I first heard of Brady Keehn when he was in the band Sextile. My friends in the darkwave/postpunk scene raved about his artistry. Fast forward to a few months ago and I discovered Panther Modern (a project named after a technological gang in the William Gibson Novel “Burning Chrome”) and it took awhile to realize that this phenomenal new electronic musician was Brady in his latest incarnation. Panther Modern released one EP and one single last year. I cannot wait to hear (and see) what’s next.
His recent performance on the Dark Energy stream on Twitch blew me away. Panther Modern performed in virtual reality live – digitally-rendered. It was revolutionary. The music, the visuals, the presentation were next level. I felt like Dorthy stepping into a digital Oz.
While most artists and DJs dabble in background images and projections to stream their performances, Brady has projected himself into his own virtual world. It was a technological statement. A digitally-glitched manifesto. It was like watching a virtual icon, an Idoru of a dark tech-savvy subculture debut.
After his performance on Dark Energy I caught up Panther Modern (PM) and he agreed to a Hypnos Audio (HA) interview.
HA: I caught your recent performance on the Dark Energy Twitch stream out of Minneapolis and like many who stayed up late on the East Coast, I was blown away with the visuals and presentation. What inspired you to have these videos created? Were you involved with this?
PM: First of all thank you!
So I think what initially inspired me to do these type of videos was my room, or really the lack there of. Panther Modern doesn’t exist in a 8×8 bed room with shit lighting. It’s not the setting or the vibe. So I needed to make one, if it were to be true to the performance and aesthetic. Yes I was involved in every facet, from the development, additional coding, environment design (Virtual Venues), camera movements and lighting.
HA: While I first encountered the name Panther Modern it was reading that Gibson novel in the late 80s. Can you tell us how cyberpunk has influenced your work?
PM: Oh its influenced me for so long, its always been my favorite genre, for as long as I can remember. It really instilled a sense of futurism in my outlook on life and in my work. It started with music, and synthesizers, influenced by movies with composers like Wendy Carlos, Vangelis and to be quite honest the opening scene in Blade with the New Order – Confusion remix by Pump Panel. I was 11 years old when that movie came out and I knew then, that’s where I wanted to be. Maybe in a way I am chasing that dragon.
In terms of visuals, I have struggled to visually convey my ideas until about 2 years ago when I started diving into making 3D art. I was never very good at drawing, painting or physical forms of art but some reason 3D makes way more sense to me. And naturally because of my life long infatuation with futurism and the cyberpunk genre my visual art conveys themes from the genre.
HA: Has this recent COVID pandemic affected your process of creating music?
PM: If anything it has given me more time. These days I find myself mostly working on visuals, so this time has given me the ability to bounce between both worlds. There are days in which I feel sad I am not working on music as much.
HA: Who (or what) are some of your current influences?
PM: Honestly, a lot of my current influences have been 3D artists and Mixed Reality artists like Exit Simulation and SX Marigoldf. Additionally, just what we are seeing happen in technology, and all the tools and platforms coming about. More things to hack and utilize to create your art without the need for huge budgets and big teams. It’s a really good time for a DIY artist.
HA: In addition to making electronic music, do you explore other forms of art/creation?
PM: Like I have been talking about, I’m heavy into Mixed Reality art.
HA: When you start to write a track, do you approach it with a concept or idea or do you discover it as you create?
PM: All of the above, they all come differently and others you have to find.
HA: Do you have any advice to musicians and artists out there reading this?
PM: There are no more rules. There are no more sets of guides. No one knows what’s happening in the music industry right now. All the tools are out there, most things are free. And keep your band small. And don’t use a chorus pedal.
Bandcamp – https://panthermodern.bandcamp.com
Instagram – Panthermodern.la
Twitch – Panthermodern_LA