Panic Volcanic is about to take DFW by storm! Funkytown Sounds sat down with the members for an exclusive interview.
Q: So tell me a little bit about how Panic Volcanic got started.
A: Back in the summer of 2011 Zach and I[Ansley] were dating and we had kind of toyed around with the idea of starting a band. We spent a lot of time listening to certain records that really helped shape our sound at the time of PV’s inception. We started writing lyrics and licks and started to make it a reality and realized we needed a drummer. Initially we had another friend on board, but he ended up being too busy to put a lot of effort into a really new project. Zach and I were kind of stuck for a bit, just mulling over who could drum for us, when he remembered seeing Cole play the drums at a party jam once, so we called him up and he auditioned and it was a great fit. Turns out, that party was the first and only time Cole had ever sat down at a drum kit in his life. And thus, Panic Volcanic was born.
Q: Where did the name Panic Volcanic come from?
A: We found this dog one time, and he was sleeping on our back porch. We came out to say Hi to him and he came right up to us, he chilled with us for a couple of minutes, and then just darted. Naturally, we chased him. We lost him at the park, and uh, we just kept on walkin’ for a bit. We were still pretty drunk from the night before, and Cole stumbled over something. That’s when Zach yelled PANIC! And there was a little tiny volcano on the ground! And then it erupted. Little tiny volcano lava, all over the forest.
Q: It seems that you three have some pretty specific influences, what would you say some of the most prominent ones are?
A:Well starting out, we were listening to a lot of really raw, blues influenced rock n’ roll. Fever To Tell by the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s as well as Horehound by The Dead Weather probably contributed the most to our conception and direction as a band, especially since they’re both lead by a female vocalist. We’re really into any kind of raw, visceral music, mostly music that makes you wanna fight or do it or both at the same time.
Q: Panic Volcanic consists of vocals, bass, and drums. How has the exclusion of a lead guitar shaped how you three balance your sound so well?
A: Well, a couple of years ago, I wouldn’t have believed it was even possible to have a band with just drums and bass and no guitar whatsoever. As I got into the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and the White Stripes (bands with no bass players) I started to like that sound, and wanted to mimic them, despite the fact that I was horrible at the electric guitar. Ansley was the one who originally suggested the idea of just bass, after hearing me jam with a friend of mine on drums and no guitar player, and it’s become sort of the vision of our band from the very beginning. Cole, who had almost no prior drum experience, has developed a very unique style, and we’ve learned to write our parts around each other’s ideas. Ansley does an excellent job of lyric writing and covering the high ranges that my bass can’t when necessary, and most times it just naturally flows into that groove any time we’re writing or arranging a new cover.
Q: Can you talk about what your song-writing process is like?
A: Well, as far as I can remember, there are really 3 ways that ideas for PV songs come into the world. Generally either 1) Cole or Ansley comes up with a riff and they show it to me, 2) Cole and I jam, or 3) I write and record a song and send it to the other two. From there we’ll all get together, take the song skeleton or what have you, start jamming and writing additional parts, organizing song structure, and Ansley will jam vocal melodies and either have lyrics written already, or write them as we’re playing. Once we’ve figured out the whole song, start to finish, we’ll all approve the lyrics, agree on a song title, and bring that sucker into the world as soon as possible! We’ve even had nights in the past where we finished up a song in practice and played it at a gig later that night! Everyone in the band is very creative, so everyone’s always got great ideas and writing with the other two is always a blast.
Q: You have an album coming out soon! What was your recording process like and what can we expect from the album?
A: Well, we’ve had most of these songs written since the first few months of our band’s existence, and this is now our third attempt at recording and finalizing the songs for real. I don’t really wanna get into how frustrating that’s been, but I’m sure you can imagine, and working with Ben at Green Audio Recordings on this last run has been refreshingly smooth. We recorded everything live, with the exception of a few backup vocal parts, and Ben has done an amazing job of making our sound as raw, powerful, and sexy as I’d ever imagined. It doesn’t really sound like anything anyone else is doing right now, which is probably my favorite thing about it and I’m really excited to hear what people think of it. What can you expect from it? This album is going to destroy people’s universes. Literally.
Q: You guys have been a band for about two years now correct? What are some of your goals now that you have an album near completion?
A: Yeah almost two years now. I guess our short term goal would be to get as much exposure for the album as possible. We haven’t really gotten much press, so we want to reach out to people who don’t know who we are yet.
Q: What are some of your favorite venues to play at in Fort Worth and why?
A: I (Cole) personally love Lola’s Saloon just because of the painting behind the bar. We’ve played a lot of really fun shows there. Probably my favorite place for live music is the Wherehouse though. That place has had so many cool nights in the last couple years. Really though, most venues in Fort Worth have something to love. If it’s not the sound, it’s the crowd, or the acts that come through. With a music scene as diverse and thriving as Fort Worth’s, there are a lot of great places to play and enjoy shows.
Q: Any thoughts of touring in Panic’s future?
A: That’s definitely a venture we’d like to explore as soon as possible. We’ve made a couple trips to Austin for festivals and whatnot, but all I want to do is hit the road. I mean, isn’t that every band’s goal? To get out in the world and do nothing but perform, travel, experience the world without anything tying you down? We definitely want to get out there soon, but there are a few things we need to do to build our local base before we take that leap.