“Stunning” ... “Stratospheric”
(Classic Rock Magazine)
“Best Female Vocalist”
(Classic Rock Presents Prog, 2011)
PANIC ROOM are the award-winning UK rock band already dubbed 'a minor supergroup' with ‘the indefinable hallmark of greatness’.
PANIC ROOM blaze together a fusion of rock, pop, indie, funk & hypnotic sounds, to unleash ‘a fire of magnificent music’.
In their short time together, the band has recorded 2 critically-acclaimed studio albums, and toured the length of the UK playing to thousands of devoted fans.
A delicious fusion of styles, Panic Room play with musical genres like an expert juggling team – and push their dynamic boundaries to the extreme.
Heavy, dark rockers sit happily alongside big epic ballads; playful poppy numbers lead into lush, dreamy soundtracks…
No sonic stone is unturned.
“Creativity at its best”, they love to explore it all.
And this makes for a massively dynamic show.
All of this is woven together beautifully by the soaring, ‘boundless’ voice of Anne-Marie Helder - winner of the prestigious ‘BEST FEMALE VOCALIST’ award 2011 (Classic Rock Presents Prog magazine) - and with the signature ‘big hooks’ of Panic Room –
songs that will stay in your head for weeks.
HIGHLIGHTS OF 2010/11 INCLUDE:
* The release of stunning 2nd album ‘Satellite’ (2010, Firefly) which has won the band rave reviews internationally...
* Multiple press awards, including ‘BEST FEMALE VOCALIST’ (Classic Rock Presents Prog) and ‘5th Best Album of 2010’ (Classic Rock Magazine – Jerry Ewing)
& & A campaign of “raging” live shows, which included momentous nights at the Shepherds Bush Empire (London), and St David's Hall (Cardiff).
In 2011, Panic Room will be working on their 3rd album and touring internationally.
Panic Room began life as a recording project by some like-minded friends in 2005-6. Having gigged together in previous bands, they had a natural affinity and experience together which couldn’t be bought.
Jonathan Edwards brought some song ideas to the table, asking Anne-Marie if she would like to work with him on bringing them to life as an album; Paul Davies and Gavin Griffiths were asked to come on-board with their talents too, and before you knew it, a new band was forming!
With the excellent Alun Vaughan added to the equation on bass, Panic Room began their journey as a fledgling band, and after a lot of hard work and experimentation their debut album 'Visionary Position' was released in 2008.
Hailed as 'extraordinary' - brave, beautiful, eclectic, and totally compelling – the first album was a bigger hit than the band could have predicted, and they knew something special had been born.
First hitting the stage to play the material live in Spring 2008, it was clear from the start that Panic Room had a very special chemistry, storming the boards with their epic songs and riffs.
Each of the members were world-class musicians, as well as great mates, and they showed a fearless creativity & sense of fun together that was spellbinding and truly entertaining for any audience. It was about far more than just awesome playing.
But, fronted by 'stellar' frontwoman Anne-Marie Helder, above all PANIC ROOM have always been enchanting with their passion & power.
In 2009, the Panics were voted 'BEST NEW BAND' at the British CRS Awards; and the journey from there has been epic.
For their 2nd album, the band wanted to capture their Live energy, raw and powerful, so they recorded over an intense 2-week period at Sonic One Studios (Llangennech, Wales).
Under the expert eye of master engineer Tim Hamill, they created a 'mammoth' album of dramatic, hooky songs, both edgy and other-wordly… and in doing so shot their trademark sound to a whole new level.
They had chosen to record ‘as live’, with drums, bass and guitars in one room and vocals and keys in the next room, watching each other through the glass….
Many tracks were laid down in one take, to seize as much of the live energy as possible; and then any over-dubs that followed were there merely to add layers, depth & harmonies to the songs.
It was a way of working that the band loved, and hope to do again next time they record.
SATELLITE AND BEYOND
'Satellite' (2010, Firefly) has been a huge hit, with winning reviews from the music press and public, & its stunning title track being voted 'Song of the Year' on various fan-sites.
