Panda Bear (musician)

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Panda Bear
PANDA BEAR 2010.jpg
Lennox performing in 2010
Background information
Birth name Noah Benjamin Lennox
Born (1978-07-17) July 17, 1978 (age 38)[1]
Charlottesville, Virginia, United States
Genres
Occupation(s) Musician, songwriter
Instruments Vocals, drums, percussion, sampler, guitar, synthesizer
Years active 1998–present
Labels Paw Tracks, FatCat, Domino, Catsup Plate, St. Ives, UAAR, Soccer Star, Outside Music (Canada)
Associated acts
Website pbvsgr.com
Notable instruments

Noah Benjamin Lennox (born July 17, 1978), also known by his moniker Panda Bear, is an American musician, songwriter, and co-founding member of the experimental pop band Animal Collective. In addition to his work with that group, Lennox has released five solo LPs since 1999.

Lennox was primarily raised in Baltimore, Maryland, where he sang tenor in his high school chamber choir, and studied piano and cello. The name "Panda Bear" derived from his habit of drawing pandas on his early mixtapes as a teenager. He is currently based in Lisbon, Portugal.

Early life[edit]

Lennox grew up in the Roland Park section of Baltimore, Maryland, and attended Waldorf School of Baltimore through 8th grade, and Kimberton Waldorf School in Chester County, Pennsylvania for high school. His family moved frequently during his early years, owing to his father's studies to be an orthopedic surgeon. As a child and boy and teenager, he played sports, mainly soccer and basketball. His brother, Matt Lennox, was a leading player on the high school basketball team and Noah was also a team member, playing as point guard.[2]

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]

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.

Panda Bear performing with Animal Collective in 2009.

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 early musical influences included electronic styles, and his solo work has been variously characterized as experimental pop,[9][10] electronic,[11] and neo-psychedelic pop.[12] 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]

Panda Bear's fourth album Tomboy was released April 12, 2011 on his own label, Paw Tracks. He had started performing material from Tomboy on December 5, 2008, at a show with No Age in Miami, Florida. During a brief European tour in January 2010, he played three shows consisting almost entirely of new material. On March 7, 2010, a tour setlist with titles for ten of the new songs was posted on Panda Bear's MySpace blog. 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 performs in Paris in 2010.

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.[13] However, Lennox was unable to play when the event was rescheduled to March 2012.

In June 2013, Panda Bear performed a set of all new material at ATP. In October 2014, the Mr Noah EP was released, featuring four new songs. The full album, Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper, was released in January 2015.

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,[14] best known as the former lead guitarist of the American Indie rock band Real Estate) and electronic musicians Zomby and Pantha du Prince.

Panda Bear appeared on the track "Doin' It Right" on the 2013 Daft Punk album, Random Access Memories.[15] The album won Daft Punk the Grammy Award for Album of the Year in 2014. Panda Bear also effectively won the same for his guest appearance in the album, according to Grammy rules.[citation needed]

Personal life[edit]

In 2004, Lennox moved from New York City 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,[16] and a son, as of June 2010.[17] In 2007, he and Pereira collaborated on a line of sweatshirts called 2nd Things.[18]

Musical equipment[edit]

Synthesizers
Digital samplers
Drum machine/synthesizer

Discography[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

Title Album details Peak chart positions
US
[23]
US Indie
[24]
UK
[25]
Panda Bear
Spirit They're Gone, Spirit They've Vanished
(Avey Tare and Panda Bear)
  • Released: August 2000
  • Label: Animal, FatCat
  • Formats: CD, LP
Danse Manatee
(Avey Tare, Panda Bear and Geologist)
  • Released: July 2001
  • Label: Catsup Plate, FatCat
  • Formats: CD, LP
Young Prayer
Person Pitch
  • Released: March 20, 2007
  • Label: Paw Tracks
38
Tomboy
  • Released: April 12, 2011
  • Label: Paw Tracks
29 5 62
Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper
  • Released: January 13, 2015
  • Label: Domino
34 2 49
"—" denotes album that did not chart or was not released

