Surround Sound: Austin’s Moving Panoramas on the Joys of Big Sound from Small Amps
Austin indie group Moving Panoramas will be playing its first Medford show on Thu., May 19, at Johnny B’s. The band’s clear, catchy melodies, straight and simple beats, and reverb drenched guitars are a luscious combination, equal parts Joy Division and Best Coast, and the show is sure to delight.
The Messenger caught up with frontwoman and guitar player Leslie Sisson to find out what makes the band’s sound so dreamy.
RVM: How did you meet/did the band get together?
LS: I started this band a couple years ago while I was teaching music at School of Rock in Austin. I recruited a student I’d been mentoring, Rozie Castoe, on bass and Karen Skloss on drums who was a longtime friend I met in film school and toured with in her former band, Black Forest Fire. Karen is also a filmmaker and couldn’t make it on tour this time because she’s working on her own feature film. So Rozie switched to drums and we’re bringing along a friend on bass, Jolie Flink, who has a band in Austin called Mean Jolene.
RVM: What does your name mean? What does it say about your sound?
LS: We were originally called Panoramas, inspired by aiming to have a more ‘panoramic’ sound, i.e. wider, stereo, spread-out. … I play through three small amps on stage via a stereo/surround signal and every night someone seems to be blown at how I get such a large sound out of one guitar via tiny amps. It started as an experiment to make one big amp out of multiple smaller amps just because I can’t carry one big amp on my own. That’s really aided in that panoramic sound. … [but] About a year into it, we learned there was a French band in the 80’s called Panoramas so we decided to change the name to Moving Panoramas.
RVM: You call your sound “dream gaze.” What does that mean to you, and what is it that attracted you to that sound?
LS: I made that descriptive up combining dream-pop with shoegaze. I originally started writing music because I was so inspired by ’90s shoegaze and Brit-pop. There’s something about that sound that soothes my soul, perhaps all the reverb or the lack of in-your-face vocals that allows the listener to get lost in the music.
RVM: What are you looking for or trying to do when you write a song?
LS: Songwriting is part of my therapy. I write music to externalize what’s going on in my head and in my heart. I’m a survivor of some crazy trauma and the only thing I’ve been able to find over the years to help ease my PTSD was music. I’ve been medicating with music, not drugs, and I reach for the guitar instead of the bottle. Aside from that, I’m just looking for something I’d like to listen to and play.
10pm, Thu., May 19
Johnny B’s, 120 E. Sixth St., Medford