Panda Bear (musician)

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Panda Bear
Panda Bear, the musician.jpg
Panda Bear at the Bowery Ballroom in New York, 2007
Background information
Birth name Noah Benjamin Lennox
Born (1978-07-17) July 17, 1978 (age 36)[1]
Baltimore, Maryland, United States
Genres Experimental, neo-psychedelia, electronic
Instruments Vocals, drums, sampler, guitar, synthesizer
Labels Paw Tracks, FatCat Records, Domino Records, Catsup Plate, St. Ives, UAAR, Soccer Star
Associated acts Animal Collective, Jane
Website www.myspace.com/pandabear

Noah Benjamin Lennox [2], (born July 17,[1] 1978 in Baltimore, Maryland) also known as Panda Bear, is an experimental musician and a founding member of the band Animal Collective. His third album, Person Pitch, won him widespread acclaim as a solo artist. Lennox currently resides in Lisbon, Portugal.

Early life[edit]

Lennox grew up in the Roland Park section of Baltimore, Maryland, and attended high school at Kimberton Waldorf School in Chester County, Pennsylvania. As a child and teenager, he played sports, mainly soccer and basketball. Lennox has also stated in interviews that he enjoyed drawing a lot as a teenager, especially pandas, and later started drawing pandas on his early mixtapes. He also studied piano until he was eight, then cello, and later on he sang tenor in his high school chamber choir.[3]

Though he and his family have never been very religious, Lennox briefly attended Boston University where he majored in Religion because of his interest "in the concept of God".[4] While a student at the University, Lennox starred in three student short films: Fish Sticks and Fecal Matters, both directed by Andrew Drazek; and Appy Halloween, directed by Black Nasty.

Musical career[edit]

Animal Collective[edit]

Panda Bear (right) performing with Animal Collective in October 2013
Main article: Animal Collective

As a teen, Lennox began listening to electronic music styles such as house and techno, and artists such as Aphex Twin, all of which became a major influence on his later work.[4] He recorded and performed music—solo and with friends. Lennox started using the name "Panda Bear" because he drew pictures of pandas for the artwork of his recordings.[3]

Lennox had been friends with Deakin (Josh Dibb) since the second grade.[5] Deakin introduced Lennox to his high school friends Avey Tare (Dave Portner) and Geologist (Brian Weitz). For years, the four of them swapped homemade recordings, shared musical ideas and performed in different group configurations. Lennox, along with Deakin moved to New York in 2000.[6] The band then became more collaborative in nature and they finally settled on the name "Animal Collective". Lennox and Avey Tare are the only members who have contributed to all of the band's releases.

Since the 2007 releases of Panda Bear's Person Pitch and Animal Collective's Strawberry Jam, he has focused more on using samplers and other electronics in their shows. He has named Black Dice as a major influence stating "Black Dice took us on our first tour and I feel like the wisest things I’ve learned about being in a band I learned by watching them."[7] He said he looks to Black Dice "as a model for a band... I feel like as a band, I can't speak for the other guys [of Animal Collective], but certainly for myself, like I modelled the way I approach to everything with the band watching the way Black Dice did it."[8] In addition to singing, Lennox played drums and occasionally guitar in Animal Collective's live performances. He cites Stewart Copeland as the biggest influence on his drumming style.[4]

Solo work[edit]

Lennox's debut album Panda Bear was released in 1999 on Soccer Star Records. After focusing more on touring and recording with Animal Collective, he released the follow-up Young Prayer in 2004 and the highly acclaimed third solo album Person Pitch in 2007. Of his songwriting style, Lennox says "I get impatient writing songs, I can't spend more than a couple of hours before I get frustrated. So I got to kind of spit it out real fast. My favorite songs are the ones where I worked really really fast on, when it comes all out in like two hours or something."[4]

Lennox's fourth album Tomboy was due to be released "near the end of 2010".[9] He started performing material from Tomboy on December 5, 2008 at a show with No Age in Miami, FL. During a brief European tour in January 2010, he played three shows consisting almost entirely of new material.[10] On March 7, 2010, a tour setlist with titles for ten of the new songs was posted on Panda Bear's MySpace blog.[11] Panda Bear has also played Primavera Sound Festival in 2010. The single "Tomboy" and the b-side "Slow Motion" were released in July 2010. It was announced in August that singles "You Can Count on Me" and "Alsatian Darn" would be released via Domino on September 28. The limited 500 copies of "You Can Count On Me" sold out in less than a day. The single "Last Night at the Jetty" was released December 2010. The single "Surfer's Hymn" was released March 28, 2011. Panda Bear's fourth album "Tomboy" was released April 12, 2011 on his own label, Paw Tracks.

