The Panda Band

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The Panda Band


“Lots of people are asking why we disappeared off the radar but it wasn’t on purpose or anything,” laughs Crosbie. “We had loads of things happening in those five years, like band members coming and going and we were trying to find a permanent drummer, and we were talking to record labels but just not getting anywhere. Things like that. We really want to have another album out next year and we’re already starting to lay down the foundations for that now.”

At the moment, in the lead up to the band’s national tour, Crosbie says he feels like a baby, or a beginner starting from scratch, despite the enormous success the Panda Band earned on the back of their first album. It’s a fickle business, Crosbie laments, and because of that he is surprised that his band still has a fan base.

“I seriously feel like we’re infants, just taking out first step all over again. It’s like we’re starting out from the beginning and having to prove ourselves just like we did years ago. I’m really quite surprised though because I’ve found that people still know us off the first album and it blows me away the amount of recognition we are still getting, actually. It’s also really easy to lose your live mojo once you haven’t done a gig for a while, but hopefully we’ll be alright. This band has played in the UK and the US and we’ve had some amazing opportunities because we’ve been a good live band. We’ve had a lot of love from overseas and Australia. We actually got an invite to go over to the ‘States to CMJ in October but it would cost a lot of money so we probably won’t end up doing it, but you can’t spend your life getting depressed about the things you don’t get to do.”

Instead, you focus on the amazing things that are taking place in front of you – right here, right now. In Crosbie’s case, it’s the Panda Band’s first single The Fix off Charisma Weapon – a pop gem that’s already hijacking triple j and gaining praise from media around the country.

“That song was based around a dream that Dave [Namour, bass] had – he writes a lot of songs full of weird frustrations about his love life,” laughs Crosbie. “Being a bassist, and me being the singer and getting all the glory and stuff, he doesn’t get to sing and really let it all out live on stage, so it’s a big thing for him to have his thoughts down in songs. That song is a combo of thoughts and circumstances that make you feel very frustrated and tense and I think it’s something pretty much everyone can relate to.”

Crosbie adds that he spent at least three full months in lockdown trying to bring his vision of Charisma Weapon to life, all the while doing his best not to let thoughts of previous success with This Vital Chapter (We’re Almost Not Even Here) get in the way of the entire process. The hard work is paying off, however, as Crosbie points out, with the lead single showing the album’s massive potential to leave the previous record in the dust.

“I think my biggest concern was to do with the live show side of things,” he admits. “I think we only got to play about three shows in total within two years, so I think I was mostly getting my mind caught up in that. With the last album, it wasn’t really massively advertised and pushed or anything, and yet it did really well. Hopefully this album will do just as well. I’m just keen to get back on the road and play some shows and get the wheels turning again. We’ve got to build that up again so before that happens you can’t expect too much. I’ve only heard good feedback so far, though I’ll read a bad review if it’s ridiculously funny. I find it really interesting when people get so obsessive about things. I’ll admit though that having other people’s reviews in your head does creep into your brain and does cause you to doubt yourself.”

As for some of the darker tones of the album, Crosbie says it’s just a natural result after the amount of time the band spent in absence. In four years, a lot can happen, after all.

“It got stretched over a long period of time so pretty much everything that happened to us in that timeframe affected the album, obviously. Another reason it took a while to do the album was because I decided to buy some gear for my home studio, which was more out of necessity rather than desire. We’d had some experience recording at home the first around anyway, though, so that gave the album a unique sound because we didn’t feel the need to compromise with anyone. There are quite a lot of songs that came about after soul searching and just trying to keep your spirits up and encourage yourself to look forward to the good days. Some songs come from real life stories, some songs come from the weird thoughts you have in your head but that you would never dare say in a conversation. So you put it into words in a song.”