36 Finalists Blog 2024: Nate Patrin

Nate Patrin, author of The Needle and the Lens: Pop Goes to the Movies from Rock ‘n’ Roll to Synthwave

General Nonfiction Category, sponsored by Loren & Christine Danielson

Each week leading up to the 36th annual Minnesota Book Awards, we are featuring exclusive interviews with our finalists. You can also watch the authors in conversation with their fellow category finalists here.

What is one detail you wanted to include in this book, but couldn’t find a place for?   

There are countless films I could’ve discussed in the book, including the bonus chapter, but one I’m kicking myself for leaving out was a strong example of a documentary film using a pop-song needle drop: The Beach Boys’ “Wouldn’t it be Nice” in ‘Roger & Me’, easily one of the most ironically bitter and sad usages of a song in a doc. 

Tell us about someone who proved instrumental to the creation of this book.   

My agent Philip Turner, who brought up the Delfonics’ usage in “Jackie Brown” during a conversation about the possibility of doing a book on this topic back when the original seeds for the idea were still scattered in the back of my mind. 

Tell us about a favorite read from the past year. Why did you find it enjoyable, insightful, or memorable?  

Michaelangelo Matos’s ‘Beat Connection’ substack is a reliably entertaining resource, and pulls off a tricky feat few mainstream music critics are capable of: reviewing DJ mixes and analyzing their dynamics and character from the perspective of a clubgoer. 

Please tell us something about yourself that is not widely known.

I was on the same high school Comedy Sportz improv team, the (St. Paul) Central Nervous Systems, as Nick Swardson (Reno 911) and Colton Dunn (Superstore). 

Share your thoughts about the role and value of libraries.   

Thoroughly necessary as a human-curated and organized resource, “third place,” and an avenue for creative and intellectual exploration and curiosity. 

Nate Patrin is a longtime music critic whose writing has appeared in dozens of publications. His first book, Bring That Beat Back: How Sampling Built Hip-Hop, was named a Best Music Book of 2020 by Kirkus and Rolling Stone.