Panda Bear is musician Noah Lennox. He’s a founding member of the experimental, genre-defying band Animal Collective, and as a solo artists, he’s released six albums.
In February 2019, Panda Bear released the album Buoys, and in this episode, he and his co-producer Rusty Santos break down the opening song, “Dolphin.” You’ll hear the original demo, and how they drew inspiration from music from all over the world.
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
You're listening to song exploder, where musicians take apart their songs and piece by piece, tell the story of how they remained
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panda bears musician, Noah, Lennox
a founding member of the experimental shown redefined we banned animal collected and us
solo artist he's released six albums in February,
Nineteen pin to be released, album buoys and in this episode he and his covid
Rusty Santos breakdown, the opening song dolphin.
You'll hear the original demo and how they drew inspiration from music from all over the world.
This is panda, bear dolphin
It was first written on a guitar and I hadn't really played.
guitar in a long time, but
there's a song to Zeta by a guy named to Mulatto Astatke.
kind of my springboard, the guitar in that song.
If you listen,
The song I feel like you, can hear the inspiration for a dolphin
vehicle vocal line, mimics saxophone I'd made demos in my practice, space in Lisbon
well I've just going through the song and making little adjustments to it and going into
like that kind of stuff.
I always had some sort of electronic element to the
is a guy always wanted that to be there to steer it away from just being like a street singer, songwriter type of thing. I wasn't super interested in doing that and it's
The reason that I wanted to work with Rusty AIDS resting
Santos I'm an engineer producer mixer based in LOS Angeles, California Rusty Record
the song tongues record by animal collective with us. Sometimes is a
there that we recorded in two thousand and three
and then I hadn't really seen em. I stayed in touch with
and we would email once in a while, and I was always admiring the stuff he was working on and then
I remember. My friend in Lisbon sent me a photo of her and rusty, and I thought
myself there's somewhere else in the world? I got a festival or something like that. But she's, like no he's here in Lisbon, sounds like a out and hadn't seen him forever and he.
me. Then he was doing a bunch of like latin trap productions, Estonia,
it'd be non. Nano get get the barbies and immediately. I was like I'd like to push it somehow into that sort of space.
we had a vocal take and the guitar those were kind of like the.
The standards that we put in there too,
no, I don't
the water was a major theme of the record to so I think that
really just dialed it in right. There was like this record was about water. We had a thing called the digitakt
it's more like a sampler than a drum machine, but there's a lot of stock drum machine e types
sounds in it just to quit
an easy way to get really basic rhythmic stuff going and
my friend Liz, who I work with on music. She gave them put on the arrangement there was like
the scenario sound initially and then lay suggested a water drops out
the not really become sort of the defining characteristic of the song. There's a lot of suggested rhythm as if, like the,
the rhythmic structure was there and then we just removed it from the song like there's almost no kick drum on the record, so I feel like
rhythms are more implied, then represented. So this is white noise.
Comes from just like a straight up: white noise sample and then automation. So
automating. The frequency sweeps.
Automating the volume so turning it up and.
It's a reverb and you have the reverb trails going out and it sounded like the ocean.
Like a lot.
things on the record. It's both organic and synthetic.
In that it sounds like the ocean, but it's engineered and
The sound of the record comes from the interim
play of those two themes
Another thing that Rusty was super into was eight await samples. Do you think
when you think of like big.
gee like turning it up, but in the case of the sailor, is used in a way that Mary use them before, which is pretty subtle,
though sample sort of define all the low and stuff that's going on on the record. There's no,
like baselines? Really, it's all just pitched in tune. Samples of aid awaits for the most part, it's kind of like a cloud to me almost like a pillow that the rest of the production sort of sits on
At that point,
I knew it was going to be the first song on the record and we didn't just want to start it with a drum sequence. So we were looking for some sort of introductory
sound. That's from Gallagher, definitely from Gallagher, here old video game like when they were big cabinets in our case and stuff.
from that? It's very laser. Like one of the things I talked to rusty about before going
to the studio, was wanting to do a vocal that was more kind of intimate.
I didn't want to do a whole bunch of harmonies. Has
always been so slow,
I remember doing the vocal takes and hearing the stuff with the auto tune,
the vocal production that Rusty was doing and feeling like excited about where it was going. When I looked back at the project, the vocals are called scratch one or something meaning like that was supposed to be a scratch. Take and I never left the main vocal, but that's always
check right, yeah. Yours tell the performer down says like a blueprint yeah and on
the second voices we pitched him down
I seven and when those hit
the auto tuner. It sounds very synthetic,
The second question:
I'll taken from the main focus is all one will take. So the harmonies are all just made from the
it's shifting to auto tune was originally made:
Or modeling the ocean floor for debt, finding it was taken from ships, so the person who made
auditor was already in this kind of maritime minds of thinking
Quietly. Just really fits the vibe, so good of the song.
I would always be
In terms of the lyrics, I was just thinking about what makes us do certain things and how those impulses-
If left, unchecked can kind of lead us down unsavory roads and for a couple outlines I like to talk about you
beings as animals, and I just figured the dolphin was so good symbol for that.
The emotion I wanted to have injected into the music was something really kind of caring and embracing
having, even though that sounds gonna cheesy, but I felt like there's people getting into divisive feelings, mainly in policy.
tax, but also in other places in the world. So I wanted to,
it's something that was kind of like a solve for that sort of movement.
It's kind of like a love letter to weirdos and yeah. That's that's it! And now here's dolphin
panda bear in its entirety.
Tat has been so. Why? I would
go north korean,
go to switch off the screen,
ass. A cat tree so sprang in Spain.
Two days later, the
We did so
let it be the
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Song exploder, was created by executive producer Rishi case your way, this episode was produced and edited by Christian Coons. Carlos Lara made the artwork, which you can see on the song exploder website or on her instagram song.
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Transcript generated on 2022-03-27.