BASEMENT, THE STORY SO FAR, STATE CHAMPS AND FOREVER CAME CALLING HAVE ALL RECORDED, MIXED, MASTERED AND LIVED WITHIN PANDA STUDIOS. IN OUR UK EXCLUSIVE, WE GO INSIDE THE STUDIO AND TALK TO THE MAN WHO MADE ALL OF THESE RECORDS POSSIBLE… 

Producers are the people in the recording industry that so often go unnoticed by the general populace. Yet, they do so much for the music that we listen to, without them we would be listening to half mixed demo tapes of your favourite bands and a lot of the time a band’s full potential would never quite be realised. This is how we managed to find our way to sitting down with Sam Pura of Panda Records, the man responsible for recording and producing, mixing and mastering, the records of: The Story So Far, Stickup Kid, Basement, Forever Came Calling, Sabertooth Zombie, Landscapes and Hundredth. Just to name a few.

“IT WAS SOLIDIFIED IN MY BRAIN THAT MUSIC WAS GOING TO BE MY THING…” – SAM PURA

For all of these achievements, Sam’s start in music is humble, funny and impressive in equal parts. When asked what made him want to stick with this for the rest of his life Sam, or ‘Lil Wes’ as he was known after, tells us the story of when he was 15 and managed to ‘finesse getting on stage with Limp Bizkit at one of their concerts and play a good 45 seconds of one of their songs with them. It was solidified in my brain that music was going to be my thing, and, more specifically, creating records that are as badass, if not more badass, than the records I loved growing up.’

When asked what records that he thought changed the game for him when he started producing, Sam starts reminiscing about how he ‘randomly put on “Blue Skies, Broken Hearts, Next 12 Exits” by The Ataris the other day and remembered how much it really inspired me and continues to inspire me. They were opening for MXPX at the first show I ever went to at the Fillmore in San Fransisco. A record like that inspires me to produce records that sound organic and real as possible.’ He laughs, then goes on to add, ‘that, or At The Drive-In, or Glassjaw and Radiohead really inspired my initial “sound” as an engineer, and it inspired my drive to push my clients to perform at their highest potential in order to capture the most organic, emotive take possible.’

“it inspired my drive to push my clients to perform at their highest potential in order to capture the most organic, emotive take possible….”

When asked what records that he thought changed the game for him when he started producing, Sam starts reminiscing about how he ‘randomly put on “Blue Skies, Broken Hearts, Next 12 Exits” by The Ataris the other day and remembered how much it really inspired me and continues to inspire me. They were opening for MXPX at the first show I ever went to at the Fillmore in San Fransisco. A record like that inspires me to produce records that sound organic and real as possible.’ He laughs, then goes on to add, ‘that, or At The Drive-In, or Glassjaw and Radiohead really inspired my initial “sound” as an engineer, and it inspired my drive to push my clients to perform at their highest potential in order to capture the most organic, emotive take possible.’

“there’s a lot of weed!”

Ask anyone that works in the production industry and they’ll tell you that it’s a super long and arduous process, you have to sit and listen to the same thirty seconds of a song hundreds of times to make sure it’s perfect. When we asked Sam what keeps in motivated throughout this, he was frank and it wasn’t at all what we were expecting. ‘Lots of weed,’ he laughs. ‘I don’t think it’s a secret that I smoke weed while I work. For me, it’s like a cup of coffee that allows me to focus in on the task at hand, make it awesome, and move on to the next, rather than worry about the million-and-one steps and trials that go into making a great record. Simply trusting the process and being confident in myself are equally important to the success of a long recording process, as well. Trusting my gut and following my own intuition, regardless of the length of the process, pull me into a successful light.’

‘Working in the studio can be strenuous and repetitive, or relaxed and consistently progressive. Sometimes a little bit of both. It really all depends on if the band wants their record to sound as good as I want it to sound.’ Sam stops and thinks for a moment before carrying on,  ‘I’m stoked to have worked with a band like Hundredth because those dudes are simply about it. They’re down to experiment, put the time in, and they aren’t afraid to just completely restructure a song or ditch an idea that may not work anymore.’

Sam has produced some amazing records and in his own words he is ‘humbled by the fact that so many people have been able to listen to the work I’ve done with bands likes Basement, State Champs, and TSSF and enjoy it. Positive feedback and appreciation for my work are always additional sparks to my personal drive.’

Along with this, he has also started a show of sorts called The Waiting Room, that shows bands playing live but recorded with studio quality equipment. In his own words, ‘The Waiting Room is another passion project I started to: 1. showcase bands I think are sick and 2. capture the essence of a live performance with the highest quality possible. It’s completely free. We put on the homies that work hard and live and breathe the band they’re in, hopefully, to subliminally inspire other bands and musicians to do the same.’

And to anyone looking to get into the industry he has just one word, ‘practice.’

RECOGNISE THESE RECORDS? THANK PURA… 

 

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