The Firefly alum dishes on going solo, Cleopatra and more
EDM artist White Panda isn’t your average bear.
Unlike his famous panda colleague who’s well versed in the art of kung fu (we’re looking at you, Jack Black), White Panda has created his own lane through making some really spicy remixes and song mashups, while weaving in original tunes.
He’s got six mashup albums under his belt, including “Bearly Legal” and “The Pawprint.” Furthermore, fans have streamed his mashups over 200,000,000 times.
White Panda dropped the new, Egyptian-themed video for his song “Hands on Me (featuring Loote) this summer.
The Firefly Music Festival alum, originally part of a duo, recently transitioned to a solo act, announced June 18 on Facebook.
The solo cub will headline the Bottle & Cork in Dewey Beach Friday.
How’d the Egyptian theme for “Hands on Me” come about, and what’s your interpretation of the video?
The song has so much female power and sass behind it, and I didn’t want to take in a modern, literal direction, as that seemed kind of boring. So in brainstorming female figures of power and attitude, I thought of Cleopatra. From there, I kind of designed the narrative around the lyrics. I thought a series of suitors trying to win her over, with one ultimately triumphing, would be a fitting storyline.
Can you describe a few elements you consider before remixing a song?
Most importantly, it’s the quality of the lyric and vocal recording. Ultimately that’s what I’ll use in the remix, so I’m looking for topnotch writing and a catchy melody. It helps if it’s an artist I’m a fan of; makes it more fun to work on. Beyond that, there are smaller considerations: who is the fan base of the original artist? Is the original song so good on its own that there’s no way I can improve upon it with a remix?
White Panda has gone from a duo to solo. What did your counterpart bring to the table? How do you keep your sound viable without him?
Though the announcement was recent, I’ve been driving the creative direction of White Panda on my own for several years now. So much of what you’ve heard in recent memory has been my solo work. He certainly had a good ear and made making the mashup albums (which requires hundreds if not thousands of trial-and-error mixes) a more feasible task. But truth be told, the sound you associated with White Panda “is” my sound and has been for some time; it’s just now known publicly that, that’s the case.
How crazy was it when Desiigner’s song “Panda” was trending a few summers ago?
It was really funny. I used it as intro music for quite some time. It also clogged all my social media because every time I’d tweet, I’d get responses from Desiigner fans who were confused about who I was. [But it’s a] great song.
Who are a couple of artists you’d love to work with who you’ve not collaborated with?
Diplo, BloodPop, Oliver, Borns, Chvrches and Robert Plant. Why? Some because of the quality of their productions; others because of the creative choices they make; others because of sheer admiration of their craft.
What are some major ways the EDM scene has changed over the last decade since you joined it?
It has changed immensely. The “hot genres” are always changing: probably [with] progressive house when I started (think older Avicii); then [it] moved through electro house, deep house, big room, tropical house, trap, future bass and pop. Elements of all of them still linger, but there always seems to be a standout at any given time.
The scene has become so enormous it’s hard to even fathom these days. Hundreds of thousands of people at the EDC-style (Electronic Daisy Carnival) festivals — and the sheer number of these festivals that take place worldwide every year — is mind boggling. I honestly had been thinking for some time that it was a bubble ready to burst. But I think it’s become evident that EDM is really built on just using electronic influences in music; and that will never go away.