His song "Comfy In Nautica" appears in ABC's 2010 global warming movie Earth 2100

Lennox was chosen by Jeff Mangum of Neutral Milk Hotel to perform at the All Tomorrow's Parties festival that he planned to curate in December 2011 in Minehead, England.[12] However, Lennox was unable to play when the event was rescheduled to March 2012.

June 2013, Panda Bear performed a set of all new material at ATP. The new record is titled Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper. On October 22, 2014, the "Mr Noah" EP was released, featuring four new songs.

Outside musical collaborations[edit]

Lennox also plays in the band Jane and Together with DJ Scott Mou. He has also performed on tracks with Atlas Sound (Bradford Cox of Deerhunter), Ducktails (Matt Mondanile of Real Estate) and electronic musician Zomby.

Panda Bear appeared on the track "Doin' It Right" on the 2013 Daft Punk album, Random Access Memories.[13] The album won Daft Punk the Grammy Award for Album of the Year in 2014.

Personal life[edit]

In 2004, Lennox moved from New York to Lisbon, Portugal. He first visited the city for a vacation following a long Animal Collective tour in 2003. Lennox says about Lisbon: "Since I got off the airplane here [for the first time] I had a good feeling about this place." It was while on vacation that he met his wife, the fashion designer Fernanda Pereira. After visiting each other in Lisbon and New York, Lennox decided to move to Europe because he also felt "connected to the European way of life",[4] considering himself as a "slow moving kind of person" and Lisbon as a "slow moving kind of place".[4] Lennox and Pereira are married and have a daughter, Nadja,[14] and a son, as of June 2010.[15] In 2007, he and Pereira collaborated on a line of sweatshirts called 2nd Things.[16]

Musical equipment[edit]

Solo discography[edit]

Albums[edit]

EPs[edit]

  • Mr Noah (October 22, 2014, Domino)

Singles[edit]

Remixes[edit]

  • "Boneless" (remix of Notwist song "Boneless") on "Boneless" 7"
  • "As Young As Yesterday" (remix of Korallreven song "As Young As Yesterday") on "As Young As Yesterday" 12" (2011)[19]

Appearances[edit]

  • One untitled track on Visionaire 53 - Sound (December 1, 2007, Visionaire Publishing, LLC)
  • "Anna" on the album East of Eden by Taken by Trees (September 7, 2009)
  • "Walkabout" on the album Logos by Atlas Sound (October 20, 2009)
  • "Stick to My Side" on the album Black Noise by Pantha du Prince (February 9, 2010)
  • "Killin' the Vibe" (bonus track) on the album "Ducktails III: Arcade Dynamics" by Ducktails (January 18, 2011)
  • "Atiba Song" composed music for a skateboarding montage directed by Atiba Jefferson and Ty Evans. The track was initially created by Atiba, then finished by Panda Bear.
  • "The Preakness" on the cassette tape Keep + Animal Collective (March 2011, Keep)
  • "Things Fall Apart" on the album Dedication by Zomby (July 11, 2011)
  • "Pyjama" on the album Tracer by Teengirl Fantasy (August 21, 2012)
  • "Doin' It Right" on the album Random Access Memories by Daft Punk (May 17, 2013)

Discography with Jane[edit]

Main article: Jane (American band)
  • Paradise, (2002, self-released)
  • COcOnuts (2002, self-released, Psych-O-Path Records)
  • Berserker (2005, Paw Tracks)

Discography with Animal Collective[edit]

Albums[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]