Panther and the Supafly [Interview]
Vancouver, BC – If you’re a regular on the Vancouver hip-hop scene you’ll have surely heard the name Panther and the Supafly before. They seem to be everywhere, playing shows from Fortune Sound Club to Venue to the Biltmore. Panther and the Supafly are a five-piece band fronted by Josh Matumona (Panther), while the Supafly consist of Dave Pimental (Keyboards/Synths) Leon Feldman (Guitar), Duncan Truter (Drums), and Nate Drobner (Bass/Keyboards).
Dripping in devilish debauchery Panther and the Supafly infiltrated Venue with untouchable swagga. Venue’s sound system is designed for greasy dance club music, not doing Panther and the Supafly’s magnetic sound justice. Instead each beat echoed throughout Venue like a basketball beating on the floor of an open gymnasium. Despite the messiness of the venue Panther and the Supafly broke through the absurdity of it all. Panther and David Matumona (bonafide crowd hyper) grooved the stage all the way back to the 70s.
Dave Pimental is such a master of keyboards he’s practically surfing on the keys. With Dave’s heavy bass beats and sharp synth tracks Panther comes out to battle hard, attacking the stage like it’s his prey. Captivating grimy aggression while somehow still managing to have mellow flow it’s hard to mess with the feisty spirit of the Supafly. Panther stopped mid-set to perform a quick back flip, brushed his shoulder off and was back to the mic within seconds. Panther’s and the Supafly’s primitive gritty aggression flows through the crowd like wildfire sparking everyone to their feet. These guys have set a new bar with their latest album coming up in 2013 and Panther’s solo EP having just launched. The stage is set; get ready to have your swag stolen out from under you.
HipHopCanada’s Nicola Storey sat down with the boys from Panther and the Supafly before their show to talk about their progression as a band.
HipHopCanada: What do you think sets Panther and the Supafly’s sound apart from what’s already out there?
Josh: We all come from very broad music background and have been playing together for a long time. Separately each of us has been playing in different bands for upwards of 8 years active in the music scene. All the influences that we have acquired throughout those years are culminating in our current sound; we’ve fused those idioms together to make something new.
Nate: We’re actually interested in exploring music and its possibilities as opposed to just pumping out songs after songs.
HipHopCanada: With regards to your new 2013 band album coming out how is it different from Nkazi?
Josh: It’s different because it’s a lot more focused. There’s been a lot of talk of Nkazi being scattered and yes it was, it was a demo. It was a showcase of all our musical views coming together and the possibilities and the versatility we have to show.
Leon: Whereas our last album Nkazi had different idioms and every song is from a different specific genre in this record there’s a huge melting pot of genres in every song. So every song is whipped together and play-doughed out. It’s more of a succinct vibe.
HipHopCanada: What’s the story behind the song “Nightmare”?
Josh: Nightmare was actually me fiddling around on garage band years ago. This idea just popped into my head. I usually get my ideas on the road or anywhere and I’ll try to remember them. That’s why I have developed a bigger memory for rhythms and notes. I just built it as an idea on garage band, I put together the beat because that’s what it started as. I was sitting in my room trying to write a song and I was really into dreams and nightmares. I had studied that in school for a long time and researched it a lot and that was kind of the mindset I was in. So I decided to do a compare and contrast on dreams and nightmares and my perspectives in order to write a song. And that’s what it ended up being. Later on when I got together with the Supafly I taught them that song and we recorded it and it became what it is today.
[It should be noted that at this point in the interview Leon was giving Nate a backwards piggyback while Panther was doing a back flip.]
HipHopCanada: What is the most ridiculous thing that has happened at a show or touring?
Josh: At one show Duncan forgot his drumsticks and I was outside looking for tree branches, looking for some shit, anything that he could put his hands on to play the drums.
Leon: We had been looking at the stage for 2 hours and in that point Duncan did not realize that he needed sticks.
All: But we all love and cherish the man
Josh: Second funniest experience was the release party for Nkazi. We had everything prepared, this friend of ours was doing tech for us, it was our first big show so we wanted to be unseen before the show. We left out gear up to 2 people and those two people put all our stuff together. As soon as the intro was supposed to start I was in the wings with my little brother and I had him do the intro. He was saying stuff on the mic but nobody could see him or myself. We realized Leon’s guitar was not plugged in, nothing was working, everything was unplugged and there was a loud hiss coming out of the mixer. Oh man. So I’m in the wings with my little brother feeding him lines to say while this is going down hoping everything will fix itself.
Dave: I’m like were just going to have to play the show like this. There is no turning back now. I had this mixer onstage with all the sounds coming out and I just fucking ran across all the mutes and the hiss went away.
Josh: All while I was feeding my little brother lines to say to give them time to figure their shit out.
Dave: It was all fucked for the intro and then everything came together for the first song. It was such a good feeling. It was all gonna be okay.
Leon: I think one of the funniest things is the song we sung about Josh boning Tamir’s sister. Tamir (manager) was the main pianist on the song,
Tamir: I did a fantastic job; I was compared to Elton John right away.
HipHopCanada: You’re moving out east September 6th what’s the draw that Vancouver doesn’t have?
Josh: # 1 the density in Vancouver is not enough to sustain any artist. The music scene is much better [out East].
Dave: Shit’s open later. There are more festivals to play.
HipHopCanada: If you could collaborate with anyone who would you choose?
Josh: Number one Method Man because I would flip my shit if I could collaborate with Method Man. Common, Busta Rhymes, Black thought, Q-tip, Lupe Fiasco, Definetely Mos Def, and Bilal.
Dave: Thunder cats, Azealia Banks.
Nate: Andre 3000.
Josh: Beyonce, I would hit that, and Eminem.
Leon: Imagine Panther and the Supafly featuring Azealia Banks 312.
HipHopCanada: How did you get your name?
Josh: Well I really like the personality of the panther. They’re really calculated before they do anything, if a panther’s stalking you or about to execute an action, it does it in complete stealth. It’s fully aware of its surroundings and it knows what’s up. I really like that quality of panthers. That’s how I feel I like to conduct myself in a professional manor. A panther is kind of like an assassin. It knows what its doing. It’s professional.
HipHopCanada: So what your saying is you’re going to assassinate music?
Josh: No. (laughs) I’m not going to assassinate music. The reason I say assassinate because that’s a very professional kind of demeanor. And the way an assassin carries himself is very calculated and very thought out. Those are characteristics of a panther.
HipHopCanada: What about the Supalfy?
Josh: The Supafly came because we were playing a show and I wanted to praise the band and say they were supafly. So I was like come see Panther and the supafly band. Before, we hadn’t established that we were a unit as opposed to some musicians and me. Once we decided to be a unit as a band as opposed to them just being a backing band then Panther and the Supafly stuck and we dropped the band. Supafly band is like oh it’s just a cool band but Supafly just means we’re a colossal group of musicians.
Dave: And it’s more of a unit.
HipHopCanada: Boobs or ass?
Josh: Both, go big or go home, you gotta get the titties, the ass, the grapes, and the Bentley.
Check out Panther and the Supafly http://pantherandthesupafly.bandcamp.com/
And watch for their upcoming tour across Canada with Oynx stopping in Vancouver at Republic on September 12th.
Interview conducted by Nicola Storey for HipHopCanada
Photos courtesy of RDM Photography