Leading up to the 12:00am set time the Panda Funk Family was getting restless for their torchbearer to charm them with his iconic sound. As Deorro took the stage it was nearly impossible to move throughout the venue, and when his set came to a close Boston EDM Events sat down with the producer. We tapped into how his most signature collaborations came to life, the key inspirations that influenced his music over the years, what his fan base & PandaFam means to him, and much more. Check out the full Exclusive interview below.
Boston EDM: You have just released an original track called ‘Flashlight’ with R3hab. Do you mind explaining how that all came together?
DEORRO: Well R3hab started hitting me up, and started showing me love on Twitter, and sometimes he would tweet me saying, “Yo man! Your music is great! Keep it up!” And then the fans would hit us up saying you two should collab because they saw us tweeting, so he was down. He messaged me and we started going back and forth on Skype, and we would exchange ideas back and forth. Usually I have about a thousand little things I create and I’ll play if it does well at shows, and if the crowd loves it I’ll turn it into an actual song and release it. So I had a few of those and sent it over to him as an idea, and when he heard it he said he was down! So he flipped it, changed the break down, basically made it a complete song.
Was this your first time working with R3hab? He is actually coming here next week I believe!
Hahaha that’s crazy!! I heard that. It’s perfect how we have the #1 spot and playing the same venue right after another! It’s Crazy, and yes it was. It was really something special being able to work with an artist like him.
Going off that, how does it feel to look at the Beatport Main Chart and see your name at the #1 position above every other artist out there?
You know, I don’t want to say I made it to number one yet. I mean ‘Five Hours’ was the closest that I have ever been to number one. And we all know I can’t take credit for being number one because R3hab is on the title as well. I’m pretty sure that it’s because of R3hab and I don’t mind saying that either because I know it’s true. So ‘Five Hours’ was the closest, and I can proudly say that by myself, that’s the closest I have ever been by being number 2.
When you were working on ‘Flashlight’, did you expect it to be THAT big of a track as it became?
Well I expected it to be a cool, popular track I suppose. I thought it was a good sort of peak-hour type track that everyone could use when the party was really good. It worked for me for a very long time and it worked for R3hab for a long time so I knew It was going to be popular, and had a good chance of getting into the Top-10 Electro House charts. When it hit number one it was crazy. Another reason why is because R3hab can spit it. He’s like the ‘Popular kid in school’ haha but it’s truly a blessing to be able to work with an artist like him and be apart of something so special.
What is Pandafunk?
A lot of people see the panda and think of me. In reality all it is, is a movement. It’s about music and inspired, talented, humble, honest people. It’s about people who don’t do it for the money, or care about the success. They just do it for the love and to have the ability to help others. Hopefully Pandafunk grows to be some sort of a movement, but for now we are just a family. Right now, I train the artists that are a part of Pandafunk. They came knowing A LOT of things, but I helped them with production methods, etc. So I did that because I no longer had time to help out the others I was. I was helping over 127 people online, some were from South America, some from China, Australia-all over the world! Then my career started picking up and I couldn’t find time for that. So I took that movie, ‘Pay It Forward’ and I collected my little handful that I could teach personally, and now they actually have their own students that they teach. They are helping out other people, helping people out online, doing exactly what I did. It was the best that I could do and that’s what we are. We are just a big movement.
When starting a record, what is the creative process like?
Picture me as a painter. Before I went to paint, I would go out and collect every paint in the world. Now taking it to the music side, before I made music I fell in love with Reggae, I fell in love with Hip-Hop, Country, Rock, Orchestra; I fell in love with all kinds of genres. So when I would go to make a track I would take in all those little ideas, influences, all that creativity I had gained from listening to all those other genres, and put them into that one song. When I get stuck on a song I listen to Jazz, R&B, Blues, and try a technique the artist used in that song. When working on my albums I would look for inspiration by listening to stories. I set up an email where I would tell my fans to BLOW that email up, send me some stories! When I would look at the stories my fans send me I would get really inspired by them. I would be like, “Okay, how can I project a girl finding out her girlfriend isn’t really gay? She just did it because she felt sorry for her!” So I would respond asking them to tell me more about it and want to connect with them. No one would really know that so it’s not something easy someone could find out. So I would read them, try to connect, find out more about it from the fan and do my best trying to express it. So there is really no limit on where you can get creativity from. I mean, I could look at this table we’re doing this interview on and it could inspire me someway. All it is is translating a story through music. People these days want to make a song but don’t know how to so they listen to a popular song and try to mimic that. No! Open your mind. Do what you can do to express yourself and tell a story through the song you are making. Anything can inspire you.
Why do you think some artists are against collaborations?
I have no idea. It probably has to do with ghost producing. I really really push to make sure the track is equally shared. For example, me and Adrian Delgado made a couple tracks in the past. So when I would post them I would say, “Yo here’s a track me and Adrian Delgado made, he wrote the lyrics, etc.” So I really do my best to give credit where it’s due. I despise lying to the crowd, and you aren’t being true by not doing that. I respect music because it’s given me the opportunity to provide food on the table for my family. I want to use it to my advantage and not lie about it and lie to the people who have supported me. Other than that, I don’t know why you wouldn’t want to collaborate with someone. If you could come together and make something good why would you be against that?
