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NAS 10 Questions with Panem

Updated: Mar 8, 2021

This time, we get to know Panem. Their track "Zeitgeist / Absolute Monopoly" is now featured in the New Artist Spotlight Family of Playlists.

Link To New Artist Spotlight Playlists:

Band Members: Marie: lead vocals / Emeline: bass / Mogan: drums / Yacine: guitars, vocals

𝟭. Where are you from and what is your hobby?

We are from the cities of Tours and Nantes, France. We're full-time musicians but we obviously have other interests besides music. For instance, our drummer Mogan is into pencil drawing, lead vocalist Marie is quite the pastry chef and a horse lover. Emeline, our bass girl is a movie addict, pretty much Netflix and chill whenever she can. As for myself, Yacine, guitar player, I'm a bit of a bookworm (probably read the whole 19-volume Dune saga a gazillion times) as well as a keen 7-a-side footballer.

𝟮. How did your get into music?

Well, we all started at a fairly young age. Marie started singing early, driven by a need to express herself. She went on singing throughout her school years and then graduated with a degree in modern music. Mogan comes from a music-loving family, listening to old 70's vinyl records ranging from rock to jazz and attending live concerts and jam-sessions at a very young age. He was fascinated by the drums and never let go of the sticks ever since he got his first drum kit. Emeline started off with the flute as a kid, which she quickly traded for the bass after a RHCP bass line blew her mind! I started off on the drums actually, and I still play them now and then. My uncles had a busy band so there always were loads of instruments lying around. Everyone could play a bit of everything so I learned a few guitar chords here and some simple bass lines there. I focused on the guitar after I heard the intro of 'The Evil That Men Do' by Iron Maiden on the radio. That sound! I thought: 'okay then, the guitar it is!'

𝟯. Who are your biggest influences?

There are way too many to name them all! And they're all very very different genre-wise.

(Yacine) I think I have two types of influences: general and instrument-specific. Guitar wise, it is mainly Adrian Smith of Iron Maiden (fantastic guitarist and what a songwriter), Eric Johnson (impeccable sound and oh those beautiful fast pentatonic runs...), Gil Dor (who is Israeli singer Noa's guitar player, wonderfully elaborate fingerstyle arrangements), Greg Howe got me into the jazz rock fusion area. And there are quite a few others. As for music in general, I've always listened to very diverse things. I'd name The Beatles, Iron Maiden, Seal, Sting and Noa as my main influences.

(Marie) Aretha Franklin, Joss Stone, Sara Bareilles, Kirk Franklin, Donald Lawrence, Adele, Céline Dion, Bruce Dickinson, Myles Kennedy...

(Emeline) Marcus Miller, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Funkadelic, RATM, Muse, Sixun, Earth, Wind & Fire, Meshell Ndegeocello...

(Mogan) Medeski, Martin & Wood, Steve Reich and everything jazz!

4. What are your goals in the music industry?

Erm... how about having a roadie as a goal? That’s when you know you’re successful, right? (smiles) We're working on getting back to touring on a regular basis after this lockdown mayhem is over. Hopefully. We'll try to spread the music and reach as many people as we can. We aim at making this process sustainable as an independent act: recording, releasing, touring. That would already be quite an achievement. And if it goes further than that, then great! … Two roadies!

5. If you could choose a location to perform at, what would it be?

(Yacine) Any real venue with a real crowd of real people would be heaven these days, wouldn't it? Mogan and myself have been on world tours as sidemen with previous bands. So we did actually play quite a few iconic venues and festivals such as The Olympia in Paris, SXSW - Austin TX, De Doelen in Rotterdam, Vicar Street in Dublin and so on. The Olympia in Paris certainly is a legendary place. Also, given the latin origin of our name, it would be crazy great to perform at an ancient Roman amphitheatre such as Ancient Theatre of Fourvière in Lyons, France. What? The actual Colosseum is available? Hang on, we're on our way, be there in 12 hours.

