Chinwag with Luke Bell of Panic Cell

Dj Rex catches up with Luke Bell, vocalist for Panic cell, probably the best UK metal act there is, a casualty from the demise of Woolworths, who has an interesting relationship with Cider!!

Tell me about the journey you took to become Panic Cell
A long and winding road……

What music are you listening to right now? Apart from your own.
The new Skindred album, I am round Aryas (skindred drummers) house at the moment checking out their new tunes.. they rock like a bastard.

Do you like to sing in the shower?
Hell yeah-always a great place to sing…the added bonus of irritating the neighbours too

What genre of music do you consider your work to be and who would you say are your major influences?
God, genres…umm….we’re a Rock/Metal band. I dont really do genres very well……people talk about vegitarian progressive grindcore bands, super Black Metal….its all metal to me!

Ok, confession time – whats the most embarrassing single or album you own?
Embarrassing? hmm… idea.

What and where would your dream gig be??
I would say a secret gig supporting Metallica at a small club/venue like the Underworld in Camden. That would be insane.

Tell us some of the highlight gigs and venues you have performed?
Download in 2005 and 2007,both were amazing, supporting Disturbed at the Astoria in 2005 was one I will never forget either, incredible show.

Do you have any upcoming shows?
Not as yet, we’ve spent so much time on the new album, we havent looked to play any shows just yet….our agent is booking some for us as I type…

Best and worst on stage moment??
Best walking onstage and saying “Hello Castle Donnington”, that ruled.
Worst…losing my voice in the middle of a show in Cardiff on a tour with American Head Charge and Soil. I was devastated.

How long have you all known each other and is there a fun story as to how Panic Cell met?
We have known each other for a very long time, Harj and I have been in bands together for 15 years now – Panic cell was pretty much a band that we got together for a laugh-the first gig I think we did was my wedding!

Do you have a record label?
Currently no-feel free to sign us! We released our last album, What Doesnt Kill Us, through our own label Anthill Records, but the distributor, Pinnacle, collapsed when Woolworths went under scuppering our fledgling label!

What can you tell the readers about your instruments? (i.e., are you subject to brand loyalty or will you play with whatever’s available? What made you choose the instruments you play now?
The band have had long standing endorsements with some companies…Peavey, Line 6, ESP and Sennheiser have been incredible supporters for the band, as have Tama. Things may change in the future, but right now we are loving using the equipment from these guys, and have done since the band started properly.

Which songs do you perform most frequently?
Save Me and Away From Here. I dont think we have not played those since we wrote them, some time ago now…

Do you ever play any covers and if you do, what made you choose that particular track to cover?
We throw the odd cover in for a laugh in long sets, or when we want to play something odd…. last cover was Duality by Slipknot I think-we know loads of different ones…I would say we could probably play 20 Metallica tracks if we needed to tomorrow-all the guys love messing around playing their favorite songs

Who writes your songs?
Its a joint effort really, Harj and Kelly write the riffs, I deal with most of the vocal, melodies and lyrics, Bobby and Rob interject with ideas constantly too to improve the songs. It really is a group effort.

What are the main themes or topics for most of your songs?
Ah….theres a lot about my relationships in the past….and even the odd one about my present lady. More of the last 2 albums were about these-the new one not so much so…. its a lot of emotional outlet for me….that kind of bullshit!

Do you think these topics will change over time?

Could you briefly describe the music-making process?
Riffs get written first and organised into song structures, then we work on vocal melodies to go over the riffs, and finally lyrics get written…

What are your rehearsals generally like?
Smokey 😉 and usually involving a few beers for everyone but me.

How has your music evolved since you first began playing music together?
I would defiantly say yes- listening to our first album and now the new tracks on album 3, I would like to say theres a good progression there.

What has been your biggest challenge as a band?
Balance between home and band. Some of the band are family men, so time can be precious for us.. it can be a real strain

What’s your ultimate direction for your band? Are you seeking massive fame and fortune?
Hell yeah!!!
No…..we love playing the music we play, we write for ourselves. If it happens to sell 2000 or 20,000,000 then so be it. we would all love to be on the road constantly and earning a fortune, I would not deny that, but we wouldnt sacrifice anything to do it musically, we play what we play.

What advice do you have for people who want to form their own bands?
Just do it, its the best fun you could ever have, it really is. I love it. if you want to do it professionally tho, you have to be totally dedicated to it, forsaking much else of your life. It can be tough

How can fans-to-be gain access to your music? Do you have a website with sample songs?
Like every band in the world, we have a myspace page, go check the songs out, they rock!

Is there anyone you’d like to acknowledge for giving you support over the years??
Loads of people, from our parents and other family to the guys at Copro Casket, who released out first album with us, our agent Dan Devita who has worked hard for the band for years, and all of the equipment people listed above…

Ok, the silly questions –
On line or real shops??
Real shops, all the way

What is your biggest weakness?”

What are your biggest strengths?”

What is the one, single food that you would never give up?
Lamb. I love it way too much

Where do you want to be in 5 years?
Playing big gigs and festivals all over the world.

Have you ever gone cow-tipping?

What should your catchphrase/life’s motto be?
Its just life baby!

What do you dream about?
I never remember my dreams sadly..

Have you ever gambled at a casino?
Yes, a few times, and lost every time too!

Favorite tv show

Strangest thing a fan has ever said to you
Can I lick the sweat off your head.

What scares you the most and why
Spiders- i really struggle with them, dont know why.

What do you do in your free time?
Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha…..tour manage other bands.

Do you like chocolate?
Hell yeah

Do you scream on roller coasters?
I’d scream if someone tried to get me on one!

Do you like rainy days or snowy winter, summer days or spring time?
Springtime, all the way

What makes you bored?
I havent been bored since 1981….I really dont know

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?
Japan I havent been there yet, really want to go

Any last words?
The battery on my laptop is about to die!