Q&A: Panic Is Perfect

How would you describe your sound to someone who’s never heard you?
Mike: Shout-along syncopated dance rock?
Jeremy: Anthem-based syncopated dream punk?

What are you currently working on?
Mike: We are just finishing up the mixing on our 15-track album due out at the end of October.
Jeremy: I’m mixing a couple songs with Ken Lewis, our main mixer, and I’m also working on a new version of “Go Go Go” with an extra verse and a whole new bridge and some cool synths. Plus a few new songs to be bonus tracks or internet releases after the album comes out.

Where do you find inspiration for your songs?
Mike: The song “Echo” was written about having a fight with my girlfriend. The kind of fight that couples have over and over again, so that they stop really listening to each other. “Scream if you want to but your words aren’t carrying.” Its sort of the story of one of these fights that in the end turns out to be sort of sexy and hot. Coincidentally the other song we played here “Go Go Go” was written about crazy relationship drama as well. Kind of a common theme with us. So I guess the answer is we find inspiration in unstable relationships.
Jeremy: For “Go Go Go” I was writing alternate choruses with Mike for “Turn Back Into Stars,” but after my 14th attempt I realized that he probably just wanted to do it himself since it was his song. So I just decided to write a new song. I was feeling completely untalented, and I was missing out on an opportunity to be travelling with Amma (The Hugging Saint, my amazing spiritual teacher from southern India). I was feeling really depressed about not being with her to wash dishes and help out and be around all those inspiring people, and I felt like I wasn’t talented anyway, so what was I even doing wasting my time here? Out of those feelings I just started singing the melodies of “Go Go Go” into my phone for about five to ten minutes. And once I listened back to it, picked out my favorite parts, I knew that I wanted to make the lyrics about my relationship and how crazy my life had been recently.

Overhead Wide Still

Who has been the biggest influence on your music?
Mike: Fela Kuti, Phoenix, Vampire Weekend, Dan Deacon, Phillip Glass, Danger Mouse, Passion Pit, The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Aphex Twin, New Politics, lots of others.
Jeremy: Fela Kuti, Phoenix, Vampire Weekend, Modest Mouse, Leonard Cohen, Coldplay, Taylor Swift, Danger Mouse, Electric Guest, Two Door Cinema Club, The XX, Bright Eyes, Passion Pit, New Politics, Jon Williams.

What is something you learned during the past year?
Mike: Don’t leave food in the van, and when rich and powerful people make a bunch of crazy promises to you, don’t get too excited.
Jeremy: I learned that we have real fans all across America! I learned that you should call your wife every morning when you’re on the road. I learned that if you watch your emotions kind of well up inside of you while you’re having a fight, then you’re not really inside the fight anymore, and if you just watch what happens for long enough and don’t get sucked back in, then what sucked starts to get better.

If you could have an other person’s talent or skill, who and what would it be?
Mike: I wish I could surf like Kelly Slater. I love surfing, but I’m not really that good.
Jeremy: I wish I could have as much empathy and desire to help other people as my wife Tessa. I wish I could play drum set like Mike and Ty. I wish I could be as peaceful as Eckhart Tolle. I wish I could be more organized and systematic, like our drummer Ty.

We have undying love for Bottom of the Hill because we have played there so many times. We have had some of our best and some of our worst gigs there.

What song would you make into a movie?
Mike: Maybe “Go Go Go” or “You’re Alive.” “Go Go Go” because it could be set in paris, and I love Paris. “You’re Alive” because it has somewhat of a linear story line.
Jeremy: “Too Up Close,” “You’re Alive,” “Turn Back Into Stars,” or “Bobby Black” because they all have vivid movie-like imagery.

Where’s your favorite place to be in the Bay Area?
Mike: Me personally, I love watching the giants at AT&T park, but our band loves hanging out at the Tempest and eating at the food window right outside there.
Jeremy: I love Indian Rock, and Point Isabelle, the dog park in El Cerrito. It’s fun to see all the smiling dogs and hang out on the drift wood near the water.

What’s your favorite local venue?
Mike: We have undying love for Bottom of the Hill because we have played there so many times. We have had some of our best and some of our worst gigs there. It’s just such a great place to see a show.
Jeremy: I agree, Bottom of the Hill is my favorite too. The Fillmore was of course a lifetime high to play there. So many heroes of mine have played there. Amnesia is also a small fun spot where we’ve gotten our start, Hotel Utah too. But top two: Bottom of the Hill and The Fillmore.

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Who would you like to see on Monday Morning and why?
Mike: We don’t even know these guys, but we were super impressed with Eyes on the Shore when we played with them a BFD. They have a really beautiful sound and do these long instrumental jams. They only had a 25 minute set at BFD, and I think half of it was like one song. Kind of a ballsy move.
Jeremy: I agree with Mike, Eyes On The Shore were rad. But so was Picture Atlantic, Curious Quail, and The Family Crest.