Photo by Natalie Bojorquez/FIUSM
Junette Reyes/Entertainment Director
Diego Saldaña-Rojas/Staff Writer
In the series of sit downs with local artists, FIU Student Media has had the opportunity to sit down and interview artist Smurphio from the local electronic funk band known as Afrobeta, local hip-hop artist Flight Williams from the collective rap group known as Outta This World, local DJ and producer Jesse Perez, Harlowe G. and Lauren from Jean Jacket, Juan Turros and Michelle Forman of ¡Suénalo!, members Michelangelo, Alana Dym, ChrisP and Sean of The Cornerstoners and members Daniel Fernandez, Alejandro Facusse and Harrison Kelner of The Halfways.
This time around, FIUSM got to interview Panic Bomber in collaboration with the WRGP Radiate FM program called Local Radiation.
What do you go by: DJ Panic Bomber or just Panic Bomber?
Panic Bomber: I am an artist first and a DJ second, so Panic Bomber.
How did this project come about?
Panic Bomber: I am a musician based in Miami. I do a lot of different music stuff. I’ve done a lot of …a myriad of genres. Right now, Panic Bomber is the name for my main dance material and I write mostly dance music at the moment for myself. But I also do a lot of other music as well on the side. Panic Bomber is what I use for dance production and deejaying.
When it comes to dance music, what genres do you draw your inspiration from?
Panic Bomber: Well, I listen to a lot of everything. My two favorite things in life are probably techno and heavy metal. So, I take inspiration from everywhere. I’m a classically trained pianist. I’ve played in punk bands, I’ve played in rock bands, and I’ve played in country bands. I sing. I really take inspiration from all over the place. I just do music. The only reason I do dance music is so I can deejay it.
Do the genres you’ve played directly influence the kind of music you produce?
Panic Bomber: I don’t think there’s often a one-to-one correlation in a lot of stuff. I don’t like to section things off in genres in my head. That’s for bloggers. I just make music but I do like to try keep it reigned in to a certain extent so I can kind of handle it and know where I want a certain piece to go. But I’m not married to one particular style.
Earlier you made the distinction that you’re an artist first and a DJ second. Is it because of your heavy involvement in music?
Panic Bomber: Yes, I am an artist first and a DJ second. I produce first. Deejaying for me is a means to more production. I write constantly and I really enjoy the process, but I’ve recently fallen in love with deejaying. Sometimes it gets frustrating. The problem with deejaying in Miami is that a lot of times you’re doing it as a service to a club. Are you a DJ for hire or are you a DJ because you want to play tunes you love? It’s like being in a cover band versus being in a band where you write your own material. Are you beholden to the manager that will tell you what to play or are you doing your own thing really deejaying? And I find that being a DJ is very delicate. It’s not about you; it’s very selfless. Regardless of all these Steve Aoki’s these days, it’s not about you; it’s about the audience. I am far more selfish than that and as an artist, when I’m on stage, I don’t care what you think in the audience. I’m going to be doing my thing. And that’s kind of where I come at in music, from the more creative dictatorial side. It’s not a democracy; I don’t care what the dance floor thinks. But as a DJ, I’ve learned to respect their opinion.
What do you have to say about the Miami music scene, specifically the DJ scene?
Panic Bomber: I think it’s an exciting time to be an electronic musician in Miami. We are lucky enough to be in one of the hot spots in the world. It’s hard being a musician in any part of the world. It’s hard being in a live band in this city for sure. I always got very frustrated and I still get very frustrated trying to be a live musician in this city that is very DJ orientated. I think that this is a healthy step, I think it’s a good thing for the scene. Obviously, you have competing interests sometimes because you have the beach that is very corporate aligned, very bottle-service aligned but they also have a lot of talent. That’s where the money is. I’m more in the downtown scene. I do Saturdays and Tuesdays…I’m in a group called Slap & Tickle. We focus on the underground and that’s in the downtown market. Bardot every Tuesday, Garrett every Saturday. And then one offs here and there and we try to keep it interesting and underground. It’s not about making money, it’s not about playing top tracks. I have no idea what is on the beatport charge right now, I have no clue. But we know what we like to play and we know what we think is cutting edge.