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There’s truly no rest for the members of Hot Panda. Even now, during the middle of a short touring break, lead singer and guitarist Chris Connelly still finds himself on the road — though this time around it’s strictly for pleasure. Speaking over the phone as he returns from a visit with family in the band’s former hometown of Edmonton, this marks the first time in more than a year that Connelly has been able to actually go home.
Of course, this news isn’t surprising when you consider how much time Hot Panda spends on the road. After having “literally driven four tour buses into the ground,” Hot Panda returned just a few weeks ago from their third European tour, which was preceded by several mini tours across
Connelly admits the band isn’t immune to feelings of homesickness during their travels, though they still wouldn’t give up the course they’re currently on.
“When you’re gone, after a little while you’re like, ‘I want to be back home,’ ” Connelly says. “But then if you’re back for too long you kind of get the itch to go out again. The grass is always greener, I guess.”
Connelly discovered the truthfulness of that statement firsthand this past year during the band’s move to Vancouver, where he passed many a cold and rainy winter night wishing he could be anywhere else. Little did he realize that this experience would lead to the inspiration for their latest album, appropriately titled Go Outside.
“I felt like I was cooped up a lot of time and I got kind of depressed this winter because I didn’t really know people (in Vancouver) and didn’t leave my place very much,” Connelly says. “So it was the thing I kept telling myself: ‘Go outside, go outside — that’s the first thing you have to do, or else you’ll be at home all day doing nothing and that will make you feel even worse.’ That’s what the whole album became about: just shaking yourself out of feeling negative and bad and just going outside. Doing stuff and being productive and contributing positively to the world — It all starts with going outside.”
Taking his own advice, Connelly drew on his creativity to battle this dark period, and the result is a wide mix of emotions on the album. While some songs like “Littered Coins” display insecurities, with lyrics worrying about being left behind, others like the title track celebrate Connelly’s newfound belief of just going out and enjoying life.
Even the album cover art of Go Outside, which features a naked man swan diving into a swimming pool, fits into their new philosophy.
“It definitely captured that thing of being unapologetically yourself and throwing yourself out into the world,” laughs Connelly. “(That’s the) kind of feeling that the album is trying to convey.”
Taking this sentiment to heart, the band has no intentions of slowing down once they’ve finished this leg of their western Canadian tour. Continuing on to the rest of Canada with several stops in the United States, Hot Panda is already slated to make their fourth return to Europe this winter. But with a visit to Edmonton fresh in their minds, a newfound personal philosophy and a new album to promote, Connelly is optimistic about what the upcoming months on the road will bring.
“It feels like we’re ready to go and get out there and see what happens,” says Connelly. “To just go outside.”
The remnants of chivalry still linger today, especially in the dating world.