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Great Escape 2013 Interview: Mikill Pane

 
By on Tuesday, 4th June 2013 at 11:00 am
 

“Ladies and Gentlemen, let me introduce you to Mr. Pane, the lanky Nigger with purple frames.” His words, not mine…

Most artists will rock up to The Great Escape by train or, if they’re a little higher up the musical food chain, in their tour bus, in whatever shape or size that may be. Mikill Pane rolls up to The Fishbowl by bike after cycling from the O2 Arena, which he joshingly told GQ he could sell out (http://www.gq-magazine.co.uk/entertainment/articles/2013-05/30/mikill-pane-great-escape-video). Now, PR stunt or whatever, he’s saving the rainforest and I love a bit of green thinking, plus cycling is bloody cool. Mikill says, “it was just a stupid idea, I managed to go through with, and it was cool. It was a slog, yeah, parts of it were a real slog, but most of the time it was some really nice scenery, really good quality of tarmac compared to London!”

But what did I expect from a lad who penned a tune about being a ‘Dirty Rider’ around the streets of London. So I decided to ask the up-and-coming rapstar for his top three tips for cycling ‘in the big city’:
1. Don’t expect anyone to respect you as a cyclist, people WILL hate you. This isn’t Sweden or mainland Europe where they respect cyclists.
2. Avoid going between two busses… (Mikill has evidence on his leg).
3. Watch out for potholes, they can properly do you in.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wtM8Nc_Wd6I[/youtube]

Mikill also does a charming song about throwing a house party at University. “I studied at UCL, but I almost walked out four times while I was there, as it just wasn’t for me. But with education, my Dad put the fear of God into me, and he loves anything to do with educational institutions, and that’s why he sent me to London Oratory, even though they couldn’t afford it. Because he loved education so much, I think that is why it made me hate it.”

So to keep with the theme of top tips, we asked for his guide to throwing the best, hippening and most happening party on campus. Sadly though, we may have to take his advice with a pinch of salt, as Mr. Pane has only ever thrown one party, “we played spin the bottle and it was allright, but nothing crazy.”
1. Don’t invite Michael Barrymore.
2. If you think you have a decent concept of fun, throw a party. If not, DON’T AT ALL COSTS.
3. Be willing to let half of the people into your house be people you don’t actually know.

So there we have it, Mikill’s guide to traversing London by bike and his tips to how to throw the best party you can as a student.

But let’s talk music then, that’s why we’re here, right? Mikill has some friends in high places, very high in the music business. Movers and shakers like a certain Ed Sheeran who was the hottest thing going at The Great Escape 2011, and Rizzle Kicks who Mr. Pane toured with. Mikill insists, though, that with regards to collaborations with artists like these, it isn’t a manufactured process. Instead, it is quite the opposite, something that incidentally just happens…

“I always get to know the person with regards to collaborations, I don’t even think about music most of the time when I am getting into it. It’s normally just hanging out, like, ‘I know you do music, you’re a cool person, I wouldn’t mind spending some time in the studio together’, do you know what I mean? It becomes work if you just keep hand-picking people that you don’t know to collaborate with. Even if you do something like that you should *at least* try to hang out with the person for a week, to get what they are about.

“If you know what makes a person tick as a person rather than an artist, you get to know them and understand them a lot better.”

Have a listen to his track with Ed Sheeran and you may see what I mean, it’s not just samples, it’s a deeply touching and at the same time disturbing tune, which could only come from Mikill’s deep understanding of what makes the ginger-haired strummer tick.

Mikill though comes across as a deeply thoughtful man, and for someone who says he felt alienated from education, it’s obvious that he is a deeply intelligent and pensive thinker. His puns are sharp and his lyrics strike an accord with the demographic that his music is aimed at, so I see no reason for him not to do well? You could say I have a ‘Good Feeling’, yeah, I punned…

Many thanks to Kat for sorting this interview for us, and of course, Mikill Pane for his time chatting to John at the Great Escape; surely he must have been exhausted from all that cycling???

 

Great Escape 2013: John’s Day 3 Roundup

 
By on Monday, 3rd June 2013 at 3:00 pm
 

After two days of revelry and debauchery on the streets of Brighton, TGTF heads were heavy and the party decided that a debrief in Giraffe, a chain restaurant serving quite frankly the best breakfasts on the South coast, was appropriate to clear the haze from the past 2 days, and augur the body for the day ahead.

After the demons of the past two days were expelled, not literally I may add, I dragged myself to meet the extremely personable Itch, ex-frontman of The King Blues and generally lovely chap. You can watch the interview here. After a nice chat in his tour manager’s garden, I ventured to the Blog Up, where the impressive Embers were attracting a capacity crowd in the tightly woven confines of The Mesmerist. The sound in the venue made for a deafening spectacle, which wasn’t help by us at TGTF setting up camp right next to the main monitors. With earplugs donned, it was easy to see the attraction of Embers.

