THE Liverpool band PANGEA are an awesome, united force…
you need to know more about. With few images and bits of information available online, I ask the boys what they hope to achieve this year. They have a mission statement to make the people dance and have a diverse and impressive musical upbringing – some fantastic artists filling their young ears. Forged at the University of Liverpool; they mix slick grooves with euphoric Pop melodies. This all comes through in new single, Something Bad. It is an ironic title for a song that not only gets you moving but sticks in the mind. They channel the energy of the 1970s and 1980s and has the dynamic edge the likes of peers Foals and Two Door Cinema Club possess. The guys chat about Liverpool and future gigs; how important Liverpool is to them and whether there is any new music brewing.
Hi, guys. How are you? How has your week been?
Hello. We’re good, thanks – having a little time off before getting back to it.
For those new to your music, can you introduce yourselves, please?
All: We are PANGEA. We Are One.
The group is Slye, Levi; Paul and Kieren – and we’re here to make you connect.
The band’s mission statement is to make the people dance – it seems like an admirable concept. Do you think more bands should have this desire? Are a lot of modern acts a bit too serious?
Slye: I still think we’re pretty serious in what we’re trying to convey but I think we’re trying to connect with people in a different way. It’s good having relatable and insightful lyrics but, when the music moves you, it’s a whole-other-level of connection.
You were forged at the University of Liverpool. Can you remember the moment you all got together?
Me and Levi got talking at university about our music tastes and it became pretty obvious we should get a band together – and Levi was already in a band with Paul and Kieren, so we all got together and jammed. Within the first hour together, it was evident that we should make a band.
Can you tell me about Liverpool and how important it is to you? What does the city mean to the band in terms of its effects and influence?
Liverpool has a real good energy about it. There are so many creative people and places that leads to it to be so inspiring.
Being a smaller city, too, the music scene feels like a connected family.
Do you think the city gets overlooked in terms of areas like London and Manchester when it comes to new music?
Some Liverpool artists are starting to get some serious airplay. Sometimes it can feel as if we’re overlooked but there are some amazing artists currently working in Liverpool – that soon it’s going to become impossible to ignore.
I hear elements of the 1970s and 1980s in your music – together with modern-day bands like Two Door Cinema Club. Who are the artists you all grew up to?
S: We’re all into quite different music but we all share a common connection with Funk and Soul artists. We’re all lovers of Prince, Sly & the Family Stone; James Brown, D’Angelo and Red Hot Chili Peppers.
How important were your parents’ record collections and tastes when it comes to your own musical direction?
Music has always been a very personal journey and discovery for me so my inspiration mainly came from my own searching.
Levi: Well important! I listened to Bob Marley and Hip-Hop all-day-long with a heavy dose of Soul.
Kieren: Incredibly important. If it wasn’t for my dad introducing me to AC/DC and Green Day I wouldn’t have had much interest in playing music or making it as a career. Without my mum playing Motown and ‘70s music, I never would have found the funk.
Paul: Being brothers, we had a similar experience but I always loved the old Blues and Soul records my aunt and uncle used to play me.
Something Bad is your new song. It is about that self-destructive drive for passion; something so all-consuming it drives you mad. Is that meant in a bad way or does it reflect a positive, fulfilling type of love?
S: I can’t really figure it out myself yet. Sometimes, it’s good to have something that engages you and gives you purpose and direction but it can quickly turn sour when it begins to consume you.
I’ll let you know when I’ve figured it out.
Does the song stem from personal experiences or just a general shared experience the band has faced?
I wrote Something Bad from personal difficulty I had with finding purpose and direction – especially during these decision making years. But it’s a feeling we all share: especially as we’re all still currently trying to find our way.
The song was produced by AQ and recorded at Liverpool’s Parr St. Studios. What was it like working in those studios?
All: Magic. Tom Anderson and Alex Quinn (from AQ) really worked their magic on our track and working in Parr St. was cool: so many great artists have recorded there before us.
Have you any plans to follow the song with any others this year? What are your intentions for the coming months?
We’ve got plans to release some new songs in the next couple of months – hopefully, May/June.
We’re current writing new material with a stronger Soul/Funk edge.
Are tour dates part of your future? Where are you guys going to be playing?
Glue x Ghost Present: The Strange and Wonderful Teaparty on 27th April (at Buyers Club, Liverpool)
Supporting Idle Frets on 6th (at Arts Club, Liverpool)
If you each had to select the album that has meant the most; which would they be and why?
S: Purple Rain – Prince. Once I heard that album it changed the way I considered what music could do; what it could say and what it could make you feel.
L: Arctic Monkeys – Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not. That’s the album that inspired me to start my first band when I was younger.
K: There are so many albums to choose from: it’s impossible to find my favourite because they are all so important.
But, if I had to choose which one it would be (then it would be) Blood Sugar Sex Magik by Red Hot Chili Peppers because the album had such a variety of songs on it.
Quick to point out Under the Bridge but not only did the songs kick ass and groove: they got me into the crazy world of Funk.
P: Black Messiah – D’Angelo and the Vanguard: that opened up a whole new world of Jazz, Soul; Funk and sex.
Is there any advice you’d give to artists coming through at the moment?
All: It’s difficult to say being a pretty new artist ourselves but I feel as we keep writing; we are slowly getting closer to the sound we’re after.
So, just keep being creative and soldier through those periods of creative block. We all have them.
Finally, and for being good sports, you can each select a song and I’ll play it here (not one of yours as I’ll do that).
S: A shout-out to our brothers over at Black Pulp – Cry Again
L: Bootsy Collins – I’d Rather Be With You
K: Led Zeppelin – The Wanton Song
P: Them Changes – Thundercat