It was a warm afternoon in San Francisco when the trio came into the Thrillcall office to chat with me. We didn’t have too much time as they had to rush off to be in the Mission district for a live radio show directly after. Le Panique is busy and loving it, as they continue promoting their brand new debut EP release… a punchy and thrilling mix of four songs that, as I learned during our talk, are extremely complicated in lyric and sound. They will hold the EP release party (which I will also be rocking out at) on July 2nd at Cafe’ du Nord (click here for tickets).
Le Panique originated when founding member, Devin Ozel “set out on an adventure to create the amped up high energy music that would get everyone up and dancing. After many escapades that did not come to fruition, Devin came across an ambitious and handsome youth, Johnny Evil. This young lad had the voice of an angel and the fury of a rock’n’roll demon. They both said good riddance to rubbish and joined forces to fight off the mediocrity of elevator music” but the trio would not be complete without “the roaring beats and inhuman thunder provided by Marlene “the Machete” Melendez” (Le Panique, Biography). The entire interview, despite being at the end of the day, was bursting with energy and artistic fervor. I highly suggest you check these guys out, attend their EP release party… read why below:
THRILLCALL: So tell me, how did Le Panique form? How’d you all meet?
Devin: Actually, through the wonders of Craigslist. I was looking for a drummer and Johnny wanted to audition. At the same time though, he was talking with Marlene about working on another project called Box Squad. For a while though, the project I was working on was in formulaic stages. I was originally going to call the band “Black Out Sexy” but that didn’t work out.
Marlene: That’s hot.
Devin: But yeah, lots of things kept happening, like my original drummer broke his hand. So that’s how I found Johnny and we started working together. For about 3-4 months he was doing both drummer and vocal duties. But then he introduced me to Marlene, and of course we needed Johnny in the spotlight.
Marlene: Yeah, these guys kept trying to get me to listen to the recordings and go check it out. I got suckered into it, that’s what really happened. But after talking about it and listening to the recordings, and of course I really liked Devin when we met… I swear they like asked me out though. They wined me up first and next thing you know I’m in the band.
THRILLCALL: How did you come up with your band name, Le Panique?
Devin: Actually, my girlfriend did. We initially thought of “The Panic.” She thought it was great…
Johnny: I thought it was boring. And I thought we should change the language.
Devin: Yep, so we started thinking about “The Panic” in different languages, and we decided on Le Panique. And best of all we get to pretend that we’re French.
THRILLCALL: What was the recording process of your debut EP like?
Johnny: We recorded with Jamie McMann at MOTOR studios in San Francisco (which is owned by Fat Mike of NOFX). It was mixed by Joseph Holiday at The Bunny Ranch in Los Angeles, and mastered by Joel Lauver at Burning Bridge Recordings in Nashville.
Marlene: [Laughing] No, I’m sorry but you’re funny when you’re serious talking, ha!
THRILLCALL: How would you describe your sound in five words or less?
Johnny: Pure Joy Total Fucking Nightmare
Devin: Dancy punk, intensity and violence
Marlene: Happiness and dancing, smashing your face
Johnny: How about having a seizure?
Marlene: Yeah… “A Seizure for your ears” that’s good.
THRILLCALL: What about lyrics? Would you say there is a theme to the EP?
Johnny: Yes. Definitely. The first four songs are about exorcizing a lot of demons with the lyrical content, rallying people to get revenge on those who have wronged you in the past. Also violence and pedophilia in the church. There’s just a reoccurring theory of revenge. Then for the next four songs we’re thinking about doing the other side of the spectrum… writing a lot of happier themes, you know dark vs. light.
THRILLCALL: Who are some of your biggest influences? Either within the industry or otherwise?
Marlene: I really am drawn towards the underground bands, especially in the Bay Area… I think Bad Religion is one of my favorite bands ever.
Johnny: I have a wide range of influences, but vocally I would say AFI and Alexisonfire, and Atreyu actually because of how I like to go between the hardcore-style screaming and singing.
THRILLCALL: What can people expect at your shows?
Marlene: I feel like they’re gonna be shocked by it, they’ll hear what’s on the EP but they just can’t be ready for Johnny falling on the ground, and Devin’s crazy playing. It’s just gonna be a combination of crazy in the air. We sound a lot bigger than the amount of instrumentaion we have. It’s REALLY fucking loud. Ear plugs required. Yeah I think people are just gonna walk away both stunned and deaf.
THRILLCALL: What’s coming up for you guys in the near future?
Devin: Shows, shows and a lot of shows, really trying to play as much as we can. We have the Cafe du Nord EP release party Saturday, July 2nd, then the Viper Room in Los Angeles on Friday July 8th, and then Cut and Paste Festival in Long Beach headlining July 9th. We also hope to be shooting the promo video for the EP Release as well as a full music video.
Johnny: At the same time we’re talking to several booking agents to get a tour together. Really we’re just hitting the ground running.
Marlene: Yeah, like the Flintstones!