We told you to keep an eye on these guys some time ago and with their new EP ‘Always’, they’ve confirmed it; Panama boys are killing it. Their sound is described as “hopeful house enthusiasts and purveyors of nostalgic electronic sounds”, they are part of the Future Classic family and coming from Sydney is another plus. We sent them some questions so let’s see what they’ve told us.
Golden Scissors: First of all, you have to explain why that name; any story behind that exotic country? You wanted to get people confused or Panama is more exotic than Sydney?
Panama: Well I think most Australians would find Panama exotic, and I would suspect Panamanians (what a crazy sounding word!) would find Australia equally as fascinating. Having a name like Panama I thought it might give me some sort of creative freedom to do some different things I hadn’t had the chance to do until now.
GS: You talk about artistic flexibility when you chose your band name, is it the same for your music style?
Panama: When I write music I try not to think about the genre or style, what I try to concentrate on is the song and whether I’m feeling it or not. Luckily for me most of the songs I write seem to sit well with each other. Working on that first EP (It’s Not Over) with Eric Broucek helped a lot when it came to finding my own sound.
GS: How was the experience of working with Eric Broucek (!!!, Holy Ghost!, Hercules and the Love Affair…) while recording ‘Always’?
Panama: Working with Eric is always a great pleasure, we were lucky enough to record that song over in San Francisco this time – I love that city. At the time I was suffereing a little bit of demo-itis, Eric pulled me out of it and helped me get some direction which was amazing.
GS: We can see you guys get along with nowadays top-bands in Australia like Van She or Mitzi; with all the new music coming out there, would you say there is a cool atmosphere or you do feel any pressure?
Panama: We’ve been lucky enough to play with both of those bands, and yes there is pressure sometimes. I think the pressure is from our own expectations rather than from other acts or the industry. Keeping busy and staying positive definitely helps.
GS: We know, Jarrah McCleary went from classical to the project, how do you decided to get into more updated sounds as synths and electro?
Panama: I studied classical music from a young age (about 7 I think), and started composing around the same time, I got into subtractive synthesis quite a bit before starting Panama. I think I started playing around with subtractive synthesis in my mid 20s (I’m 32 now). So I’ve had a fair amount of time to getting to know ADSR and some LFO. I must admit coming from the classical world it was a little daunting at first. (Hello classical music lingo!)
GS: Other thing he loves, is home cooked meals, how do you do when you are touring? Any hard time? Too many burritos?
Panama: Haha I do love home cooked meals. My girlfriend usually does the cooking in the household and I’m a big fan of the barbecue – I do the cooking on that one. We live on quite a busy street so it’s always a little awkward when I’m out there grilling a steak whilst people are walking past.
GS: We’ve seen you try to answer all the fans’ requests and comments; do you keep all they say in mind at the time to make new music?
Panama: Luckily at this stage of my career I’m able to answer most fans messages and requests, I think it’s great being able to contact fans directly. I’m so grateful for the response we’ve had and how many people are the connecting with the songs. As far as making music is concerned I don’t really get any requests from fans suggesting what songs I need to create, most keep asking me ‘Just keep doing what you’re doing’ which is great, because that’s exactly what I intend to do!
GS: Future Classic is doing quite good with all its bands, how does it feel being part of that? Did you send any demo or it was a chance of luck?
Panama: Yes I think it’s great to be part of the Future Classic family, Panama was very lucky in that aspect. Our manager contacted them and they were immediately interested in discussing working together. They’ve been hugely supportive and we’ve got a great team around us at the moment.
GS: We guess having been remixed by Classixx is an honor, any dream collaboration in the future?
Panama: Having Classixx remix a Panama track was such an honour! I would love Juan Maclean to do something in the future…
GS: How important is for you the aesthetics of your music videos? They are pretty cool by the way!
Panama: Thank you! We worked closely with production team Fabien and Vivien from ‘A nice idea everyday’ who are based in Berlin. I did really love the fact that they carried over some themes and actors to tie in with the previous clip of ‘It’s not over’. They gave our music colour and did such a great job at representing the story in a visually beautiful and nostalgic way.
GS: Are you already working in something new? Planning to tour around Europe in the near future?
Panama: Currently I’ve just finished a course studying screen music. That took up a fair chunk of my time, now I’m working a lot more solidly on getting the live show up to scratch. Once that is finished I’ll move on to some more writing. Yep all in that order. There are definitely plans to head overseas next year – watch this space!
GS: If we had to hang out in Australia, what would be the perfect city to do it? We’ve heard Melbourne is crazy…
Panama: If it was my choice I would get you to hang in Sydney, you could do all the tourist type things during the day (opera house, pet a koala at the zoo), and at night you could go and see some adult disco that Future Classic puts on, how does that sound?
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