They’re young, good looking and have an archetypal tall, dark and handsome lad on lead guitar and vocals in the form of George Agan. Their sound is extremely big live though, there’s a splash of prog, with comparisons to Muse overarching throughout the set, but it’s all kept grounded by the fact they have a cutesy female violin player. It all is a bit more authentic for that fact at least. (7/10)

After a few drinks in Brighton’s most reputable watering holes with some of my compadres from my former life in Guernsey, it was back off on the long journey to Concorde 2 to catch one of my favourite bands Tall Ships. They’re a group who go about progressive rock in the right way, that being their own way. They’re not smashing dubstep into the equation and shoehorning in electro wherever they can, they’re making exciting guitar music on time signatures that excites me in ways that aren’t suitable for even here.

‘Phosphorescence’ sounds pristine, as if it’s been ripped straight from ‘Everything Touching’, their fantastic debut record. Whilst ‘T=0’ is the ultimate set closer, forget ‘Knights of Cydonia’, scratch all of that, and wow, it absolutely went off. The disappointment was that it seemed to only be certain sections of the crowd enjoying the expertly crafted riffage, perhaps they were all too worn out from Hacktivist’s drivel the night before. However, at least in certain small sections of the crowd it was obvious there was a deep appreciation of the musical chemistry going on in front of them, aloft on stage. (9/10)

My trudge back towards the pier is at least cheerier for the fact that I was to be reunited with editor Mary, and that I would shortly be watching one of my guiltiest pleasures The 1975. However, whilst I was on the guestlist, and 10 minutes before the band were scheduled to venture on stage, I was rebuffed by the bouncers on the door. Instead of fleetingly and pointlessly arguing my case to the two gentlemen, who were, I quote, “taking none of my shit”, I hopped step and legged it to The Dome to sneak into the capacity Bastille show. What I was to be met with was unbeknownst to me…

Think of the audience to your classic, McFly or The Wanted show; sprinkle a sparing dressing of awkward looking v-necked boyfriends, and voilà, you have the cornucopia of underaged girls amassed to pay tribute to their new favourite band Bastille. Bastille have literally everything going for them at the moment; frontman Dan has hair that does that flicky thing, I mean, do I even need to continue? Yeah, all right then. The tunes are horrendously catchy and are accessible to all, Radio 1 friendly and firmly embedded on the A-list. The throngs of screaming girls just add to the blurred hysteria around the band, who can seemingly do no wrong in 2013.

Their debut album ‘Bad Blood’ is there with Mumford and Sons‘ ‘Sigh No More’ just for its mass appeal alone. Hence why The Dome was at capacity when I squeezed my way through. Note: I’m 6’ 5″ and look like a potato, so for any poor girl whose view I blocked with my massive form, I apologise, but it was for the good of music…

The almost fanatical following that the band have developed led me to believe that the performance was going to be one of pure showmanship, energy and enthusiasm. Instead, Bastille slogged their way through a set that looked like it was almost a trial to them. They looked like they’d just fought of millions of Persians at the Hot Gates, and Spartans they are not, with their weariness etched clearly on their visages. Every note, from the album tracks, to set closer ‘Flaws’ was sung, well, flawlessly. Dan even did a little circumnavigation of the crowd during the encore. But overall the set seemed lacklustre. Perhaps the band have been on tour for too long, or it was an off night, but either way, it was a set to forget by these up and coming less-than likely lads. (5/10)

To close the festival for me, it was a trip to the seaside. To the stage where my first romance with The Great Escape began, Coalition, to watch for the second time of the weekend, Mikill Pane. My opinion was that he would be more suited to the late night slot, in a larger venue. This wasn’t the case though, as technical problems and an overawing backing band distracted attention from the fantastic London rapper’s lyrical prowess.

Mikill wasn’t being a diva, far from it, as the microphone was cutting in and out throughout the short set. But his reaction somewhat detracted from the excitement of what was geared up to be a livewire set, but sadly ended up being quite flat and repetitive. (6/10)

 

Great Escape 2013: John’s Day 2 Afternoon Roundup

 
By on Thursday, 30th May 2013 at 3:00 pm
 

Header photo of Mikill Pane at the Fishbowl by Hannah Saul

To shake off the cobwebs / hangover / grossness of Thursday at the Great Escape 2013, an early start and breakfast at somewhere fancy seemed appropriate. My foolish decision to choose a croissant over a delicious panini, which my colleagues indulged in, was to be the first of my folly for the day.

