PANES make really good music
On the eve of their first London show of the year, we chat to Neneh Cherry’s daughter Tyson McVey and producer Shaun Savage, aka PANES.
PANES by Ash Kingston
Having first teamed up just over a year ago, the duo met through mutual friends and let the music take control. They've since dropped debut track, Choice Errors, and been blogged about all over the place. 24 year old Tyson is every bit as beautiful as her i-D cover star mother, and just as talented. Bristol-born Shaun is 29 and honed his skills as one of Hackney's Flesh & Bone collective. Together they're seamlessly weaving clever production with soulful harmonies and stunning oriental samples, making for a dreamy listen and leaving us waiting anxiously for the musical brilliance that we're sure is to come. Stealing them away from the studio, we took the twosome for coffee and chat to talk Sweden, inspirations and Tyson's famous family.
I googled PANES and apparently you guys are 'rustic spirits of wild mountains', which is nice…
Shaun: Yeah? I didn't know that!
Tyson: Amazing! Imagine if we were like, 'yeah… that's why.'
You'd be good woodland spirits. So, what were you both doing pre-PANES?
Shaun: I was producing for other musicians.
Tyson: I'd just finished a degree in anthropology and didn't have a job and wasn't doing anything. Then I got an internship at a theatre in Stockholm that specialises in political theatre and workshops for young people.
Nice! You're playing Stoke Newington's Waiting Rooms on Thursday night. What're you like live?
Shaun: Good hopefully! We both play live and we're keen to make things much noisier than on the record.
What instruments do you both play?
Will it make an appearance at the gig?
Tyson: While singing?
It would be very impressive.
Tyson: These days I just tap away at a keyboard and that's about it.
And are you one of those producers that can play everything?
Shaun: I know how to make it sound like I can play everything! But live, we've got our friend Jamie who plays bass with us. So the live act is the three of us and a variety of instruments.
Back to the studio now! What's your production process like?
Shaun: We write together. The toplines, harmonies, lyrics, etc. are all collaborative. Our sound is very much the two of us. There are certain vibes and touchstones that inspire us - it has to be a reflection of both of our tastes.
Do you share the same inspirations?
Tyson: I'd say we've got a good balance. There are things we meet on but we both bring different things to the table too.
Who would you say your main inspirations are?
Shaun: I guess there's a fair amount of R&B in there… all those Jermaine Dupri records at the back end of the '90s. Similarly Raphael Saadiq.
Tyson: You have to say Ashanti and Aaliyah! Tricky and Martina too. I think it took us a long time to actually have a conversation about that before realising 'shit! That's probably quite important. We should have figured this out sooner!'
Shaun: I guess rap, bass culture, UK sound system stuff. That's definitely all inspiring. I mean, our tracks definitely don't sound like bashment records…
Tyson: ...but it's there somewhere!
Obviously you come from a very musical family Tyson. Was it always the long-term plan to follow in their footsteps?
Tyson: It was definitely everything I'd promised myself I would never do. I actually used to be in a band with my parents for five years but I pretended I wasn't related to them and made up a new name. We had interviews and were filmed and everything and nobody ever said anything and it was fine. I was like 15/16. It was fun and meant that I could do it with my family but still be individual and not just their daughter. I guess I must have wanted to do it but the whole time I was thinking that it wasn't the long term plan. Then I did anthropology to rebel but it didn't work!
Do you see it as an advantage or an annoyance that you'll always be 'Neneh Cherry's daughter'?
Tyson: I always thought it would be an annoyance which I guess is why I pretended I wasn't for so long. But she's amazing and there's no reason why I shouldn't feel that it's a great thing. As long as I get to be my own person and we get to do our own thing.
It's definitely cool. She was on the cover of i-D a couple of years ago and in her interview she said that if she could turn back time she would tell herself to trust her inner voice more.
Tyson: I think when I get older I'll say exactly the same thing!
And if you could tell your 16 year old self something?
Tyson: Voice your thoughts because they're not useless and other people might want to hear them.
Shaun: Go to bed! And maybe listen to your mum a bit more…
What're you working on at the moment?
Shaun: We're just working on a lot of content and starting to think about what to release. I definitely see albums as important reflections or where an artist is, so I look forward to putting one out soon.
Tyson: Whenever we get the chance we're just writing without even thinking too deeply about what's going to happen. It's the most fun thing ever so we're trying to do it as much as possible.
I noticed on twitter that the designer Christopher Shannon follows you guys.
Shaun: I didn't know that! That's pretty cool.
Are you into fashion?
Tyson: I never have any money, but as I'm getting older I'm getting more into it.
Shaun: I think if we were giving advice to our 16 year old selves again, I'd have to give sartorial advice.
Tyson: "TAKE OFF YOUR VELOUR TRACKSUIT. IT DOESN'T LOOK GOOD!"
Shaun: I had plenty of adidas poppers…
Tyson: I had a neon green pair of those! We should bring them back. I lived in Sweden from 15-20, so now I seem to only own Swedish designers… Acne, Back, Filippa K, Henrik Vibskov, Hasbeens.
Momma Cherry is releasing a new album soon. What do you guys think of it?
Tyson: It's amazing! Really, really exciting. It's weird to look at my little sister who's 18 now, and think that that's how long it's been since she released her last album.
Does it still fit with her old sound or has it changed direction at all?
Tyson: It sounds cheesy but she's really gone back to her roots. It's really free and just her doing whatever the hell she wants.
Shaun: I've heard a few of the tracks and it's really good. I mean, it's produced by Four Tet and has Neneh singing, so it's not likely to be bad is it?! It has a Villalobos remix of one of the tracks which is just bananas.
Tyson: It's so unfair that she's got all these cool hook-ups.
Couldn't she link you guys up?
Tyson: But it's too late now - she's already gone and done it.
We're premiering the JD Reid remix of Choice Errors. Did you handpick the remixes yourselves?
Shaun: Yeah, we got Lee Gamble to do one too which was awesome - definitely enjoyed that. JD is a friend that's done lots of interesting production already, he's part of a new vanguard of loosely-based rap music at the moment and he's got a really great sound.
What do you think of the remix itself?
Shaun: Yeah, it's great!
Tyson: I thought it would be weird to hear a different version of our track but it's actually pretty exciting.
Shaun: Hearing your records redirected at a dancefloor is pretty cool. Picking remixes is tricky because there's a lot of talent out there and you've got to get it right. I reckon we did.
Text Francesca Dunn
Photography Ash Kingston