It may be an unusual name for a musician in the UK, but this month it’s only fitting that Roo Panes will visit Australia for his very first tour down under.
Andrew ‘Roo’ Panes has had all sorts of issues with the name ‘Roo’ and explains it is not an abbreviation for Andrew, but rather a name he was dubbed after an accident when he was youngster playing a game invented from the story of 'Winnie The Pooh'.
“When I was a kid, I was playing a game called ‘Pooh Sticks’ which is a game where you throw sticks into the river… the sticks go under the bridge and whoever’s stick goes the fastest, wins,” Roo says.
Unfortunately, Roo tried to throw his stick with a bit too much enthusiasm and ended up in the river too.“I didn’t really mean to... someone had to jump in and save me and it was like a scene from the book, so I got nicknamed Roo.”
The 27-year old’s passion for music first began with a little help from a very special lady in his life, his Granny. Although she never wrote any music of her own, this classically trained pianist was a catalyst for Roo’s first taste of a musical life. “She was a great pianist and probably my earliest memory of music,” Roo says.
It turns out his Granny and he are not the only ones who are artistic in the family. Roo’s twin sister is a photographer and his older sister is an illustrator and developed and designed all of his artworks for his albums. “Her husband is a photographer too,” Roo says.
“It’s always been part of the fun of it… we kind of share our skills and help each other out and we ended up remaining pretty close through that process.”
Despite his undeniably creative nature, Roo didn’t always think he would become a career musician. He went to university to study a Bachelor of Theology as he enjoyed writing and reading; he even dabbled in modelling too. “I always thought I was going to go and do a different job… originally I chose theology because it’s a good course for going into law,” Roo says. “Music came along as a bit of a surprise.”
Roo describes his memorable, but brief encounter as a male model as a metaphor for the struggle between balancing his pursuit of songwriting and the perceptions of society. “Culturally it seemed to clash, so I chose music over that because music was my passion and what I love,” Roo says.
“It’s important that I establish with people what I’m trying to do with my music.”
One thing that resonates about Roo’s music is how simple he breaks it down. His music encapsulates peace and tranquility through his spiritual nature. “Music is more than just ‘big glitz and glam’, it’s like an antidote… it’s like I'm your doctor, you can help people get better and with music you can in your own way do that job as well, give people a moment they don’t have in their everyday life,” Roo says.
Roo Panes Tour Dates
Wed 8 Mar - Adelaide FringeFri 10 Mar - Port Fairy Folk Festival
Wed 15 Mar - The Toff In Town (Melbourne) Thu 16 Mar - The Basement (Sydney)
Sat 18 Mar - Black Bear Lodge (Brisbane)