In a generation fuelled by bop along boy band beats and sweet to the touch, sugar coated pop melodies; Roo Panes is a musical mutineer. “I’m just going to continue writing music, the thing I love.”
In the midst of his ever amiable European tour, Roo sat down with Campus.ie to talk childhood memories, musical musings and where it all began.
Good morning Roo, so you’re touring at the moment across Europe and the UK, what’s your experience with touring been like so far? Has the response to your sound been good?
Yeah it’s been fun, I’ve done a couple of tours in the last year and they’ve both been really different. My first one was quiet fun because I was in a campervan, so I just drove all the way around the UK in this camper van, it was quite an experience.
Yeah it was really fun, quiet cramped but yeah it kind of gave it an extra edge. I’m looking forward to this tour in April it’ll be really nice.
Your sound has been described as very British Bon Iver meets Passenger in the past, strong indie folk vocals and acoustic guitar, what was the process of finding your sound like and who would you compare yourself to at the moment?
I think it’s quiet a natural thing cause I’ve always loved the sound of strings and I’ve always loved melodies, with strings you can just, it allows you to put more than one melody into a track and I just really have always enjoyed that, so that was just kind of a natural thing for me. Whilst I was thinking about it I met my bandmates, so that just kind of happened naturally.
The kind of acoustic elements and stuff is just because I only had an acoustic guitar so it grew out of that, it kind of grew naturally out of circumstance, also it’s the kind of sounds that I’ve generally liked in the past.
In terms of who I might compare it to I’m not really sure. I’ve always said that Nick Drake could be an influence of mine because I remember when I listened to him back at school a while ago, I loved the strings in that and I kind of liked how it was produced It was quiet a humble production and lyrical based as well so I would probably use that as a reference point.
You’ve released 3 EP’s “Once”, “Weight of Your World” and “Land of the Living” as well as a début LP “Little Giant”, how do you feel like your sound has developed over these releases and which one are you most proud of?
I think that we’ve kind of gotten more used to arranging, so hopefully we’ve got a bit better at it, I don’t know. I think the EP was quiet an adventure it was like woah we’ve got some things to play with, we’ve got some ingredients we’ve got some strings, we’ve got some songs and some lyrics and so it was much more of a kind of adventure then with the LP album ‘Little Giant’ we had a definite idea of what we wanted to achieve with it in terms of sound, so it was a bit more like honing it, we felt like we had an understanding whereas before it was all kind of coming out of nowhere.
‘Little Giant’ I just felt like I knew what the songs were about musically.
You’re playing Academy 2 in Dublin this month, what’s your opinion on the Irish music scene as of late? Are there any Irish acts that you’re particularly interested in?
To be honest I’m really looking forward to knowing more about the Irish music scene. What I love is the Irish approach to music, I love that like the last two gigs I played in Dublin the crowd is really intelligent and I always have really interesting chats afterwards with people who really love music and that’s really, really refreshing.
There’s an artist who supported me last time called “Laura Elizabeth Hughes” from Dublin, she’s great and it’s good to hear her stuff and I’m sure there’s some amazing stuff coming out from Ireland at the moment, I look forward to hearing more.
What is your advice for up and coming artists, especially for artists with a more alternative sound like yourself?
It’s so hard because I think it’s a really individual journey, I think like everyone that I’ve ever talked to, we’ve all had very different journeys and I would say that the really important thing is staying true to yourself because, I like the idea that everybody is unique and therefore everybody has their own things that they can share and I think that’s the exciting thing about music.
I think hopefully that’s something that other people resonate with as well and so I would say to any artist just like make sure that you remain yourself and you remain writing music that is natural to you and hopefully it will get noticed for being unique just because everyone is unique.
Where do you see your music taking you in the next few years? Is there anything big coming up that will put Roo Panes on the map?
The way I see it is I’m just going to continue writing music, the thing I love and if people like it then they’ll listen to it and hopefully that will just make it grow in its own accord.
I try not to think about anything too far ahead because it’s a very difficult thing to plan and its ever changing so I just try and concentrate on the thing that I love most which is just writing and hopefully I’ll just continue to write songs that I enjoy and trust that they’ll be people that will like to listen to it if I write them.