Hilltops
Hartwick College's Student Newspaper

The View From Oyaron Hill

OH Fest X:

Exclusive Student Interview with Panic! At The Disco

04.28.15

Joanne Georges


Through the hardworking skills of HCAB, SUNY Oneonta’s student activity board, and many others, student representatives from SUNY Oneonta and Hartwick’s media organizations were fortunate enough to interview lead vocalist Brendon Urie of Panic! At The Disco. As the OH Fest concert began and  Naughty and Big Eye Phish, started their sets, students were given access to a designated section back stage and got to sit and meet with Urie. The bands tour manager even mentioned that student interviewers haven’t been allowed since 2008, and that Oneonta’s colleges were able to really rally for this opportunity. Urie was comfortable and happy to answer questions. For the full interview, tune into WRHO’s DJ Minnesota Moe on Wednesday, April 29 at 4 p.m.


Interviewer 1: With theatrics in your performance and videos from the circus theme to the 60s and all over the board, will you be continuing the theatrics with your upcoming shows and your album and if so can you give a hint as to what it might be?

Yes, always continue theatrics; always love to do that. And yeah, I like to switch from theme to theme and there are so many other things we haven’t done and could definitely do. This time I think the only thing I can say is it’s like Queen meets Sinatra, kind of. I don’t know if that gives any hint, but to me that makes sense.


What has been the greatest or craziest moment that you’ve had on tour?

One of the craziest things we did was we rode an elephant recently. That was pretty awesome; we got to do that as part of the job which was pretty sweet. That rarely happens when you get to do something like that it makes it all worth-while.


Interviewer 2: What’s your preparation for the intensity in your videos and the creative process?

For “This Is Gospel” I had one day of rehearsal with the director and the choreographed hands that would be in the video and we spent about five hours with me laying on the table and going through the motions and trying to dodge the hands and figure out what was going on. You can only prep so much; I like to keep it just kinda scary in the sense of like no real preparation. So what we did to prep for that video ended up kind of helping, but we had to change it throughout so it’s always an ongoing creative breeding process which you have to just kinda roll with the punches. Prep for acting and stuff like that, I mean there’s no real prep you just have to hope that whatever the directors tells you to do, you’re like, “Alright, I’ll give it my best, but I don’t know what you’re gonna do; just edit around me.” Luckily, it’s only three and a half minutes at a time, so you can kinda cheat at a lot of things. I love being involved with all the creative stuff, I love talking ideas with directors, just anybody with imagination.


In light of recent events and Smith departing, you have become the last original member of Panic! At The Disco. What is it that is keeping you going and how are you hoping to keep that energy going?

I know it seems crazy, like I’m the last of the original four, but for me it’s been that way for about five years now. I’m just leading the creative process, stepping up and saying, “Alright I know what I wanna do, I have a vision for this, I wanna do this.” Just kinda stepping up and having to do that, but at the same the time, the reason I do it is - I just - I love it. I never at any point have I ever wanted to stop doing this. So even the first time we had a couple members leave that’s because they wanted to start something new, I was totally fulfilled by what Panic! offered me.  Me, being able to step up even more like, “Oh cool. Well I have more ideas and I have more to say now because we have two less opinions.” It kinda gradually became more and more freeing for me and a liberating thing. And definitely now more validating and now we can play shows and that’s really where we feel that validation. That’s why we continue to do this as well.


Interviewer 3: Speaking of the creative process, do you have any fun pre-show rituals or activities that you do to get hyped before a show? 

It’s like really boring stuff. As I’m getting older I am realizing I can’t do this anymore - I would be drinking a beer right now, but I have to make sure I’m okay as I get older. The only thing we do before every time before a show, like a superstitious thing is we have to high five each other, that’s really it. And it has to be good and if somebody kinda misses a high five you can’t go back. If you miss it you’re like “Oh shit!” And then you have to miss it. Alright, well mentally high five, okay cool. It’s like weird some superstitious thing. We’ve always done it, I don’t know why.


What advice would you give to those up and coming campus bands that are just trying to make it big?  

We never played live shows to much when we started the band. We just kept writing. At that point MySpace was just becoming a thing, so we realized we could use that and that was back in 2004. That’s what I’ll say to them, “spend more time collaborating with other people and just writing together.” Spend a lot of time playing together and also just hang out with your band because you have to live with them on the road and if you don’t like your band, it’s gonna suck.


Interviewer 4: What were your musical influences growing up?

I had two older brothers and two older sisters so a lot of it came from them. My oldest sister listened to The Smiths, The Cure, Depeche Mode, so a lot of 80s dance type stuff. Both my older brothers listened to like Pearl Jam and Fun Lovin’ Criminals and Sublime and Nirvana and just a lot of rock radio so those were really big for me. Sublime was huge for me, when I heard Sublime I was blown away. Bradley Nowell is my shit, I love this dude. I still love him to death; I still worship all their stuff. From my younger years, first time I heard Sinatra, blew my mind. When I saw him on TV singing Christmas songs, I was like this is The King of Swagger. He’s just a beautiful man with a great voice. I just tried to soak up as many different genres as I could.


Out of everything that Panic! has accomplished what are you most proud of?

Well I’m proud to still be here, still be doing the band for sure. Ten years ago I never thought it would be what it is now and what it’s become today. I never thought I would get to this point it’s been one hell of a journey and I’m just excited to still be here.


Interviewer 5: You’ve been popular on Vine recently, has it affected your fame and how?

When I first started doing Vine I didn’t know what was gonna come of it. I figure I would just do little updates while I’m in the studio and stuff. I would do six-second videos of demos I was working on for the album and stuff. I just started watching all these comedians online and I wanted to just copy Will Saso and all those dudes. Anytime I was bored, any had inside jokes on tour we would shoot. The first time I got recognized in public for Vine, we went and saw a movie in LA and leaving the theater these two girls came up and were like, “Hey are you Brendan from Vine?” and I was like, “Yes I am!” and I never thought of that, that being a thing. Yes, I will totally accept that that is awesome. I do this other thing too, but this is awesome!


You played at Madison Square Garden, recently, how has the audience dynamic change throughout the years, especially at different venues?

Yeah, the dynamic definitely changes from venue to venue. When we play like a tour and we’re playing club shows, it’s very much our fans and everyone has come to see us, but when you play festivals and stuff and other people’s tours it’s our fans and their fans. I like playing festivals, I like playing our shows as well, that’s a more intimate warm feeling to see who people have come to see you personally. When you play festivals and stuff it’s more like I have something to prove, you haven’t seen us you don’t know our band I can’t wait to show you our live show, I wanna see your reactions to what I’m about to say. It’s gonna be awesome, that’s really exciting being able to do that. A couple years ago, for our tour we did a radio tour, we wanted to play small venues like 150 people in a room just sweaty it was in the middle of summer too and it was so brutally hot and kids were waiting outside since 6 a.m. and we wanted to something personal so being able to do that is the coolest thing. I love playing different venues.

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