Pat Irwin has been living in and making music in New York City since the late 1970’s.
He most recently composed music for the NPR podcast “This American Life” and completed the score for the Rocko’s Modern Life movie, Static Cling.
Pat is also performing with a new band called SUSS. Their debut recording, Ghost Box, was released on Northern Spy in 2018. Pop Matters named Ghost Box as one of the “Top Ten Ambient Recordings of 2018.” High Line was released on Northern Spy in November, 2019 and was named by Aquarium Drunkard as one of the best releases of 2019. The NPR station listed High Line as one of the “Top Ten records of 2019” and Pop Matters again named High Line to their “Ten Best Ambient Albums of 2019.”
Pat also released a recording of duets with fellow composer J. Walter Hawkes. Wide Open Sky is available here! Their recent performances have included small, intimate art gallery settings including The Plaxall Gallery and The Local Projects Gallery, both in Long Island City, NY.
His numerous television credits include AMC’s “Feed The Beast,” Showtime’s “Nurse Jackie” and HBO’s “Bored To Death.” He has composed the music for many independent films including, “But I’m A Cheerleader,” “My New Gun,” and “Bam Bam And Celeste.” Documentaries include “Fall To Grace,” written and directed by Academy Award winner Alexandra Pelosi, (HBO and Sundance 2013) and “Hopper Stories” a series of shorts based on works of Edward Hopper including “The Muse” written and directed by Sophie Barthes (Arte France).
He has scored hundreds of cartoons including “SpongeBob SquarePants,” “Rocko’s Modern Life,” “Pepper Ann,” and the Emmy Award winning “Class of 3000” (with OutKast’s Andre 3000.) He received 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014 ASCAP Film & Television Awards for his contributions to the “SpongeBob” soundtrack. “The Cartoon Music Book,” referred to Irwin’s music for “Rocko’s Modern Life” as “astonishing musical cues that hold up with the best Raymond Scott.”
Irwin graduated from Grinnell College in 1977. Shortly thereafter, he received a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship for international study and moved to Paris where he attended composition workshops and performed with the iconic composer John Cage. Moving to New York City in 1979 he became a founding member of two bands, The Raybeats (with George Scott, Don Christensen, and Jody Harris from the Contortions) and Eight Eyed Spy (with Lydia Lunch and Jim Sclavunos from Teenage Jesus.) Both bands were an important part of what has become known as the No Wave scene in New York City in the late 70’s. In 1989 he joined The B-52s and performed and recorded with the band through 2008.
Pat Irwin has published articles and reviews in The New York Times Review Of Books, The Village Voice, DownBeat Magazine, and Musician Magazine.
Robert Palmer, writing in the New York Times, described Irwin as a “mercurial presence on the New York rock scene of the early 80’s. The bands he helped found, The Raybeats and Eight Eyed Spy resembled each other only in that they had an aversion to the predictable and the ordinary.” He has performed in diverse venues such as CBGB’s, Max’s Kansas City, The Mudd Club, The Kitchen, Dance Theater Workshop, The Knitting Factory, Carnegie Hall, Radio City Music Hall, and Madison Square Garden.
In 2012, Pat received an honorary doctorate from Grinnell College. He currently teaches a seminar in film music composition at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts Graduate Music Theater Program as well music for film and t.v. at Brooklyn College.
“…deftly juggling elements of surf music, funk, garage-pop and noise-band dissonance in his playing and composing, Pat Irwin was a mercurial presence on the New York rock scene of the early 80’s”
The New York Times
“Irwin opened the afternoon with a set that touched on Bill Frisell pastoral jazz, Brian Eno ambience and most significantly, Angelo Badalamenti noir. He mixed slowly crescendoing, shifting instrumentals from his film work across the years…”
New York Music Daily