Following a mini-tour in Cornwall earlier this year, it seems that Roo Panes, a singer/songwriter from Dorset, can’t stay away from our sandy shores.
Roo Panes filmed part of the video of his single ‘Tiger Striped Sky’ in Falmouth’s Glendurgan Gardens, and he is currently on a UK headline tour where he will be stopping off in Cornwall once again on Thursday 9th October, for a gig at The Watering Hole in Perranporth.
We caught up with Roo, ahead of his Cornish gig to talk about his music and his debut album Little Giants, which will be released on 6th October, 2014.
How long have you been singing and how did you get started?
It feels like a long time ago now, but I started writing when I was early teens. My first performance as such was at university with a few open mic nights in the town.
Who are your musical influences?
Funnily enough I don’t listen to a whole lot of music, I just love writing. There are bands and writers that I like, but like them, I’m doing my own thing. Perhaps there are people who set the bar for me as a writer and encouraged me to focus on particular aspects more. I’ve found to date, that classical music is one my favourite sources.
When and where was your first gig?
My first “gig” was at the Troubadour in London. It was just after university when I had moved up to London and was wondering about what to do as a first musical step. It was a very memorable gig for me; I still remember the nervy feeling.
Where does the inspiration for your lyrics come from?
I think life is just very inspiring. Whether rough or smooth, life shows and teaches us things. When we think about it – no day is like the next at all, so there’s no shortage of new things to write about. Writing is a reaction and expression of these things, I guess.
What is your favourite song to perform?
It changes quite a bit actually. I love playing new songs for the first time whichever one they happen to be. At the moment, I’m really enjoying playing a quite new track called ‘Tiger Striped Sky’.
Where is your favourite place to play live?
Every place is different, but sometimes my favourite are the most intimate places. That may be because I grew up playing in the kitchen.
What is the best gig you have ever been to?
There have been a couple of really memorable ones. I went to see the “Buena Vista Social Club” a few years back at the end of summer outdoors in Kenwood Park – that was amazing.
Tell us about your new album Little Giants and the inspiration behind it
I find it hard to sum it up in a sentence, which is why I put it into an album I guess! But I can’t wait to release it and hear what is made of it. It’s inspired by so many things, some of which I touched on above. But all in all it’s quite a mellow album, quite focused on poetry, and hopefully quite a peaceful listen.
You filmed part of your Tiger Striped Sky video at Glendurgan Gardens near Falmouth. Why did you choose this location and what do you love about Cornwall?
I’ve always loved Cornwall because it feels like it is still in touch with its surroundings, and its local communities. We were looking for a maze for the video specifically because we were looking for a visual metaphor of feeling lost. Glendurgan was perfect considering there weren’t many to choose from, so we headed down there.
You recently came down to Cornwall for a mini tour, what do you think of the Cornish music scene?
I loved it, every support act I had on tour, or bands I met were great – talented, humble and friendly.
Do you have any pre-stage superstitions/ routines?
Not really actually, I think I need one. We used to do what we called “power naps”. 20 minutes of sleep seemed to prepare us well.
What’s the most embarrassing thing to happen to your while on stage or playing at a gig?
At my first gig, I cut my thumb open and blood went everywhere. It was only about the second song and everybody started to shriek. Someone fainted, I hear.
If you could play on stage with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?
It depends how I feel, but today I think I’d love to play with Paul Simon. I’ve just been listening to ‘Obvious Child’ and it has put me in the mood.
Name three artists on your iPhone at the moment
I only have two albums on my phone currently. Cold Play’s new album and the Bahamas from Canada, who I supported a couple of years back in London.
What are your aspirations and plans for the next 12 months?
I live life very day to day, because as a musician you never know what’s next. I just focus on doing what I love: writing music and enjoying the experience of releasing a debut album. Step by step.
Can you recommend an artist or album that has recently impressed you?
My friends from Michigan have released an amazing album called Meridian. They’re called Soil and the Sun and are super talented guys.
Describe your music/ style in three words
Classical. Poetry. Reflective.
Roo Panes will be performing at The Watering Hole in Perranporth on Thursday, 9th October, 2014.