Deorro & the Panda Funk Family
Deorro is really proud of the boys working hard to grow the Panda Funk brand, and credits much of it's success to them. Check out Deorro's latest single featuring Elvis Crespo, Bailar, and learn about Panda Funk, Deorro's background, his sound, and more in our interview with the label boss.
Where does the name Panda Funk come from?
The reason Panda is a thing for us is that pandas were going extinct for a bit. The world was after saving the panda. To me, I really wanted to save the art in the industry. Everyone is becoming a business person, even myself, but I had to. I have no choice - I have kids and a family. As a young kid and a big dreamer, I was all about the art. It’s about saving the art in the same way it was about saving the pandas. And funk - it’s because I’ve got soul, man. It’s all about the funk!
What’s it like to have your own label?
I actually can’t take too much credit for it because the boys back at home are killing it. I’m out here and I’m the face of it. When I left the guys to go out on the road, I really wanted for us to become a team and make this happen. And they went over the top man! Now they’re getting top 100s and I’m going back and the walls are no longer white. There’s schedules all over the walls, and I’m like, “I don’t wanna get in the way!” I always have a reason to get back home though. That’s the beauty of it. I’m blessed to have a team back at home working. I have my family, who I almost gave everything up for. Owning the label is definitely a blessing and I owe the boys back at home everything.
It sounds like you guys are really close?
Yeah! We started off cause we were just a group of kids, and we were kind of just pretending. We couldn’t really tell when it became a serious thing because we were always serious about the dream. Everybody just started to take it seriously and the guys who didn’t - we didn’t let go of anybody - they just kind of walked away. The team right now though, I owe them everything.
What’s you all-time favorite track?
I don’t know if this is the right answer, but for me, the entire Dark Side of the Moon Album - listening to it from beginning to end. It’s one piece. I’ve always wanted to make an album like that with nonstop flow. I love it. I also love Bob Marley, Jimi Hendrix, Sublime - I’m a musician.
What’s the difference for you between a festival set and a club set?
Well, I love the intimate sets. Everybody could tell you that. It’s kind of like - I love having sex. It’s weird because you don’t wanna get off. When I’m on the road, I want to get home, I miss home. But when I’m at the set, the fact that it’s high energy and everyone’s having fun. At festivals, I’m not really allowed to take over for four hours! At a club, sometimes I’ve brought up some of the local DJs and they’re going wild! I’ve done it in Korea, in Europe. Club shows - I’ll still play a lot of hype stuff, but with it so intimate I could go on forever.
Is there a show that you attended as fan that made you want to be a DJ/producer?
Yeah - Nocturnal Wonderland 2007. I came from a music world with instrumentation to where I’m going to these festivals with my cousin and I was just like, “How do people make this shit?! This doesn’t sound like a guitar or a drum.” I remember Benny Benassi - I watched him and I was just like, “Holy shit man! How the fuck does this guy do it?!” I don’t know if he’s here (looks around), but I used to download his music on Limewire! I went to Guitar Center and showed the people there videos, and they told me you could do this with software. It was all cause of Nocturnal Wonderland that I wanted to be able to do it.
Your musical background - how many instruments do you know how to play?
I know how to play the main instruments - I understand them. I can give you a guitar solo, but can’t play a full song. If you give me an hour or two, I can learn a song. But the next day, I won’t remember it. I understand the piano, guitar, and drums. I can’t play the flute or clarinet or anything. I can make the sounds with my voice though!
Are there any radio shows that you regularly listen to?
Hell yeah, man! All these kids on YouTube making mixes. It’s not even mixes anymore. It’s like 20 seconds of a song, and then the next song, then the next. These kids are incredible. I want them to make mixes. The ear they have for music, they should actually try to get into production. There’s a bunch of kids I subscribe to on YouTube, and they’re like, “You’re not the real Deorro,” and I’m like, “Yes I am!” (laughs).
How would you describe your sound?
Well, right now, I’m kind of stuck. I like to follow the rules and don’t want to step on any toes. I don’t want to change too many things. Someone asked me if electro house died, what genre would you switch to? For me, I’d let Deorro die with it and start again with a whole new sound and new name. I have a lot of Deorro fans who are bounce fans - they like that pure “booty in your face” sound. That’s one sound, and I have my Yee sound, Lose It, and Five Hours with the plugs.
What’s the rest of the year look like for you?
The rest of the year is pretty much booked! I’ll be back on the road, I’ve got two more songs from my record deal. And then it’ll be singles from there.