It began as a bedroom project by Charlie Salas-Humara to stay productive after finishing a run with The Planet The. Now Panther is a duo with an album on Kill Rock Stars that will take the grooves from the bed to the bills.
Humara received notable regard for Panther’s debut Secret Lawns, but he said it quickly grew tiresome to be viewed as a bedroom artist. “I wanted to make more of an organic record,” he said. “I did not want to use drum machines. I felt I needed to completely make a departure from electronic music.”
That departure required drummer Joe Kelly of 31 Knots. Both Humara and Kelly also play with Maggie Vail in Leti Angel. “We’ve known each other for forever,” Humara said. “I asked if he was interested in doing a new record and touring constantly and he was like ‘Yeah I’m totally sick of just working in a bar.’ So we decided to go on tour and make no money.”
[Photographed at a performance in Knoxville, TN]
Panther is designed for dancing, make no mistake of that, but with its new album 14kt God, Humara took the opportunity to get some thoughts off his mind. Portland is currently experiencing a suburbanization since it’s been placed on those cursed “Great Place to Live” lists. As a result he wrote less in a cut-and-paste formula of clever words and provided commentary with “Beautiful Condos”. “It started as train-of-thought stuff and I ended up with a few political-sounding songs,” he said. “Portland is going through this boom of everyone moving here and the developers are building ugly mid-century modern style condos that just look terrible and out of place here.”
By the time this article is released, hopefully those who loved the first Panther album will be able to accept change and know that, unlike Portland, it’s change for the better, because Panther is a group that never loses an ear for its core sound. “I think it will probably bum out some of the more electronic people who were into the big blown-out beats,” he said. “But, being on Kill Rock Stars, it has the chance to reach a much larger audience. It is still dancy too, so it’s not like I made a complete departure and cut a country record.”