A Q&A With: Anthony Orzel of Pacific
Pacific frontman Anthony Orzel on influences, the difference between new and old alternative and the use of piano in a warm indie sound
Cheshire band Pacific are fronted by Anthony Orzel, a cool and collected vocalist focused on cementing a piano based sound in indie rock. With regular radio airplay, recognition from DJs such as BBC’s Huw Stephens and Mark Radcliffe and festival experience alongside Maximo Park, Razorlight and Fun Lovin’ Criminals, Pacific are looking like strong contenders for the next breakthrough indie act of the summer.
To get the more obvious questions out of the way, what are some of your key influences?
People seem to hear a lot of bands in our sound, from the likes of Keane, Kasabian, Killers, Coldplay, Muse, Arctic Monkeys… even Elton John. So I guess it must be them!
What's the reasoning behind pushing the piano sound forward?
In the writing process, the song always begins on the piano, and in many ways it is what separates us from other indie bands currently out there.
A lot of your music is warmly upbeat and clean in sound - do you think you'll experience a change in theme or direction soon?
I think we’ve definitely wanted to sound more raw & energetic and translate our live sound into the recent singles, especially our new track ‘Should Have Known’. I feel like we’ll go even further in the next one.
What sparked the band name 'Pacific'?
The suggestion actually came from one of the first promoters that ever booked us. He was in a band when he was younger and the label asked them to change their band name to Pacific, but they never got to the next level.
Can you tell me what your top three favourite albums are (in no particular order)?
Absolution by Muse, Holy Fire by Foals and OK Computer by Radiohead.
Do you have goals you have set out to achieve or are you more of a 'go with the flow' kind of act?
We’ve definitely got goals – we want to get signed to a major label who get us, we want to play double the amount of shows that we played last year - although we take our single releases with a definite go-with-the-flow attitude, we don’t have a year plan; when the right song comes, we get it out there! On average though, we release three singles a year.
How did it feel gaining attention on radio? Did it feel rewarding and did it spur you on to push harder?
Getting played on BBC Radio 1 for the first time and getting plays on the likes of BBC Introducing, XS Manchester, Absolute Radio and Amazing Radio feels amazing! It definitely spurs us on to push harder, as it’s essentially an acknowledgement that we must be doing something right for radio DJs to push us.
If you do hold certain ambitions you wish to achieve with Pacific, what are they?
As mentioned earlier – getting signed and releasing albums, playing more shows and festivals, getting a publisher… all the usual goals!
How do you think the contemporary indie scene holds up compared to its 80s and 90s counterparts? Are there any examples of current indie acts you enjoy?
It’s strange, I feel in the past 80s and 90s indie bands could get signed and build their commercial appeal from album to album - in this day and age I think a band’s trajectory is quite the opposite; indie bands have to bring out their most commercial tunes from the off, and then they can experiment more and become more alternative over time. I’m currently into Nothing But Thieves and The Amazons.
Is there a main songwriter for the group, or do you write as a collective piece?
Me and Dan split the songwriting 50/50 - we write all the songs together and then we bring the tracks to Dave and Drew, who then add their flair to the guitar riffs and the drum beats.
I am aware you have multiple singles and an EP but no full-length record; can we expect one soon?
We’ve released an album’s worth of tracks, but yes, no full-length record yet – we would love to though in the future (as soon we’re signed)!
You've played with Razorlight, Maximo Park and Fun Lovin' Criminals, to a name a few. Was this intimidating? And do you prefer playing small circuit shows, or larger ones?
I wouldn’t say intimidating, we actually really enjoyed sharing the stage with those veteran bands and seeing how they carry themselves – it was also great to chat to them backstage and learn that there’s no set way to getting to that next level. Both kinds of shows have their merits, but I think our sound really benefits from being on as big of a stage as possible!