2015 treated Adelaide’s Timberwolf incredibly well, with the release of his Flux EP sending him around the country and abroad performing and introducing his music to many new faces, while impressing the fan base he’d already been cultivating at home even more. With 2016 already in full swing, Timberwolf (aka Chris Panousakis) has some special live dates in store – an upcoming preview show of new material at Shebeen in Melbourne, as well as a coveted set at this year’s Peninsula Picnic.
“It’s very unlike your usual live show,” he says of the upcoming Shebeen show. I’ve been writing new stuff for months and recording it all, so I’m really deep into that world at the moment. I don’t think I’m going to put too much effort into putting myself out of that for the show. I’m excited.”
“I’ve never really approached a show from that mindset before, so people are probably gonna get a window straight into the middle of my mind in this process, which is really exciting. I’m really open to the idea of making the show almost interactive. I’m definitely gonna spend half the show solo, talking people through these new songs and where they came from, why and how I wrote it and letting people ask whatever the fuck they wanna ask. At the end, I’ll probably bring the band on and play the newer ones that are a bit bigger with the band. It’s such a different approach; I can’t wait to share it to people, actually.”
The Peninsula Picnic will see Timberwolf performing alongside the likes of Missy Higgins, Kim Churchill and Darren Middleton out on the picturesque Mornington Peninsula, a location Panousakis is keen to get out to in general – the opportunity to perform in such a setting is just a bonus.
“It’s really, really nice and it’s a pretty cool privilege,” he says. “I might even take some time off on the Mornington Peninsula after the show because that place is beautiful and if I am in this mode, then it actually might be nice to just ride in it.”
The shows will see Timberwolf emerge from a solid amount of time away writing and playing around with some new music both at home and interstate, a period of down time he admits he was craving at the end of the year. A hectic round of touring on the road left him slightly spent and needing to regroup and as he describes the process during our recent catch up, it’s obvious the time off has done him the world of good.
“If there’s one thing I’ve learnt through all this touring in the last year,” he explains. “I’ve learned a lot about myself as a performer, but also as a person; I have definitely come to terms with the fact that I’m a full on introvert. I can’t perform when I’m not being vulnerable and quite honest and that’s expending all this energy, so every time I have to be an extrovert, it’s expending, it’s expending, it’s expending. Then, when I’m afforded the ability to actually relax into introversion – it’s so easy!”
“It’s the equivalent of a desert plant finding water every six months or something. I’ve loved it and to be able to go back to writing; I’ve written so many songs in the last four months and to be really honest with you, Sose, it’s very exciting.”
Switched on and eager to kick on with what this year has to offer musically, Timberwolf describes his anticipation surrounding the release of new material and being able to demonstrate to people following his journey so far, how much he has developed as a writer and musician. While Flux was a great introduction, it’s time to build on those foundations and take it to the next level.
“Whilst it [Flux] was released last year, I wrote that two and a half years ago,” he says. “The time that has elapsed and the growth that has taken place in that time period is huge and the steps that I’ve taken away from that sound in that period is really exciting. I’ve got to be really honest, I would probably say for the first time in my life as an artist, I’m actually writing music that is a pure picture representation of me as a person and a musician, not subject to genre. It’s not subject to a sound I’m trying to pull. I’ve literally just found a way to write my own unique kind of music.”
“I think that’s where a lot of this peace comes from,” he furthers. “I finally feel unity between the sound, my character and what I’ve learnt about myself as a performer and the stuff I’m trying to say. I’m super excited to show people eventually what the result of all this is. I would say it’s a huge step away from what anyone could call folk music. Because that’s my roots, you know, the one thing I’ve taken away from that is the storytelling honesty. So if you’re writing songs that are vulnerable and honest, I think there’s always that songwriter element in there but in terms of the way you present it and the music that it complements. That’s the whole world, in terms of choice.”
Timberwolf plays Shebeen in Melbourne on March 19th before heading out to play the Peninsula Picnic on March 20th. Grab your tickets to the Peninsula Picnic here, while the Shebeen gig can be accessed here!