Heading to Hangout Festival: Interview with Bagheera

Festival season is soon approaching, and to prepare for the summer of live music, camping and an all-around good time, we will be conducting some interviews with some of your favorite artists set to perform at festivals around the states this summer.

Join us on our road to festival season!

First up, as we prepare to head to Hangout Festival, we took some time to talk to Bagheera, a dance music duo from Houston consisting of Aiden Kennedy and David Elkin. The two are known for their groovy tunes and stellar moves.

The duo blends the sounds of house, disco and chill wave together to form their own unique sound.

The duo has shared the stage with many other big names in the industry, including M83, Passion Pit, The Neighbourhood, Classix - among many others.

Get to know this duo on the rise, for they are bound to make you dance your bikinis and trunks off on the Gulf Shore beaches at Hangout Festival.

EMPTY LIGHTHOUSE: How did you first get your start in music?
BAGHEERA: I started playing the guitar when I was about 11 years old, and I've been hooked ever since. I couldn't get enough of music as a younger kid and I'd just pick up instruments left and right until I could play all the parts to a song on drums/guitar/bass/keyboards.

After being in several bands, I just kind of gravitated back towards playing all the parts myself which led to me making my own music. That's how Bagheera really started.

EMPTY LIGHTHOUSE: Who are your musical influences?
BAGHEERA: Definitely guys like Prince, Twin Shadow, Toro Y Moi, and Blood Orange. Singular people that write, produce, and record the majority of their songs by themselves.

It's so cool to me that way because their music is then a direct representation of their creativity. It's like getting a glimpse of what happens in their head.

EMPTY LIGHTHOUSE: Who do you listen to in your spare time, other hobbies, etc?
BAGHEERA: I've got an unhealthy obsession with R&B. Keith Sweat, TLC, Rick James, Anthony Hamilton, Frankie Beverly/Maze. I spend a lot of time driving around listening to that stuff.

I think I'm drawn to it because it's hard to tell sometimes what parts of the songs are actually played on instruments, or programmed on a computer. I like that ambiguity. It's also influenced how I play instruments as well.

EMPTY LIGHTHOUSE: What has been your most memorable experience while touring?
BAGHEERA: We haven't done much touring (yet). Mainly one offs in different cities around the country.

But so far our most memorable (and fun) trip has been when we went to LA to play Filter Magazine's Culture Collide festival. That was such a great festival, and such a great experience for us.

EMPTY LIGHTHOUSE: What is the craziest thing you've seen a fan do to get into a show / on stage, etc.?
BAGHEERA: There's a venue in Austin Texas called The Mohawk. It's got a great outside stage and such, which is where I think I saw the craziest fan/entry story I can think of at the moment. It was during the infamous SXSW festival, and I believe someone like Skrillex was playing on the outside stage of The Mohawk.

Keep in mind, the capacity of this place can't be more that 1,000 people, which meant HUGE lines to get into the club.

Anyways, I saw a kid scale what is probably a 15 ft tall concrete wall (complete with broken glass/barbwire on the top of said wall) to try to get into this club.

All I can say is, I hope his landing on the other side went as well as his climb up.

EMPTY LIGHTHOUSE: What advice would you give to other young people looking to succeed in the industry?
BAGHEERA: Go for it. That's the best piece of advice I can give. I'm only 21 myself, so I don't have a lot of "road wisdom" or experience in this field yet.

It's a pretty daunting world to be honest with you. But, if you surround yourself with the right people, and truly believe in what your doing, then you can succeed. You also have to constantly push yourself. Never be satisfied.

EMPTY LIGHTHOUSE: When you hit a creativity block, what re-inspires you?
BAGHEERA: I like to drive around and listen to music.

If I get super stuck, I'll take a quick spin around the neighborhood.

I live in a part of town with lots of restaurants/bars/clubs, so seeing all the nightlife and the city usually do the trick to some extent.

EMPTY LIGHTHOUSE: How do you manage your time between your music and personal life?
BAGHEERA: Well, I dropped out of University to pursue Bagheera, and moved back to my hometown (Houston, Texas) from Austin, Texas. Most of my other friends, including my bandmate David Elkin, are still in school in other parts of the country.

So it was kind of strange to move back home, but to not have any of my friends or people I really grew up with here.

Being isolated in such a familiar environment has definitely influenced me a lot because it's made music my personal life.

EMPTY LIGHTHOUSE: What are your upcoming plans in regards to more touring, releases and producing new music?
BAGHEERA: We're definitely looking to tour a lot this year. We've got some really great festival dates booked (including Hangout!!!) and are looking forward to exploring the country in between those dates and fests.

In terms of releases, you can keep your eyes peeled for a VERY special collaboration happening between myself and George Lewis Jr. (AKA Twin Shadow).

EMPTY LIGHTHOUSE: If you could invent anything, what would it be?
BAGHEERA: Some kind of "hit meter".

A gauge of some sorts that can tell you if the song you're working on is actually cool, or just total crap. Would cut down on a lot of nervous studio guesswork!

EMPTY LIGHTHOUSE: If stranded on an island, what 3 things would you want to have with you?
BAGHEERA: Netflix Instant streaming, an unlimited supply of breakfast tacos and
2) An unlimited supply of breakfast tacos the character "Axel Foley" from the hit film series: Beverly Hills Cop.

EMPTY LIGHTHOUSE: Do you have any rituals or things you must have/do before a show?
BAGHEERA: I like to stretch a little bit before we go on stage.

I can tend to get really tense/uppity on stage, and if I haven't stretched enough then my muscles get some not-so-fun cramps and such. David and I will also usually exchange a good high-five or hug before our performances.

EMPTY LIGHTHOUSE: What are you most excited about the upcoming festival season?
BAGHEERA: I'm most excited about seeing all this awesome music! Not to mention the Outkast reunion.

We're playing a couple of the same festivals as those guys, so we'll probably be pretty good friends with each other by the end of it all, right?

EMPTY LIGHTHOUSE: Anything else you would like to add?
BAGHEERA: Thanks for chatting! See you at Hangout!

Head to Hangout Festival with us on the Gulf Shores of Alabama on May 16-18th.

For more information, visit http://www.hangoutmusicfest.com, and be sure to check out Bagheera at www.soundcloud.com/bagheera-sounds - see ya at the beach!