SXSW 2014 Intervew: Panama

panamaIn the whirlwind that was SXSW we weren’t able to fit in all the great SXSW interviews that we had scheduled; we were out and about trying to check out music.  But, that being said, I wanted to share this interview with Panama…as the information presented clearly goes beyond just SXSW.  Please excuse my folly, and enjoy getting to know a bit about the rising band via Jarrah. And if you like the track at the bottom, their Always EP is available now.

ATH:  For a lot of bands, this is their first time coming to SXSW, Austin, or even the United States. What are you anticipating for your arrival into our town? Anything you’re really hoping to do while you’re here?

Jarrah: I actually visited SXSW a few years ago when I was in the US looking for a producer to work with for the Panama project. I didn’t anticipate being back so soon to play though, so it’s going to be a very different experience being on the other side of the stage. So, this time I’ll be focusing on my shows – we’ve only got a handful and they’re short sets, so we’re going to try make the most of this limited time. Hopefully there will be some free time in the schedule as I’d love to have the chance to venue hop and check out some new music, though.

ATH: For most SXSW sets, you get 30 minutes to leave a lasting impression. What’s your plan of attack? You have a set list mapped out yet?

Jarrah: Yes, I definitely have a set list mapped out. I like to be super prepared and as we’re an electronic three piece live, performing requires us to have a rehearsed live set ready to go. With something like SXSW you definitely can’t just jam out for 8 minutes, particularly when you want to make a last impression in a very short amount of time. We’ve done a fair bit of rehearsing recently, and just came off a national tour in Australia so we’ve been unofficially ‘training’ for this for a while.

ATH: The festival caters to music fans, but food and booze are an important aspect of the fans and the bands. What’s your band’s food and beverage of choice?

Jarrah: I love food and the other boys’ certainly enjoy their beer, so we’ll be doing as much sampling as we can while we’re over there. We’ll probably keep the excessive consumption to a minimum until after our shows – I think we have 3 shows in one day over there, so we’ll have to just stick to the chili crab until our last set is done. Pizza is my vice though, so I’m pretty excited for my first slice.

ATH: Describe the music community where you come from? Does everyone work together? Is there lots of competition?

Jarrah: I’d assume that there’s competition in most industries and it’s definitely present in our music community. Australia is quite a small music market so there’s only so much space… -That being said, there’s also huge demand for new music at the moment and Australia has some absolutely incredible acts being exported, so there’s also a great sense of commeraderie amongst acts taking it to the next level. Overall Australia offers a nurturing, loyal music community and we’re so lucky to have had the backing of key industry supporters and some truly committed, passionate fans .

ATH: What are a few bands we might not know about, being in the States, that should be on everyone’s musical radar?

Jarrah: The bands that we’re heading over to SXSW with on the Future Classic showcase are definitely worth investigating. Seekae, Waveracer and Touch Sensitive are electronic masters and Chet Faker is super soulful.

ATH: Let’s say your band has been booked an official showcase at a pop up venue somewhere in the middle of 6th street (where a lot of shows are set up). The lineup features thrash metal, hip-hop, spoken word, and you. The sound is horrible, the lineup is not your style, and the crowd seems angry at the world. How would your band deal with such a situation?

Jarrah: That sounds terrible! Hopefully our team would have done enough research to know what they were getting us into, but these situations do happen from time to time. We would definitely head out there and try and give as good a show as any. We’ve been in similar situations in the past and sometimes the shows that you think will bomb can be some of the best. If they suck, they sometimes make really good stories for later on though.

ATH: What’s your favorite album to come out in the last year? What’s playing in the tour bus/van?

Jarrah: I’d have to say probably Blood Orange’s ‘Cupid Deluxe’. I’m a sucker for 80s-influenced melancholic pop. Plus I love the array of guest performers used on the album as it’s something I’ve been considering doing with the next release.

ATH: The digital age is upon us, like it or not. What are your band’s thoughts on streaming services like spotify, pandora, etc.? Blow em all up? Or embrace the future?

Jarrah: Definitely embrace the future. We’ve had huge success with Soundcloud on ‘Always’ and to be honest, without these websites/streaming services our music may not have had the reach that it has. We gave away the ‘Always’ EP on Bandcamp for the first month or so, which was a great opportunity to reach a new audience and develop our profile. I know that might not be a popular answer with some musicians, however at the level that we are at, exposure through those services can really help break an act.

ATH: Clearly coming over to the States to play shows is something a lot of bands are excited about, but what are some other life or musical highlights for you this year? We’d like to get to know you.

Jarrah: My highlights this year will probably be travelling- both for touring and holidays. My focus musically this year, whilst possibly doing a fair bit of touring will definitely be trying to write and finish off some more tracks.

ATH: This is important to us, although a lot of music people scoff at sports. Do you have a pick for the winner of this year’s up-coming World Cup? Also, is it rude for us to assume that everyone loves soccer/football outside of the US?

Jarrah: Haha no, I have to admit I’m not a major sports fan at all and am more comfortable in a dark studio than on a field. Being typically Australian, I do love a good cricket test match though.

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