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Panicland keeping calm, carrying on
An East Kildonan pop band is getting a charge from a big-time Canadian producer.
Panicland, featuring guitarist/vocalist Braedon Horbacio, bassist Ian Willmer, and drummer Kyle Fox, will head to Toronto this fall to work with former Treble Charger frontman Greig Nori. Nori has produced albums for major acts like Sum 41, Mariana’s Trench, and Hedley.
Horbacio said band manager Glen Willows contacted Nori last year to gauge his interest in the band, whose members are all 18.
"We weren’t expecting anything out of it. We didn’t really take it seriously at all because he’s a big-name producer and we’re not really anything right now," Horbacio said. "He emailed back and he was all excited about working with us."
Horbacio feels working with Nori will help provide a distinct pop direction for the group, which has more than 100 songs in its repertoire, as the mega-producer’s sound has softened a touch since his rocking days in Treble Charger.
"We have all these fake bands that we make," Horbacio said, noting the most recent creation is an 80s hair metal group called Wolf. "Every band has its own album, and every album has its own mood. We can pick and choose what we want. We could easily take an 80s song and convert it to a pop song very easily."
Panicland first started putting down roots in 2007 when Willmer and Horbacio started playing in a band program at Mar-Schell’s Music at 1143 Henderson Hwy. The duo learned old songs by the likes of The Beatles and Jerry Lee Lewis.
They recalled the program being a "strict" one of mandatory attendance, but it helped them find their way as artists.
"If you didn’t know your song one practice, you were out of the band. If you forgot your guitar, the practice was off," Horbacio said.
"And if you were sick, there was a puke bucket," Willmer added.
After working with different members, Willmer and Horbacio added Fox about a year and a half ago.
Fox said he’s more than happy to make the 40-minute drive from Linden Woods to the band’s rehearsal space at Horbacio’s McLeod Avenue home.
"I love being able to do this, and I come play as much as I can," Fox said. "I’ll do it if I need to. It’s why I’m here."
The band is working to build its following before recording its full-length debut. It debuted its mix-tape MMXIII in a show at the Park Theatre on Aug. 2 before embarking on a mini-Western Canadian tour to Edmonton, Calgary, and Red Deer. The band has been building its following online through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and other musically-based social networks.
The band started rehearsing five to six hours a day at the beginning of summer, and boosted that to 12 hours in advance of the tour.
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