Before embarking on their semi-erotic EDM duo Sex Panther, Ryan Fontana and Aaron Cool were just two regular guys who loved music. They both played guitars and Cool had played the piano as a child. They were fans of electronic dance music attending every show and festival they could. Fontana, a Hawaii bred entrepreneur moved to Orange County to attend Chapman University with an emphasis in film production. While working for the Gotta Dance Dirty music blog on some video projects early last year, he found out that they ran the side room at the infamous club Avalon in Hollywood.
"I asked 'dude, what's deal with that booking could I play there some time," says Fontana. "Jonah [the GDD Founder] was like 'yeah play there on Friday, can you play on CDJs?'" Fontana had no idea how to use CDJs. Those two days leading up to the show he went to Guitar Center for hours to teach himself. Then Newport Beach native, Cool came into the store and they started chatting. "I was like 'I'll give you some drink tickets if you come to Avalon Friday," he says. They exchanged info, but Aaron never made it to the show. They did however, run into each other a couple months later. "We never had the specific intent of starting a DJ duo," says Ryan. Yet here they are, touring all over the world as Sex Panther a little over a year later.
The name Sex Panther (for all you Will Ferrell fans) is a homage to Anchor Man one of the best comedies of our generation. "I told the girl I was dating at the time that I wanted to change my DJ name to Sex Panther and she said 'No you can't do that because all the girls will want to have sex with you," says Fontana. As a pair of habitual wishful thinkers, both members decided that was the name to pick. Fontana and Cool got their big break playing the major clubs in OC being known for their energetic party-mode performances and electrifying progressive house sound. Their wacky personalities and incredible raw talents made them a force to be reckoned with.
Today with the help of Fontana's longtime friend and manager Chris den Uijl, they hold residencies in Las Vegas at the Palms Casino & Resort as well as at Wild Knight in Phoenix, Arizona. They also play regularly in San Diego, San Francisco, Los Angeles and of course OC. "Before Chris we were bringing in a bunch of fans and they would pay us $50," says Ryan. "I was like 'I can't eat off this!'" Sex Panther soon let Fontana's good friend Uijl take a shot at managing them. When Uijl first came on board to manage, Sex Panther still half-way expected to be paid a mere $250 to play a Fourth of July party, but Cool says that wasn't the case. Their first gig he booked them for payed over $2,500. "We haven't looked back since," Cool says.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
Sex Panther has created an ingenious brand of big-room house remixes and bootlegs that thrives on teasing with high-pitches, laser zaps and thrusting bass in your face--fucking the crowd so to speak. And few young DJ duos are doing it better right now. They captured the essence needed to create new house music fans by incorporating electronic songs with mainstream vocals and keeping the party entertained by pouring shots down fans throats. Their current bootleg package include songs like "Lost in the Sun & Moon" and "Epic Sandstorm" which continue to make waves among the EDM elite. They even gave a set to Dutch DJ Nicky Romero personally on a flight back from Vegas. "We want to share our music with everyone to listen and play," says Fontana.
With a collaboration release with Brian Matrix out on Beatport, iTunes and Amazon titled "The Beginning" and another original track soon to be released titled "Right Now," Sex Panther are inserting themselves (sorry, too easy) into the national spotlight and climbing the Beatport charts. Their faces are on billboards on the Las Vegas Strip yet they stick to their humble beginnings even partying with fans after gigs. This Saturday they will continue to spread their love for house music in typical Sex Panther fashion at the Yost Theater which promise to be a night of bass drops and and raw debauchery. "The sound is going to be so good," says Cool. "I can do a lot of stuff that I've been wanting to do and know that it's going to be felt the way it was meant to be felt."