In the Chair is a regular feature on Eventalaide, highlighting artists from across Australia and occasionally overseas. Everyone gets the same questions. It is just meant to be a bit of fun so please treat it as such.
Questions by Geoff Jenke
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. The first taste of new music from Jack since the release of his why don’t you come over? EP back in June, Weekend At Bernies sees him leaning heavily into refreshingly honest territory, while harnessing influences from energetic pop names such as Remi Wolf, Dora Jar, and Omar Apollo.
Name: Jack Panther
In less than 50 words describe
your music and yourself.
I’m a queer, alt-pop artist based in Tāmaki Makaurau (Auckland, NZ). A big inspiration in what I do is to help create queer narratives in mainstream media as it’s something I wish I had growing up. My new single WEEKEND AT BERNIES is a fun, energetic track about the panic moment when a relationship is fizzling out.
What was the first record you
bought with your own money and where from?
I remember going to see MAMA MIA live when I was about 7 or 8! I was OBSESSED! I remember begging my parents to get me the CD and I put it on in the car and danced around for hours in the car. I must say it was quite iconic!
80’s or 90’s Music:
I’d say 90’s – I’m a huge fan of the 90’s fashion and style which has also just inspired me a lot. It’s so fun and quirky as hell. The pop music coming out of then too was just so cool.
What music are you currently
I feel like I’m in this weird in-between of finding different albums to listen to. The last album I had on repeat was Juno by Remi Wolf – that is like crazy good and I reckon the future of pop.
The Best live artist/band you’ve
Florence and the Machine is pretty hard to top. The way she commands a crowd is really like no other. I try to go see every tour she does, I’m that wow’d!
Your “In the mood for love” song:
Crowded Places by BANKS – holy crap this makes me melt every time. It’s incredible!
Your favourite Saturday night
Honestly, I love AM by the Arctic Monkeys, kind of cliche I know but I love a chill vibe party over a hectic party!
Your favourite Sunday morning
chill out record?
Blue by Joni Mitchell is pretty special, I love to play it on a blue sky, wintery morning.
Which song do you wish you had
Only Love Can Hurt Like This by Paloma Faith, would be up there! Such incredible writing from Diane Warren!
Roger Daltry once said “Rock N
Roll has no future”. Do you agree with him?
Absolutely not, I music will always come back around in eras, just give it some time! The punk re-revolution is here now and I’m sure rock will come back too!
Vinyl, CD or Streaming?
Vinyl for sure, it’s just so expensive these days. But of course, I love support the artists I really care and love!
If you could record or play live
with any artist (dead or alive), who would it be?
Amy Winehouse was so special, I don’t think we’d every quite fit but I’d still die to play with her or for her, even if we wrote together, that would be so special.
What is the most useless talent
I’m pretty good at guessing people’s heights! Hahaha always something funny I do at parties when I’m a little drunk
Your finest recorded moment?
I went to a friend’s house for a movie night. I was with his flat mates as we were watching the Twilight series… When it came to watching New Moon about 20 minutes into the film I “went to the bathroom”, but I actually just hid in my friend’s room for 15 minutes crying because I was thinking about my ex HAHAH! My friend then came and found me in his room hahaha.
Who is your musical hero and what
one question would you ask them?
I’m a big fan of BANKS, I think she’s so underrated as an artist. I’d probably ask her something silly like ‘Are you happy?’. I think when you’re an artist at that kind of level, being able to tour the world etc there must be a lot of pressure. I just wanna know if all of that work makes her happy or somewhat feeling unsatisfied?
Dying, peacefully on your death
bed, what song would you like to hear?
Oh god.. Um, probably Amy Winehouse’s version of A Song for You. It’s so beautiful
Stuck on a desert island for a
year and can only take three albums. What would they be?
Remi Wolf – Juno (Deluxe)
BANKS – III
Jorja Smith – Lost & Found
Favourite all time movie:
My comfort movie is Breakfast at Tiffanys.
If you drove an ice cream van,
what music would you play?
Summery tunes, quirky alt-pop! I’d blast it.
Best show you have ever played in
My last show in Auckland was SO fun! We sold out and the audience was just incredibly fun, great memories!
Any backstage incident that makes
One time after the show I couldn’t get my eye contacts out! It ended up being kinda hilarious (after I got them out) hahaha.
Neil Young or Paul McCartney?
So hard to choose, I never really grew up with either. I’d say I’d probably know more Paul McCartney tunes.
What do you hope the next 12
months holds for you?
Potentially moving to London, releasing a bunch more music and playing a bunch more shows including my tour starting next week! Super exciting.
“Weekend At Bernies is a fun, playful track about the panic moment when a relationship is fizzling out,” he explains. “It all sort of just poured out of me, something I never set out to write about. As Tarn and I were writing it I began to realise that in order to grow with people sometimes you’ve got to have the conversations you don’t want to have. The chorus bursts out with a dilemma begging, ‘How are we going to address this? Are we going to address this?’ with the lyrics ‘How you gonna break it down for me?’. However, the tangy, sweet vocals lie perfectly with the quirky, bright production suggesting that if we’re as bad as each perhaps in some twisted way we belong together.”
Mixed by Nathan Phillips (Remi Wolf, Omar Apollo, spill tab, Jean Dawson) and mastered by Hector Vega (Doja Cat, Justin Bieber), Weekend At Bernies sits alongside Jack Panther’s already-strong discography as a powerful example of his slick songwriting skills, and his inimitable pop sensibilities. “Having Nathan Phillips on to mix is huge, he works with some of the biggest alt-pop artists around, making some of the strongest new-wave alt-pop coming through,” he explains. “Honestly, I’m really really excited to have Weekend At Bernies out. It’s a song still so fresh to me and probably my strongest track to date. It’s a relief but more importantly I feel so ready to have this track out. Writing this felt like a breakthrough, the chorus just poured out of me so organically, I think we ended up using parts of my very first vocal take.”
With a three-date New Zealand tour scheduled to take place with his full band throughout November and December, Jack Panther is looking to close out 2022 at the top of his game, before launching into dazzling new heights next year. Having just wrapped up a writing trip to Melbourne, Sydney and London, he’s eagerly looking forward to what next year holds in terms of both new experiences, new surroundings, and most importantly, new music.
Weekend At Bernies is out now.