How would you say most of your past collaborations have come about?
For me it’s who I’m a fan of, like I’m a fan of R3hab, I’m a fan of Afrojack, I’m a fan of Alicia Keys. Also it’s a matter of if you two can work together. For example, taco Doritos? That’s the perfect collab hahaha! I want to be the taco and they be the Doritos…the perfect combination. You’ll hear something that will be the opposite and be so random. You want it to make sense.
For someone who has never heard your music, and asked one of your fans what the Panda Fam is, what would you hope their response would be?
I would hope they say that it’s a family who supports one another, and supports real talent, and do it for the love. Theres is a lot of money hungry people out there who are doing music just because it’s the cool thing to do because there is money involved. Pandafam is a family who supports the underdogs, believes in them, and gives them a chance as well. It’s unfortunate because there are SO MANY talented people out there who don’t have the opportunity and they are surrounded by darkeness, and I want to be able to shine a light on them. I want to shine a light on the people who are overshadowed by the people who do it for money and fame. I want to give an opportunity to those types of people.
There has been a few rumors going around saying that you might stop touring for a bit? Why do you say that?
Well you remember how I was saying I use to help a lot of people around the world? I would email, Skype, talk on the phone all the time but as my career started to blow up I only had time to do emails for my careers. So when I was on the computer, I only really focused on the business side of it. I would use the training to take care of the guys in PandaFunk, but I started touring, and now I don’t even have time for that. It kills me knowing I couldn’t keep up with that and help the ones close to me and who supported me. So I started touring and it kept me away from all of that which was NEVER my goal when I started making music. My goal was to help people. Me touring, playing shows isn’t helping anyone do anything other than myself. The best thing that I learned I’m good at, and what I love most; it’s not producing music, it’s not DJing, it’s inspiring people, motivating and helping and watching them learn you know? It’s such a good feeling. You know that feeling when people get a good paycheck? That’s the feeling I get when I can help people, and see them reach their unique potential not just as an artist, but as a person as well. Traveling, touring, that’s all routine. I don’t really like routine haha. The thing I truly enjoy about touring is you get to see your fans and your fam, all your supporters, throughout the world react to your music and its an amazing feeling as well. It’s sad though because it only lasts an hour and a half, then you have to deal with the busy tour schedule with missing flights, hotels, 20 hour plane rides. I truly do love it. But what I want most is to train my other artists, get them to a point where they can come tour with me, so when I do decide to get back on tour I can bring the WHOLE fam with me. With having them and the fans all together would be something very special for me. I couldn’t even describe what that would mean.
“I want to shine a light on the people who are overshadowed by the people who do it for money and fame”
What is the first thing you want people to think of when they here the name Deorro?
I don’t want to be remembered as an artist. For example, I want to be remembered and looked upon in the same way as how others look at Martin Luther King. Someone who stood up and helped people. People look up to their favorite artist and when they go to meet them they expect them to be arrogant or very cocky, I don’t want to be known as that. I don’t like that. When I met my idol and asked for a picture he just brushed me off! I couldn’t believe that!! Someone told me, “Oh that’s normal”, THAT’S what I want to change. Why the hell is it normal for someone to expect their idol to be mean and arrogant like that. I don’t get it. A lot of people said I wasn’t going to be successful because of my looks, because I’m Mexican, or how I’m Spanish, or how I tweet and how it’s not professional. I want to prove to people that it doesn’t matter what you look like, or any of that shit. It’s about the music. I don’t care if you’re a different skin color or if you’re gay; because if I hear a really good song and I love it, I’m not going to stop liking it for any of those reasons. I want to be the proof, and the hope. There is a lot of Spanish kids who think that they will never make it. I want to be the one that shows them they can do it. I will never make tweets like an artist, I will never talk like an artist, hell, have you seen my profile pic?! The only reason why I do photo shoots is because they don’t like iPhone pictures for promos. It’s just me, people can relate to that. I want to be the homie.
Last question: Where do you see your music going in the future?
A lot of people probably will get mad at this, but I hope it to goes everywhere. I hope it goes on the radio, I hope it goes on commercials, movies, video games. I produce, ‘Deorro’ tracks for the dance floor, but I want to make a song for a commercial that no one ever knows it’s made by ‘Deorro’ if that makes sense. I’ve done certain things outside of EDM, for example magicians. When I went into a major labels recording studio they taught me a lot of things, formulas I guess you could call it. I learned how to make Pop, I learned how to make Dutch, Dubstep, etc. When I made Dutch, that started to blow up my career as Deorro, and I just stuck with that. So that was one route that became very successful. The radio route is starting to get very successful, but now I want to get into TV. Now I’m starting to produce songs for that. So with all that said, my goal in life is not to win a Grammy, it’s to win an oscar haha! The biggest message I want to teach everybody who reads this is that just because you are successful with this, doesn’t mean you can’t be successful with that!