The Night Passenger and the Panda – Interview

Interview with Helder Rock of The Night Passenger and the Panda and Pete Devine of Pete’s Rock News and Views (

PD: What type of artist are you?

HR: Artist, I like to think of myself as such, as to what type, I think an anthropologist would be able to answer that more accurately; however I have my own theory: I am a student and a searcher of all things deep in human nature, I try somehow to reflect what I think life is all about through the only art form I know best: Music. I’ve always been an outsider and a misfit, I only found out I have ADHD recently but by then the damage was done, I see the world as a spectator standing on a bank of the mainstream, I hear it flow but I am out of it only watching and listening to it, then I try through the only mean I can express myself well (music) to give my opinion in form of feelings. I am the odd ball, the weirdo, but with time I learned to live with that and now I am proud of it, and I think my Music reflects that.


PD: Tell us the brief history of yourself.

I always try to avoid this, it’s a bit self-centred sort of Donald Trump kind of thing; but I’ll try to be concise and not go over myself with useless details:

I was born in August and started my steps in music with the age of 6, at 15 studied Classical Guitar and then joined several groups of different genres, I played Jazz, Hard Rock, New Age, Country and Folk, for several years worked as Roadie for a few bands. I am an English multi-instrumentalist musician and composer, working a style that blends Progressive Rock, Classical music, Electronic music, New Age .

I’ve been a film score composer in the last 6 years. I double as short film director and I won a few awards, but now I’m getting into the vanity part.


PD: Who are your musical and non-musical influences?

I had a very weird upbringing music wise; I think I even watched the Eurovision Song Contest, but after the second one I felt nauseated, but something was left: ABBA perhaps because my older sister (who’s a big fan of Led Zeppelin, Stevie Nicks and all things Hard Rock, keeps a soft spot for ABBA) then there was Demis Roussos, before I knew he was part of Aphrodite’s Child or even heard of them and that Vangelis was also part of it, I remember Suzy Quatro, Deep Purple, Pink Floyd and The Moody Blues, all of them somehow stuck in my mind before I went searching for my favourite music, growing up in the mid 70’s and 80’s loads of stuff gets in one’s mind, of course there must be some The Beatles there as well, as many others from the 60’s, needless to say Kraftwerk;  but also literature had a large influence in me, Spinoza, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Sartre and some others less known such as Alan Landsburg through his books and the TV series In Search of… broaden my horizons and more recently Daniel Levitin with several books that made me see and understand Music in a more diverse way, I read a few of his books but I strongly recommend “This Is Your Brain on Music”, of course my influences are much wider, but I can’t list here all the musicians and books, or this answer would become a book itself.


PD: What are your dreams and goals?

I think that the dreams of that 6-year-old boy who learned to read music quicker than to read words were crushed by the reality of a world that when I reached musical maturity made me realised  that I was just a single leaf in a huge forest, so the dreams of fame and fortune are no longer in the list. But I still keep the hope that there will be a group of people (at least a niche) that will listen to my work and appreciate it. I know now through my recent experiment where I played a new approach to Electronic Music that I might had found “MY SOUND” but that in itself it’s very limited in terms of audience, so I know that “The Night Passenger and the Panda” will never be a household name ( it would be pushing the bar too high) but hopefully I will get enough gigs to be able to show what I have to offer, playing at “Blue Dot” Festival is one of them, if I can do that I will happily die the day after and be happy, because I achieved it!


PD: Who writes your songs, what are they about?

I compose all of my stuff and it’s all instrumentals as I can’t sing and I can’t find a singer, if I could find a singer it would had to be a female singer and only to do vocalisms, no words, just the sound of human voice can say so much; my music is all about soul searching at the general level (not only my own) and a view on the whole Cosmos and what I feel when I look at the sky at night.


PD: How do you promote your band and shows?

I recently engaged the services of Puffer Fish Press and it has been working quite well in terms of promotion in radios, but that it’s as far as she goes, I still need someone to find me gigs, I can’t seem to do it on my own due to my nature and the ADHD, someone once advised me to attend gigs and network, but I always find myself isolating whenever I go for a gig of my own or mostly open mics, the one I had recently in Leeds I had a great feedback and some members of the audience approached me with questions that I was glad they asked but I tried to answer as quickly as I could and took refuge in my shell, so I can’t really network to find gigs, maybe one day (soon I hope) some promoter will find me and take me by the hand  and let me, finally make my dream come true.


PD: What do you think about downloading music online?

I got lucky to find a good distributor (Tunebubble) that apart from publishing in the many online Music platforms also sells downloads in its own site, and they pay the right amount of what was asked for each music put on sale there for downloads, not so for my experience there it is a good thing, so in terms of downloading music online if all music online sellers follow this it is good, streaming is different story all together, let’s leave that and think that vinyl and even cassette tapes are having a comeback, though so far it is only a niche market it might become a new thing, I don’t download much myself I am more of a CD person.


PD: What song do you wish you’d written and why?

“The Great Gig in the Sky” because it has everything I want to do with my music, including that female vocalisms I mentioned before, besides, it’s a GREAT music composition and bloody well produced!


PD: What are some of your pet peeves?

Politics and football.


PD: What is your proudest moment in music?

In my view the public’s reaction to my work is the best reward I can get and one of the places I can receive feedback is in my page, I share here a few comments:

“Amazing ambient and sounds here. Really great atmosphere you’ve created with your songs! ”

“Mike O wished he sounded like you…. A pleasure to listen to your work. Amazing guitar . All the best, to you .” – Interesting comment as Mike Oldfield is one of my major influences.

But it feels really good when a fellow musician who I admire so much says this to me:

“Dear amazing talented friend, Great sound! your music light up my day! Absolutely fantastic! Peace & Love*

Ryo, – Ryo Utasato is an award-winning Japanese composer and one of my all-time favourites.

And these are my proudest moments in music.


PD: So what are you working on at the moment?

It was my decision that my latest album √2 would be the end of an era, with it I made some housekeeping and decided it is time for a turning point in my approach to music making, I am going now for a more relaxing and soothing ambiences, above all because it’s the sort of music I like, it is a perfect background for reading or even while cooking. I had some of that material scattered in previous albums mixed with other sonorities, but I am now moving into a more consistent style, there are a few hints in this latest album, I even dare say that most of it is already a good show of what is to come next at least 4 of the 9 tracks are in that spirit, I name “Aquatic Celesta” as a good example.


PD: What music have you available online and where can we buy it from?

I have 3 projects, though now I am concentrating on “The Night Passenger and the Panda” more and perhaps put a stop to the others.

They are all available in about 30 platforms but for some reason there is a preference for Spotify, I might be wrong though:   *

*Also available in all other music platforms.

Direct shop:

Other projects, also available in all music platforms:

and you can always have a peek at some live performances:

The Night Passenger and the Panda links:
Band/Artist location – Stockport UK
Facebook – You Tube – Soundcloud – Bandcamp – Reverbnation –
Twitter – Apple – Spotify – Amazon – Deezer
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