Developing in the Wellington scene and born in Auckland is queer artist Jack Panther, who uses his craft to blend tones of melancholy with pop. 2020 has already seen the release of Panther’s sophomore EP, this dream i had, a collaboration alongside UK based producer Ian Barter who has worked in developing artists including Amy Winehouse, FKA Twigs and Paloma Faith.
Panther experiences vivid and complex dreams, and one particular dream about the future of himself and his partner inspired the concept for the EP. From beginning to finish the tracks tell a narrative of summer love, long distance and heartbreak. His writing intertwines personal experiences with relatable feelings which showcase a vulnerable, brooding pop-side. Jack talks about Blue Boy from the EP with Hi Fi Way.
Has the build up to Blue Boy been exciting?
For sure! It’s actually my favourite track on the EP, so it’s been super fun to hold it back and save it for last.
Have you been pleased with the reaction to the single?
Definitely, I’ve heard from friends they all love it. I’ve had really nice feedback from fans too. It’s all quite humbling really.
What is the story behind the single Blue Boy?
I wrote Blue Boy during the height of summer. I was seeing someone at the time when I met this guy. I pretty quickly fell for this new guy and didn’t know how to tell my partner at the time. I was so conflicted, wanting to bathe in these new feelings of love but underneath I felt so guilty and blue for falling for someone else.
How are you feeling about the EP release?
The EP release has been wonderful so far, I’ve had a tone of support from NZ radio and some European media which has been so exciting. There are definitely a few more exciting things on its way too.
How would you describe your style?
Style is always a hard one as I feel mine always changes with each track. I think referencing my influences like Arctic Monkeys, Lykke Li, Julia Jacklin, Lana Del Rey… then pop like Tove Lo, Sia, Dua Lip better reflects my style. I think dark pop has probably inspired my writing quite a lot.
Who has been the biggest influence on your career?
Probably my old mentor Timothy William. From 16 I started seeing him for writing and piano lessons then we dived into production and recording. He taught me a lot from an early age and I think it really sparked a lot of interest in recording for me. His mentoring was a huge influence on me.
Has the COVID situation slowed your momentum at all?
Yes and no! It’s forced me to think more creatively and work in situations which aren’t ideal. I think New Zealand has been so great with their Covid Response that I haven’t had to postpone much this year.
In this COVID haze what has been the biggest thing you have learnt about your own resilience?
I’ve learnt that I’m pretty patient and also pretty capable to think outside of the box.
Are you looking to being able to get on the road and start playing shows?
I’m SO excited! I have my first show in a whole with my band at San Fran in Wellington on Thursday. It’s gonna be so great to get on stage again, they all sound so good too! Might be planning a tour for early 2021 too… wooooh
What’s the next challenge for Jack Panther?
Honestly there’s a lot upcoming, 2021 is gonna be hectic in the best way. Already recording new stuff and working on tons of creative things. So keep an eye out for sure!
Interview By Rob Lyon