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  • Break It Down: The Panics

    Mon, 27 Oct 2008 11:57:05

    Break It Down: The Panics - We talk about ignoring the industry, having a body like E.T. and much more with the acclaimed Australian rockers

    Looking over the critical praise from their provenance of Australia, it's clear that The Panics break into the American music scene has been a long time coming. With a string of successful releases and multiple awards—including one at the Australian Recording Industry Association Music Awards—the quintet have been causing a commotion Down Under for years with intelligent alt rock song craft and tastefully catchy melodies.

    With hometown support on their side, the Aussies exported their stateside debut, Cruel Guards, earlier this month. Always ready to welcome new music within our borders, we caught up with frontman Jae Laffer via email to discuss where to chill in Western Australia, ignoring the music industry and having a body like E.T.

    What have you been listening to lately?

    Loads of stuff, rediscovering The Clash albums a lot lately. Huge fan of them. Really enjoying Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!! by Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds a lot as well this week.

    Where's your favorite place to chill?

    I was born in the hills of Western Australia near the city of Perth and grew up there. To this day, I still like to find space up high somewhere when I need a little time. Big fan of rooftops.

    What's the most dramatic thing you ever did to save money as a starving musician?

    I'm pretty good at asking for free CDs from the label and walking promptly to the pawn shop.

    Tell us one of your favorite song lyrics?

    "Make everything from toy guns that spark, to flesh colored Christs that glow in the dark..." Bob Dylan

    What is your most cherished musical instrument or accessory?

    I have a brilliant piano accordion. It's green marble color with pearl and gold fixtures. I love it. Half my family are Polish and it's always been a sound that I've loved. I'm good at the polka.

    If you could change one thing about the music industry today what would it be?

    Don't know really. I've always ignored it all; got me this far!

    What never goes out of style?

    Tap dancing and harmonicas.

    What's the theme song to your life?

    "Once in a Lifetime" by Talking Heads

    What movies, artists, authors or athletes inspire you the most?

    Probably the visual artists. Great painters—dedicated and reclusive and usually completely mad—are my inspiration. But then there's William Burroughs, Jack Kerouac, Dylan Thomas, Da Pennabaker, George Best.

    What's your favorite way to stay in shape?

    I have a body like E.T.

    What non-musician would you most like to meet?

    George Martin, meet, then make a record of course.

    What's your biggest guilty pleasure?

    I do break into a hop occasionally, give one leg a bit of a break.

    MySpace or Facebook?

    Whatever you're into, email is hard enough!

    —The ARTISTdirect Staff

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