6. What is your all-time favorite song?

(Emeline) The Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Californication, the full album. My elder brother gave it to me when I was 13. Especially the first song « Around The World » because that’s the one that made me fall in love with the bass.

(Mogan) « Modular Sonic Explorations » with Dan Phelps, Matt Chamberlain and Viktor Krauss. This album inspires me so many things, feelings... it’ a tremendous influence whether it is in music or in life in general. It’s very important to me.

(Marie) The album and more specifically the track « I Never Loved A Man (The way I Love You) » by Aretha Franklin. My parents gave me this album when I was a child, I've been listening to it on repeat ever since. Especially the title track, which I started to sing later: technically very challenging, a heartbreaking love song, a classic song!

(Yacine) That's an impossible question, there are so many! I’ll try to narrow that to 3. 1. « Dreaming In Metaphors » - Seal. A gem of a song, it has it all : beautiful lyrics, outstanding performance, subtle, elaborate harmony and time-signature (it is in 7/8 and you don't even realise that it's an odd-time signature)... I could go on for days about this one. It's epitomises perfection in a song. 2. « Human Beings » - Seal. Actually the whole album! That bass line… The brooding atmosphere and the eruptive release when the chorus drops. The production is overwhelming too. Not to mention Seal’s vocals, goosebumps galore… 3. I have to mention « The Evil That Men Do »and the whole « Seventh Son of a Seventh Son » album by Iron Maiden. It’s the one that got me hooked on the guitar and will always hold a special place in my heart because it always takes me back to the innocent days of my childhood, full of wonder and discovery. It also marks the end of the classic line-up and the pinnacle of the 80’s era of the band.

7. Most embarrassing moment?

Ahem... there are quite a few, but not in Panem. Not yet, that is.

(Yacine) I'll mention this one, while on tour with a popular pop band back in my sideman days. Big festival, chart-topping rappers get on stage with us for a jam on the last song of the set, crowd goes crazy. I had a guitar solo on that song, which I had to perform at the front of the stage. It wasn't our usual monitor sound guy that day. Solo starts, I walk to the front as usual, guitar sound sound gets literally eaten away by the sheer volume of the rappers bellowing the 'yeahs' and 'ahas' and the monitor guy just didn't push the guitar sound in the front monitors so I could get a glimpse of what I was playing. Crowd's on fire, vocalists on fire, guest rappers on fire, I do the usual fancy stuff, goes down really great, but I can't hear a thing of what I'm playing... Long story short, turns out I was playing out of key! I could tell from the keyboard player's face that something was wrong but it was way too late... When I realised, my first thoughts were "okay, that was my last show ever" and I was thinking of a civilised way to smash my guitar. I still feel the sheer embarrassment to this very day! But then everyone started to congratulate me on the show I'd just put on, manager, record label people who were there... I went "wait, so you didn't hear anything wrong there?" They answered "wrong? didn't hear wrong? see the crowd? they went bonkers! well done"... Food for thought eh? Go figure...

8. Proudest accomplishment?

Well, to have come this far, from writing and recording the songs to releasing the album and soon in a remastered vinyl edition is already a form of success from a certain point of view. Also, for "Zeitgeist, Absolute Monopoly" to have been voted Album of the Year 2020 in the French rock magazine Music Waves's Readers Poll was just unfathomable. And we are very thankful for that. And obviously proud.

9. What is something about you that might surprise someone who knows you the best?

Now this is a closely guarded secret. We are not whom we seem to be. These are not our real names. We are actually Bjorn, Benny, Frida and Agnetha of ABBA in disguise, giving it a comeback in indie rock...

𝟭𝟬. What is your dream collaboration?

A collaboration with anyone of the above-mentioned artist would obviously blow us away! During the first lockdown back in March 2020, we made a remotely filmed video of a cover: "Can I Reach You" by Noa, a song and artist that we love. Noa herself saw it and reposted it on her Instagram with an elegant compliment. We were over the moon about it. Wouldn't it be fantastic to complete the circle by recording it again with her this time? That's what you'd call a dream collaboration. Well, you never know!

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