10 Questions with Pan Pan’s Sarah Jerns

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Pan Pan is an instrumental band from Bellingham, WA.  Sarah Jerns plays piano, trumpet, and fluegelhorn, as well as composing all of the music for Pan Pan.  Sarah has also played with The Love Lights, The Presidents of the United States of America, The Ghost and The Grace, and Rooftops.  These are our questions to her:

1. What is Pan Pan?

Pan Pan is when I decide to record my music or perform it and share it with others. I keep a lot to myself, but I enjoy sharing a bit. I like to try and show you what I enjoy.

2. Why is Pan Pan?

I spent a long time playing in other groups, which is great, but I like doing my own thing. It was fun to be in other bands, but none of them were really my own personal genre. I’ve gotten a taste of what it is like to play on a huge stages to thousands of fans, and now I want to make it there myself. Sure, I could keep latching on to other people for aid, but it would be more fun to rock out on stage knowing that I accomplished it myself. And by myself I don’t just mean me; I mean the rest of the amazing musicians in my live band. They make the music I hear in my head come out on stage.

3. What is your ideal setting for composing music?

Sadly, I normally need to head to my parents house. I enjoy writing on my piano that’s carried me through the years of lessons and homework. But first I have to get worked up or energized about something. I once waited a really long time for the new Ipod touch to come out with a camera…and then it didn’t. I’ve never been so angry with Apple. I honestly headed straight to a piano and wrote the tune “Water Buffalo Run” right then.
I really enjoy studying music theory too. Learning new concepts of how others thought allows me to play around with my music. I once had to write a lot of composition homework assigned for a guy I call the Hemp Wizard. Doing that kind of school work is actually what makes me come up with new songs. Pan Pan is a very academic band. We nerd out all the time about what concept are going to be used and what sound that is going to make.

4. Béla Bartók or Steve Reich?

Bela Bartok all the way, man. Have you heard his Concerto for Orchestra? OMG SET THEORY! Give me some more of those atonal pitch classes!

5. Where did you record your new CD, “New Arms“? How?

My parents house! I also recorded one tune outside WWU’s PAC when it was raining and then finished it off in one of the practice rooms. I once told someone it would be ridiculous to record in a practice room because the pianos are terrible and the sound has no where to expand. Guess I messed that one up.

6. What is your favorite book, film, or piece of music?

Sarah Jerns doesn’t read books, kids…..or really watch movies. I couldn’t name a favorite piece either. But right now my favorite chord to play is E major in second inversion with a minor and major seventh. It can turn out some juicy things. Look forward to that.

7. Have you ever won a trophy? If so, what for? How many?

YES! I won second place in a soccer tournament in third grade, I believe. I also totally won a Drill Off the summer of Junior year. I was with a bunch of drum majors and we had to complete the commands that the squad leader called out. I dominated! Hella nerdy.

8. You are contacted by a race of extra-terrestrial Pan Pan enthusiasts who inform you that in 7 days you will be teleported to a planet in an alternate dimension, nearly identical to Earth, called Bearth. Everyone you know and love will be there, but you will only be known to them as the Canadian singer/songwriter Alanis Morrissette. This future is definite. There is nothing you can do to change it. After arriving on Bearth, how long do you wait before you start planning the “Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie Reunion Tour”?

Dude, right away. I would be so gritty when I did it, though. I’m talking about no showers for weeks. That would make me super angsty. I would probably gig non-stop and demand that all my green rooms be filled with strongbow, sierra mist, and pocky (strawberry flavored).

9. You have the power to stop time,  à la Zack Morris from Saved By The Bell. Do you use this skill to help others? Or do you engage in relatively harmless and often hilarious hi-jinx, either preceded or succeeded by an unlikely series of comedic misunderstandings?

Are you serious? Full on hi-jinx Harry Potter sort of stuff. Some would be harmless and some hilarious. But I would probably also go back to when I was in high school and tell my old self to stop being so lame. Getting asked by your dream boy to Homecoming really isn’t that important after all.

10. What can we expect from the upcoming Pan Pan Holiday EP?

I think I’m going to focus more on just piano recordings. I’m going to share the moments that come out when I’m alone with the piano and I let myself create music as I go. The first song done, “Cedar Crowns & Pocket Noise” is airy and delicate. Tones stick with you and conflict with others. I want to stick your head inside my piano and have you listen to the music that happens inside the strings. It’s not all about notes, its about the sound that the notes leave behind and how they interact. That’s what I am creating.

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