While at Shaky Knees this year I had the privilege to interview Trash Panda, a band that has roots in Atlanta but is now based in Jacksonville. Check out the interview below.
Daniel: Where did y’all start as a band?
Trash Panda: Well, there’s been two iterations. The first iteration of the band started in 2016 in Atlanta. And then we stopped doing the band for four years. This iteration of the band started up in Jacksonville, Florida in 2021.
Daniel: Really? You started it back up in 2021?
Trash Panda: Yeah, but we started really going again in 2022.
Daniel: Why was there a break?
Trash Panda: To be honest, it was probably mostly just for mental health reasons, to be frank, you know?
Daniel: Fair enough. That’s completely valid. you have to respect that when someone makes space for themselves. A lot of people get mad about it, but it’s their mental health. So, why did y’all start the band and where did the name come from?
Trash Panda (Patrick Taylor): The whole band started because in my early 20s, like most people probably in their early 20s. I had a lot of difficulties going on. I was living in this house north of Atlanta, and there were raccoons crawling in the drywall. And they were all around the porch all the time. And they would come to watch TV through the windows. And it also felt kind of appropriate because I was trying to dig out of the trashcan of my life at that point and write songs and turn it into something sustaining, if that makes sense, and like try to create something out of that. So it was like kind of a totem animal. A little raccoon. It’s an interesting name. I like it because everyone knows they should know what a trash band is. So it’s catchy and piques people’s interest.
Daniel: So how does it feel to be on the Shaky Knees lineup? Because it’s interesting that y’all were a band that broke up for a while, then came back during COVID.
Trash Panda: Yeah, it’s totally surreal. We’re used to no green room and just roughing it. It’s so cushy. Feels less trashy and more panda.
Daniel: Yeah, I like that. What’s been the best venue you’ve played at and the worst venue? Excluding Shaky Knees.
Trash Panda: There was a Utah one that was pretty bad. The best venue, though, that’s a high honor. The one in Berkeley. Cornerstone Brewery. The Bay crowd is so positive, and they love to dance. Hi-Dive in Denver was also great.
Daniel: What’s been your favorite memory from tour or just a fun memory from tour?
Trash Panda: When we went to the Bay. A friend is really involved in the Oakland punk scene. So we went to an after-party there on Halloween, and it was so interesting. The most interesting people. It was a rocky horror-tastic.
Daniel: Oh, like a Rocky horror. Oh, wow.
Trash Panda: Yeah. And we had no idea. But there was a blues band playing. They were incredible. Like, blew our minds.
Daniel: Something like that is fun to run into, especially on Halloween.
Trash Panda: It was like the most California party. So colorful. Like, the people were so interesting.
Daniel: How long have y’all toured? I would assume with the break, probably not a lot.
Trash Panda: Back in the day, we only played the Southeast. In the past year, we’ve played more shows than we ever played before. And so I don’t know how many shows we’ve done in the past two years. Maybe close to 50? Actually kicking off our tour with this show. We’re heading out back to Texas and back to Denver. Then later on in the year, we’ll go north as well.
Daniel: Nice. So another question I’d like to ask. What’s your favorite King Gizzard album? Collectively as a band, if you want. Or name a few albums.
Trash Panda: Flying Microtonal Banana. Infest the Rats’ Nest. Nonagon Infinity. Sketches of East Brunswick. Gumboot Soup. We all saw King Gizzard here in Atlanta.
Daniel: Was it at Variety Playhouse?
Trash Panda: Variety playhouse. We were all at all. We didn’t even know each other.
Daniel: Good stuff. Another question, hard or soft tacos and why?
Trash Panda: Soft corn, which is a traditional classic. Corn tortilla, onion, cilantro, and good meat. Like, if it’s a hard shell, maybe you could put a little soft shell around it with some cheese in the middle and then maybe some carne asada. Like a Crunchwrap, you know?
Daniel: So the two answers I’ve gotten in the past are hard shell because it’s like portable nachos. Every single time you take a bite, it’s like it’s a nacho bite. And soft shell because who wants hard shell crumbles everywhere? I’ve gotten both answers.
Trash Panda: Yeah, like the hard shell gets stuck in the back of your throat, and what are you going to do about that? When it goes into knife mode and it just slices the top of your mouth.
Daniel: So aside from the tour you have, what else do you have going on for 2023? What are the big plans for Trash Panda?
Trash Panda: The new album comes out on Friday.
Daniel: Oh yeah? What’s the album called?
Trash Panda: Pandemonium.
Daniel: How long have you all been recording that?
Trash Panda: Eight months.
Daniel: Hell yeah. Anything else? Like for this year?
Trash Panda: Yeah. We’re going to record more in the summer. When we get back, we’ll probably drop a few singles before the end of the year. New album next year. Even talks of an acoustic EP. And we’re touring the West Coast, too.
Daniel: Where are y’all going after this after today?
Trash Panda: San Antonio next Friday. We’ll go to Louisiana first. And then we’ll just hop over. The one thing we would want to add is, I don’t know who’s going to see this, but I just want to thank all the people that helped us this past week because we had van trouble. We had to like put out a GoFundMe to help us rent a van. And now we’re going to be able to rent the van on Tuesday. We were sweating last week.
Daniel: I can imagine. You have a tour set up and then all of a sudden you don’t have a van. Well thank you for your time. I look forward to seeing your set today!