Panic Years is one of two Philly bands, to win the Amped Up! competition and play at Musikfest. The band, who left Virginia to plant roots in Philadelphia, has been growing in both size and volume since their beginning in 2008.
With the release of their new EP, Finally: Today is Tomorrow, the indie-rock band has found the sound they have been working towards since their inception. That sound has even resulted in contracts with MTV and E!
What began as a duo from the south has turned into a five-man-(and woman)-band in the City of Brotherly Love.
Do you guys know any of the other bands playing here?
Amy Miller: Yeah actually the band that is playing before us, the Atomic Square. We’re playing a show with them in Philly at Johnny Brenda’s on August 19.
Charlie Ortiz: I think that’s one of the great things about such a huge thing like this that’s been going on for so long. You get a lot of really amazing, worldly artist and then you get a lot of up-and-comers, you know.
You guys started out in Virginia. How did you end up in Philly?
Edward Everett: Uh, Amy and I did. We just did a little visiting of different cities and then just kind of liked Philly the most.
What was it about Philly?
Edward: Oh man, for me it was the city's grid (laughs). No, but we kind of saw what was going on. There were a couple of bands we were interested in that were kind of starting out. And it looked like it had a lot going on musically.
Amy: I think also the fact that it was really close to New York and D.C. and Baltimore -- drivable though. A lot of big cities that were within driving distance.
What do you like about the Philly music scene?
Amy: There are a lot of small venues to play that have good reputations that bring a lot of like, national bands in. So there’s just like a lot of places to play and a lot of good bands to play with. And the radio stations in Philly are really supportive of local music, which is always good. You don’t get that in other cities.
Kind of a cliché question, but we’re going to ask it anyway: Who are your main musical influences?
Edward: Boooo (laughs).
Amy: Mine is Ed Everett. Ed Everett’s is Charlie. And uh, Charlie’s is Adam (laughs).
Charlie: It’s funny that you say that I’m actually only been in the [band] for a couple of months now, and I’ve been playing around for a long time so like I’ve always knew about Panic Years and I was always into their music and then when like, you know, when Amy and I first met and the opportunity came up, I was just happy to be able to hop in to it. So for me honestly I would say that I’m lucky to be playing with someone that was an inspiration to me less than a year ago.
Edward: Here’s our answer to this question. We all have such different taste in music that we never talk about our taste in music with each other, that’s honest to God. We never sit around and talk about records that we like or music. We don’t even generally like when we’re riding in the car together, listen to anything on the radio or CDs. The stuff that we really like, we keep secret from one another for fear of embarrassing each other for the stuff that we like.
Edward: I mean, yeah, I think it’s easy for everybody to bring a little bit of their own flavor to the band without us being able to be like “woah-ho you ripped that off from that person that you like a lot.”
Charlie: You have know idea all the stuff I rip off cause they don’t know what I listen to [laughs].
Edward: No one knows who everybody is ripping off.
How would you describe your music?
Edward: I would say that it’s great. Straightforward indie-rock. It’s really accessible though. It’s accessible but smart.
“Accessible but smart.” I like that. Did you rehearse these answers?
Edward: You know, we had a Morning Call interview earlier, a week ago. [laughs]
What are you guys doing tonight, are you guys going to hang around Musikfest?
Panic Years: Yeah. Yeah we’re going to see how many times we can fill up those mugs.
Do you plan on staying in Philly?
Amy: Yeah definitely. I think that our next step is, we’re kind of figuring that out. We definitely want some type of support like a respectable label that we like or maybe finding a good manager that has kind of been there and can help us out. Yeah, whatever I guess can take us to that next step whether it’s a label, manager, booking, I don’t know.
Adam Smith: I mean, we’ve done some touring -- I don’t know if you’d call it touring -- we had a couple dates here and there. And I guess, expanding that to some other cities along the East Coast.
Edward: Just to get out on the road.
Any places in particular?
Amy: San Francisco
Edward: Yeah, I mean we have had some good radio play across the country. Some of the better cities that have given us a lot more support -- there’s like no way to get out there, like Colorado and some places in California. Yeah we want to be able to get out there to people who know who we are.
Charlie: The cool thing about all the press that we’ve been getting recently and even historically -- cause that’s how I first heard about them -- is that a lot of people have been coming out to talk to us and help us and right now we just have to figure out who we want to move forward working with. And you know, there’s a lot of people out there who seem interested in who we are so I think it’s just a matter of making a smart decision in where we decide to go from here.
Any one in particular?
Panic Years: I mean at this point, we want to drop any names.
On your Myspace page, it says with “Finally, Today Is Tomorrow: Panic Year has finally become a sum of it’s parts.” What does this mean?
Edward: Our first record that we recorded -- it was just Amy and I. So when we met…Adam and our drummer Kevin, and we started playing together, the sound and the feel and the writing kind of changed. And then when we went back and recorded it was like a bigger sound and more cohesive sound. It was a band sound, rather than like a singer-songwriter sound.
What are you guys playing here tonight? Old stuff, new stuff?
Panic Years: We’re actually debuting a new song tonight, a song that we never played anywhere before we’re playing tonight.
Adam: Oddly enough it’s actually a song that only Ed knows the name of at the moment.
Charlie: He’s going to do a big unveiling during the show.
Edward: [It’s going to be the] second to last song, right before our big, you know, radio hit. We always save that for the end, so you know, people don’t leave. Adam: Yeah he likes to do that keep us all in suspense about what the song is going to be called until we’re all up there on stage and then it’s some embarrassing title. We can’t deal with his names (laughs).