Checking in with Phillip St. Ours


What were you doing when we called?
I was having breakfast at the Albemarle Baking Company.

What are you working on right now?
Rob Evans, who’s the producer on the Pantherburn record, and I have been talking for a while about starting a record label to help other bands get started in the recording process, kind of what Pantherburn just did. It’s called County Wide Records. We’re looking for people who are writing their own material and they’re energetic and they’re a working band and they’ve got talent and energy and creativity. We’ll try to build a platform to help these bands get a little more recognition—collect a brand identity for a lot of the local musicians we admire, we envy, we respect. We want to be a part of the way they grow. The Pantherburn record, Dark and Troubled, will be the first for the label. Hopefully we’ll learn a lot and keep the ball rolling.

Tell us about your day job.
My day job involves the arcane art of buying and selling distressed securities. I’d like to leave that one mysterious. That’s like the subject of a whole book.

What is your first artistic memory from childhood?
My grandmother used to have crayons and paper, all kinds of things that she would bring home from the office for my brothers and sisters to play with. We would draw pictures and I would draw a picture of an Indian I was convinced I’d been in the past life. His name was Tonatoose.

Tell us about a piece of art you wish was in your private collection.
I’d like to be the guy in town with a room full of Chagall paintings. Just that color blue he uses—it’s captivating and I think it soothes the soul. I’d like to have that. He’s got a very distinct blue and a distinct mood that fits with that.

Item you’d splurge on?
Breakfast. Fruits, pastries, juices, good coffee. All over the table. A big spread.

Favorite artist outside your medium?
I’ve read everything that John Steinbeck has ever written. Steinbeck, to me, makes it very simple, in very bare terms, what it means to be a man, or a woman, to be alive, to be a person. He’s got an unfinished interpretation of the acts of King Arthur. It was something he pursued for a long time in his life and never completed. I think he was intimidated by the work. He really, really treasured the stories. His telling of it is all you need to know. It should be a how-to manual about how to be a man, how to be a knight.

Locally, who would you like to collaborate with?
So many people. That’s a tough question. Someone I’ve been talking to about a collaboration is Mark Simpson. He’s a musician, a really brilliant guitarist and really awesome percussionist. I think we’re gonna get some tunes written.

If you could have dinner with any person, living or dead, who and why?
I think I’d rather it be a living person. To have dinner with a dead person would ruin my appetite. How about Justin Timberlake? We could have dinner, make movies, work on our dance moves, bring the sexy back again, and then just get back in the recording studio.

Pantherburn’s debut record, Dark and Troubled, was released last month on the band’s Country Wide Records. They play at the Twisted Branch Tea Bazaar, with Ocean vs. Daughter and Jenny and the Holzers, on January 21.