The 2010 'Satellite' Tour to promote the album included some truly momentous gigs - at Shepherds Bush Empire (London), and supporting 'space-rock' legends Hawkwind at St David's Hall, Cardiff.
In the summer of 2010 bassist Alun Vaughan left the band to pursue his solo projects, and Panic Room wished him well on his journey; with huge thanks for all he had done to develop and support the band. A rare musical genius, and a lovely guy to boot.
The band began looking for their next bass legend; and soon found him in the shape of Yatim Halimi, a stunning and charismatic player with a glittering CV behind him!
Having played with the likes of Mick Hucknall and Robert Palmer on the pro session circuit of Asia (hailing from Singapore originally), Yatim had lived in the UK for many years and was absolutely fired up to get his teeth into a new creative project, and to launch himself on the road with Panic Room!
In August 2010 Yatim made his debut with the band at the Cambridge Rock Festival, and from the first opening moments it was clear that a new star was born – Yatim dazzled both the crowd and the band with his awesome grooves, and the deal was sealed!
In September they hit the road for their first full tour with the new line-up, and the renewed energy in the band was tangible; every player was on fire, and every gig was a stormer.
2010 was wrapped up with a Christmas gig at the Robin 2, Bilston (UK), where the Panics played a blinding set to a roaring crowd of santa-hat-wearing fans! A combined show with fellow rockers Touchstone, this was a great and friendly way to round up a special year; and before December was over they had also heard that they were in the Top 10 Albums of the Year for many major music magazines…. A great Christmas present.
As 2011 began, Anne-Marie was voted BEST FEMALE VOCALIST by the readers of Classic Rock Presents Prog magazine…
A truly amazing accolade to kick off the beginning of what looks to be a shining year in Panic Room’s young life…
The 5 musicians in Panic Room have known each other for several years, & have been friends as well as co-band-members for all that time. Their shared history is one of the special things that bonds the band, and this is evident in their strong, close energy both on stage and off.
They are proud to have been through a lot of life's ups & downs, music, & touring together.
4 members of the band - Helder, Edwards, Davies & Griffiths - were previously in award-winning band 'Karnataka' together; and many of the band had also collaborated with bassist Alun Vaughan at some point in the past too. Each band member has widely varying tastes in music, & also musical backgrounds - e.g. Helder has performed both solo and in rock, funk & folk bands for several years, and Griffiths has drummed for every style of music from blues to jazz to prog (including being resident drummer with the Fish band).
But it is the medley of these styles, experiences and tastes that have given the line-up of Panic Room such ultimate freedom to create any music they want to; and this means there are no boundaries... just the enormous adventure of creating new songs together, which can each take on whichever flavour & direction they need to.
There is no deliberate drive to be 'different' just for the sake of it; it just so happens that when you throw all the band's different ideas and styles together, & give each new tune the creative freedom it needs, the result is usually totally unique.
And perhaps you get more freedom to explore like this, when a band is still quite young.
But the Panics aim to always be just what they are – themselves.
And they are in no rush to crow-bar themselves into any one category or limited genre, right now or ever.
Some long-standing fans, who used to follow the original 'Karnataka' years ago - with Jon, Paul, Gav and Anne-Marie in the line-up – might have hoped for a similar sound when these 4 musicians got together on a new project. And perhaps on the debut Panic Room album there were some flavours and hints of those old days which might have rung true with the music they used to make ; after all, Jonathan Edwards was a main writer with that band, and so his when he came to launch Panic Room, some of his unique 'sound' could naturally be heard singing through in some places.
But, as with all musicians, his sound has evolved and developed ten-fold since then, and his songwriting has proven to be a huge untapped talent that knows no bounds. He has shown incredible new depths, both stylistically and emotionally with his music.
And, as a keyboard-player, some of his playing on 'Satellite' and the accompanying EP will have listeners finding more comparisons with Stevie Wonder and some of the other great jazz/funk players than anything else!
