St. Panther: KCRW Guest DJ set

GET LIFTED! (L to R): Anthony Valadez, St. Panther, and Novena Carmel. Photo by Malorie McCall.

St. Panther is the moment. The OC-raised, LA-based singer, songwriter, rapper, producer, burgeoning entrepreneur (we could list their superlatives for days) joins us for a proper hang. Did you know that Drake collaborated with Peter Bjorn & John? And why does Amy Winehouse’s acoustic take on “Valerie” hit so much harder than the studio version? These answers and more are revealed as St. Panther takes the MBE Guest DJ reins. 

Named KCRW’s Breakthrough Artist of 2020, St. Panther continues to be a fount of unyielding creativity — collaborating with the likes of NEIL FRANCES, Terrace Martin, and rising artists along the lines of Their steady stream of singles and EPs tackle intense subject matter — grief, mental health, existential dread, etc. — juxtaposed with an ear that’s finely tuned toward dance-floor ready, pristine pop productions. We’re still waiting for their debut LP to drop, but in the meantime, catch them playing as part of KCRW’s Fall ‘23 partnership with School Night in early October, and headlining The Moroccan Lounge on Oct. 4.

Scroll along for the selects, and all of their attendant wisdom and enthusiasm.

The following has been edited and condensed for clarity. 

Amy Winehouse – “Valerie (Acoustic, Live)”

That song was the song that got me to consistently write songs on guitar, and record myself every day. And that was like, the beginning of the YouTube era — the beginning of YouTube Live. I was on a trip in Japan, visiting my uncle and I was spending all this time in his obscure office by myself. 

And my mom and him are perusing around Japan, and I'm just like home at his house. So I watched that Amy Winehouse session and I was like, “What?!” I immediately picked up an instrument and started singing and writing songs. [I was] turning on YouTube live every day and just writing songs on the spot like a crazy person. 

I was drawn to the soul of the song. I think it was the first time I [realized] I wasn’t experiencing songs as a child anymore. It feels more like I'm connecting to lyrics, I'm connecting to feelings, I'm connecting to heartbreak as a 16-year-old. It's like it was a different feeling that got me to feel my own feelings and emote them.

Drake – "Let's Call it Off (Feat. Peter Bjorn and John)" 

This really represents my relationship to making music and the era in which  I developed that relationship. That was right around when this Drake mixtape [So Far Gone] came out, sampling things like Lykke Li, and Peter, Bjorn & John. I was like, “This is exactly where I came from.” Like, I came from playing in bands that sound like Peter, Bjorn & John, and I'm starting to learn how to program drums on Logic for the first time, and record on Logic for the first time as a high schooler. I'm wanting to fuse those sounds to bring those two worlds together — the indie-alt world with programmed beats. So yeah, this song really represents the beginning of that era.

James Blake – "Loading”

There are moments on this [freshly-released] James Blake album, Playing Robots Into Heaven that are just so new, and so inspiring. He takes us to new territory everytime he releases new music. 

If aliens landed, and wanted to know about James Blake, I would say he's trying his best to communicate with aliens right now. So if you can't understand this… he's trying. and This is the language that [could] build the bridges between our two species right here.

Maurice II – "Izzitwurkinforya"

This is one of those songs that comes on, and gives you that feeling that you have no other choice but to look kinda ugly while you’re enjoying it. You can almost smell it when it comes on, like something funky just happened in here. 





Anna Chang