MUDKISS FANZINE

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BARBARA PANTHER: A BREATH OF FRESH AIR - INTERVIEW BY JOSH NICOL

Barbara Panther is music’s new electronic empress, she’s certainly got all  our attention at the minute, causing waves across Europe in the electronic scene, after releasing her debut album on the 23rd of May, with the assistance of celebrated producer Matthew Herbert, whose previous artists include Bjork, Roisin Murphy and R.E.M. She is gaining critical acclaim across the media spectrum, with reviews and features in The Guardian, NME and Marie Claire.

Born in Rwanda and raised in Belgium, she is a woman who lives and breathes culture. She takes in the visual aspects of life and presents them alongside her music as a collective art form. Clear comparisons to Panther have been Grace Jones, Bjork, Kate Bush and Goldfrapp. The thing they all have in common is originality and flair. Barbara Panther also has this and is presenting her unique and honestly intriguing art form to the world. She has plenty of time in the future to create an impression. As things are going at the minute, it certainly looks optimistic for the future. The only issue is that no one really knows a great deal about this brand new experimental pioneer. So, with this in mind Mudkiss sent along some questions for this busy lady.

JOSH: Firstly, for those who don't know of you or have not heard your music, how would you describe your sound? 

BARBARA: Cheerful and Gloomy.

JOSH: What themes do you explore lyrically and how do they come about?  

BARBARA: The themes on this album are very innocent and pure: reflections, experiences, observations. Things that matter to me at the moment, conclusions, answers, questions... everything. 

JOSH: The video for the track Empire adds appropriate imagery for the track. How important is the visual side of the music to you?  

BARBARA: Lots of times I see the music before I write it down. I see how it wants to move and where it wants to come from, how fast or slow, dark or light. With Empire I could have gone dancing happily in the fields amongst the flowers and the contrast would've been as effective, but there I chose to portray the aggression of the lyrics and the drama of the music.

JOSH: It is clear that you take influence from a lot of electronic artists? Can you name some artists that have inspired your album?  

BARBARA: I'm very inspired by people, animals and life in general. Especially the universe, that’s where I get my inspiration from.

JOSH: Did you grow up with a very musical upbringing? If so, what were the first artists that really made an impact or changed your life?  

BARBARA: My upbringing was and still is very musical, very noisy and it's getting louder and louder! It is changing my life as we speak.

JOSH: In what mood and what location do you find yourself most comfortable to write in? 

BARBARA: It really depends on the moment and the situation. A new city is always inspiring, because you breathe in new air, but then again, so is pure nature, because you breathe in fresh air.

JOSH: Can you see yourself progressing to incorporate different genres into your music at some stage in the future, or are you just happy making music as you do now? 

BARBARA: At the moment there's already a fusion of different tastes in my music, and I don't know how my next album is going to sound. I don't really think of incorporating different genres  into my music, it’s more about the sounds coming together.

JOSH: If you could take a single album onto a desert island with you, what would it be and why? 

BARBARA: I'd take my own, because I’d feel at home with it.

Barbara Panther - Moonlight People from City Slang on Vimeo.

JOSH: From your experiences on tour, what have been your favourite cities and/or venues to play in, and why? 

BARBARA: Atlantis, because the people there didn't believe what overcame them.

JOSH: What instruments do you play on the album and in live shows?  

BARBARA: I use my voice, percussion instruments and my body.

JOSH: What has been your biggest challenge as an artist, and how did you overcome this?  

BARBARA: My biggest challenge has been birth. I remember the moment I opened my eyes, started crying thinking to myself, “Not Again”, but I understood a little more than all previous times, so said to myself:"alright, let's play this".

JOSH: How important are your live shows, and how they are received by people who may or may not know you?  

BARBARA: Well, from what I experience is that when people come to me after the show they have no clue what the hell happened, but deep inside they know "it' happened.

JOSH:What are your short-term goals and aspirations for the next year or two?  

BARBARA: My short term goal is to get myself a ticket to go see the Laurie Anderson concert, she’s coming to Berlin!!! Yes!!

www.myspace.com/barbarapanther

Amazing photos of Barbara by Jan Vandenbergh
Interview by Joshua Nicol 23/05/11