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Q & A: Jae Laffer from The Panics


Perth quintet The Panics have steadily become a staple in Australia’s alternative music scene. They’ve just released their fifth studio album ‘Hole In Your Pocket’, on which the band’s main man Jae Laffer drew from his personal journal entries for inspiration to create an album filled with new characters and landscapes. We asked the multi-instrumentalist about some of the creative processes behind the new album and what truly makes him panic!

Your latest album ‘Hole In Your pocket’ was recorded in Melbourne, whereas your 2011 album ‘Rain On The Hummingwire’ was written, recorded, and mixed in New York. Do you feel because this album process was completely done in Australia that the new album has a very different sound or tone to your previous albums? 

Location always provides an influence but this time it’s was more that we wrote as we recorded, over time in a familiar setting and weren’t on the clock . It put the band at ease and helped us to capture ideas as they formed, which is always best!

Across your five albums what have been the best lessons you’ve learnt as a band?

Many, but album wise mostly to only record songs you all believe in and have a message and feel you’re confident can represent you well. You need a pride in your work so you can walk on stage excited to share it.

Do you have a personal favourite album or song The Panics have done? 

There’s a few on each album. I love our new song Know My Name a lot. It feels like there’s a lot Of me in it, it’s just my kind of music captured really well!

It’s been five years since your last album, 2011’s ‘Rain On The Hummingwire’. What has changed in the band since then? 

We’re all a little more on our own paths in life while appreciating the longevity and importance of the band and our music. There’s a strong sense now that we are in music for life!

Why did you want this album to touch lyrically on racism and climate change?

I didn’t exactly try to…there’s no real finger pointing on the record, I just enjoyed opening myself up to responding in words when a topic touched me. I’m at a stage where I recognise the importance of standing for something and not being dictated to.

Lastly, given your band’s name, what’s something that makes you panic often or at all?

My bank balance!