Panick Panick! label bosses Noha and Alex Tea took some time out to chat to us about the label, their own productions as well as the latest release on their imprint. Panick02 is a three track VA compilation featuring tracks from Noha & Alex Tea, Franky Greiner and Wareika.
Let’s talk about your track out on the VA out on Panick Panick! – where did the idea for the track come from?
N&A: All of our tracks essentially start out as jams: each of us on a piece of gear working either at the drums or on the chord progressions. It’s very much a spur of the moment thing, when we feel we’ve got something all it takes from there is to refine and expand these ideas.
So this time you decided to release a VA – what else is on the cards in terms of releases for Panick Panick! ?
N&A: There is no particular plan, it’s all about releasing music we love!
What about as yourself – will you be releasing on any other labels?
Noha: I do have some EPs coming up the next few months, besides that I’m focusing on my own label, Nabuco Records.
Alex Tea: I am working on a release for Sukhumvit Records and one for Panickpanick!
What was the inspiration behind starting the record label?
N&A: In the summer of 2016 we found out we were on to something when the result of two days spent barricaded inside my home in Rome were four tracks with such a peculiar sound that we immediately knew we had to make something with them. Those four in particular actually only took us the span of two afternoons but we had laid all of our gear on the floor of the apartment and jammed all weekend in an attempt to escape the heat. Alex came with all his stuff and we practically disassembled and re-assembled a studio within the AC’s fan range. It was a rare moment of great fun and inspiration.
What hit us with these first tracks was this completely deconstructed and pattern-free approach we had simultaneously adopted as our creative process. We followed our taste, basically we produced just for us. From there on, with such a distinct sound, the idea of a label gradually shaped up in the next few months.
Do you have a vision for what you want the label to look like or is it just a platform to release good music?
N&A: As far as the type of sound is concerned, we do have a vision. We get a lot of good music sent in by our friends or in demos, but the idea is to build PanickPanick! as a stage with a very strong emotional impact. The point is to have tracks that both on the dance floor and upon listening create a moment of shock, or panic, precisely. Most of the things we heard lately somehow lack of identity, so we can say that what we’re looking for is stuff with solid content and a personality of it’s own. We want that kind of track that will make you do a double take, turn around and think “What’s this thing going over here?”
You’ve collaborated a lot over the years with different artists – do you prefer to collaborate rather than work alone?
Noha: All my collabs were done with either friends or people I liked. What I’ve noticed is that in these situations you always get the chance to learn something, whether it’s a creative or a technical aspect. Myself, by nature I prefer to produce alone but I find working with others an enriching experience.
Tell me about your studio setup.
Noha: I've got a few machines from the Roland family: 101, 909, 626. Korg Electribe MX and ER1. MFB Tanzbaer and a modular system. Focal speakers, universal audio soundcard and endless amount of cables.
Alex Tea: MFB 522, Waldorf Xt, Korg ER1, Yamaha Circuit Bending, Jomox Mbase 11, Roland tr8 (through Distortion Pedal), Korg MS20 and Korg Poly 800.
Is there any piece of kit that you really want to add to that setup?
Noha: I’ve been buying, trying, re-selling, re-buying gear for almost five years now, so we can say that I have a bit of a tendency to lust on potential new hardware material. I’ve just jumped on the modular bandwagon so I fear I may have signed myself up for a very long wish list. There’s endless possibilities.
Alex Tea: I’m very curious about the Jomox Alpha Base
Tell me about the other artists on the VA – how do you know them – are you excited to have them on the label?
Noha: When I moved to Berlin aged 22, I started going to Club Der Visionaere every Sunday to listen to Franky (Greiner). I sent him my very first demos and we became good friends through the years. Very often he used to play some of his unreleased tracks which were absolutely brilliant so when we launched PanickPanick! he was the first person I thought about.
Alex Tea: About Wareika, we figured out we both liked very much what they were doing and we simply reached out hoping they would accept to do a feature for us.
In both cases we were blown away by what we got sent back.
What other artists can we look forward to seeing on Panick Panick! ?
Noha: I just got back from NYC, where I spent some time with my old friend Elon. He made me listen to some of his unreleased tracks and I asked him right away if he was keen to jump on board for Panick03.
Tell me about the name of the label – how did that come about?
Noha: It’s a good one, there are actually two versions of this story. The official take is the one about wanting to create strong (mixed) feelings on the dance floor, the other one is just that we noticed that within our closest group of friends we were all having panic attacks on the regular. It started as a joke and then it stuck