Liam Magner

Liam Magner is mostly known these days as one half of Veranda Panda but he’s a jack of many artistic trades. DJ, actor, musician, director, producer and *ahem* model, the man knows how to keep busy. We chatted to him about his current projects, how he got to where he is and where he sees himself going.

 

DIY: When people ask the infamous, “What do you do?” question, what do you say to them?

Liam: I say that I’m involved in entertainment and the arts, then mumble something and turn the question around.

 I believe you have to stay present and relevant all the time, and often handing out free music is the best way to do that.

DIY: If Acting and Music were about to be eaten by a rampant killer badger, which one would you save?

Liam:  I would save music. Sorry acting, death at hands of badger it shall be.

 

DIY: In what way did Neon Anthems impact on your career and where you are now?

Liam: Neon Anthems had a massive impact on everything I do. Jacobus van Heerden basically sparked my interest in producing music and performing it live. It not only influenced my style, but gave me years of experience in dealing with the multiple monsters and variables that come with being solely dedicated to a career in the arts. Most importantly, it taught me: ‘Take what you do very seriously, but not yourself’ It’s a fine line to walk sometimes.

 

 

DIY: How much time do you set aside for acting every month? Does it still hold a major place in your list of priorities? Are you working on any productions we can look forward to seeing any time soon?

Liam: I think it’s fair to say that the majority of my time and effort is put into Veranda Panda these days. I will never stop acting completely, but have definetly made a move to work consciously on music. I still have various acting related projects, from MC work to directing, and have recently begun work on a new two man show. It is the first writing and acting collaboration between myself and Jane Baillie, loosely based on the history of music. I’m really amped about it!

 

 

DIY: How important do you think it is to have more than one side project going at one time? Do you ever worry that you are spreading yourself too thin? How do you combat that?

Liam: I had been totally oblivious to that concept up until last year. I always enjoyed doing five hundred different things, with no real clue about where I was going or what was going to transpire. Thankfully though, I eventually realized that I needed to prioritize and make some committed choices. I think, if you do wish to pursue a career in the arts, you need to be able to multi-task, it’s simple economics. I still do various jobs that help pay rent, but dedicate my efforts to furthering and promoting my music. It’s as simple as making a choice and believing in it, for me at least.

 

 

DIY: You have worked with a variety of fellow musicians and actors across all media platforms in your career, how much emphasis do you place on collaboration? And what have you learned from all these experiences? Is working with friends as bad as people make it out to be?

Liam: Yeah, I love collaborating. Mostly because I dig what happens when different people get together to create something. I really get a kick out of taking a talent and placing it in a completely different context. Electronic music, specifically, is an amazing environment to experiment with that. Find something cool, add drums, add bass and see what happens! I’ve never had any complaints about the people I work with. I’m really lucky to have some insanely talented friends, who also know how to listen and co-operate efficiently.

 

 

 

DIY: Where would you say Veranda Panda fits in the SA music scene? How did the idea to form the duet with Lady Jane come about? Will your work continue to be as collaborative as it has been? Are you looking at overseas prospects in terms of festivals?

Liam: I have no idea where we really fit in. All I can safely say is that there is not much else out there that sounds like us. I have always maintained that living in Durban has been a saving grace with my production. Simple reason being that we don’t have any strong influences. In Cape Town, the guys are obviously streets ahead. They have such a strong culture of electronic production. They talk shop, use the same stuff, learn the tricks and set trends. I’ve always felt like a farm boy when I go there. It used to freak me out, but now it comforts me to know that our sound is OURS. I say ours, because Jane is without doubt 50% of the music that is Veranda Panda these days. We met by chance at a Durban July gig two years ago. I was initially taken by the idea of collaborating with a live musician, which eventually evolved into us working together. I’m pretty sure that we will continue to work together for a very long time! We have two more EPs to release in the next year for a start. Among our plans, we definitely have our eyes set on performing overseas. We have just begun to play the SA festival circuit and are working hard on making inroads into Europe.

 


DIY: You have recently opted to sell your Veranda Panda songs on Airborne Music, in your opinion do free access/downloads strengthen or weaken an artist’s online presence? What’s your view on file-sharing/illegal downloading? Are gigs not where all the money is at?

Liam: Personally, I am a thief and proud digital pirate. We love the Airborne idea. Its R8 a month, which is basically free! However, if you manage to get it without paying, good for you. I won’t lose any sleep over it.  As long as people are getting the music we are happy. Unless I am Kanye West I don’t see myself making enough to buy new Terios from online sales.  Music is so disposable these days. The idea of a physical album is pretty much dead to independent artists and I believe you have to stay present and relevant all the time, and often handing out free music is the best way to do that.

 

 

DIY: Let’s chat about the launch of your first Veranda Panda album, The White EP. Do you think that release has moved you forward as musicians? Would you regard it as a success or a failure?

Liam: We were flipping stoked with the outcome! Throwing an event sucks! Its way to stressful and is such an obvious representation of your presence in the scene. I would have died if my parents had come and seen us play to nobody. Luckily though, we had amazing support and an amazing evening. I was really shocked at the turn-out, and I’m not talking shit. We were nothing short of emotional about it. Having a physical EP, paying for every single part of it, selling them, and basically investing every part of ourselves into a product can only be beneficial to us. It proved a lot to us and I give it one big tick in my book of life. Jane will give it a gold star, ‘cause she rolls with stars.

 

DIY: What do you have in store for the rest of this year? Any tunes bubbling under the Spitmunky pot?

Liam: We have another EP to release! ‘The Black EP’ which as its name suggests, is a darker side to the coin. Our first Drum and Bass track and new music video which we are doing with Mark Edwards, who we love like ice cream. We have some awesome bookings, including ‘Earthdance Cape Town’ and lots and lots of collabs of course. I will always work with EWOK, but don’t think the Spitmunky beast will raise its paws anytime soon. I have an idea for an EP I wanna do with Dr Fly and the Nurses and then of course our new two man show.

 

 

DIY: Lastly, is modelling the most bullshit job in the world?

Liam: Argh. You had to say something…haha. It paid bills in varsity and I met some amazing people, some of whom still earn me good money, so I must remain diplomatic, but in a nutshell: Modelling is not my personal best. I do miss having hair like He-man though.

 

You can hear more Veranda Panda tracks on their Soundcloud and Airborne pages.

Comments
5 Responses to “Liam Magner”
  1. 031pride says:

    “I have always maintained that living in Durban has been a saving grace with my production. Simple reason being that we don’t have any strong influences”

    Couldn’t agree more. The truly original guys stay like that because of this wonderful city.

  2. Pascal says:

    Some kiffness by Sandcastle here too.

  3. Mel says:

    please contact me about the availability of veranda panda urgent please

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