Working with a wealth of material he had written and set aside for a new project, he asked Helder, Davies and Griffiths to record with him. The 4 musicians knew each other well from a previous band they had played in together, 'Karnataka'. (Karnataka (original line-up) disbanded in 2004 due to personal circumstances, but had previously toured across the UK, Europe and the USA.) The first Panic Room project took nearly 2 years to record, with recording sessions spread out during that time. The band recorded at Vimana Studios in South Wales, engineered by Peter Charlton (who also contributed some guitar to the recordings). Helder suggested a bassist she knew well from the jazz / rock scene in Wales, Alun Vaughan, and Vaughan recorded all of the bass parts on their first album, as well as going on to tour with band.
The first album was released in 2008 and was named Visionary Position. Following the response from music press and fans, the musicians decided to go out and gig for the first time as a touring band. As the band's profile grew, they worked on new material 'on the road', and soon many new songs were born. 'SATELLITE' (2010) In 2010 they went back into the recording studio, this time choosing to use Sonic One Studios in Llangennech, South Wales, under the masterful eye of studio boss / chief engineer Tim Hamill. They chose to record all of the tracks 'as live', setting up the full band equipment in the studio and simply playing each song through, from start to finish, to capture as much of their live energy and raw power as possible. The main recording of the second album took just 2 weeks, with a few small additional sessions afterwards to allow for overdubs such as final vocals, extra guitar lines and any extra layers to complement the main sound of the band.
The album was called Satellite, after its title track of the same name. Satellite was to be the album which defined the sound of Panic Room, capturing the live essence of the band. The album was released as a single-disc version on general release (via the band's own label 'Firefly Music', and distributed through Voiceprint); but a Special Edition double-disc package was also released, with an EP called Little Satellite which contained 4 bonus songs. Both versions are available internationally, although the Special Edition is only available from the band's website (or live shows). CHANGE OF BASSIST: In Summer 2010, bassist Alun Vaughan left the band to concentrate on his solo career and other non-rock projects (Vaughan is well respected in the jazz world and as a writer of his own instrumental music).
On July 28 2010 Vaughan's amicable departure was announced on the band's website, along with the news that new bassist Yatim Halimi had been invited to join the band and was due to play his first show with them on the Main Stage of the Cambridge Rock Festival that summer . Halimi excelled himself in that performance, however, and Panic Room continued from that time on with Halimi as their new bassist in the fold. Over the next 18 months they toured with their most extensive set of shows to date - In the Autumn of 2011 the band played over 20 shows in the UK, the length and breadth of Britain. 'ALTITUDE' EP For the band's 2011 Tour, a Limited Edition five track multi-media CD entitled 'Altitude' was released, which featured Panic Room's groove-based reworking of Emerson, Lake & Palmer's 'Bitches Crystal' (originally recorded for the cover-CD of music magazine Classic Rock Presents Prog). It also featured an animated film, directed by young animator Cole Jefferies, made to accompany the title track of the album 'Satellite'. The EP was produced in two different sleeves, featuring either a red or blue cover design (photography by Anne-Marie Helder, design by Jonathan Edwards), and was available at live gigs and through the band's own website.
The EP is still available to buy in both of these ways, in limited numbers. SIGNING WITH ESOTERIC ANTENNA | CHERRY RED RECORDS At the beginning of 2012, Panic Room signed a 5-year record deal with Esoteric Antenna (an imprint of the international Cherry Red Records), and began work on their 3rd studio album. Both previous albums had been released independently, so this would be the first time that the band had worked in collaboration with a record label. Esoteric Antenna was a brand new 'frontline' label created by the bosses of Esoteric Recordings, Mark and Vicky Powell. The label was designed to showcase new and original music from UK rock and alt-rock bands.
'S K I N' (2012) Panic Room went into the studio in January 2012 and began recording the new material they had been working on for the past few months, leading up to the production of their 3rd album. This would be the first with new bassist Halimi. They decided to record in the same way as their second album, recording the tracks 'as live' with everyone playing together in synchronicity. The initial recordings were again captured in the first week or two of studio time, with some bass and drum parts actually being recorded on the 'first take' (as on Satellite). The days and weeks to follow would be used to overlay the extra sounds, textures and instruments that would create the more lush and emotive soundtrack of the third album, which was to be called 'S K I N'.
For this album, Anne-Marie Helder and Jonathan Edwards had written bespoke string quartet arrangements, with the intention of complementing each song with added depth and bringing out counter-melodies and harmonies that they felt could only be captured by the raw beauty of live strings. They enlisted the Larkin String Quartet for the recording, who had never recorded strings for a rock album before. Where 'Satellite' had largely defined the band's sound, 'S K I N' took this trademark sound and developed it. The album was released on 25th June 2012 on Esoteric Antenna, and is now available internationally. A Special Edition was released with extended digipak artwork, available exclusively from the band's website. The opening track from the album, Song For Tomorrow, has been nominated for the 'Anthem' of the year Award at the 2012 Progressive Music Awards. 'BEST FEMALE VOCALIST' AWARDS: In early 2011, Panic Room vocalist Anne-Marie Helder was voted 'BEST FEMALE VOCALIST' by the readers of Classic Rock Presents Prog magazine (now entitled PROG).
In January 2012, Helder won the Award for the 2nd year running. ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Additional Info ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ SESSIONS PLAYED BY PANIC ROOM MUSICIANS: *Anne-Marie Helder has toured the UK and Europe as a solo artist, playing supports to artists including Ultravix, Midge Ure, Nick Harper and Glenn Tilbrook (of Squeeze). *Helder has also recorded guest vocals on albums for many well-known artists, including John Wetton, Geoff Downes, Dave Kilminster and The SKYS. *Helder and Gavin Griffiths also tour with fellow UK rock band Mostly Autumn, and have recorded and toured with Chris Johnson's band Halo Blind (formerly Parade). *(Both Johnson and Griffiths have also played live for Fish (ex-Marillion) on several tours). *Jonathan Edwards has recorded keyboards on albums for the band Mermaid Kiss. *Paul Davies has recorded guest lead guitar on tracks including 'Blushing Bride' by Mermaid Kiss *Yatim Halimi, born in Singapore, has previously toured internationally with artists including Toto, Robert Palmer and Mick Hucknell. ADDITIONAL INFO ON KARNATAKA The band name 'Karnataka' has subsequently been carried forward by another of the old original band members, Ian Jones, who re-started the band as a new project (with new band members) in approx 2007/8. Fans wishing to hear the original line-up live should investigate Strange Behaviour, a double live album recorded just before the band split. ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Instrumentation ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Current Members: Anne-Marie Helder - lead & backing vocals, electric guitar, semi-acoustic guitar, 6 & 12 string acoustic guitars, flute, keyboards, piano (2006-present) Jonathan Edwards - piano, rhodes, synth, electric & semi-acoustic guitar (2006-present) Paul Davies - electric & acoustic guitars, backing vocals (2006-present) Gavin Griffiths - drums & percussion (2006-present) Yatim Halimi - fretted & fretless bass, backing vocals (2010-present) Former Members: Alun Vaughan - fretted & fretless bass (2007-2010) (2) The Italian metal/hard rock band from Parma, Italy has a website at: www.myspace.com/panicroomworld Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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