Five years ago Chilean band Panico (Panic not, which is appropriate) released their fifth album, Subliminal Kill. It's not what you'd expect to hear from a typical five-piece from South America. Heavily influenced by English and American post-punk, underground culture and music, and currently hiding out in France, Panico's sound is blissfully familiar. This week they're in London and are playing the fabulous Club Motherfucker at Corsica studios on Saturday. In light of album number six, Kick, we invited Club Motherfucker's Daughters of the Kaos to introduce us to the latin charms of lead singer Edu.
I'm curious about your experiences as a music listener growing up in Chile. What kind of stuff were you listening to as a kid? Does any of it influence the sound of Panico?
At home my family was into south american folk, Violeta Parra, Victor Jara, Atahualpa Yupanqui among other songwriters from the 60s and 70s. They would also listen to lots of bolero, they had tapes from a guy called Lucho Barrios. Then in the mid 80s we all listened to a local band called Los Prisioneros and new wave bands from Argentina. All this scene had a big influence on us, it was all very DIY. It really meant something for us. But what really made our sound was Santiago in the 90s. There was a real cool scene, it was something totaly unique.
You've built up a reputation for being a great live band, do you remember your first time on stage?
It was in 1994, we'd just formed and had a couple of songs. A guy from a radio show heard our tape; he invited us to perform in a punk festival he'd been putting up. We played 'No me digas que no si quieres decirme que si' our first single ever, it was very sonic and destroy.
Five years is a long time between albums, was it a conscious decision to wait that long or did it just pan out that way?
It wasn't planned, it just happened. We didn't really have a deadline to do a new album. Also, after touring with Subliminal Kill, the music industry went so weird, it wasn't an easy situation. So we decided not to do an album, but to release 12" vinyls and to perform as much as we could, especially in the UK. We did this for two years. Finally, we ended in Glasgow, doing this great album with Paul Savage, and Chemikal underground releasing it. It took five years, but it's a great record!
You recorded Kick at Franz Ferdinand's studio, and I know you've toured with them before. Has that relationship influenced the direction you've taken at all? Did recording in Glasgow have an impact on the sound of the record?
The relation with them started when Paul got in touch. He'd listen to our Anfetaminado 7" in New York and sent an email to say hello. Then we performed at one of Optimo's parties in Glasgow and he came to the show. They invited us to open some of their gigs and later they invited us to join them on a club tour in the UK. It was really cool for us, they are great people!
Recording in Glasgow did definitely have an impact on our sound as the studio was a very special place. It was built in an old theatre, the sound was deep and with lots of reverb and many rooms from where to get strange sounds. Also, Paul Savage is a genius. He has lots of ideas when it comes to experimentation. Same for Gareth Jones.
James and us started working on this project in 2008. We wanted to do a video film with Panico in the northern villages of the Atacama desert in Chile. Atacama is a very mystic place. It has many stories, some of them really old, from before the spanish era; others related to the industrial area in the 19th century. We decided that the coolest thing to do there, was to do an experimental recording. We wanted to record the sound of the stones, of the sand, of the metals we'd find on our way, the people. So we travelled in a bus for three weeks, exploring the weirdest places, meeting with the local people and recording super strange sounds. At the end, the result is a mix of industrial noise, tribal performances and percussive music. It should be ready for 2011 and it will come as a DVD and a vinyl.
Tell me about the documentary From Rock to Eternity you made with James Schneider, how did that come about? When will it be released?
yeah we listen to music all the time, but it not necessary new music. i'm always looking for sounds in the internet. I'm digging Deerhunter's new record. it's fantastic.
Who are you listening to at the moment? Do you like to keep up with new music scenes in general or is it a distraction from what you're doing with Panico
Panico play at Club Motherfucker this Saturday, October 16, at Corisa Studios with Thrush Metal. For more information see Club Motherfucker.