Overall, 'Panic Room' is a creative place where anything goes.
...It's cool to rock out, or chill out.
*Come into the Panic Room….. lose yourself*
Anne-Marie Helder - singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Anne-Marie also co-writes all the songs on both albums (Visionary Position + Satellite); and she is the voice and main lyricist of Panic Room. A wonderfully rich and emotive singer, her voice is the common thread running through the wide and varied sounds of the band. Anne-Marie also performs with Mostly Autumn and Parade, as a multi-instrumentalist, and has been a prolific solo singer-songwriter for many years. (Her debut EP 'The Contact' was released in 2004, and is available from the Panic Room website).
She has supported many major artists/bands as a solo performer, including Midge Ure, Fish, Paul Young, Limehouse Lizzy and Aynsley Lister, and in 2009 was the official Tour Support for ULTRAVOX's 'Return To Eden' UK Tour. This saw her play venues including Birmingham Symphony Hall, the London Roundhouse, and the SECC in Glasgow. She is also a guest artist on many projects, incuding recently appearing as guest vocalist with John Wetton & Geoff Downes on their new album ‘iCON 3’ (2009) - performing a duet with John Wetton (Asia/King Crimson fame).
Paul Davies - endlessly creative & passionate, Paul displays an electric magic in his playing that you just can't define. His solos are epic, heartfelt and hugely apt to each song, really thought-out to the last word of each lyric... and his riffs are just huge - chunky, awesome and with real Guts to them. Part of his huge sound he attributes to his favourite Cornford Amps - he and Anne-Marie Helder are endorsees of the Cornford brand.
Jonathan Edwards - Jon is the big organ of Panic Room! ;o) He's the keyboard-player extraordinaire, and main songwriter too along with Anne-Marie. His keyboard riffs can be both silky & spiky, groovy & gravelly, and always totally right for the mood of the trackl And he continues to stretch his songwriting imagination, to explore from the evergrowing palette of sounds that make up... Panic Room.
Gavin John Griffiths - a simply world-class drummer, Gavin is not just one of the nicest guys you could wish to meet; but he also seems to possess the kind of enormous musical brain that only the greatest of drummers ever gets close to! His capacity for drumming (and indeed all musical creativity) is just Vast; and his grasp of a song will be instant - and perfect! Possibly the humblest man on earth, Gav is in fact a weapons-grade nuclear missile of a drummer, and Panic Room are in no small way driven along by his awesome sound!!! As well as Panic Room, Gavin also plays with Mostly Autumn and Parade, is a member of Fish’s band, and is very much in-demand as a session musician
Yatim Halimi - Panic Room’s new bassist from August 2010, Yatim is a world-class player with an incredible musical CV that includes working with Robert Palmer, Mick Hucknall and Toto to name but a few.
Born in Singapore, Yatim actually started out as a drummer, before switching to bass! He is an amazing, naturally gifted musician who made his name as the go-to session player for major artists touring in Asia, before relocating to the UK… and bringing his awesome talents with him. Panic Room began a brand new chapter when Yatim joined the band, and his dynamic sound, effervescent stage presence and awesome improvisational style make him the perfect player for the live Panic Room experience!
Alun Vaughan -Alun was Panic Room's first bassist, and played with the band on their first 2 albums 'Visonary Position' and 'Satellite'.
Although primarily a jazz bassist, Alun claims to have been inspired to take up the bass after seeing Gene Simmons on stage with Kiss! And it is this combination of rock and jazz sensibilities that he brought to Panic Room.
A huge musical brain on legs, Alun is dazzling in his ability, and often performs solo bass shows!
Alun is a rock-solid, inventive bassist, with mind-blowing improvisational skills; and as one of the busiest bassists around - with a hectic schedule that includes jazz, blues, soul, fusion and rock gigs - there is rarely a night of the week that Alun is not gigging! And so, Panic Room wish him well on his way, as he continues his solo career.