IT is back to America and an Atlanta (Georgia) resident whose latest…
E.P. is released in two days. A Road Less Traveled sees Panski reinvent established songs and provide them unique revision. I learn why Panski decided to release an E.P. of covers and whether there is a standout in the pack. He discusses platforms like SoundCloud and limitation for artists; what the music scene is like where he is – and working with stunning vocalists like Ellena Soule.
The American songwriter/producer talks to me about his love of music and the artists that helped shape who he is; the new talent he recommends to us – and whether we can see him in the U.K. soon.
Hi, Panski. How are you? How has your week been?
I’m doing pretty well.
Just finished breakfast, so I started filling this out. My week’s been alright so far - I worked from home yesterday because of Irma.
For those new to your work, can you introduce yourself, please?
My name is Michael Kopanski. I’m a twenty-six-year-old artist/D.J./producer from Atlanta, GA. Over the last two years or so, my sound has evolved into a fusion of Country and Folk (with Electronic).
A Road Less Traveled, your E.P. out on 15th September, features reinvented cover versions. What was the reason for doing an E.P. or covers and which song is your favourite from the pack?
The main reason for doing covers is because SoundCloud has been flagging unofficial remixes - since the majors own a major stake in it. A way to avoid getting a strike on your profile is to not use any samples from the original - so it doesn’t get automatically detected by their system. In addition to this, nostalgia is the most important factor in the entertainment industry right now.
There are a lot of producers sampling songs from the ’70s and ’80s - or they are taking popular songs are creating their own versions. Klingande, for example, just released his cover of Pumped Up Kicks.
Where did that E.P.-title come from and what significance does it hold?
The title comes from a Robert Frost poem, The Road Not Taken.
I have been fortunate enough to come up in a producer community with a lot of folks chasing what’s popular in order to become popular. I have nothing against it but this is just not the path I’m choosing to take. I don’t want to be a carbon copy of what someone else has built: I want to build my own thing.
I am a fan of Sheryl Crow’s Soak Up the Sun. Is she someone important to you and was it quite a hard song to tackle?
I’ve always been a fan of this song...
The vibes of it are so happy and summery and, since I come from a Tropical-House background, it just made sense. The song was a little bit hard to tackle because in the original: there are two bridges which I was having a hard time fitting into my version.
I ended up scrapping them completely - and it worked out a lot better with the flow.
Talk to me about your involvement with Ellena Soule. You conspire with her on a couple of numbers. What was it like working with her and will you be working together again?
I got to know Ellena through my old collective, Tropikult (back in 2014-’15). She had done some covers and originals with other artists in my network and, since she lives in Nashville, it’s not too far of a drive.
We’ll likely be working together again on something, for sure.
Were all the songs recorded in the same studio or was there quite a lot of moving around? How many other musicians did you bring in and what were the recording sessions like?
I recorded two of the songs at the same studio in Nashville. I recorded some guitars at my home studio. I worked with a lot of musicians online and they (just) sent me stuff to work with. I always love being in the studio - whether it’s mine or someone else’s.
Will there be more genre-crossing works like this? Are you working on something for future-release right now?
There aren’t any artists who are trying to bring the Country sound to EDM.
This is what I believe makes me stand out so I’m currently happy with the lane that I’m in. But, I do plan to dive deeper into the Pop side of things. No matter how the track sounds, you’ll be able to tell that it’s a Panski track.
Atlanta, Georgia is your base. What is the music scene like there and what type of sounds can one experience if we were to visit?
The ‘turn up’ culture is very much alive in Atlanta. We book a lot of Trap and Dubstep artists - and that can make it hard for a House D.J. like myself. Local acts like Halogen, Teriyaki Noise and I are trying to make it more of a House scene.
But, in general, D.J.-ing is phasing out - so I am hoping to get my live act going sometime next year.
Who were the artists that shaped you as a musician and connected with you at a young age?
This is a hard question to answer - because I’m literally a fan of all types of music...
I got my first DAW when I was in middle-school. I wanted to make rap because Atlanta was the city of Hip-Hop in the early-2000s. I gradually became a fan of Reggae in high-school and I always thought I’d do something similar to the Dirty Heads. For Electronic, specifically, I first realized I wanted to produce when I heard Avicii’s Levels.
When I started to hone my craft, I discovered Thomas Jack, Kygo and Matoma...I knew this was the lane for me. The chill and beachy vibes fit well with my love for Reggae; Matoma was doing Tropical remixes of old Rap songs - so it just made sense. When I got a Tweet from Kaskade - praising one of my remixes - I knew this was what I wanted to do.
Are there any tour dates approaching? We can we come see you play?
I have my E.P. release-party on September 15th here in Atlanta. I have a lot of singles and remixes planned for 2018 - so I am hoping to get on some slots next year.
Any plans for you to come and do a few U.K. dates?
I was out there last summer networking and making some connections. I would absolutely love to come back.
Who are new acts you recommend we check out?
I would suggest checking out my buddies BUNT. - because they have a great sound and are making music similar to what I’m making.
IN THIS PHOTO: Youngr
I also love Youngr. I’m sure you’re familiar with him - as he’s from the U.K.
If you had to select the three albums that mean the most to you; which would they be and why?
Slightly Stoopid’s Everything You Need
It is an album (with songs) that I will literally never get tired of hearing.
Blink-182’s I Miss You
This is the album that got me through my awkward teenager phase.
Kygo’s Cloud Nine
It serves as inspiration for me because of where he started.
What advice would you give to artists coming through right now?
These are in no particular order - but here are some things I have learned along my journey…
Hone your craft; open up your DAW and work on something every single day. Reach out to artists with similar followings and genres - and be supportive of them. Be as genuine as possible and don’t get bogged-down on how others’ careers may be advancing. You don’t have control of what happens to them: you only have control of what you do for yourself.
Don’t compare yourself to anyone: compare yourself to the person you were yesterday. Don’t expect anyone to help you out. Nobody owes you anything; so make things happen for yourself in a respectable fashion.
Finally, and for a being good sport; you can name a song and I’ll play it here (not one of yours as I’ll do that).
Here’s something obscure: