Interview: Norm Chambers {a.k.a. Panabrite}

Hello! I am proud to present the first Weed Temple interview in EONS – this one is a brief, yet informative interview with Seattle’s slowly-rising-to-the-stardom synth wizard Norm Chambers, better known under the moniker Panabrite.

Jakub Adamek: At the age of 40, you are older than most people in the scene, who are in their 20’s. You started being quite famous in the scene at around this age. Have you been creating music in your earlier years or was the creation of Panabrite prompted by the vintage synth music trend?

Norm Chambers: Well I’m not 40 yet. I’ve been playing music in some form or another since the early 90’s, starting out with guitar and rock-oriented stuff. Then around the same time started getting into synthesizers after getting bored with guitars and the whole rock/guitar worshipping idea.

JA: But you weren’t well known until the time of Panabrite, didn’t you record anything or was Panabrite the first project you wanted to put on the Internet?

NC: I played in a few bands and projects with friends but never anything that formalized until about three years ago when I started the Panabrite stuff. The time was right for me to work on this project and expand the ideas I’d been gathering for 15 years or so. The whole current synth craze had no bearing on anything because I’d been tinkering with synths for a very long time.

JA: The vintage futuristic and conceptual architecture and design seems to be a central point to your music: practically all your album covers feature collages of vintage technology. What is the relation between the artistic and the musical part of Panabrite?

NC: Well this is definitely a strong visual connection for sure. I’m also a visual artist, and so I have a very definite idea of concepts that I like. Often other people choose to do the album covers if it adheres to their label ethic, but I typically like to have control over that aspect. Certain sounds and images go together very well, and can create a very effective concept and overall vibe. I also studied a little bit of architectural engineering in school but I’ve also realized that at the end of the day anyone can (and does) make collages out of national geographic images, so it’s nice to get away from that a bit (as much as I love those ideas).

JA: 2012 started out very well for you, with two vinyls coming on Digitalis Recordings (“Soft Terminal”) and Aguirre (“Sub-Aquatic Meditation”). Are you planning to go on a bigger scale this year? Going on vinyls and probably CD’s?

NC: Well, yes. Under the Spire Recordings (UK) is going to reissue “Illumination” on LP, which I’m very excited about. It’s an album I feel strongly for, because it’s a bit of a departure in terms of production methods, ideas, etc… and just seems to have more thoughtful and rich compositions than much before it. I also have a tape finished for a label called Love all Day, titled “Blue Grotto”, which should be out soon, as well as “Seychelles”, which will come out soon on Field Studies. Beyond that I’m working on something for Preservation too, an Australian label, and a tape for VCO Recordings, a new label operated by the Zombi guys.

JA: You’re being a busy guy. http://static.ak.fbcdn.net/images/blank.gif 

NC: Yeah! it’s kind of ridiculous, but I enjoy working on stuff. I actually haven’t recorded anything in two months now, since I had some computer issues. That’s an eternity to me but I’ve recently upgraded my studio gear and hope to be back in the swing of things very soon.

JA: Any brief description of the equipment you usually use to record music?

NC: I’ve used the same stuff since the beginning, gear I’ve had around for years: Roland Juno 60, Crumar Performer, Minikorg 700, Analogue Solutions SEMblance, and various other gadgets – lots of effects units, etc…

JA: Do you play music as Panabrite for a living or is it just a hobby to your day job? If so, what do you do for a living?

NC: No, I definitely don’t make money doing this. I do have a day job that’s not musical in any sense. But affords me the opportunity to focus on making music more or less free of work stress.

Panabrite’s new vinyl, Soft Terminal will be released in early March. In the meantime, listen to the samples on Digitalis Recording’s Bandcamp.

 

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