Bar Pandora is the stage name of writer, composer, vocalist and producer, Charlie Tophill.
Bar Pandora's melodious alt-pop is playfully sewn together from the offcuts of personal experience - field recordings, journal entries and improvised fragments which bop bewitchingly along to a rich undercurrent of harmonic synths, guitars and dynamic beats.
Her eponymous debut EP, released in 2022, was the result of an experimental collaboration with jungle producer, Simply Dread , and earned Bar Pandora early support and radio play from BBC Radio 6’s Amy Lamé and Tom Robinson.
Tophill has continued to work with Simply Dread in 2023 - a “collaboration of artistic-differences” resulting in exotic melodic structures and vocals which constantly shift over complementary rhythms. In May her first release from the new body of work, “Ultramess”, saw her appear as a guest on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour and receive airplay from BBC Radio 6 Music.
Bar Pandora’s live performances are earning her a solid fan base and a fluid band line-up means one gig can be quite different to the next. Her performances are intriguing and exciting, adding sampling and live looping to a three-piece band, building electrifying worlds of sound to offset her beguiling crystalline vocals. In the words of one reviewer: “Bar Pandora's mesmerising live incarnation is going to knock your socks off. Charlie has an immense charisma & stage presence and the way [the band] played off each other to realise her unusual & haunting compositions is breath taking.” (Hot Music Live)
Bar Pandora took her name from a literary café in La Latina, Madrid, where she used to hang out with her friends talking life, literature and feminism over red wine and fizzy sweets. Retrospectively inspired by the empowerment these friendships engendered, she started creating music to redress a balance of a life shadowed by self-imposed limitation and baseless inhibition.
In Tophill’s words: "my lyrics are made up of my inner voices: the one that tells my story, the one that tells me what I want to do, the one that tells me I can’t do it, and the one that tells me that last voice was full of shit.”
“An accomplished slice of synthy pop. I love the confidence and flow of the vocal, it has a very sophisticated feel.” - Fresh On The Net
“It's brilliant!” - Amy Lamé, BBC Radio 6
“With its swirling synths, it comes as such a pop anthem that it sounds as if she had much fun with it” - Glamglare
“Featuring dynamic beats and rich undercurrents, it’s a bold statement that sees Bar Pandora ready to confess on her forthcoming EP” - LOCK Magazine
Photos by Adele Mary Reed