Secret Admirer found out just a tiny little bit more about Pandas And People after witnessing their soothing live show. More soothing than stroking a cat made entirely out of yoghurt.
Catching up with Alex Singh and Leighton Rees from the band on a picnic bench outside The Hare And Hounds post show was lot's of fun, if a little cold...
Let’s get it started then, why did you choose the name Pandas And People?
Leighton Rees: It was a controversial text book that I read whilst I was at university. We couldn’t really come up with a band name so I kinda just said it.
It just sounded cool?
Leighton: Yeah. It was originally Of Pandas And People, because that’s the name of the book. But we dropped the ‘Of’.
Alex Singh: If you read the book, we are not associated with that shit.
Leighton: It’s some hard core American religious stuff…
When did the band start and why did you start the band?
Alex: July 10th 2010?
Leighton: July 10th 2010
That exact date?
Leighton: That exact date. Alex and Tom had this like, solo…
Alex: We are all writing and recording tracks but we never thought about playing a gig. Then we thought about playing a gig and all the songs that we had accumulated over doing this…played a gig then just carried it on.
Was it a conscious decision to have everyone singing when you write songs?
Leighton: I can’t sing, so I just try but I don’t know because there is quite a lot of…
Leighton starts drumming on the table. Alex gets annoyed. The drumming stops.
Leighton: There is quite a lot of harmonies in the recordings so…so live you sort of have to…
Alex: It’s fun. It’s just fun doing it.
Do you have to practice the instrument swaps that you do on stage, when you are rehearsing?
Alex: We should, because we don’t.
How do you go about writing songs together?
Alex: We write ideas, then send it around and build on top of that.
Leighton: Yeah we don’t really do it live, we kind of record stuff and do it that way. Then we work it out live afterwards.
Alex: We’ve got a demo before we’ve got a song kind of thing. Just mess around recording. Doing shit like that.
"I can't sing" - Leighton Rees
What is the best gig you have played so far?
Alex: I reckon when we played with Gardens And Villa. I don’t think we were best…
Leighton: It depends what you mean by best gig.
Just your favourite one that you have played.
Alex: Joan Of Arc was exciting.
Leighton: Yeah we played Joan Of Arc here, in the summer. We also played with Johnny Foreigner, their third album launch. So yeah.
How did you start getting gigs in Birmingham?
Alex: We were in a band years before and we kind of knew Matthew Beck (This Is Tomorrow promotions). Our first gig, Gregg got us it. You know, Gregg Haynes. We played at The Sound Bar because…I don’t know. We played at the sound bar then Gregg saw us and said do you want to come and play? Then we played with Toro Y Moi and then sort of building up relationships from there.
Leighton: Like we’ve said, there’s nothing in Redditch, so it’s the obvious place to go really. Our home town for playing gigs is Birmingham.
Do you feel like you are a part of a certain music scene in Birmingham at all?
Alex: No, not at all.
That’s cool, are there any other bands you like playing with locally?
Leighton: There is a silence because we are trying to think, not because we don’t like playing with other people. We’re looking forward to playing with Victories At Sea at The Flapper on the 17th December.
Alex: And Johnny Foreigner, they can be classed as a Birmingham band still, I guess.
What do you want people to get from your music?
Alex: Just enjoy it.
Leighton: Yeah, general enjoyment. We don’t really fit into any scenes or anything so I don’t know…
Do you consciously try and do something different then? Is that what you want to do with your music?
Leighton: When we write stuff we don’t really think well…
Alex: The thing is we just listen to so much music, different types of shit, it just kind of mushes. Are these shit answers?
It’s fine, they are honest answers.
Alex: We sound like the most boring band in the world. It’s not really an answer, I’ll just say a few words.
Do you create any other music apart from in this band? Any of you?
Alex: We do solo stuff when it happens…if I write something that isn’t suitable, then obviously I won’t use it. I won’t use it for anything, I’ll just do it.
Do you feel as though you have found your sound as a band yet?
Alex: I don’t really want to, I just want to keep doing shit differently every time.
Leighton: Yeah…our songs are quite different to each other. It’s hard to define our sound.
Have you got any gigs coming up?
Leighton: One at The Flapper on the 17th December, playing Sheffield 21st December. Basically only two gigs that we got lined up.
What about songs and recordings, have you got any singles or any albums coming out?
Alex: Got an album, it’s not released…
It’s on Soundcloud?
Have you sent it to any record labels? Is that something you are interested in? Getting signed?
Alex: Yeah, I’d say so.
Leighton: Yeah that would be nice. We’ve sent it around radio stations and stuff like that.
Alex: Your bloody tapping! It’s going to come through like a kick drum on there!
Leighton: Backing music by Leighton!
Thanks for the quick interview guys.
Photos by Jack Parker
Photos by Jack Parker