The beginning of 2011 started off auspiciously for local electronic favorite Panic Bomber. He enjoyed increasing fans on the circuit for his performances that combined live instrumentation -- brass, vocals, and more -- with technology and ooh-aah stuff like light-up suits.
He played Ultra Music Festival and other similar events around the country, like Michigan's Electric Forest, and released an EP, Domestic Violins, that came with a creepy-cool video we blogged about here.
And then, all of a sudden, he seemed to fall off the face of the planet.
"I was gigging a bunch, touring around, and it was great but I noticed that having a full-blown live set up seemed almost passé in matching up with the contemporary world of DJing. I was starting to feel pretty self-conscious about my music and its being somewhat left-field in relation to DJ culture," says Richard Haig, the real-life person behind Panic Bomber.
"On top of that, I had some unfortunate personal situation come around that forced me to work a lame job full-time to get back on my feet," he says, continuing. "I later tried shoehorning my music into something that it isn't and it took me a while to realize that I need to stop worrying and just do what comes naturally to me."
What that meant, really, was going back into the studio and working on music for the fun of it, genre or scene conventions be damned. What that turned out to be was a new project dubbed Kurtz & Bomber, a production project with buddy Troy Kurtz. What resulted was somewhat unexpected for both of them -- funky, deep, pure four-four house music.
"We finally sat down to try some stuff out in November, but it wasn't until December that we found our groove and figured out how to work together well," says Haig. "We're committed to making vocal, musical, jacking, expressive DJ-able tracks and at the moment this is what it's sounding like." A debut EP from the pair is forthcoming, and you can listen to snippets below -- it's full of midtempo, soulful straightforward dance tracks based on bubbling basslines.
But the old, weird Panic Bomber is coming back, too, and you can catch him tonight at the Vagabond in a return to form. The old, huge brass section is gone -- two of the key players graduated from the University of Miami and moved away -- but remaining are longtime guest vocalist and collaborator Madam Asuka, and trumpet player Andy Panayides.
New material should be forthcoming, too, but perhaps not in the old EP format that Haig used to prefer. "I'm currently leaning towards just trickling them out for free over a period of time. This is 2012 after all," he says. "With Kurtz & Bomber, we don't exactly have a vast catalog so we're currently writing a bunch, talking to labels, and putting the live show together for a debut sometime in May. Expect a good sweaty workout!"
Panic Bomber. Doors open 10 p.m. Friday, April 6 at the Vagabond, 30
NE 14th St., Miami. Admission is free before 11 p.m., $5 after. Age 21
and up. Click here.
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