| March 2, 2016

All Images: Timberwolf

Words by Michelle Zhu

CHRIS Panousakis, otherwise known as Timberwolf, is a musician unafraid to express his passion and appreciation for honest song writing and storytelling. He performed at Woodford, played multiple shows around Australia, and is taking some time to recharge his energy.  I spoke with him as he lounged in the Sun on a beautiful Wednesday morning, as we spoke about introversion vs. extroversion, a Woodfordian world, and the perks of being vulnerable.

He had a warmth that displayed an openness to discussing his own inner workings and the lessons he has learned. It was deeply telling of how he approaches his artistic endeavours, as he reflected on his past few months on the road and his pleasures of being alone and in a creative zone.

“I’m back home doing some writing and recording. I’ve got a studio set up at home and I work at home a lot of the time. I’m enjoying my time not touring and it makes me keen to get back on the road.”

His life on the road seemed intensive, and forced him to commit himself fully into his performances. He spoke of his own introversion, about recharging through the art of the written word and rewarding himself with some time to his music.

“Writing is my form of chill. I love being a loner, and it’s so nice once you’ve been extroverted for quite some time. I’m naturally quite introverted, but when I spend my time touring it really takes a toll on the introverted side of me where I have to be extroverted. It’s good to go back to myself and write again.”

Timberwolf took all of his performances as large strides towards self-progression, as he extracted pieces of wisdom from each and every performance that he did.

“I definitely learned about my self, as a performer and as a writer in the last year. Having to do it all the time made me question why I was doing it, why I was writing these songs, and who I am on stage. It was beautiful, because I got to know the ins and outs of myself as a performer, which is pretty cool.”

He spoke of some of the challenges that accompanied live performances, as he takes his own personal approach to his live performances. There was something poetic in the way he was describing his own experiences on stage, as he spoke of devoting himself completely to the crowd and forming a sacred communication with his audience members.

“A lot of performers are great at treating performing like a job, whereas I’m a very much heart-on-my-sleeve kind of guy, in which if I’m not feeling you’ll definitely know. So sometimes it can be emotionally draining, because I’m bleeding it all out to crowds. But I love that and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

“The effect of the performance is truly symbiotic and it’s not just one-directional and we’re all doing it together. It’s a circle when I feed out and I get fed back, but by the time the gig is over you’re probably helping you more than you’re helping them.”

His time on stage is also an oasis for him to rethink the way time passes one by, and he thought about the stage as a setting that removed you from normalcy for a short period of time, time that he wanted to savour and make the most out of.

“You don’t want to let a performance slip by you, so it’s quite easy for a 45 minute or an hour long slot to just walk up on stage and blank out, play your music and get out. I’ve consciously been trying to make myself slow down, where you’re going from hyper-speed to normal, not from normal to slow motion. All of a sudden you’re taking everything in around you.”


I was eager to learn about his time at Woodford, knowing that every experience at Woodford was unique to itself. He spoke with the same level of enthusiasm, as he recalled the exceptional time he had with his band and everybody else at the festival.

“The band I had for Woodford was great, and the crowd at Woodford is particularly receptive. They’re very authentic, and for someone that is heart-on-your sleeve, it’s really inspiring to play in an environment where everybody is really attentive.”

He had a parituclarly wonderful anecdote to share, as he told me about playing before Courtney Barnett and being partially blind to his surroundings, only to be greeted with one of the most pleasant surprises he’s ever had in his life.

“I had this cool moment where I played the amphitheatre and I played the set before Courtney Barnett, and obviously she’s blowing up all over the world. I remember starting and the huge blinders were on, and the last memory I had was about 500 people standing in front of me. Half way through the set, I told the crowd that I couldn’t see them because of the lighting. So the lighting guy took the blinders off for a second and lit up the crowd for me, and there was literally 30,000 people on the hill. It was such a cool moment.”

Being the reflective artist that he is, Timberwolf shared the thoughts that followed the surreal experience as we talked about an alternate reality where Woodford was not just a stimulated setting, but a world in which we could venture in at our will.

“It left me with a definite feeling where I imagined if everyone in the world was like they were at Woodford. And I feel like we’d all live a pretty peaceful existence if we did.”

I suppose we all need to head back to reality, as reality for Timberwolf involves hard work and dedication to poetic prose. He told me about how he was in the zone, and how hopefully his inspiration can lead to an album in the near future.

“I’m really keen to just write and record for a while, and I’m in a headspace right now and I want to capture it all. If I do my job right, I’m working towards having an album done by the end of the year. We’ll see! I’m going to try my best and if we end up with one it’s a great result.”

I asked about how he was drawn to folk music, as his previous releases showcased the pleasant and acoustic elements of folk music, and his answer surprised me in a way that only stemmed curiosity and excitement.

“With folk now, the only element that still resonates with me is the authenticity in the story telling. It’s a beautiful sub-genre that can be very freeing. You don’t write to the limitations to the genre, you just write.”

So what direction was he heading in now? Timberwolf spoke of how he was making a shift within music, and how his sound is about to change. It heightened my anticipation for what is about to come from the singer-songwriter, as I learned that it was coming from a place that has grown so much and was ready to express itself in ways that we should be excited to hear.

“I’m making a quite a severe sound progression. I’m quite a progressive writer, and I move on personally. Love is always an element that ties me to song, but everything else is pretty up for grabs. By the time I wrote Flux, in terms of where the songs come from, a lot has happened since then.”

Timberwolf is taking steps away from folk music to become more in tune with his own internal metronome. The beat he thinks to now is different to the one we’ve already hard, but we can still expect the honesty and vulnerability of story-telling that he fell in love with in folk music.

“As for the songs I’m writing now, you can expect a huge step from a folk sound. It’s quite different and I love it way more now. I’m predominantly an electric guitar player, and for the first time I found a way to construct songs to incorporate the guitar into the song. It feels right.”

“This is what I am, this is what I do. I’m a singer-songwriter with an electric guitar, so how do I write songs around that? I’m excited to show people that. You’ve just got to be vulnerable. At the moment, I feel like if I’m not being vulnerable, I’m selling myself and my music short.”

He has taken strides towards his own musical authenticity, and is writing from a place that has blossomed into something shaped by experiences and deep reflection. Being the introvert that he is, one can only imagine the thoughts that travel throughout his constantly active brain, and the most exciting part about it is that we get to hear it all from the man himself, hopefully very soon.

Check out his music here.

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Category: FEATURED, MUSIC, Uncategorized

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