Feature: Ingredients of Panic with Johnny Kills

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Up-and-coming London/Brighton trio Johnny Kills recently unveiled their debut EP Panic via Killing Moon Records. The EP sees them reflect on growing up, identity and navigating life once you hit your 20s. To celebrate the release of their EP, Tim and Lewis from the trio take us through what inspired them creating Panic.

Sports Team 
They re-convinced us that being brash and approaching almost everything you do with a sense of humour is fun – our EP explores slightly more serious, introspective themes than most of our previous songs, but these guys showed us it’s still fine, and relatable, and that we pretty much can’t ourselves seriously.

Sex Education 
Binge watched this when I’d just graduated from uni and was pretty clueless about what I was planning on doing, so even though I was at a different time of my life, the exploration of teenage anxiousness and figuring out where you fitted in still resonated with me. Asa Butterfield has the best jacket in it too. It’s soundtracked by Ezra Furman who we’re really big fans of and captures this sense of confusion as well as anyone with his wry wit, and shows that the sense of humour that bands like Sports Team bring can be used to tackle more serious or bleaker things.

I was a pretentious muppet growing up who shunned chart music for no real reason and that changed as I grew up. I love pop music now and listen to it as much as anything else, and was really keen to pursue this in our songs. But then at the same time, I started an internship in music, with a company that introduced me to loads of cool post-punk and garage-rock acts, so that bled its way in too, and we ended with a weird amalgamation of pop hooks written by people with garage rock hats on. I think this is most noticeable in our attempt at a groove-based song ‘I Feel Like’, which you probably couldn’t tell is most inspired by Janelle Monae/Prince vibes and, has a pop spanking chorus with lots of la la la-ing backing vocals but descends into a thrashing garage rock freak out by the end.

Charly Bliss - 'Guppy'
A record I keep returning too over the last couple of years – finally saw a headline show a couple of weeks ago and it did not disappoint. It reminds me both of excitedly, repeatedly listening to Sum 41's 'All Killer, No Filler' when I was like 8-years-old and the pop-punk revolution of bands like Wavves, FIDLAR. The energy is astounding, and the hooks stay in my head for days. I really enjoyed the follow-up that came out this year, 'Young Enough', but I fell harder for this one. I feel like we approach our music in a similar power-pop through a scuzzed-out-filter way.

Pavement - 'Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain'
Pavement have slowly worked their way over the years to becoming probably my favourite band, and channel an ethos we closely identify with – largely that you don't need to be an amazing player to be able to write decent tunes. It's very slack, not too serious, but the snatched imagery you get from Stephen Malkmus' seemingly non-sensical lines can stir strong, weird emotions. 'Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain' I feel is where they best combine a penchant for bratty non-conformity with pop-hooks, with bangers like 'Gold Soundz', 'Cut Your Hair' and the emotive off-kilter waltz of 'Stop Breathin''.

Listen to Panic by Johnny Kills below: 

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