Notorious on the local gig circuit for their outlandish stage antics, punk band The Pansies have been kicking around since 2014. On Tuesday, they’ll play their biggest show to date: supporting British punk legends The Damned on their Hong Kong return.
The band were friends first, often hanging out in skate parks together, before current singer Gabriel Hackman, 19, approached former frontman Noah Ringrose to form a punk band. After a handful of line-up changes, Gabriel assumed the lead role. “I didn’t like being behind the drums, I just got stuck there,” he tells Young Post. “Once Noah announced he was leaving, I thought ‘I’ll probably be the singer after this.’”
Asked about The Damned, and how they received the news of the support slot, Gabriel admits, “I can’t listen to them right now, otherwise I’m going to wake up. They’re one of my favourite bands.
“I was on the toilet when I got the message from Eph [drummer], and my scream scared my mum!”
In 2014, The Pansies claimed the Originality prize at the YRock Pop Awards, and won the Underground Student Battle of the Bands the following year. “Winning Battle of the Bands was our highlight, but The Damned is definitely the biggest show we’ll have played,” says guitarist Miggy De Leon, 18.
“It’s definitely going to happen,” says bassist Koutaro Ueda, 22, on plans to release an EP, before Gabriel chips in: “We’re looking to diversify our sound a little bit, because it’s boring to do one thing, y’know? We want to find a manager, or a label. Maybe do a tour and start breaking our own boundaries, push forward a bit more”.
Meanwhile, drummer Eph Yuen, 24, is thinking about other details. “There’s a lot we can polish up on, like clothing, so we’re working on a more unified look,” he says.
The four-piece comes alive in wild and unpredictable live shows. “It’s a spectacle,” states Gabriel. “We like to keep it fresh, so we don’t plan too much. We just get up there and see where the adrenaline takes us. I’ve taken my pants off before, bashed the microphone into my head until I bled, jumped into the drum kit. So, there’s always an interesting thing to see at our live shows.”
Days after the interview, The Pansies played a tight set at West Island School’s Amplified Festival. True to their reputation, they put on a raucous show, with Gabriel tumbling into Eph’s kit, and throwing his mic stand like a javelin.
On whether they’ll ratchet up the mayhem even further on Tuesday night, Gabriel, ever the showman, lays on the intrigue. “You’ll have to come to the show and find out.”
The Pansies open for The Damned at Music Zone Kitec in Kowloon Bay on Thursday 28 February. Advance tickets are available for HK$650 from thepointofsale.hk
Edited by Lauren James