Hot Panda has a hot practice space. Its in a crematorium---and while the band produces lively, energetic pop music, its sort of fitting that the Edmonton-based quartet spends so much time in a building that roasts the deceased. Theres a fridge for our beer, says bassist Keith Olsen.
The bands quirky members hone their jaunty, catchy indie pop in the eccentric location. Theyve been generating buzz out west since playing last years New Music West in Vancouver, where they caught the eye of Canadian indie-music giants Mint Records. The band played Mints Christmas party and---after rocking the audience---signed with the record company in April. Olsen, Chris Condor Connelly on vocals and guitar, Maghan Campbell on drums and Heath Parsons on keyboards complete the cheeky foursome.
Hot Panda was more than ecstatic to sign with Mint. Myself, even growing up in rural Alberta, I had a couple Mint samplers, explains Olsen. I got into The Mr. T Experience and The New Pornographers even at a young age, so this is a big trip for us...this is as good as it gets.
The band likes to take the piss out of each other and just about everything else. Even their name was the result of a wisecrack about a Chinese buffet restaurant in Edmonton. One day in the car we were going past this Panda Hut billboard...We started throwing around the idea that they were serving panda...a steaming bowl of panda on rice. is just based on us being monkeys, laughs Olsen.
The band has already recorded a 12-song album, to be released in February. Until then, catch its dance-y tunes on Friday night, when it visits Nova Scotia for the first time. Make the most of your mortality and get your pulse moving as you cut the rug on the dance floor.
Hot Panda at SUMMERFUNFEST w/Scribbler, A/V, Murder Sounds. Friday, July 18, at Gus Pub, 2506 Agricola, 10pm, $5.