On a late, South London evening we sat down with the creative entity that is My Panda Shall Fly. Chatting all things music, balancing a creative lifestyle, exploring the world of DIY synthesis, creating a modular sample pack and circuit bending we covered a lot of ground. Read on to find out what makes this elusive man tick.
Suren / My Panda Shall Fly. What is your favourite book or movie?
I read a lot of non-fiction books, and have quite a few of them piled up at the moment. As much as I love classic novels like Lord of The Flies, 1984 and The Picture of Dorian Gray – there are so many cool and informative music theory/history texts I want to get through too..
What DAW do you use? If any?
My DAW in my studio is Cubase – you hardly see people use it these days, but I ended up with a copy years and years ago and have just stuck with it ever since. It does what I need it to do.. When I was starting out though, I learnt a lot through FL Studio but later switched to Cubase.
Check out the official My Panda Shall Fly: Modular sample pack HERE
Where do you find the vintage tape machines and other antique music equipment that you use to create such other worldly soundscapes?
I’ve always been into them! Like most musicians and gear-heads, I had a phase of falling in love with analog synthesisers. It wasn’t until I started experimenting with lots of digital synthesis techniques that I realised all the processes that fascinated me were in the digital domain, now I probably only have 2 or 3 analog synths max!
Is there a favourite or “go to” bit of music equipment / software or sample pack for you?
I’m not sure I do, I like the idea of giving equal time to all the different bits of equipment I have but the reality is I do tend to lean towards whatever it is I am obsessed with at the time. Right now I am revisiting a lot of experiments I did with the Korg Volca series in preparation for a talk I am going to give in December.
When we visited your home studio we witnessed how good you are at circuitry / soldering, taking electronic synthesisers apart and rewiring them resulting in some very spaced out sounds. Is this a little trick you taught yourself or were you a pro in tech at school?
I’m still very much learning! I love the DIY/circuit bend philosophy and – while I’m nowhere as good as I would like to be – I do like modifying stuff and making them do things they were not supposed to. It helps that the stuff can be quite easy to teach yourself, but unfortunately not without trial and error!
Can you tell us more about what it’s like balancing other work such as modelling with a music career? We’ve seen your face in a lot of billboards over the years 😉
It can get difficult for sure and it might not be ideal for everyone. Sometimes I’m doing consecutive 13–hour shoot days for 1 week and then the next I might have nothing on and can get back to music work. It changes on a weekly basis. Quite surreal! But I’ve come to enjoy it now.
We want to congratulate you on curating the sound design for the Gucci SS19 video. Tell us more about the process working on something for the screen!
Thank you, it was such a treat. I’ve known the director Frank Lebon for a few years now but never got round to working together and then all of a sudden this came about so that was really nice. He had a particular theme that he wanted so it became a back-and-forth exchange communicating to each other mostly through abstract words and feelings! My composition was based on a tape loop experiment that I did about three months ago. It’s really cool seeing something so niche and experimental on a world-famous platform / brand like Gucci.
Lastly, what are you listening to right now?
So much.. I’ve become quite the snob recently and have only wanted to listen to things on high quality FLAC – so I’ve been replacing a lot of old records I love on this format and hearing them in a whole new light!
And your favourite recent music recommendations are:
Keith Jarret – The Melody At Night, With You
Idris Muhammad – My Turn
Coil – Black Antlers
Like what you read? Check out the official My Panda Shall Fly: Modular sample pack HERE
The Touch Loops team.