In Conversation with Pannik; Instrumentalist, Composer and Producer
Pannik is a York based solo and session artist, he’s been making music since 2018, only at the age of 16 about to start his vocational course in music and performance at college, he already has a strong musical vocabulary and matured sound. The first song he released in May 2021, under the name Pannik, is titled Geometry, with over three thousand listens on Spotify, this track is truly a successful beginning for the young artist. Geometry is a dreamy laid back jazz-room track, sampling the iconic Moon Landing, a delight for all Tom Misch listeners out there. His first release, previously under his given name Joe Douglas in April 2020, was a three track E.P. inspired by the 80s post-punk era. He plays bass, guitar, drums, piano, double bass and is currently learning the saxophone. To call Pannik a one man band is an understatement to his vision for musicality and twisting genre expectations. He is part of a busking jazz and funk band titled Cambridge Street, and explores composition and his own material in his other band titled Axis. The experimentality to the sound of Pannik is grounded by his own perfectionist nature, he tells me, “I’m not scared what other people will think of it, I’m bothered about what I think of it”.
Pannik’s ambition and vision is inspiring for a young artist. Continually as a reviewer I listen to tracks that include one vocal line, four chords on acoustic guitar and uninspiring lyrics, so it is refreshing to meet an artist whose intertextuality and musical references is impressively varied, forming a grounded well established sound. His upcoming album is inspired by Bloc Party’s work Silent Alarm, Swans’ instrumental neo-folk, My Bloody Valentine, Radiohead, Squid and Shame – to name a few. The jazz, post-punk and shoegaze influences brings us an album, that combines math rock and progressive rock, to create a tension fuelled atmosphere to explore, as the album is poignantly titled, Inner Thoughts and Conversations. Pannik tells me “musically speaking, I write with varied instrumentals, I am interested in odd time signatures and weird scales”. The confidence in Pannik’s work is grounded by the freedom that encourages the emphasis of not sounding pretty but sounding raw. In our conversation we talked about the polarisation of pop and jazz, the former being pleasingly symmetrical and the latter being the interested in improvisation and variation, “I am more interested in writing with varied instrumentalism”. He shows self-awareness in the creation of his lyrics, “I don’t want to look back in years-time and cringe about it”.
We can expect the album to be released in late August, Inner Thoughts and Conversations explores the figurative head space and writes an instrumental retelling of mentality. In light of live performances, Pannik tells me, “The material I have may be hard to play live, the music on this album I think would be hard to recreate and do it justice with just me and a guitar, when you go to a gig you don’t want to hear what’s just on the record, you want more than that”. Pannik has recently teamed up with Waham Records, a York based alternative music centred record label, and with this partnership, I am certain will come more live performance opportunities, adding to the artist’s busking endeavours. I asked him about his artist persona and name, “I didn’t want to upload music under my given name”. The name was inspired by the journey Pannik has been through mental well-being in the past year, and inspired his own musical performance persona, which he describes as raw, loud and “it doesn’t sound the prettiest, but I don’t think that matters, I think emotional and passionate singing is more meaningful”. The aim for him is to be “raw and gritty, that is the best way to describe it”, genre manipulation, finding notes that aren’t pleasing to delve into the world of distorted sound, “Time, another one of my songs, uses a flat 5 sharp 9 chord, to create tension by putting two notes together to create an awful sound”. The aim for Pannik is to stay away from being the one guy with four chords, “you’ve got nothing to stick out, my rendition of that would be me and loads of different kinds of peddles”.
Pannik’s growing social media success started with Tiktok lives, establishing over nineteen thousand followers after a series of online performances. This post-punk shoe gaze artist is inspired by the infinite effects created by guitar peddles, and his timing is perfect with the increasing new wave of post-punk inspired artists that aim to create new sounds “Post-punk is the new indie-rock in terms of popularity, there’s a new wave of experimental hard rock coming about”. The album is awaiting to be finished, “I’m saving for a reverse reverb peddle, effects like that catch peoples ears”. Conclusively, Pannik explains to me that singing for him is a personal endeavour, “I record my vocals when no one is in the house”. His song Heart Attack is inspired by DIY artists, such as The Microphones, The Glow Part 2, a nature inspired acoustic album that inspired the use of samples in this track. The echoing sound of rain and a slamming door, tells the story of two partners separating, “the door slam is percussive – it sounds like someone leaving”. I asked him more about his experience in sampling culture, “I sampled my own glitching guitar, spliced it and put it everywhere”. It is remarkable to believe this the beginning for Pannik’s technical work, before his album release in the late August, we can expect a single titled “Be With You”, an exploration of human longing, he leaves our conversation, humbling, with the statement “If I’m enjoying it, it’s probably fine”.
Pannik is represented by the York based Record Label WAHAM Records