For anyone who thought electro house predator Sex Panther was satisfied in its recent slumber, prepare yourself for a leaned-out, revitalized prowler of the jungle fostering one simple goal: make fun music.
After parting ways with his co-founder, Ryan Fontana, Newport Beach’s Aaron Cool (pictured) is looking to the future as the sole soul in control of the famed Sex Panther name, and LessThan3 has an exclusive interview and premiere of his first solo work, Rue.
A high-energy affair, Rue represents the first taste of the new Sex Panther, which Cool groomed for the wetter regions, so to speak, holding the atmosphere of a raucous pool party high among formative factors in his inaugural independent cut.
“It’s definitely more splashy than loungey, though,” Cool said, expanding on the vibe of Rue.
While finely suited for a summer day, perhaps more importantly, the tune fits in with the persona he plans to carry on into Panther’s future. With high-voltage performances placed high on his to-do list, Cool saw no alternative to crafting a keystone cut for his sets while simultaneously setting the tone for his resurgence. But shouldering the burden of two takes serious strength in addition to bringing up certain questions, like whether or not to rename.
“I thought about changing the name; I never really did like that name,” Cool said. “At first–when we first started it–when Ryan said it, I was just like, ‘yeah, that’s funny, whatever, I don’t care.’ To me, I didn’t think anything of it because I didn’t think anything was going to really happen out of it.”
During Sex Panther’s 2011 infancy, Cool said he anticipated playing “only a few shows,” leaning on the project mostly as something to do between jobs. However, all Ron Burgundy colognes aside, fate had a special eye for this feline, and despite its nonchalant selection process, the Sex Panther brand had accrued gravity and become too powerful to leave behind.
The name arose about as effortlessly as the project itself after the two met at a Guitar Center in Fountain Valley and bonded over their mutual desire to dive head-first into the DJ world. While learning the ropes together, cementing their bond as an official duo just made sense. Four years and about a half-dozen releases later, the Panther caught a snag.
“Last year, we weren’t playing that much,” Cool said of his partner’s involvement. “He didn’t really seem like he was into DJing… he just wasn’t putting a lot of energy into it.”
Diverted, as so often happens, by life, and to some extent, a woman, Fontana drifted away, Cool said. By January 2015, after multiple unreturned attempts to link up, he felt a change coming.
“Finally, he was like, ‘I don’t think I’m going to DJ anymore. My heart’s not in it.'”
Still friends, but no longer a duo, Fontana gave Cool his blessing to continue the project solo while he pursued other passions including writing and that aforementioned lady-friend, which brings us to today, where we find the Panther reawakening.
Rue represents the first step in a new path for Sex Panther, one that balances ferocious and cuddly in a new way–one that places the reinvigorated act in the front corner of the club pool playfully pounding out waves across the unsuspecting crowd.
Henceforth a solo act, Cool finds himself driven by his solitude.
“Now that it’s just me, I know that if I don’t do something, no one’s going to help out at all,” he said.
With Fontana historically handling most of the marketing side, he definitely has his paws full with new responsibilities, but those paws have been itching to get to work anyhow, and their most pressing item of business is new music.
“I’m going to have my own style of what we had before,” Cool said, explaining that while fans will still recognize the Sex Panther sound, it will be clear there’s a new cat in town.
“I really want everything to be more bouncy and fun,” he said of his plans for tweaking the project’s ethos.
With a newfound focus and drive, Sex Panther is poised to go hard–hard enough to be actually banned in nine countries.
Pick up Rue when it drops Sept. 14 from Brawla.