A classically trained pianist from the age of six, Jarrah McCleary grew up in the sticky heat of the Northern Territory. His previous project, The Dirty Secrets saw the band working between London and Australia with iconic producer and engineer, Nick Terry (Klaxons, Libertines).
A handful of successful releases later, the outfit were invited to play at festivals such as Big Day Out, Southbound Festival as well as supporting Muse on their Australian tour. The band went on to tour Japan, America (CMJ) and Europe.
After working on ideas for a new record for over two years, in early 2011, McCleary declared a new album and boarded the airplane, bound for Los Angeles.
There are claims that LA is to blame for how quickly The Dirty Secrets pop rock aesthetic was shed and new skins were formed. Between splashes of yacht rock and nods to Peter Gabriel (thanks to the iconic ‘80s Yamaha DX7 synth), definitive genres were pushed overboard and all that was left was a big, golden sea filled with music that made sense to who the band has become.
A short summer experience in the ‘city where dreams are made’ lead to tracks tinged with hints of hopeful house music strewn with the sleaziness of Venice beach and too much free poured tequila.
Heavily steeped in sunburn, the scent of coconut, beer drinking on the promenade and bikini-clad girls on roller-skates – the band was faced with no other option than to create a new project – and so, Panama was born.
Panama is the new incarnation for McCleary, who is joined by his old band mate, Cam Edwards (The Dirty Secrets) and a collective of hand-selected local artists to create Australia’s finest four-piece.
The forthcoming Panama album was produced and mixed in Los Angeles by Eric Broucek of DFA fame (Holy Ghost, Eleanor Friedberger, !!!) over two months. During their recordings, Eric’s friend Jim Orso (VHS or BETA) joined them in the studio on drumming duties, adding a layer to the sound that is as relevant as it is brimful of ‘80s influence.
Panama’s first single, ‘Magic’ (released worldwide on 2 March) is a modern summer anthem. And what better way to celebrate the party season than some bonus remix action by the worlds most avid dance enthusiasts? Panama joins forces with DFA heavyweights and Panama fans, Midnight Magic and Gavin Russom (The Crystal Ark) on remixing duties.
The video was done by Ireland-based production house, Feel Good Lost. feelgoodlost.me