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Electronic Music Interview: Steo Le Panda

by spencertarring

Posted on April 24, 2019 at 07:21 AM

Steo Le Panda brings together sounds of unusual instruments like the guzheng, pan flute, or bamboo drums with the synths and drum machines of electronic music. This very yin-yang mix mirrors the wild animal he has chosen as totem: at the same time black and white, cute and wild, happy and melancholic. Thanks to his total control over the different elements of his music, Steo Le Panda delivers unique and original experiences, full of emotions and surprises! Steo Le Panda2 Where did your artist name Steo Le Panda come from? A long time ago. I was using the name Steo along with the star logo you can see on my music’s artworks. However it wasn’t very helpful at explaining what my music is about. The first time I saw pandas in China I had an epiphany, that I will use the panda as totem animal because it really reflects my personality and my music universe. It is a cute animal that seems to be always happy, but also wild and dangerous. I can really play with contrasts, black and white, yin and yang. It also makes me think of Sonic The Hedgehog which was my first video game, but I’m not blue haha! I use the french word “Le” instead of “The” because it means Happy (樂) in Chinese, and is the same ideogram as Music (Yue 樂). How do you define the music you make? What genre is it? This is a tough question, I try to make each of my music original, and have their own identity. Therefore the musics I make are defined by themselves. I don’t like to call musics by genre. You see it’s a bit like martial arts, there are many styles (Karate, Judo, Tai Qi, Wing Chun etc…) but ultimately what matters is not how it is called but why and how you practise it. I prefer to be more fluid and not be locked in one style, yet taking ideas and techniques from many of them. For example my music “Premier Amour” ( uses the same way of playing the kick drum as a bass-line from Trap, but doesn’t really fit in that genre I think. For fun I tell people my style is Post-Alternative-New-Disco-Art or Power-Afro-Neuro-Drone-Ambient haha!   Could you explain the concept of your new album: 三教? When reading about Chinese philosophy I found that story about Buddha, Confucius and Lao Zi tasting vinegar and comparing how they felt about it. Buddha found it bitter, Confucius found it sour, and Lao Zi found it sweet. I tried to compose the respective musics by doing an interpretation of the three main Chinese philosophies. Booda (佛) is about reincarnation and focus therefore on the future. Konfusius (孔子) is about the respect of the ancestors and traditions, and look therefore to the past. I composed Lao Zi (老子) for the Yin Yang music festival of 2015. It is about duality, and finding the true natural state of things. It’s focusing on the present and be in touch with our real selves.   What do you think about the importance of technology to electronic music? Technology is about applying scientific knowledge for a practical purpose. Producing electronic music requires solving many problems, sometimes complex ones. One of the most powerful tool is to use the Scientific Method. For example when I don’t know how to make a sound, I try to observe how similar sound happens, using tools like spectrograph and spectrogram, which helps visualise sound. Then I decide on a hypothesis on how to make this sound, and try to predict what it will sound, then I test my ideas, if it works I can refine it until it’s exactly like I want. If not I go back to the beginning and do more mistakes until I can reach my goal haha! Could you share one music production skill to the PYRO fans? Yes more than one actually, if you are a beginner with Ableton Live, you can go to this page and see many tips and tricks (English only): If you have the midi controller Push 2 or just curious about it, I’ve uploaded a video of a workshop I did recently in Shanghai (English and Chinese): A more general production skill is don’t force it. I think music has to come naturally, and is really a matter of feeling. If you feel it’s good then keep it, otherwise make changes until you feel it’s good for you. When it is, you will know it, it will just feel right.   Steo Le Panda Upcoming Tour Dates 27th May/ 上海 – the Mansion 28th May/ 杭州 – Joe Zone 3rd June/ 成都 – Here We Go 4th June/ 长沙 – 46 livehouse 9-10 June/ 苏州 – Electronic Midi Festival

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