing with the extensive criticism from press. The music video for the ‘Hands Like Flames’ sparked (no pun intended) an outrage as explicit scenes of sexual harassment taken from CCTV footage were shown throughout the video. The video went viral with 173,382,574 views in just over 2 weeks (and although the harsh backlash) messages from fans praised him for revealing domestic abuse in its true form. But after coming back from a sold out UK & Ireland tour (and before he jets off to perform at Coachella Music Festival in the USA in April) he had just enough time for a ‘strictly professional’ interview with me to get the ‘friend told’ truth behind that controversial video that shocked the nation.
It’s been a while! How’s life treating you?
Good! Things are really good! We’ve (Patrick tours with his band ‘The Canals’) got some really awesome tours lined up as well as headlining some festivals next year. It’s all been really positive and we’ve had some great feedback!
So you don’t think that the release of ‘Hands like Flames’ harmed your growth as an artist?
No, not at all. In a lot of ways it’s really propelled me as an artist and the idea behind the look and concept. Although the release of the video initially got some bad press, it’s really opened new avenues for us to follow. We recently just became ambassadors for DAUK-a Domestic Abuse charity that works with victims of the crime. We perform secret shows and try to raise a lot of money.
How did the idea of the video come about?
It wasn’t a solo decision to make a video like this. I’d written the song when I was at university in London, on my way home I got caught up in a protest for justice for male victims of abuse, and during the protest they showed these CCTV videos of men being attacked. It opened my eyes and that’s what I wanted to base the video on. I spoke to Jim Murry our producer and he said that although it would be risky for a new artist to make this kind of move, he supported it. I’m so grateful!
What is the real concept of the video?
I wanted people to experience what I had seen and to understand that domestic violence is serious! I’ve seen so many music videos attempt to do it justice but I find them all to look really tacky. However, I was really inspired by the band ‘The Luka State’ they shot a music video about domestic violence toward men and it was the most touching but powerful thing I’ve seen! I’d recommend it.
What was the process like in making the video?
The process was hard and long. There was so much footage we had to cut out due to some of the footage being obscene. It got really emotional at times. Our director Olly (Dash)Dashon thought it would be a good idea to mix the footage with the band actually singing but we wanted to keep it really real so we recorded it in one take and it was all done live and on set.
There’s been controversy over whether the CCTV footage used in the video was stolen, can you explain more?
There is no way the footage was ‘stolen’ it was given to us by various city councils to use professionally, which is what we did. We broke no law, and that’s what we want people to understand.
Did you expect it to get the publicity it did?
In all honestly, no we didn’t. When the video was released my name hadn’t been heard of that much. I think it was down to our existing fans that it gained so much publicity. We actually love that so many people have seen it and are talking and debating about it. It’s a good thing!
It was made known that the profits went to charity?
Yeah that’s right, we wanted to make a difference and so we donated it to DAUK. It’s gone to housing a centre for domestic abuse victims.
So what’s next for you?
Apart from touring, I’m working on a new album. It’s still in the early stages and I don’t know where I want to go with it but I can assure fans that it will be in true Canal fashion. So fingers crossed for October time!
DISCLAMIER: This piece is entirely fictitious designed and written for a A2 Media piece centred on domestic violence.