With the perfect indie-pop gems that light up even the darkest of times, we’re so excited to have Panama Wedding back with the awesome new EP Into Focus. With the kind of glorious smoothness that is rarely seen and the immediate hooks that simply do not let go, it’s no small wonder that Peter Kirk has been inspired by the best. We asked Peter to put together a list of tracks he listened to when recording the new EP and the result is just as awesome a banger as the EP. Check out below and be sure to grab Into Focus on 11/6.
1. Shania Twain – “I’m Gonna Getcha Good”
To be clear: I’m not trying to be ironic or funny here. I’m obsessed with these records. Robert John “Mutt” Lange is my favorite producer/songwriter. Everything about his records are so well crafted. The hooks are massive. The drums are huge. The background vocals sound perfect and pristine. Every little bit of his recordings has a kick-ass purpose. No bullshit. And that’s how I approach producing. With its minimalist use of space, massive drums, and stadium size hook, ‘I’m Gonna Getcha Good’ is simply a masterpiece and RJML at his best.
2. Kenny Loggins – “Nobody’s Fool”
I have a weird relationship with K. Log. Sometime in college, I developed a strange obsession with the Caddy Shack soundtracks. Since then, I have collected several Kenny Loggins vinyls. I wrote a song called “Halfway to Heaven” on the EP. I wanted the hook to have a similar ‘swing for the fences’ vibe to ‘Nobody’s Fool.’
3. Tears for Fears “Shout”
I think I’ve always been drawn to this song because it presents an odd duality not often heard in pop music: a giant slick 80’s production with a very dark lyrical message. “In violent times, you shouldn’t have to sell your soul.” When I was writing ‘ Trust’ this was very much the mentality I went into the studio with.
4. The Police “Message in a Bottle”
The Police have always been a big influence for me. I think they proved that great songs with smart arrangements trump heavy handed bloated productions. I mean, it was just three guys! Guitars, vocals, bass, and drums and some light keys. That’s it. When I was writing and working on the song ‘Into Focus’ I wanted to bring that mentality into the recording process. I think the result obviously bleeds some Police influence.
5. INXS “New Sensation”
Chorused strat sounds are a hallmark of the 90s era in pop music. Songs like Michael Jackson’s ‘Black or White’ and INXS ‘New Sensation’ – When recording ‘A Brand New Life’ I really wanted to incoportate this vibe in the chorus. I think the end result is clear.
6. Fleetwood Mac “Go Your Own Way”
For the longest time on tour, Panama Wedding had only one CD in the van which we purchased at a used record shop in Ann Arbor, Michigan – ‘Rumours’ by Fleetwood Mac. I think ‘Go Your Own Way’ is my favorite song. It’s so powerful with those booming toms throughout the entire song. When recording ‘A Brand New Life’ I really wanted to have a song that featured the floor tom throughout the entire recording.
7. Paul Simon “Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes”
I could honestly write an entire book on Paul Simon. But when I was writing most of the EP, I would often go for jogs in Central Park and listen to Paul Simon’s Central Park Live album. I felt like I was back in the 80s on the Upper West Side. Such a great feeling. With the song ‘Younger Love’ I really wanted to capture that feeling. That nostalgia. It’s very hard to put into words, but it naturally flows out musically.
8. Gloria Estefan – “Get on Your Feet”
When I was in college down in Philly, my friends & I were really into Stella Comedy – more specifically a series they home produced called ‘Stella Shorts’ This song was the intro music. When recording ‘Younger Love’ I wanted something in the intro with this amount of energy
9. Tom Petty “Free Fallin’”
It’ funny, we’ve always played this song as a cover live whenever we needed time to fill in our set. It’s also so easy to play and everyone loves it. I wanted ‘Infinite High’ to have the same openness and simplicity to it.
10. Andrew Belle “Many Lives”
This was a staple in my playlist when recording.I just love how this song breathes and drones slowly along. It’s really quite beautiful.