• The Vibe

An Interview with 'Panem'


Who are the band members and what do they play?

Marie Moreau - lead vocals Emeline Fougeray - bass Mogan Cornebert - drums Yacine Aït Amer - guitar / vocals

How and where did you get together?

Emeline and Mogan attended the same music course, in the city of Tours, France, so they used to jam together quite a lot. They met Yacine at a local jam session, and this resulted in what one would call love at first sight! They then played and toured together in several bands. In the meantime, Marie pushed the door of another music school where Yacine used to teach: again love at first sight... Yacine had this project in mind for some time now, but meeting these three triggered the actual formation of the Panem.

What are the band's main influences?

Each of us has very vast and different Influences. Yacine, being the main composer, maybe his influences are those that will "show" more easily: Porcupine Tree, Sting, Seal, Noa, Tori Amos but also Iron Maiden, Dhafer Youssef, Archive and Yes. Marie is more into gospel and soul music. Mogan is quite the electro-jazz addict but is into anything that has the grooves. Emeline grew up loving RHCP, RATM and still does. She's also crazy about all the funk/disco/groove greats of yesterday and today: Earth, Wind and Fire, Chaka Khan, Knower, MonoNeon.

Have you played any notable gigs, festivals or other events? Likewise radio or TV appearances?

We haven't under this name for the moment, as we're at the beginning of the story. We did play the Motocultor festival in Brittany, France last year. Individually, we've done some heavy touring and been on world tours in different band over the years.

Photos Remi Angeli

Do you have any favourable quotes from previous reviews of the band that you'd be happy to share?

-"very soulful passionate indie rock vibes!" -"Powerful, passionate and rousing indie-rock anthem; it is a huge, epic anthem that swells with emotion and explodes in anthemic climax" -"The energy and the catchiness behind the vocal production is great." -"Congrats on this. Has that intangible Fleetwood Mac kind of fun to the song. Nice vocals all around. Live show goodness indeed, it's a fab and stadium filling goodness. Enjoy the accolades." -"The majestic sounds and the multi-layered vocals were amazing," -"A nice well produced prog rock jam with some confident guitar texture and elements that have a bit of an emotive quality to it." -"Strong powerful vocals, guitars and arrangements that compliment each other very well." -"This song is captivating from beginning to end. Such a great vocals. Lyrics are also a highlight."

Where was the single/EP/album recorded and who was involved in its production?

We recorded the whole album at Thierry Chassang's Master Studio near the French town Le Mans (which is only known for the 24H car race). We also did one bonus recording session at Studios La Kapsule in Paris, with the great Pierre Jacquot producing.

Is there a particular ethos behind the single/EP/album or any particular music styles or events that inspired it?

The name Panem comes from the Latin phrase panem et circenses (bread and games or circuses), an expression that denounced the Roman emperors' egotism: the deliberate use of bread distributions and the organisation of games for the purpose of flattering the people in order to attract the benevolence of the masses - which still persists to this day in the Zeitgeist - the defining spirit or mood of this particular period of history. There's such a constant flood of information in our everyday life that we just cannot process it. There simply isn't enough time for one to absorb the sheer tidal wave, check facts, reflect on cause and consequence. Food for thought.

Can you briefly describe what the song/each song is about? If you are releasing an album then either describe the thinking behind the project or choose a couple of lead tracks to focus on.

Zeitgeist / Absolute Monopoly is the title track. The narrator could be anyone or anything, entities clearly unveiling themselves and their not-so-benevolent objectives, clearly explaining how they achieve Absolute Monopoly. And yet however informed we are, however distrustful we are, we still fall into the trap.

Were there any notable or amusing happenings surrounding the recording/production of the EP? As above, list whatever might be of relevance.

Yacine had an emergency vocal training lesson before tracking his vocals because we needed that G# note in the chorus of Zeitgeist / Absolute Monopoly in full voice... Thierry placed an odd-looking mic on one of the bass speakers. When asked what the hell that was, he plainly answered: "it's a harmonica mic, nice and dirty"... At Studios La Kapsule, Pierre Jacquot found that the lavish, huge room was too dull-sounding for an acoustic guitar track. So he made Yacine play the part in the corridor leading to the control room instead... Milky the Siamese studio cat slept on a couch throughout the whole dirty guitars tracking session, unbothered by the screaming pair of Marshall 4x12s...

Please provide a one or two-line personal quote that can be attributed to a band member, about either the band themselves or the release. Obviously the more eye-catching this is the better.

Panem is about telling stories through music