Panic Room and The Reasoning sign to Esoteric Recordings

Major and completely unexpected announcements from both Panic Room and The Reasoning. Both bands have signed record deals with Esoteric Recordings, and imprint of Cherry Red records.

Panic Room’s album, which they will be recording in January and February is slated for an early Summer release, while The Reasoning’s is due in November.

Both bands have put in a lot of hard word slogging round what is euphemistically known as “The toilet circuit”, steadily building a fanbase and honing their acts to the point where they’re capable of giving far higher profile bands a run for their money. They’ve probably got as far as they were going to get as independent artists, and signing with a label is what needed to happen if they were to get to the next level.

I’ve followed both bands from their very first gigs (The Uplands Tavern in Swansea, and The Town Hall in Lydney), and it’s exciting to see where they’re going to go next. While I don’t expect them to be headlining enormodomes just yet, being signed to a label will open a lot of doors, whether it be prestigious support slots or support for overseas tours.

While I’ve heard too many horror stories in the past of labels interfering in the creative process to the detriment of an artists long-term future, I’m confident this isn’t going to happen here. It’s not like either band is a bunch of fresh-faced innocents just out of The Brit School about to be chewed-up and spat out by the major label sausage machine. Given their artist roster (including prog veterans Hawkwind and Van der Graaf Generator), Esoteric Recordings don’t sound like that sort of label.

Does rather make a mockery of the ridiculous claim that Panic Room don’t want to “dirty their hands with commerce”, doesn’t it?

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20 Responses to Panic Room and The Reasoning sign to Esoteric Recordings

  1. HippyDave says:

    Quite. Well, perhaps Ewing will have to find another reason to berate Panic Room when he writes a live review from hereon in. Alternatively, the band could simply refuse to play London shows any more*, thereby guaranteeing that said reviewer will never be at one of their gigs… ;-)

    * = This may not be a serious suggestion

  2. Nick says:

    Good news and, like you say, the ideal rebuttal to the inappropriate negative comments made in a certain recent gig review!

    Hopefully, these bands will now be able to achieve the profile that Touchstone have been enjoying with their latest album. Whilst Touchstone’s success is richly deserved, it is only fair that Panic Room & The Reasoning – who both have the musical edge on Touchstone, in my view – get the same opportunities.

  3. Tim Hall says:

    My quote comes from the letters page, which was “the only one they received on the subject”.

  4. Grae says:

    And you and I both know that wasn’t the case. And even after that rather public discussion they still haven’t either acknowledged my email or responded to the follow up.

    Humble pie indeed.

    And great news for both bands. Here’s to the future.

  5. Ian says:

    This might come across as a little selfish (I certainly don’t mean it to) but, while this is without doubt good news for the bands, I wonder how it will ultimately affect a minority of fans, in which I include myself. Although an avid gig-goer, I only ever see live music in my home town these days. That is, of course, my choice but it is based on lifestyle and financial considerations. I have seen Panic Room every time they have played here and The Reasoning on their one appearance (the second was cancelled). Given the small audiences I have worried for a while that the band might decide it was no longer worth playing here. Now, with a label to please, that decision may be taken out of their hands. Obviously, I wish both bands every success but I fear that my chances of seeing them live may be Diminishing.

  6. Tim Hall says:

    We’ll have to see, but I wouldn’t expect to see a significant reduction in the number of dates, especially for The Reasoning, who haven’t toured that extensively lately.

    We might have seen the last of Panic Room playing to a few dozen people in tiny clubs, but that’s no reason to suggest they’ll restrict themselves to a handful of high-profile showcase gigs in major cities to the exclusion of whole swathes of the country.

  7. Jerry Ewing says:

    Exactly Hippy Dave. Or maybe you could find out who got them their deal in the first place!

  8. HippyDave says:

    I know very well that you had a hand in their deal, Jerry (I do *talk* to people before jumping to conclusions, you know). I think it’s disingenuous in the extreme to take full credit for it, though!

    As for the rest: yes, the previously mentioned live review did leave an unsavoury taste in my mouth (where’s the equal disdain for the numerous other bands who are even more lacking when it comes to the ‘business’ side of the equation than Panic Room?), and the comment about the London-centric nature of the live reviews in “Prog” stands. All the best gigs happen outside of the capital (at least when we’re talking about bands who can’t/won’t pack out the O2 every time they tour) – I’m surprised you haven’t twigged that yet. There’s more outside of London than Summer’s End, y’know!

  9. Grae says:

    Ah! You are alive!

    Are you claiming responsibility for their contract now?

  10. Jerry Ewing says:

    Disingenious Dave? Really? You might talk to people but know all the facts before you continue slagging me off.

