Ernest Ellis and The Panamas

Writers have writer's block. Painters wrestle with painter's block. Bands, meanwhile, rack their brains for that elusive new sound. It seems as though any creative endeavour appears inseparable from some form of struggle. In this instance Ernest Ellis and The Panamas would realise their newest vision, but not without personal hurdle or two to overcome in the process.


According to Ellis, however, the creation of their latest LP ' Kings Canyon' would spin a few positive consequences. " It was a shit time personally, in a lot of ways, but I think the record - the recording - actually brought everyone together in a lot of senses. It was a really cathartic process," he reveals. "I will always view the time of recording with affection. Making records is in no way easy if you do it properly... (but) this was as easy as it comes in the sense that it felt natural. We made a record with five friends and it came out really great."


'Kings Canyon' is to be released under the Ernest Ellis & The Panamas name, a point of difference concerning their debut record ' Hunting'. The decision to expand and acknowledge his accomplices time around came naturally to Ellis.


" This one is Ernest Ellis & The Panamas because it's been a lot more of a collaborative process. That's why I decided to include the band - it feels to me like the right thing to do, because they've had a lot more input into this record," he declares. " There's really five people playing on this record. Obviously I write the songs and whatever, but to be able to delegate those responsibilities to other people has been a really great thing. I think it's really influenced the development of our music to the point where it's at now. It feels a lot stronger and more complete, this record, for me."


Sure enough, a complete, more cohesive body of work reflects the band's original vision heading into 'Kings Canyon'. According to Ellis, consistency was key factor in shaping the album. " I wanted to make a record that played all the way through and you didn't have three singles surrounded by eight shit songs. We wanted to have a recorded that played cover to cover and everything felt strong and everything felt like it meant to be there - thematically linked to things before and after. That's what I set out to do with King's Canyon: make it a body of work, a proper album and something that was meant to be listened to on vinyl."


If the band were to craft ' Kings Canyon' to their exact liking, nothing could stand in their way. Denouncing the idea of radio play as a priority, Ellis emerges a rebel in his own right. " That was a huge goal for me with this album, to just not think about what's going to be played on the radio - because, let's face it, they play fucking Art Vs Science all the time so they're probably not going to play this stuff," he posits, candidly. " So we were like 'Let's just think about the record we want to make and something that will make us happy."


True to their intentions, Ellis and co. could not be more pleased with the end result. " We're putting it out under different circumstances than we put out the first record, but we feel a lot happier with that because we haven't felt that we've compromised anything creatively on this album. That's really what's important to us: to put out records that we're always going to be proud of and look at with a sense of pride because we've done exactly what we want to do," Ellis affirms. " Real artists are fascists that don't listen to people who have never written a song in their life trying to tell them what to do. That's not art, that's not music. We'll always view this record with a lot more love than the first one in that sense."


Their pride stems from every piece of the recording puzzle falling into place. " We really had great people around this record and making the songs there was a really positive energy in the studio. That's really crucial when you're getting things done. I think as soon as you lose sight of the fact that you're having fun making music, it inevitably takes a bad turn and people can just somehow hear that in songs... that you're not really there. You've got to have fun doing it and you've got to be enjoying what you're doing and we really did with this record."


With Kings Canyon ready to for public consumption, the band are set to showcase their new material around the country. Ellis shares his thoughts about life on the road. " There are positives and negatives, you know. I guess the pros far outweigh the cons. We love playing live and we're really excited about playing this record live. We'll tour here, then we're planning on going overseas. If we could feasibly tour for the rest of our lives... I'm sure we'd do it."


When it comes to live performance, Ellis bears a strict ethos - one derived from his influences. " My favourite live bands are The Flaming Lips and The Drones because there's an honest but also a looseness and a great time to it. I never like going to see bands that take themselves too seriously and can't just have a great time. I don't really understand the point of that. When the band is really in the moment and enjoying it, the audience feel it and vibe on that. Whereas if they feel they're just going through the motions and they've done this a million times, it's just not as special for the audience. We really want to give something unique every time we play and we really want to give everything every time we play because that's what it's about."

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