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Banding with Butterfield

author: ethan butterfield contributor

Just a casual rock band, no biggie. Credit: Katelynn Kowalchuk

Local band Panic Button bringing it

Hey, everyone, and welcome to another week of the series, “Banding with Butterfield.” I recently interviewed the incredibly talented band Panic Button, who reside right here in Regina, Saskatchewan. Panic Button is made up of Katelynn Kowalchuk, Brandt Wanner and Seth Bonneteau. This is just some of what they had to say:
Hey guys! So, first question, how did you come up with the name Panic Button?

K: Ummm, short story: a random name generator. Long story, I went onto a random name generator and came up with a bunch of randomly generated names. I took out the few that I thought would be good names or good choices and I brought a bunch of them to practice and we sat down and picked one together as a group.

B: I think we tried to come up with a few too, but I remember I definitely liked the name because of Panic! at the Disco.

S: You just sent us a list and it said Pick your three favourites and we’ll go from there.

B: I do remember that, and there was a brief consideration of putting an exclamation mark after, like, Panic! at the Disco. (group laughs)

So, this question is for each of you. If you had to pick your top three favourite artists that inspire you, who would they be? Why?

S: Well my first favourite band is a newer band called Shinedown. I quite enjoy them and I’m basically in love with the singer; I will marry him some day. I like their style ‘cause it’s new hardcore rock and I like how every album isn’t the same – every album has a distinctive sound. Then, I think my second favourite is the Foo Fighters. I like the Foo Fighters because they were born out of tragedy and then just kind of took off and now they’re one of the biggest names in rock today. And then, probably my favourite artist is Bryan Adams. I love Bryan Adams!

K: So, in no particular order, The Pretty Reckless. I always admire women who front bands, as myself being a woman, it’s not only an inspiration but, like, in certain genres, it can be pretty ground-breaking, especially something like what The Pretty Reckless is doing, ’cause there aren’t a lot of female hardcore vocalists. Not that we’re a hardcore band, but it’s in of itself a bit of a new thing, which is a bit of an inspiration. Also, they fucking rock. Let’s see…Nothing More is probably one of my favourite bands. They deal with…well the lead singer has had a lot of tragedy in his life. I believe both of his parents died when he was young and his sister has dealt with mental health issues and drug abuse for most of her life. So, there’s that sort of emotional connection in their music, as well a few of their songs have relatively political undertones, which is something I appreciate as a political science student. As for my third, it would probably be have to be Shinedown as well, probably because I’ve just been listening to them for so long.

B: Well…I’m going to be the black sheep here…

S & K: Oh of course! Didn’t see that coming! (group laughs)

B: Well (laughs), I’ve always been weird about having a lot of groups I like. I’d say overall though, Led Zeppelin is a huge one. Big influence. The way that man grooves is really something else. Honestly, every member of that band is amazing and their bass player doesn’t get enough credit. Everyone in that group is very, very musically talented. Second one, I think I’m going to have to say Rush. The way their music is done, it’s really well done. Not necessarily my favourite music, but it’s all really well written music in general and Neil Peart does some really interesting stuff, they all do really interesting stuff. Then…I’m kind of torn between these two groups, ’cause I’ve listened to Green Day my entire life, but this other…this one guy out of California I want to mention by the name of George Watsky, who does this really good spoken word and rap stuff and he has [a] really good band behind him, and has been doing some really good stuff as of late.

This question is for Katelynn, you mentioned earlier groups that have female singers like Paramore, Evanescence and The Pretty Reckless, why the decision for a female front vocalist in the group?

K: I was…I was sitting in on a practice one day and at this point I wasn’t in the band, and if I remember correctly, I think I was asked if I could sing on one of the songs and I did, and was basically asked, “Do you want to do this on a more permanent basis?”

B: Yeah, it was earlier on, so like…I don’t even think there were any originals at that point. Maybe one or two.

K: So I guess in a phrase or a sentence, I was in the right place and the right time.

This question is for Seth. So, you can really shred. What songs out of the covers and originals do you enjoy performing the most?

S: Probably my favourite piece to play is our original song “Turn and Run.” I feel like I’m starting to settle into a style of solo. I know the opening riff I do is identical every time now and it’s about the same solo every time now, so that’s probably, so far, the one that’s set in stone. I’m currently working on that one for the new song, “Perfect Stranger.” That one is going to be finished. I haven’t quite got it down yet, cause it’s just a matter of me sitting down, pulling up a track of it and I just sit there for three hours and just improvise and as I improvise, I write down and then I keep doing it and I eventually keep doing it over and over again a thousand times before I get it.

How was performing live for you guys?

K: It was fucking fantastic (group laughs).

B: It was a great time.

K: And…we’re all classically trained musicians. We’ve all played at, like, concert band and wind ensemble , but when there’s three of you standing five feet away from 30-some-odd people, it can be a bit intimidating. Especially when it’s your very first show.

S: Especially since…’cause I know you were really nervous to the weeks leading up.

K: I was really nervous.

B: Yeah, and then you got really nervous right before.

S: I usually get nervous right before, but I remember we started our own group chat on Facebook so we could talk about it.

Last question. This one is for Brandt. When it comes to drumming, how do you prep? Anything going through your head specifically for a solo?

B: Well, as far as warm-ups go, I just have a little practice pad I practice on just willy-nilly. Just here and there, you know? The day before, the days leading up to the show, that morning, I practiced on it a bit, but I was more worried about…not practicing too much, ’cause you don’t want to over-practice. I’ve done that before. It’s not usually too bad, but you want to be at peak though, so you play a little bit here and there. So yeah…it’s not like a serious warm-up regiment or anything. For going through my head for a solo…my fills are mostly just improvised, every fill I do is…to some degree, different every time. I’ve noticed I tend to play the same thing very closely, but I haven’t put an extreme amount of thought into my fills. It’s more about making sure that my part, my groove, works for the song and knowing where the fills need to be.

So there you have it, you can check out Panic Button at their next show at Cloud 9 on Oct. 29 at 7:00 p.m.!

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