For 23-year-old Mr Panes, the road to recognition might be refreshingly short, thanks to a debut session with Burberry Acoustic, a brand recognised for discovering and developing emerging musical talent. "Music is so important to Burberry, as it is to everyone," says Mr Christopher Bailey, Burberry's chief creative officer and the man behind the project. "With Burberry Acoustic, we wanted to bring people into live contact with bands that we love, bands we admire and bands we believe in." Here, the Dorset-born, London-based theology graduate Mr Panes performs his previously unheard track "I'll Move Mountains" while sporting some rather dapper pieces from Burberry's fall collections all available on MR PORTER. Enjoy.
Words by Ms Jodie Harrison
Things are different for unsigned artists these days. What with YouTube, Myspace, Facebook and Twitter closing in on new acts, there are now more opportunities for musicians to get heard. All this exposure doesn't make the process of getting signed any easier though.
How did this project with Burberry come about?
It was a bit of a shot in the dark to be honest. My sister had seen some Burberry Acoustic films and thought I should try for one, so we wrote an email and we heard back pretty quickly. Three months later I was recording it. It was a nice surprise.
Why did you opt to perform this track in particular?
I chose this track because it works really well as a solo piece. It's one of my earliest songs. I started off as a solo artist about a year ago, writing and playing for myself, and this was one of the songs that emerged from that period. I wrote this while I was at university.
You recently graduated in theology, are you planning to put that knowledge to use?
Maybe not in a practical way but I suppose I kind of am putting it to use. It's quite a thoughtful subject, so it goes hand in hand with music or poetry.
How long have you been writing songs?
I've been writing ever since I picked up a guitar at the age of 13. I never learnt how to play formally, I just learnt through practise. But my favourite thing was always playing my own songs rather than anyone else's.
How would you describe your music?
It's difficult because it's ever changing. I started off on my own and everything tended to sound quite folky but now I play more with a group, so my sound has changed. The other musicians I play with come from classical backgrounds, so my music has taken on that mood of late.
Folk music has enjoyed something of a renaissance in the mainstream of late. Why do you think that has happened?
For me, folk is about getting back to the roots of music. I feel as if music came from that folky, storytelling environment and it's a genre that feels really intimate and allows people to get an insight into your story. Right now, it just feels like the kind of music people want to listen to.
Who are your musical influences?
I've always loved Bob Dylan. He is a family favourite and his songs were a sort of soundtrack to my childhood. Nick Drake has been a more recent influence, along with Van Morrison. My sister has introduced me to some good new bands from the US lately, one of which is called The Soil and the Sun. I also tend to find quite a lot of inspiration in classical music. It's an untapped source sometimes.
Does your music influence the way you dress?
My sound is quite relaxed and rustic and I guess my approach to dressing could be described in similar terms. I'm a flannel shirt and woolly jumper kind of guy. It all sits quite well together. When I'm playing there are certain pieces I feel comfortable in, the things that make me feel more at home on stage; jeans, a plaid shirt, some brogues and maybe even a woolly hat. Luckily I have a twin sister who lives in Michigan and sends me great checked shirts, so I have accumulated quite a collection.
Your voice sounds much older than your years. Has this been a good thing for you musically?
Older than my years? I'll take that as a compliment. I think a few years ago my voice was probably quite shrieky. It's grown up, as have I.