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Interview: Panic Room expecting "best gig ever" at Gloucester Guildhall

By The Citizen  |  Posted: April 23, 2014

Panic Room

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PANIC Room, by their own admission, are something of a paradox.

On stage and in the studio their music is deep and dark but in everyday life they’re upbeat and humorous.

“It’s a funny kind of duality,” lead singer Anne-Marie Helder says.

“We’re never afraid of approaching some heavy subjects – these things touch and move us all and if they don’t, they should.

“I’d say that Incarnate {their latest album] is powerful, deep and very emotive but also balanced with some upbeat and inspiring tracks.

“That’s the essence of Panic Room really – to explore the dark and the light of life and take our listeners on a journey into both extremes.”

The album – which will take centre stage at their gig at Gloucester Guildhall on Friday – features tracks on love, loss and addiction and others on travel and the opening of new pathways.

“There are also lyrics inspired by disturbing world events, such as the chemical attack on a school in Syria,” Anne-Marie says.

“It’s an album which felt like the start of a bold new chapter for us.”

The Welsh band are reluctant to tie down their music to a particular style – but if they have to, Anne-Marie says that’s it’s “alt-rock with a sultry edge”.

“The sultriness comes from me I guess, as I like to infuse my passion into the vocals,” she says.

“I know people have heard elements of all kinds of other music in our songs – some tracks they compare to Muse or Coldplay, others are more whimsical and – partly because of the female vocals – they mention Kate Bush or Imogen Heap.”

The five-piece band hail from very different musical backgrounds with very different tastes.

“I grew up listening to a lot of the great songwriters – Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell– but also a liberal smattering of The Beatles, Abba, and then later a lot of grunge and metal,” Anne-Marie says.

Keyboard player Jonathan Edwards chips in: “As a teenager I listened to a lot of progressive bands, like ELP, Yes and Genesis, but my favourites back then were probably Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd,” he says.

“These days I tend to listen to more singer-songwriters like Tina Dico and Bat For Lashes, and left field bands like Goldfrapp, Shearwater and The Shins.”

With an expanding fanbase behind them the band, the band admit they get a real buzz from gigging – especially from certain venues such as the Guildhall.

Gigs don’t always go to plan though, with two in particular sticking out for all the wrong reasons.

“One of the worst gigs was one we did in London, we travelled all the way up for the gig, set up the gear

and soundchecked with no problems,” Anne-Marie says.

“Then the support band were half-way through their set when there was a sudden electricity cut and the power never came back on.

“We had to pack up the gear and travel back down the M4 without playing a note.

“On another occasion we were playing in Newcastle when our drummer came down with this sudden and violent sickness.

“Being the trooper he is though, he was determined to carry on with the gig and he spent the whole show running off stage between songs to throw up in a bucket.

“Sounds grim, but we were all in awe of his bravery that night. We ended up taking him to A&E afterwards where he was kept in all night.” That’s the mark of a true professional.”

Tickets for the gig cost £14. Call 01452 503050.

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