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Davis, California

Monday, May 27, 2024

An interview with Unit Panic

Robots are the essence of Search Party winners Unit Panic, a Davis-based indie-rock duo. Robots embody the band’s lyrical themes, musical inspiration and fast-paced electronic and effect-board driven pulse.

“Lots of robots,” said Ignat Printsev, a junior biochemistry major and guitarist. “Robots pretty much embody our music.”

Unit Panic, made up of Printsev and electrical engineering graduate student Michael Rush, is a potent conglomeration of upbeat electronic pulses and esoteric imagery. The Search Party found them pretty easily.

“We’re busy making music, and here was a contest, so it was a logical progression from one thing to another,” Printsev said.

Unit Panic was born in the Music 106: History of Rock class roughly two years ago. However, both Printsev and Rush were hardly new to music as they entered the class, and both have extensive and diverse musical backgrounds. Printsev was introduced to the piano at six, and in middle school, he moved on to the more fertile realms of guitar and drums. Rush began playing classical guitar at seven and later picked up jazz on bass, which is currently his main instrument.

“I also played classical flute for middle school and high school,” Rush said. “I got to college and picked up the guitar again. I also play the accordion.”

Utilizing drum sequences, synthesizers and full-on guitar and bass, Unit Panic radiates with grimy pleasure. Understandably, many of their influences are largely indie-rock and electronic oriented – Printsev and Rush listed groups like Why?, Grandaddy and Radiohead as some of their major influences.

“I never really listened to electronic music until I heard [Radiohead’s] Amnesiac,” Printsev said. “For me, Amnesiac and Kid A are like the Holy Grail of music. Radiohead is a huge influence on everybody.”

Moreover, Printsev attributed his affinity for the genre of electronic music to how accessible it is to create.

“I guess getting all this computer stuff together in college and being able to make electronic music was what got me into playing it,” Printsev said. “Getting random pieces of software gave me a new appreciation for electronic music.”

Their writing process is somewhat simple, and the two work off of each other in a very progressive manner.

“We take input very well, which makes it easier to work together,” Rush said. “Input from everyone, but especially from each other – this makes the creative process much easier [or harder].”

Some of their other projects include Printsev’s Wreck and Reference and Rush’s Professor McCock’s Incredible Adventures, a collection of children’s stories on acoustic guitar.


JUSTIN HO can be reached at arts@californiaaggie.com.


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