Get Bit by the Beat with Piranha Rama

by | Aug 29, 2019 | MUSIC

This extensive ensemble explores a variety of genres and blends them into a sound that has captured the hearts of music fans near and far.

There’s no such thing as too much, too many, or too different for Piranha Rama. The local 12-piece ensemble of individually talented musicians — otherwise known as the Panorama — has been playing shows all over in odd numbers, with the goals of sharing the stage and sharing new musical ideas. 

“It works pretty great having so many members. They want to be there, and we love them for that,” said guitarist John Sizemore on the sheer size of Piranha Rama’s lineup. “When they can’t, we miss them. But we are all mutual fans of each others’ work, so we love to support them.” 

While it might not be possible to have every member play every show, there is no shortage of creative musical performances the band can come up with. In any number, and in any city, whichever parts of the Panorama are able to show up will put on a show: one that’ll take you on a sound journey through genres you couldn’t imagine would go so well together. 

Photo by Lauren Serpa Photography

“It’s a group of people with similar interests in music, but we also all have our wild cards,” said Sizemore. “We just get really excited by people’s various out-there ideas.” 

In their music, you can pluck out a psychedelic mix of rock ‘n roll, 60s style melody, a stellar brass section, and a theremin… that’s right, a theremin. It’s unique to the bone; as their Facebook puts it: “It’s like a party with a bite.” To back up this claim, earlier this month they released their newest album, You’ve Earned It, with as much flair and moody vibes as could be promised. 

To begin the writing process for these releases, a smaller set of musicians — typically, drummer Tim Falen, singer-bassist Chrissie Lozano, keyboardist Ryan Jones, and Sizemore — get together to work up ideas in their practice space before handing it over to the rest of the Panorama. From there, the songs truly become their own beings, fleshed out and fully formed to peak quality. 

“When it comes time to record or play any of the songs is when we’ll bring in the Panorama, as we call it, and they’ll usually work out the horn parts and percussion,” said Sizemore. “We are truly lucky to have people so talented that can work fast and with such vibrant creativity.” 

The Panorama features quite a few well-known players in the Richmond music scene; those involved include Angelica Garcia on theremin, Reggie Pace on trombone, Bio Ritmo’s Bob Miller on trumpet, and Kenneka Cook contributing vocals and percussion. In fact, pretty much everyone involved contributes vocals and percussion at one point or another. You’ll find all these players and more offering their talents on You’ve Earned It.

For Piranha Rama, working in such large numbers has been the most natural path for their growth, both physically and artistically. In order to find each other and end up in this current configuration, the members came together after seeing each other play in other bands all over the city. As projects ended, they came together, and explored their creative interests together. 

Photo by Garritos Photography

“I remember seeing Tim’s previous band, The Diamond Center, when they had just moved here from Texas roughly 10 years ago. At the time he was sporting a cape and a wild psychedelic painted face, and was on a mission to drum,” said Sizemore. “We have a lot of love and respect for each other, so it’s made working together a really great journey.” 

Following the release of You’ve Earned It, the Piranha Rama Panorama has lined up some shows to cover Virginia and reach as many listeners as they can. They’ll be playing shows throughout this upcoming holiday weekend: at Harrisonburg’s The Golden Pony on Thursday, August 29 (that’s tonight!), at Slash Run in Washington D.C. on Friday the 30th, the LAVA Mini-Fest at Toast in Norfolk on Saturday the 31st, and rounding out the weekend on Sunday night with a free show at Richmond’s own Bandito’s Burrito Lounge. More info can be found on the band’s Facebook page

So clear all the plans you had to spend this holiday weekend with your families at lousy BBQs, and come get bit by the beat with Piranha Rama.

Music Sponsored By Graduate Richmond

Alicen Hackney

Alicen Hackney

Alicen Hackney is a music journalism student at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg. Her passion is sharing and exploring music and it's cultural ties, and she is always looking for new artists and styles.

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