Not Panthers. I already talked with them. This is Panther, the Portland duo of founder Charlie Salas-Humara (vocals, cello, guitar, keys) and 31 Knots’ Joe Kelly (drums). 14kt God, the band’s first album as duo, came out on Kill Rock Stars yesterday, so the timing here at Quit You Day Job is pretty close to a bullseye. Outside the band, and when not touring, Salas-Humara makes money selling art and Kelly splits time between his carpentry and bartending. One of them loves Yoko Ono.
We premiered a demo of the dubbed-out 14kt track “These Two Trees” a ways back and gave you a listen to the album’s opener “Puerto Rican Jukebox.” After the jump, check out a brand new remix of “Puerto Rican Jukebox” by Lips And Ribs, the solo project of 31 Knots’ Jay Winebrenner. I’m also posting the album track “Violence, Diamonds” because those things always go well with lips and ribs.
STEREOGUM: What’s your background in fine art? Did you go to school for it?
CHARLIE SALAS-HUMARA: I have absolutely no background in fine art. I was always jealous of my art school friends. I ended up going to a giant university pursuing a degree in Sociology, which means I slept a lot during classes. I started out trying to make realistic drawings of people for fun and because of my lack of technique, they turned out really surrealistic and warped.
STEREOGUM: Tell me a bit about your upcoming art show.
CS-H: I have a show at my friends bar, Tiga. It’s a really nice place that has a lot of space and is super conducive to art showings. There is a lot of color to the pieces I am putting up, so I am looking to make the place really psychedelic, while hopefully not freaking out the more upscale clientèle. It’s also my birthday. And I am also planning a big bash/guilting people into buying my art.
STEREOGUM: You did the paintings for the cover of 14kt God. Have you ever decorated any other records?
CS-H: No, but i would love it if someone asked!
STEREOGUM: Who are your artistic inspirations/forerunners? And any peers?
CS-H: My main inspiration is Yoko Ono. i find her endlessly inspirational and fascinating. I also really love Tony Fitzpatrick. He makes these really colorful prints with a ton of layers. I went to see an art show of his about ten years ago in Portland and I approached him knowing he was from the Chicago area. I told him I was from Glen Ellyn ( a suburb) and he freaked out and told me he grew up in the next town. We had beers and discussed how the local high school gym teachers get wasted at this really creepy bar where we grew up. I also asked about his process and it was really interesting to learn how involved it is. I love the low brow art aesthetic of poster making that has trancended itself into galleries. Its really opened up a new audience to different kinds of art. E*rock and Fort Thunder are the pioneers of that vibe
STEREOGUM: Do you and Joe ever work on projects together? He could build, you
CS-H: That would be a really good idea! We could make these giant pieces. We are so busy touring right now I think it would be hard though…
STEREOGUM: So are you living off the art combined with the music?
CS-H: I just started trying to make a living at the art and music. I also work here and there at a coffee shop.
STEREOGUM: How often do you work at the shop? do you have a specialty?
CS-H: I am on tour for more than six months of the year, so I take whatever scraps I can when I am here. My specialty is fucking with the suits when they come in!
You can see more of Charlie’s art here.
STEREOGUM: How long have you been building furniture? When did you learn? How’d you get started?
JOE KELLY: My Dad used to teach design and is big into woodworking so I grew up around that. As far as my current stuff, I’m mostly self taught. Being brought up around it gave me a false sense of confidence which usually led me to getting in way over my head when I first started out. One of my first big jobs was for a local coffee roaster (a company that later got huge here, so I still reference them although my tables have since been “replaced”) that a friend of mine hooked me up with. She was probably a bit too complimentary on my behalf, and the thought of doing it as a business hadn’t really crossed my mind until I was neck deep into trying to figure out how I could actually finish the project.
STEREOGUM: Do you work for someone or is it freelance/your own company?
JK: I do it on my own. I’ll usually act like I know what the fuck I’m talking about to a client, then quietly go back to my shop alone and have a melt-down trying to figure I’m going to pull it off. I’ll get really ambitious trying to create what I see in my mind despite the fact that I’ve never actually built anything like it. I was offered a job recently at a local firm that does custom installations for arty companies and I completely flaked out. Basically, I don’t want to do it unless I’m in charge of the melt-downs. Really, it’s not that bad most of the time though. I’ve gotten much better at figuring out what I can handle by myself.
STEREOGUM: Can you explain a typical workday some.
JK: A lot of staring. If the radio is on, I’ll eventually snap out of it and realize that I let Robert Siegel put me in a trance for the last 45 minutes. That would be a con of working alone.
STEREOGUM: Ever build other non-furniture sorts of things?
JK: I’ve done some production assistant work, basically set building and installations. A few jobs for Nike (deeeeep pockets) and some film stuff. Portland has a much more active film scene than most people are aware of. It’s much cheaper to come up here to shoot a movie then in Hollywood, but I guess it’s frowned upon among the big studio’s and unions down there so it doesn’t happen more often.
STEREOGUM: You also work in a restaurant, right?
JK: I work as a bartender. I am ultimately limited to the number of bars in this town that I would reasonably work at because every time I go on tour for a month or two and have to quit, then I have to work somewhere else when I get back. Plus, I get fired a lot. And I can’t support myself off the furniture stuff because I only take projects that are really want to do, and that end up being pretty limiting.
STEREOGUM: Have you built things for restaurants?
JK: I have done tables, booths, chairs, etc. for a bunch of clubs, restaurants, bars, cafes in Portland as well as a hand full of private commissions. I used to have a friend who worked in this high-end furniture store in town who would send people my way which was great, because they had money, and wood is crazy expensive.
STEREOGUM: Do you have a preferred style? Material?
JK: I just do wood and some upholstery. I contract out metal or whatever if that’s what the person wants. Mostly modern stuff because that is what I like and honestly, the streamlined shit is the easiest to make. I see this stuff in Fine Woodworking magazine, these crazy ornate turned wood inlaid twisting acid flash-back pieces that took some poor guy took 15 years to build and it is hideous. I mean, I can appreciate the work, but I would not store that thing in my basement. But that’s another thing I like. There’s not an “indie rock” furniture scene like every other tainted industry (at least not prominent enough to where I’m aware of it. Please, tell me otherwise: [email protected]).
If you like what you’ve heard, check out Panther live:
03/01 – San Francisco, CA @ Rickshaw Stop – Noisepop
03/04 – Seattle, WA @ Nectar
03/06 – Portland, OR @ Holocene*
03/08 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Slowtrain
03/09 – Denver, CO @ Larimer Lounge
03/11 – Oklahoma City, OK @ Conservatory
03/12 – 3/15 Austin, TX SXSW
03/17 – Baton Rouge, LA @ Spanish Moon#
03/18 – Atlanta, GA @ Drunken Unicorn#
03/19 – Knoxville, TN @ Pilot Light
03/20 – Washington, DC @ Red and Black
03/21 – Philadelphia, PA @ Khyber
03/22 – New York, NY @ Knitting Factory#
03/23 – Somerville, MA PA’s Lounge%
03/26 – Detroit, MI @ Scrummage University
03/27 – Chicago, IL @ Abbey Pub
03/28 – Minneapolis, MN @ 7th Street Entry
03/29 – Fargo, ND @ Aquarium
04/18 – San Francisco, CA @ Fillmore – w/ Gossip
04/19 – Los Angeles, CA @ Henry Fonda Theatre – w/ Gossip
* = w/ Parenthetical Girls
# = w/ WHY?
% = w/ Citay, White Hinterland
[Yes, Charlie has some bananas today. Joe does not.]