Blue Panel

They may have just started in summer of 2009, but the 4-piece band known as Blue Panel that calls Madison, New Jersey home has been making some huge strides. Nick Malishchak, Andrew McCloskey, Matt Amling and Eli Raymond are balancing the rigors of college courses as they hone in on a style described as “old-school roots and blues-rock with new grunge and alternative elements” developing “The Feedback EP” in the process.

The band says the record “encapsulates our wide ranging sound. We just wanted to make our first EP as a band really show what we are all about. The six songs on the album are all so different, that we always get different answers when we ask people which song is their favorite.” It’s a good ride to be sure; you gotta check it out. While their live shows are hindered a bit by their class schedule (more power to these guys for pursuing two dreams at once though), you can be sure you can witness a Blue Panel show during those semester breaks (those amazing, amazing semester breaks). There’s much more to learn, so check out “The Feedback EP” and keep reading for all the answers to the XXQ’s.

XXQs: Blue Panel (PEV): How would you describe your sound and what do you feel makes you stand out over the others in your genre?

BP: Our sound is a fusion of blues heavy rock and roll and in your face alternative. What makes us stand out is our totally eclectic sound. If you listen to our songs individually, each of them draws from our different influences making each sound unique from all the others.
PEV: Calling Madison, New Jersey, home, what kind of music where the members of the band into growing up? Do you remember your first concert?
BP: From an early age, we were all exposed to great music. Ranging from the Rolling Stones to Foo Fighters to the John Butler Trio, we've all been inspired by incredible musicians first hand. Matt, our rhythm guitarist, saw the Stones for his first concert. He was twelve years old and was 5 rows away from one of the greatest bands of all time at the old Giants Stadium. He says it was the most incredible experience of his life.
PEV: What was it like trying to break into the music scene when you first started out as a band? What was your first show like together as a band?
BP: We're still to this day trying to break into the music scene. It is really tough, especially when the whole band is separated during half the year, when we are away at school. We still remember our first show though. It was at the Crossroads in Garwood, NJ and we had a ton of people there. We kept going out of tune and messing up but it was still a whole lot of fun and a great learning experience for us to improve from.
PEV: What can fans expect from a live Blue Panel show?
BP: Great music and a lot of energy, an overall great time!
PEV: What is the first thing that comes to mind when you step on stage?
BP: Excitement and a determination to play the best show ever and entertain our crowd.
PEV: Tell us the story behind the name of the band, Blue Panel.
BP: Well, don't get your hopes up for an interesting one...Nick and Andrew were at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and saw this piece of art. It was just a big canvas painted blue, and it was called "Blue Panel". They thought it was just ridiculous that such a simple work was hanging in such a famous museum, and it sort of became an inside joke. When they were thinking of a name for their band, Andrew suggested Blue Panel, and it just stuck.
PEV: What was the underlining inspiration for your music? Where do get your best ideas for songs?
BP: Our music is based on what we're feeling at the time that we write it. We come up with the general idea for the lyrics and just flesh out the idea as a band from there. That is why our lyrical content varies as much as it does, there isn't one central theme for all of our songs.
PEV: Thinking back to when you first started out do you ever look back at your career and think about your earlier days and how you’ve arrived where you are today?
BP: Its amazing to us that we started out as just a side project with two people, and became a full fledged band rising through the ranks in the east coast music scene.
PEV: What’s one thing we’d be surprised to hear about the members of Blue Panel?
BP: Matt was raised by wolves, and its there where he developed his passion for music as his mother wolf would howl at the full moon  throughout the night. But otherwise, we are just normal guys who love to play music.
PEV: Was there a certain point in your life when you knew that music was going to be a goal for you?
BP: Well, when Nick decided to go to music school, that's when he pretty much figured out that he was going to do this for the rest of his life. The rest of the band noticed once the band started taking off, that they're willing to go as far as they could with it.
PEV: What can fans expect from your latest release, “The Feedback EP”? Tell us more about this album.
BP: It encapsulates our wide ranging sound. We just wanted to make our first EP as a band really show what we are all about. The six songs on the album are all so different, that we always get different answers when we ask people which song is their favorite.
PEV: What is the feeling you get after a song is complete and you can sit back and listen to it being played the way you envisioned?
BP: It feels so satisfying that you know you took a simple idea to and turned it into a finished product. You just want to show the world the song you created and get feedback on it.
PEV: Is there one area you wish you could travel around and play that you have not yet?
BP: We haven't really traveled out of the tri-state area yet. We can't wait for our first tour, which will probably be around next summer, so watch out for that!
PEV: How have all your friends and family reacted to your career? What’s it like when you get to play at your hometown?
BP: Everyone has been very supportive in coming out to shows and following us.
PEV: What can we find each of you doing in your spare time, aside from playing/writing music?
BP: We love to stay active, so we play lots of hockey, basketball and other sports. Eli has a special hobby, collecting stamps. He drives all over the country to collect rare and valuable stamps. His collection is out of this world!!!
PEV: Name one present and past artist or group that would be your dream collaboration? Why?
BP: For the present, we'd have to go with the Foo Fighters, no doubt. Dave is such an amazing musician and extremely inspiring to us. As for the past, we would have loved to jam with Hendrix. Any rock band who wouldn't want to shouldn't be considered human beings.
PEV:  Is there an up and coming band or artist you think we should all be looking out for now?
BP: Blue Panel, of course! We're still up and coming, but you should definitely be looking out for us!
PEV: If playing music wasn’t your life (or life’s goal) what do you think each of you would be your career?
BP: Nick would still be playing music somewhere, Matt would go to medical school in hopes of becoming a prominent surgeon. Andrew would fulfill his lifelong dream of being a competitive eater and Eli would move out to Montana and collect his stamps in peace.
PEV: So, what is next for Blue Panel?
BP: We're going back off to school in the fall, but next summer we're going to be playing a lot of shows all over and debuting a whole new lot of songs! So watch out for all that, and keep and eye on and see if we're going to be in your area.


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