Love Letters from Panama


PanamaPS-webYou thought letters were old news hey? Well not so… we wrote Panama a letter and were lucky enough to get one back. 

Jarrah McCleary gives us a bit of insight into the Aussie band sensation who have just dropped their EP, Always and been announced as one of the key acts at Sydney’s Field Day on January 1st, 2014.

What is the significance of Panama? Where did the name come from?

Panama is the progression of my last band Dirty Secrets into a new project/style. The name came about after months of angst brought about by trying to find a name that worked with the sound/wasn’t used by someone else already/didn’t sound lame. We just thought it fit the style of the sound and it had exotic and inspirational connotations.

Whats been your favourite party moment at a live event to date?

Playing at the Perth International Arts Festival was pretty amazing. I remember the festival being run very smoothly and I came away very impressed with the people that were involved.

Describe Panama’s sound using three adjectives 

Nostalgic Hopeful House

How do you think Always differs sonically from It’s Not Over?

I think those two songs are related on an emotional level.  But sonically they are a little different as It’s not over comes from a more traditional house perspective where Always comes from a classic pop era.

Your music has a really big holiday road trip vibe to it with some tropic sort of influences in there too. It makes it original yet familiar at the same time. Where does this come from?

I think the sounds that i choose to use come from the past specifically the time period of the early-mid ‘80s.  I have a fascination for this time period for some reason, I think it may of been because I was a kid at the time.

You’re playing at Field Day this year, is this the biggest festival you’ve played at?

Yes I think it is.   We’ve played a few of the smaller ones and they were a lot of fun.  I’ve never been to Field Day before so it’ll be a first for me.   Apparently it’s a bit of a Sydney institution.

What prima donna requests can we predict for Panama’s rider to be stocked with backstage?

We’re quite tame with the rider requests.  Usually it’s a lot of beer, no spirits, but I do request particular foods.  I really enjoy a selection of cheeses, sandwiches and special meats.  I get more impressed by the foods than the alcohol these days.

Who would your dream collaboration be with?

Working with Peter Gabriel back in the ‘80s would of been fun.

Please complete:

If the band wasn’t called Panama we’d be called….

PNM.  The no vowels thing doesn’t really work for us does it?

What’s been your most interesting interaction with a fan?

Facebook interaction can be pretty interesting.  Recently this one fan of Panama who just happens to live in Panama sent me a bunch of photos (not those kind of photos!) of beaches, jungles and lagoons in her country.  It was pretty amazing, because i’m inspired by that kind of stuff you know?

Out of the five of you who is:

The mother hen – Me.

The messiest – Either Trevor or Myself.  I suspect Trev might eclipse me here.

The first one to get drunk – It alternates.

The quietest – Tim because he is the youngest I think.

If you have to listen to 5 songs on repeat for the rest of your lives what would they be? 

Anything from M83’s Saturdays = youth

Comsat Angels ‘Land’ album.  Stephen Fellows, what an amazing voice!

3 predictions for 2014….

There will be less festivals in Australia.

Unfortunately there still won’t be any fibre optic internet in Australia, can we get this happening please?

A really, really hot summer followed by a mild winter.

Panama ‘Always’ EP out now through Future Classic. Panama playing Field Day 2014, info and tickets here

Words – The Other Jess

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