EV Leaders: Patrick Jordan-Patrikios Sound Architect and Designer

Patrick Jordan-Patrikios is a sound architect and designer. He has had an exciting career so far and has worked in the music industry for nearly two decades. After shunning the family business he became a drummer and session musician. He went on to tour the world with the likes of Coolio. 

He then grabbed the ears of none other than Simon Cowell, television personality, entrepreneur and record executive. This started Patrick’s career in the pop world. He went on work with some huge names in the business including Britney, Pixie Lott and Olly Murs to name but a few. 

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While working in Los Angeles he ended up hooking up with a friend at Lotus to create music for their products and launches. Soon after, Lotus realised his talent and employed him to develop sounds for the brand’s Evija electric hypercar and the more recently launched Eletre electric sports utility vehicle (SUV). 

With electric cars being silent we often forget about the need for sound both internally as part of the driver experience and externally in terms of road safety. Patrick crosses that bridge and brings life to electric vehicles. We caught up with the talented musician and sound architect to find out more.

EDs: You’ve had a colourful and varied career so far. Could you tell us about yourself and your career in sound and music?

I’ve been in the music industry for around 19 years. I started out as a drummer and session musician playing and touring the world with Coolio which was extremely fun. 

To cut a long story short after one tour I ripped the tendons in my hands so my drumming career came to a swift end. I decided to not take up the family business in restaurants but to do something in music. 

At this time I was teaching myself how to write songs and produce music to the point where Simon Cowell heard a song. That was the start of my career in the pop world. 

This opened the doors with Il Divo and Susan Boyle being the first artists I worked with. This opened the door to working with Little Mix, Giorgio Moroder, Britney and many more.

EDs: How did you end up in the EV space?

I was in LA working and had a friend at Lotus cars. At the time, I was contracted to create music for Lotus products and car launches. Six months into the work I got a call asking me if I wanted to create sounds for the Lotus Evija electric car. That was my first introduction to the electric vehicle space and a new chapter in this world for me.

EDs: What was your job at Lotus?

To compose bespoke pieces of music for product launches and events. Plus, create sound experiences for their electric demo cars. It was all about sonic branding and bringing a synergy to the brand. 

EDs: Which electric vehicles did you work on at Lotus?

With the Evija, it was about creating a sound DNA and identity while pulling on the heritage of Lotus to build this DNA. With the Eletre, I was tasked with creating sound in the early demo car for the product launch.

EDs: How did Lotus want the Evija to sound?

They wanted a sound inspired by the engine note of Lotus’ iconic Type 49 Formula 1 racing car. We set about creating a soundscape for the Evija that was recognisably and distinctively Lotus. I sat with the development team at Hethel and discussed what that should be. 

We wanted something intrinsically connected to Lotus so we could set an audio blueprint for its future electric cars. There’s a purity to that V8, a raw edge and an emotion that stirs something in your soul, just like the best songs.

This was all about building out where sound fits within the vehicle and how can we could create something new. I adjusted the replay speeds and digital filtering of the Type 49 to generate a soundscape for the Evija. It was a very organic process. 

We all wanted something to spark an emotional connection between the car and the driver. Sound is hugely influential when it comes to creating and forming emotions, to enrich that bond that’s such a critical part of the Lotus experience.

EDs: What other sounds did you create?

Alongside the above, we worked on door openings, hazard sounds and seat belt warnings. I essentially designed every sound that the car makes.

EDs: How was the experience at Lotus working with a company that is transitioning to only electric cars?

It was great. It was an exciting time with lots of new resources and excitement for EVs and related products. There was a great energy and a positive outlook on the future.

EDs: Tell us about using music/sound to evoke a feeling in EVs?

EVs are silent so I wanted to create a soul in each electric car. Sound is a sense and I want to pull on drivers’ sound senses to create amazing and unique experiences while driving an EV. 

Music and sound can create an atmosphere that adds to the design and performance of an EV, as well as giving drivers a unique and personal feeling whilst they drive.

EDs: How important is sound in electric vehicles internally for the driver experience?

It’s extremely important. As I said it’s about creating a mood and building the character of a vehicle for the driver with feedback and functions. It gives information that visuals cannot. 

EDs: Will high-end performance EVs demand the need for an engine sound?

They will for several reasons. The first is safety and the ability to warn pedestrians of an oncoming car. The second is that many original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) want the heritage of the brand to cut through with engine sounds and keep the DNA of their brand alive. 

EDs: How important is sound externally in terms of safety and other road users?

Extremely important because sound is that extra sense which can inform us of danger and safety. The challenge is creating sounds that humans can learn to relate to a certain EV and EV brand. 

At the same time OEMs, are looking to create sonic identities through external sounds and acoustic vehicle alerting systems (AVASs). It’s a challenge to create sounds that deliver safety, provide brand identity and fit with government regulations.

EDs: Do you think we will see more sound features in EVs in the future both internally and externally?

A lot of education needs to be carried out in this area. It’s about creating experiences with sounds internally and externally. I think we will see more use for sound but it has to be done in a way that doesn’t overpower the users’ experience in the car. With EVs and tech progressing, there is a great space for sound from the user experience (UX) to holistic experiences and the overall DNA of the vehicle.

EDs: How do you see the EV space developing overall over the next five years?

There is a huge amount of money being pumped into the EV space. I hope the growth continues to pick up pace because there is a huge opportunity here to create something great with regard to sound with other OEMs in the future. 

As EV sales increase there will be more opportunities to develop sound and features. Plus, I’m sure there’ll be user demand for this both in terms of driver experience and road safety. It will be about creating new spaces and experiences in EVs and for them to make our lives easier. 

EDs: What do you think will help with mass adoption?

Infrastructure is key. Charging needs to be quick, reliable and easy to use. It needs to be convenient to convince drivers to transition to EVs. 

EDs: Do you/would you drive an EV?

I would drive one. I’m currently in the market. 

Ian Osborne
Ian Osborne
Editor-in-Chief at ElectricDrives

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