  11. Nathan Page says:

    Agree with Dave about London gigs, have yet to see an excellent gig in the capital. Every other major city i.e. Manchester, Birmingham, Nottingham, Leeds. I have seen excellent gigs in.
    Plus you Londoners didn’t get to sing ” I’ve got 13 channels of shit to choose from” at Roger Waters wall shows, Manchester was first since Mexico city ;)

  12. Tim Hall says:

    Definitely with Dave and Nathan about London gigs – Nowhere in London compares with places like Bilston Robin 2 or Bury Met, and the contrast is really stark if you saw the same band at 02 Academy 2 a few days before. And Bilston Robin 2 typically draws a bigger crowd on a Sunday than most London venues draw on a Friday or Saturday. And they’re more enthusiastic, and don’t chatter through the quiet bits either.

    And when it comes to higher-profile bands like Marillion and Opeth, the London date is always somewhere bigger, more corporate and less intimate than the equivalent venues in places like Manchester.

  13. HippyDave says:

    To be fair to Jerry, there’s absolutely no question that the deals in question wouldn’t have happened nearly as quickly without his help. Jerry, I fully realise that those of us who have a fondness for these bands owe you a debt of gratitude for that – that has been made absolutely clear by everyone involved. Your long-term championing of first Karnataka, then of the various “phoenix bands” is appreciated, and by no-one more than I (except perhaps the bands themselves!).

    I also accept a degree of disingenuousness (disingenuosity?) in talking about “Prog”s London-centric gig coverage as if you are solely to blame for it. Clearly, as the Editor, you are in no small part responsible for how the mag operates, but it is not *solely* down to you. So if my previous commentary feels like me “slagging you off”, then I do apologise. That doesn’t make the commentary any less true, though, as borne out by other comments here and elsewhere.

    I won’t apologise for any remarks I’ve made about the Panic Room live review, though. I can see that the intent was maybe to try and give the band a push, but – as I know you’ve discovered – that’s certainly not the effect it had, nor was it how it read. I, more than most people, know how it is to (a) be misinterpreted, or (b) insert my foot in my mouth, but that really was, as they say, a humdinger :-) .

    I’m not interested in starting an argument (“is this 5 minutes or the full half-hour?”), and it’s not my intent to offend (perhaps needle a bit, or even bait, but never offend). If we must, perhaps we should agree to differ, but I’d prefer to think that I/we may have a point (or points), however coached in sarcasm it/they might be.

  14. PTG says:

    Jerry Ewing is 100% correct

  15. Tim Hall says:

    Completely agree with Dave about that Panic Room live review. Reviews should focus on the music, not take up more than half the space accusing the band of lacking professionalism. Especially when some of those accusations were factually inaccurate.

    Anyone who thinks what was said was fair comment or valid constructive criticism ought to speak to the band themselves. Whatever part Jerry Ewing played in getting them the record deal doesn’t change that.

  16. Tim Hall says:

    One thought I’ve had, which I was reminded of last night while listening to

    What impact will Panic Room’s signing a record deal have on the Italian metal band of the same name? As far as I can tell, “our” Panic Room have been in existence for longer and have a prior claim to the name.

    It probably didn’t matter much as long as neither band had an international profile, but now Panic Room seem destined for bigger things, it may well become an issue. I hope it can be resolved amicably by both parties.

  17. delly says:

    Further to the comments on live gigs.
    I have attended quite a number of gigs of the progressive persuasion at Bury Met, Robin Bilston, Holmfirth et al and have always been surprised by the smallish turnout, largely of 40/50ish blokes with some interesting haircuts or lack of!
    Has anyone been to see Porcupine Tree, Opeth or Riverside as I would be interested to see the turnout and age/gender for those gigs.
    Pure Reason Revolution was a poor turnout at Holmfirth for the final tour but I believe the London gig was well populated.

    luv Delly

    ps Jerry Ewing is a star and I wouldn’t have discovered the Reasoning, Panic Room or any new prog without his support and excellent magazine.

  18. Nathan Page says:

    Well I know for a fact porcupine tree and Opeth have younger audiences and are very well attended generally.
    Oh and I’m one of the young Prog fans out there and love Porcupine tree especially.

  19. Tim Hall says:

    Yes, right about Porcupine Tree and Opeth playing to a younger (and much bigger) crowd – Opeth filled the 5000 capacity Brixton Academy last November. But they’re more metal-orientated in their sound, and metal fans are both more numerous and younger than typical prog fans.

    Saying that, when I saw Sonata Arctica (who are power metal rather than prog), I was struck by how close to Mostly Autumn many of their songs were; the biggest difference was how the guitars sounded. They attracted a big crowd midweek in Reading, and I’m sure it ought to be possible to sell bands like Mostly Autumn, The Reasoning or Touchstone to that sort of audience.

  20. Tim Hall says:

    As for other bands, I’ve found it varies, and often depends on how heavily the venue promotes gigs.

    Bilston Robin 2 always gets good crowds whoever is playing. Mostly Autumn usually get decent-sized audience, and Heather Findlay’s debut solo tour was pretty well attended too. And The Reasoning sold out The Borderline last July.