Alter The Press!


Interview: Pandy Cane

Alter The Press! talked to Tom Bennett of UK-based fashion and music brand, Pandy Cane. Formed in late 2007 as a clothing label, Pandy Cane has firmly established itself as a underground, independent clothing label. More recently Tom has decided to expand the brand towards music. Although Pandy Cane has a long standing relationship with bands such as Eat Sleep Attack, Bayonets and more.

The labels musical expansion recently began with the release a free compilation, that featured a strong line-up of up and coming UK bands (A Word Like Attack, Burn The Fleet, Pharaohs, Towers). In 2010 the brand will furthermore expand its musical brand, starting their 'Singles Club', which will include Pandy Cane's first physical release and a single release every 2 months.

Tom talks about the brand's origins, the relationship between music and clothing, their future plans and more.

ATP: I hear the inspiration for starting Pandy Cane Clothing began whilst you in Chicago?
Pandy Cane: Yeah, I was working for a certain record label out there back in ’07, and whilst I was getting some food one day I was looking at the large selection of sweets on offer, and thinking about this great Chinese franchise chain in the Midwest called Panda Express. I mixed up the words panda and candy in my head and thus I had the name. It all really just came from that.

ATP!: You then followed up with a fundraising show in your hometown of Hereford. What are your memories of this?
PC: Well, it was my metal bands last ever show on the Friday, with Emily Rose (from South Wales) and a couple of other really small local metal bands, which was a cracking night, then the second was Tonight Is Goodbye, Fleeing From Finales and Waiting For Sirens, the venue was pretty full, TIG were tiny then, it’s crazy thinking back on it how far that band has come, and how I have too, and Sam Little as well, that’s how I first met him (he’s now known as Eat Sleep Attack).

ATP!: Had you ever thought of becoming a clothing designer before? Was it something you had an interest in?
PC: Yes and no, I always liked the idea of doing something with skateboarding when I was younger, be that shirts or decks or whatever and kind of dabbled but not a lot, I’ve become far more interested in the whole process since doing this.

ATP!: I hear Pandy Cane then took off after meeting some bands. How did this help you and the label?
PC: I’m really grateful to the bands on PC, they give me the confidence to keep doing what I’m doing most of the time, and between them they’ve given me some fantastic opportunities, in 2009 I got to see a lot of the country, and this year thanks to the bands it looks like I’ll be seeing a lot more.

ATP!: Like a lot of clothing label's you incorporate music into your products. How significant is it to have this link between fashion and music for Pandy Cane?
PC: I think now more than ever, the link between the two is becoming stronger, with the start of the singles club this January the brand is moving from just a fashion brand to a fashion and music brand, incorporating the release of music products into the clothing side. I like to think that fans of Pandy Cane clothing, will like the music I’m releasing, and fans of the music will like the shirts etc.

ATP: Tell us more about the Singles Club idea?
PC: The idea is the same as a record label, but just singles, A-side Bside, double A side, whatever. However, the difference with this one is that the bands we put out will be Pandy Cane bands, so they'll be promoting the brand along side the single, and the brand will be promoting them as a band, aswell as the single, through the usual digital methods of marketing aswell as the traditional offline marketing ideas, so touring of course.

All of the CD singles will be hand screen printed in house, and limited to 100 (hand numbered, limited edition, really nice packaging) aswell as a digital release, itunes/amazon etc.

It's something i've wanted to do for quite a while, and after weeks of talking, working things out the first single will be out on January 11th. The plan is to release the singles bi-monthly, maybe collaborate with some other labels, and like minded people too.

ATP!: One of your t-shirts is a collaboration between Pandy Cane and Sam Little of Eat Sleep Attack. Tell us how this came together?
PC: We had been chatting about designers before and Greg Abbot had came up in conversation (who designed the shirt), then one day we where chilling at the studio (he was recording ‘Fallin’’) and we thought yeah why not, lets go for it. It was one of those projects where you’re like “I’d love to do that!” and well, we just did, It’s one of my favourite shirts I’ve released so far.

ATP!: Do you have plans to collaborate with any other bands on the roster?
PC: Yeah, with the singles club especially, I’ll be releasing a single every other month or so fingers crossed, and hopefully there will be some shirts coming out too, maybe with the singles, maybe not.

ATP!: Have you had any experience involving music in the past for example had you played in any bands?
PC: Yeah, I was in a small shitty metal band before I went to uni, and I also promoted bands when I was in college too, nothing big, but I enjoyed it lots. My degree is music industry based, and between that and interning at labels, doing merch for bands, it really is something I'd love to do for a living, and I guess I’m lucky I get to do stuff like that now.

ATP!: Speaking of music, you've just released a free compilation album. What was the motive about this?
PC: I actually wanted to say thank you, to the bands, and more importantly the people that made the brand what it is today! Without fans you don’t get anywhere, and it’s nice to give something back to them occasionally, especially if it’s for free!

ATP!: Do you think releasing a compilation is an ideal method to promote yourself and the bands involved with Pandy Cane?
PC: Definitely. It’s standard integration, I promote the bands, and they promote the brand, and because everybody’s getting something out of it it’s a really fair way of putting your ideas out.

ATP!: Do you think this relationship between Pandy Cane and various bands will expand in the future?
PC: Yeah, more colabs, more tours, more releases. I’m toying around with the idea of starting a new band in which case that would be released through PC.

ATP!: Wasn't there a plan for a Pandy Cane Tour with Bayonets and Francesqa at one point?
PC: Yeah, some things just don’t work out the way you would like them too I guess, I’ll be out with Francesqa in early January, along with Lights and Sounds and In Gratitude, all of whom are great guys and great bands, so that’s gonna be awesome, and fingers crossed they’ll be more PC tours this year.

ATP!: What makes Pandy Cane different from thousands of "myspace clothing lines" out there?
PC: Anybody can come up with a name, pay some designer to draw some stuff and then attempt to sell it. I think that one major difference PC has is its concept, that and my dedication to growth, and trying to always make it better and better.

I spose, a marketing degree, a reasonable amount of knowledge and a tonne of drive helps a little too though.

ATP!: What future goals do you have for Pandy Cane?
PC: Better releases, more designs, I want to see more of the country and the world, more custom stuff, and get an intern.

ATP!: What's next for Pandy Cane?
PC: January sees the first physical music release, as well as touring a little, Lots more awesome designs coming in the next few months.

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Sean Reid

Alter The Press!