Feeling unfulfilled and underwhelmed by my breakfast, I headed alongside Ollie from Top Button and Hannah Saul, TGTF’s resident videographer, towards the Fishbowl for my first Alternative Escape event of The Great Escape. In front of me were five fresh-faced lads from New Desert Blues. Their set proceeded to be a short showcase of what this band are all about, with a youthful exuberance in their music, their five-piece harmonies gracefully travelling around The Fishbowl.

The intricate guitars from their lead player proved the perfect augur for frontman Josh Parker’s brilliant voice. The tunes sounded big live, of that there was no denying, but when I returned home and had a listen to them on record it became clear that these guys were immensely talented. At the Fishbowl, there was an intense nervousness it seemed, but the impeccably dressed five-some with pristine instruments in hand managed to overcome these nerves to produce a thoroughly competent set. (7/10)

Following up from that were Night Engine, a band who our Head Photographer Martin Sharman raved about after their performances at Liverpool Sound City. Not only that, but I doff my cap to any band who play four gigs in the same city in 3days. It’s not record breaking stuff, but impressive nonetheless, especially with the level of energy and dynamism the band puts into its set.

At Above Audio, Night Engine did not disappoint. Frontman Phil McDonnell is a bastion of brash confidence, and their immensely funky bass riffs provided by Dan Deacon. It’s all quite faux-romantic material, with shades of one of their heroes Bowie prevalently appearing throughout. The entire gig in fact stunk of a late ’70s, early ’80s vibe which translated to the huge crowd brilliantly as heads bobbed in sequence. The tunes weren’t entirely memorable, but as a set, they gelled well and they stuck out as a shining spark amongst the indie scene at the moment. (8/10)

After a brief detour to buy the most sour sweet I’ve ever tasted (more on them later) we ducked into the Fishbowl again for some more Alternative Escape goodness, in the form of London rapper Mikill Pane, or as I see him, the black Example. Just listen to his new single ‘Good Feeling’ and tell me you don’t think of the silver-tongued rapper.

Onto Mikill though: an imposing fella at over 6 feet tall and not really what you expect at a venue like the Fishbowl, more akin to hosting guitar bands and such. But Mr. Pane makes the most of the packed crowd, shoehorned into the constraints of the venue. His call and return style of performance works brilliantly to a novice audience, and has the punters eating from the palm of his hand from square one.

Having cycled down from London (again, more on that later) his exuberance and high-energy in performance alongside DJ Odin was admirable and saw him earn a lot of fans amongst the naysayers. In fact, by the end the choruses were being belted out by the most timid fan, to the seasoned revellers. Harley Alexander-Sule of Rizzle Kicks was one of the amassed crowd, and just showed how Mikill Pane’s pop credentials are all there:

Friends with Rizzle Kicks – CHECK
Collaboration with Ed Sheeran – CHECK
Ridiculously catchy tune about cycling – CHECK
Endless call and repeat choruses – CHECK
The backing of Example and other pop juggernauts – CHECK

Smiles were worn by all around the Fishbowl at the end of Mr. Pane’s set but none wider than Pane himself. (9/10)

 

Quickfire Questions #43: Mikill Pane

 
By on Friday, 4th January 2013 at 4:30 pm
 

English rapper Mikill Pane has a new EP out now on Mercury called called ‘Dirty Rider’ (buy it here), so we thought we’d ask him the Quickfire Questions. Some of his answers will surprise you, and some of them will definitely make you laugh. Read on…

What song is your earliest musical memory?
The alphabet, sung.

What was your favourite song as a child?
‘Can’t Touch This’ – MC Hammer.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=otCpCn0l4Wo[/youtube]

What song makes you laugh?
‘Praying’ by Plan B. It’s a deep song, but I always imagine him singing ‘Voldermort!’ at the beginning…

What song makes you cry?
I don’t think I’ve ever cried because of a song. I’ve never heard one shit enough.

What song reminds you of the first time you fell in love? (It’s up to you if you want this to be sweet, naughty, etc.)
‘Baby Got Back’ by Sir Mix-a-Lot. [Sorry. I just had to embed it here. – Ed.]

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k4he79krseU[/youtube]
What song makes you think of being upset / angry? (Example: maybe you heard it when you were angry with someone and it’s still with you, and/or something that calms you down when you’re upset, etc.)
‘This Charming Man’ by The Smiths. I love that song, but David Cameron said he does too.

Which song (any song written in the last century) do you wish you’d written yourself?
It hasn’t been written yet.

Who is your favourite writer? (This can be a songwriter or ANY kind of writer.)
Alex Turner.

If you hadn’t become a singer/musician/songwriter/etc., what job do you think you’d be doing right now?

It doesn’t bear thinking about.

If God said you were allowed to bring only one album with you to Heaven, which would it be and why? (Sorry, double albums don’t count.)
‘Hell Hath No Fury’ by Clipse.

 
 
 

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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF was edited by Mary Chang, based in Washington, DC.

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