Extended plays[edit]

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)[27]

Appearances[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Happy Birthday Panda Bear". YouTube. Retrieved 14 January 2015. 
  2. ^ Costello, Lou (1993-12-06). New Coach Is Relying On A Senior Guard Matt Lennox Is The Cougars' Team Leader. He "Picks Up Other Guys When They're Down," Says Ray Jenkins. Inquirer. Retrieved on 2016-03-06.
  3. ^ a b https://web.archive.org/web/20090309062058/http://www.themilkfactory.co.uk/interviews/pandabeariw.htm. Archived from the original on March 9, 2009. Retrieved November 25, 2009.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. ^ a b c d e f "{.::Má Fama::.}: Panda Bear". Mafama.blogspot.com. 2007-01-08. Retrieved 2016-02-18. 
  5. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20080722082744/http://pbsfm.org.au/Documents.asp?ID=5455&Title=Animal+Collective+%2D+Strawberry+Jam. Archived from the original on July 22, 2008. Retrieved July 28, 2008.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  6. ^ Coyle, Jake. "Animal Collective Sings Alien Pop Tunes", The Washington Post, 2007-10-12.
  7. ^ Interview with Panda Bear, The Milk Factory, April 2005
  8. ^ Magic's Saga Animal Collective Part 5/5, Magicrpm.com, February 5, 2009
  9. ^ Ben Kaye. "Panda Bear's video for "Crosswords" is a one-man kaleidoscopic dance party — watch". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved 2016-02-18. 
  10. ^ "Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper". The Irish Times. Retrieved 2016-02-18. 
  11. ^ "CMJ 2015: PANDA BEAR". The Last Magazine. 2015-10-26. Retrieved 2016-02-18. 
  12. ^ Ivan, Arthur. "Album review: Panda Bear 'Panda Bear Meets The Grim Reaper'". Dummy Mag. Retrieved 2016-02-18. 
  13. ^ "ATP curated by Jeff Mangum (Neutral Milk Hotel) - All Tomorrow's Parties". Atpfestival.com. Retrieved 14 January 2015. 
  14. ^ "Real Estate Part Ways With Matt Mondanile". Pitchfork. Retrieved 8 July 2016. 
  15. ^ "Daft Punk". Pitchfork. Retrieved 14 January 2015. 
  16. ^ Kelly, Jennifer. "Good Times, Other Realities: A Conversation with Panda Bear", PopMatters, March 26, 2007
  17. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20100612214553/http://altreport.hipsterrunoff.com/2010/06/breaking-news-panda-bear-and-his-wife-have-second-child-new-born-son-arrives-in-world.html. Archived from the original on June 12, 2010. Retrieved June 10, 2010.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  18. ^ "2ND". 2ndthings.blogspot.com. Retrieved 14 January 2015. 
  19. ^ "In pictures: Panda Bear's Lisbon studio". MusicRadar. Retrieved 2016-02-18. 
  20. ^ a b Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper (Media notes). Panda Bear. Domino Recording Company. 2015. 
  21. ^ Lennox, Noah "Pitchfork: Guest Lists: Panda Bear", Pitchfork, February 15, 2007, accessed March 22, 2011.
  22. ^ McDermott, Patrick D. (2014-12-15). "The Things I Carry: Panda Bear". The Fader. Retrieved 2016-02-18. 
  23. ^ "Panda Bear - Chart history (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved May 31, 2016. 
  24. ^ "Panda Bear - Billboard Independent". 
  25. ^ "PANDA BEAR | full Official Chart history". Official Charts Company. Retrieved May 31, 2016. 
  26. ^ "FATCAT RECORDS - HOME". Fat-cat.co.uk. Retrieved 14 January 2015. 
  27. ^ "ACE018 — Korallreven — As Young As Yesterday : Acéphale". Acephalerecords.com. Retrieved 14 January 2015. 

External links[edit]