Nightlife Artist of the Month: DJ Duo Sex Panther
NIGHTLIFE | MUSIC
~ BY JANE E. SUSSMAN
Their growing recognition comes from pure hard work mixed with some serious talent, a sizeable dose of sex appeal, and a spoonful of sugar…”
Catnip for the Dance floor
Not even two full years after the inception of their partnership, the DJ duo Sex Panther are in hot and growing demand in LA, Vegas, Brazil, Hong Kong and beyond. Aaron Cool and Ryan Fontana “got in right before the wave came where it was cool to be a DJ,” said Fontana, “it wasn’t like hoping on the bandwagon.”
“I asked my dad if I could borrow money when I got the equipment and he was like, dude you’re going to pay me back by playing at weddings and shit.” Far from it, as the duo have established a serious fan base which has brought them a residency at The Palms in Vegas, and gigs in Hong Kong, Singapore, and most recently, Brazil. Their growing recognition comes from pure hard work mixed with some serious talent, a sizeable dose of sex appeal, and a spoonful of sugar.
They work on producing for two to three hours a day, mixed in with research for the new music they’re interested in, editing, practicing. The two have also found where their own strengths lie in terms of their development; Cool works on his own music, “hobby time,” when he’s done working on the Sex Panther music while Fontana handles all their business emails and social media presence. “It [social media] definitely helps. You’re in people’s faces so they remember you,” according to Fontana.
They’re also notable for the down-to-earth way they interact with their fans. “I love to give people our drinks at the table. I love having people hang out with us, I mean, we get so much free stuff, I like sharing it,” said Cool. Fontana adds that “that person we just gave a free drink to will go back to Texas and tell all her friends about us. So playing in Vegas is essentially planting seeds all through America. In the beginning, when we started playing together, we were both on the same page and just wanted to be nice to everyone. A lot of DJ’s have big ego’s – you know, the whole attitude that this is my area, don’t come in – we’re kind of the opposite, and people really appreciate that.”
Recently in Brazil, the guys learned some Portuguese and even tried to use it throughout their set. “If you can win them over and show them you care, they love you,” said Fontana. After that set, the club owner came up to them and said, “Do you understand what happened here tonight? This was THE craziest.” The ultimate compliment.
Cool and Fontana are very much two halves of the same coin; both wear their dark hair long and curly, and both dress with a beachy vibe that befits their origins (Cool hailing from Newport Beach and Fontana from Hawaii). Fontana is geared more toward the business side of Sex Panther and Cool the more traditional artistic temperament of the two.
“This kid would get the craziest anxiety before a show, he’d just be in his head or something,” joked Fontana, of Cool. Countering, Cool says, “the worst part is hanging out in a club for the hour before your set, especially if the music isn’t good, and people come up to you and are like, are you ready, are you going to kill it – it’s overwhelming.”
“I love to give people our drinks at the table. I love having people hang out with us, I mean, we get so much free stuff, and I like sharing it,” said Cool.
While there are the glamorous moments – the models, the steak dinners, the girls waving at them in the front row, they both admit it still is a daily hustle. Behind the scenes, the guys are working hard all day. They spend countless hours mixing, working hard to produce that hit track.
During their work over the summer in Asia, the two talk about a time when they showed up to dinner and were met with a swarm of models from all these different countries. The girls were there to eat and be in the video. What would seem to be an awesome perk of their job, wasn’t actually as fun as it could have been. Apparently, some of the models were a bit too snooty for their own good and ruined what should have been a good time.
But back in Vegas during their residency at The Palms, the benefits are great. They are paid to play their two hour set at the club, but then get to do whatever they want to during their free time, including, as Fontana says, “comped dinners at this amazing steakhouse they have. It’s so good, the have the best fresh oysters, fillet mignon, lamb, sashimi.”
While this is just the beginning it seems of their career trajectory, much of their hard work really seems to be paying off even now. Rio was a far cry from “sitting at the beach with no job, “ said Cool. “On our last day in Rio, we went to the beach and we were just floating out there on Ipanema beach, just floating there and laughing,” said Fontana.
Just another day in the life of Sex Panther it appears. These two humble cats are picking up steam and rounding up incredible fans worldwide, thanks in part to the behind-the-scenes support of their management at Modern Media Collective. They’ve got upcoming dates in the US, Brazil, and it appears Australia is next on the tour.
Check out these two “nice guy” DJ’s next time they are in your area. Who knows, you might even get a free drink.
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