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Why The Panics Are Pretty Low Stress About It All

30 September 2016 | 4:04 pm | Ross Clelland

"Aching to be credible? Nah, we like the idea of just getting our songs on the radio."

You get the feeling The Panics are the kind of band who'd sit around the kitchen table with a few glasses of red, and discuss the meaning of life - among other things.

Back through their catalogue, along with songs dealing with the usual matters of the heart and mind, there are less likely subjects covered - Majesty's musing on the republican debate, the pros and cons of anti-depressant use in Cruel Guards, the new album's lead single Weatherman and its global warming philosophising.

Jae Laffer conditionally agrees: "Yeah, we can be those guys, but maybe it's that couple of bottles of red in a studio - or at least somewhere with our instruments plugged in."

"We all live fairly close, and it was not far off Brunswick Street - so we'd work a bit, go have a meal, walk for a coffee - it was all very natural."

During the between album downtime, members indulged in a range of projects, musical and otherwise. Laffer did the seemingly obligatory lead singer's solo record. "I think we'd just run that part of our creative course," he explains. "I wasn't coming up with stuff that I'd go running to in the morning to get excited by. Some bands will break up at that point, but I just went for something different - to do something just out of love again. And collaborate with some of those people I'd met along the way. Just to do things differently."

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Suitably recharged, The Panics reconvened. But didn't hurry into anything. Thus, Hole In Your Pocket emerges self-produced by the band, mostly from a shed in the back lanes of Melbourne's inner-north.

It was a determinedly relaxed process. "Some of the guys in the band have become really good with the computer stuff. You just accumulate things, and knowledge - it made the environment more comfortable," Laffer explains. "You're not on the clock, and when we felt a song coming on we'd just get together and hang out - which we do semi-regularly anyway - so set up a space, and just started recording things."

"We all live fairly close, and it was not far off Brunswick Street - so we'd work a bit, go have a meal, walk for a coffee - it was all very natural."

The process recalled their early days when the band relocated from their native Perth and ended up sharing a rambling Collingwood terrace. "We lived together - not knowing anyone, not having any money. You know, doing what every group of 20-something boys out on their own should do."  

The new record also shows the band perhaps embracing technology a bit more, or maybe not. "It was more we were in a very confined space and would just get a drum machine going - then jumped onto different instruments, and we kept a lot of that - so no, this is not really 'The Panics Go Synth-Pop'," Laffer laughs. 

"We really just want to make music from the heart. Aching to be credible? Nah, we like the idea of just getting our songs on the radio - whatever radio station - for people to hear. No, we're not making big Beach Boys pop - but I've got nothing against it."