This ‘Moral Panics’ article was written by Jay Smith, a GIGsoup contributor
For two years now Stoke-on-Trent’s vintage wearing, Foals-esque, indie band Moral Panics have been making real dents into the British music scene.
Dan Johnson, 21, the lead singer and guitarist, Andy Gannon, 22, guitarist, Jazz Smith, 18, the drummer and 17-year-old bass player Charlie have successfully toured the UK and Europe and have released 3 acclaimed EP’s. The time as now come though for them to prepare for their farewell gig before leaving their hometown behind and setting up sticks in Manchester.
Talking to GIGsoup, lead singer Dan Johnson explained the reasons for the move: “We need change. We feel as though we need to live together, and live in solitude.”
“I, for one, struggle with life when I’m not alone, and we’re that close as a band that being together doesn’t feel like being surrounded by people.”
“Being with them is like being in your own company, that’s the way we all like it and that solitary is what we need to push the band.”
“It’s going to be so much more productive for us to be totally immersed in our music.”
The Sugarmill in Stoke-on-Trent is the main music venue, it has a precious place in the hearts of the locals as well as local bands who have used it as a stepping stone and a chance to showcase their talents over the years.
But on September 11 2015, at least for the foreseeable future, the love affair between Moral Panics and The Sugar-mill is over.
“We love The Sugarmill,” explained Dan, “We all grew up going to shows there and they really gave us our start in the scene.”
“Emotions will be running high [at the gig] and I’ll probably end up crying.”
“We always look forward to a show, but this one is going to be special. The people who will be there have grown up with us and we with them, so it’s going to be a beautiful night. We’ve played some incredible shows there, but I’m hoping memories that will be difficult to leave behind will be made next month.”
Moral Panics latest EP Ataraxia, available now, seems to be a real statement of intent from the 4-piece. A more mature sound and an obvious confidence grace the five tracks. It was recorded at the legendary Motor Museum, with Al Groves, where famous albums such as Arctic Monkey’s debut ‘Whatever People Say I Am That’s What I’m Not’ and Foals’ ‘Total Life Forever’; as well as Oasis, The Black Keys and Two Door Cinema Club were all created.
“Recording Ataraxia felt amazing.” Dan said: “To be stood where so many great artists have stood before us and recording where bands such as Led Zeppelin have recorded, we couldn’t wish for a better history.”
“Al told me that a great song can be played on one acoustic guitar with one vocal and still be a great song and it rearranged how I think about song writing. It’s made me more real.”
Going into the final show in September, despite the huge, emotional occasion, everything will be the same for the band.
“Leading up to a gig we practice a lot. We always spend a lot of time together, and it’ll be no different for this show.”
“On the night we’ll probably soundcheck, go to Subway or Tesco for food, have a few drinks and then play. We’re creatures of habit, and fairly boring ones at that.”
After all the shows and all the great reviews though, the band remain as modest as ever, Dan explained that it’s impossible for him to pick out just one gig that he would put up there as his best.
“Every show is different and beautiful in its own way. And to me, every show is the best show we’ve ever played.” Dan said: “You’ve got to live in the present with a band and never look back, else you start questioning yourself.”
So, if you want to see an energetic band, with great chemistry and an ever growing music catalogue – putting on a show for their beloved hometown fans – then mark September 11th in your diary.