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Interview with Jack Panther (Q & A)

Tāmaki Makaurau-based queer artist Jack Panther has unveiled his latest single, with Weekend At Bernies arriving as an equally quirky and anthemic piece of summery pop. he took time to answer a few questions for us about it. 

How did you get your start in music?

As a toddler and a kid I adored music, I think I always have! Around 14 I began writing some angsty poetry in which at the same time I happened to start teaching myself piano. It was a lot of fun diving into each area and then connecting the two.

At 16 I began seeing a piano teacher who I began showing my songs to. Our lessons quickly became more songwriting lessons, then production lessons. I owe him a lot, I think he opened doors a lot earlier for me which I may not have seen otherwise.

I then went on to study music in my last year of highschool and at university.

How would you describe your genre?

I would say it’s super era/project dependent. I’ve begun diving into a quirky, fun, bright, distorted alt-pop realm. It’s been a lot of fun to not write sad stuff but dive into more fun music.

What differences, if any, are there between the Australian and New Zealand music scenes and how do you navigate them when touring in one place or the other?

I find both scenes really fascinating. In my opinion I think Australia has more room for experimentation which I adore. With platforms like Triple J to give artists boosts I think it can change the music scene entirely. At the moment NZ doesn’t quite have anything like Triple J and this forces creatives and artists to have to box themselves into a more commercial area.

I am yet to tour Australia but I am so excited for the day. NZ has been so fun to tour, I’m learning a lot and can’t wait for the next one!!

What's the favourite show you’ve ever played?

Last weekend in Auckland was huge and possibly one of my favourites. Just the crowd was insane and so fun to play to, I really felt as though I could thrive and have fun. Shows like that are game changers

How do you go about songwriting, what is your creative process?

Recently I’ve been vibing a lot off the production and write around that. Because my new music is so fun and bright it’s important to make that vibe immediately. It’s a new thing for me, I used to write then produce around it however I’m now trying the other way. It’s sort of stronger too I think?

I love your new single WEEKEND AT BERNIES. Can you tell me about the writing and recording process?

I flew down to catch up with some mates in Wellington! I got a DM from this guy called Tarn PK who was wondering if I was keen to do a session. It just so happened I was coming to Wellington and we worked out a recording session. We immediately clicked, he knew my vibe and that’s how we made WEEKEND AT BERNIES. It all just sort of flew out of me. We then had about 10 zoom sessions afterwards (when I was in AKL and he was in WLG) writing and going through the production together.

The music video for WEEKEND AT BERNIES is awesome! How did it come about? Where did the idea come from?

I’ve been meaning to work with Charlotte Evans (director) again for years. We had been in the occasional comms and then I got funding for WEEKEND AT BERNIES. I sent Charlotte a picture of the Backstreet Boys all huddled in together for a photo and it’s iconic. I sent it to her and was like “WOW, imagine if I played all 4 characters”. Charlotte totally blew it out of the water from there. It was awesome to see her work.

What's next for Jack Panther?

I’m wrapping up the tour this weekend in Christchurch for our final show! Next week I’m pretty much locking myself in the studio and making more music. I’m so excited for what’s next and for 2023. A couple of shows booked here and there but my main focus is finishing off all the new exciting songs.

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