Panther & The Supafly
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Panther & The Supafly

Montréal, Quebec, Canada | SELF

Montréal, Quebec, Canada | SELF
Band Hip Hop Jazz




"Panther & The Supafly Head to New Home"

If everything had gone according to plan, Vancouver-bred hip-hop ensemble Panther & the Supafly would be long gone from the West Coast by now. In early August, the genre outfit billed a headlining performance at the Biltmore Cabaret as its goodbye show before packing up and heading to the land of poutine and Maudite beer.

Clearly, the relocation plans have been put on hold, as it’s a scorching-hot late-August afternoon when the Straight catches up with still-Lotusland-based vocalist Josh “Panther” Matumona in a local park. He isn’t too concerned about the delay in what’s meant to be a career-boosting move to a new postal code, though, feeling that the band will head into overdrive once it lands out east.

“What we’ve done here in two years we can do there in six months,” Matumona explains. “We’re very confident about that.”

Making this statement a bold one is the fact that the singer and his bandmates (guitarist Leon Feldman, drummer Duncan Truter, bassist/synth jockey Nate Drobner, and keyboardist Dave Pimental) have never actually played in their soon-to-be adopted home. Panther & the Supafly already has a handful of gigs lined up in Montreal, and the group is excited at the opportunity to play a ton of bigger cities like Toronto and New York, as opposed to ones on the smaller and spread-apart West Coast circuit.

While Matumona speaks as if the Supafly is an aged institution, he and the crew are still relative newcomers to the hip-hop game. The MC only began rhyming two years ago, and had previously cut his teeth playing guitar in the now-defunct melodic hardcore act Hats Off, Gentlemen. The group’s members, all in their early 20s, met as music students at Vancouver Community College, and united to bring together the worlds of head-bobbing rap and smoothed-out synth jazz, among a myriad of other genres.

A two-year writing period produced last December’s seven-song Nkazi EP, which runs the gamut from the crunchy-guitar-and-boom-bap-indebted “Swaggapuff” to the downtempo dub-pop gem “Diamond in the Africa Rough”. The world-beat ballad “Black Angel”, meanwhile, has Matumona balancing muscles-up raps with soulfully sung motivational-speaker lines like “You won’t get far unless you reach for the stars.”

Just a few months after Nkazi dropped, though, the frontman temporarily stepped away from the group to release a solo EP, Blood & Joy. The bulk of that record features programmed beats prepped by Matumona himself, though two tracks include production work from Supafly pal Pimental. The keys-and-drumbeat-driven song cycle plays rougher than Nkazi, with the rapper swaggering hard on the title track and the B-boy banger “Real Men”.

“The stuff we play with the band, whether it be derivative of a beat or whether we just wrote it as a band…usually there’s more musicality to it,” Matumona says. He explains his softer Supafly moments with: “It gets me to write hooky choruses.”

Blood & Joy, however, let him cut loose and refine his MC and production skills.

“I wanted to test myself and get to a point where I can understand what the dynamic is between my rapping and my beat-making. It’s easier to rap on your own beats because you understand them fully. You know what you want to hear on them.”

Matumona concedes, however, that it’s just as easy to rap atop Pimental’s oscillated Knight Rider synths on “Endgame”, and the keyboardist’s other contribution to Blood & Joy, “Slapstick”. While the MC’s rhymes with the Supafly offer up dewy-eyed optimism, “Slapstick” has him calling out his rivals as “flaccid” and “wack shit”.

“ ‘Slapstick’ is just attitude rap,” he says with a smirk. “We wanted to get playful with it, so the rhymes that I’m writing in that are very attitude-oriented. You know I’m not serious. I’m fucking around.”

Despite such diversions, Matumona, along with his Supafly cohorts, clearly has a serious work ethic. The group is already at work on a full-length, part of which has been recorded at Nanaimo’s Bird’s Nest Studio. One of the upcoming cuts is called “Bucket List”, and while Matumona doesn’t have a copy handy at the park, he does manage to drop a few bars from the hook: “Tell me what’s on your bucket list/What’s the last thing you hope to experience?/Are you okay with regret or will you chase your dying wish?”

With the move to Montreal just a few weeks away, Panther & the Supafly is getting ready to cross a major goal off its own bucket list. Matumona, meanwhile, knows it’ll be quite some time before he conquers either side of his rap game. He’s still finding his footing, and he’s totally fine with that.

“I know a lot of cats that have hit a plateau because they think they’re really good,” the rapper says. “If you maintain the mentality that you can always get better and always learn more, then you always will. Otherwise, you just fall in a rut of doing the same thing, and no one gives a fuck about that.” - The Georgia Straight

"Panther – Blood & Joy"

Vancouver’s Panther is Canada’s answer to Kendrick Lamar. He is flanked by a great band that manages to imitate, recreate, and push the envelope of modern rap production. The music is infused with swagger and energy. Panther has a magnificent control of his flow too. His content is not always challenging but the deficit is more than recouped with his sandpaper voice. - Argue Job

"Panther & The Supafly - Blood & Joy"

If you’re part of the Vancouver Hip Hop scene, this is a group you know and an album you’ve probably heard, and if you’re not part of said scene, this is your chance to get a taste of an easy to enjoy hip hop sound (even if you’re not a big fan) – but don’t expect to be left breathless. This is a perfect showcase album for this group… but it’s not a hits album.

From start to finish, we are given different sounds, beats and rap styles which show the amazing amount of talent and production involved in making an album such as Panther & The Supafly’s Blood & Joy. It’s a great listen but it will leave you wanting more and, if you’re like me, expecting more. There’s just not enough here to fill a hungry listener but there is enough to pique interest from both longtime fans and new listeners.

With the first track “Blood and Joy”, we get flawless production, awesome beats and a lot of good riffs. What you may find disappointing is the enunciation of the verses and the sloppy toss-in of cliché phrases mixed in with well-planned lyrics. This track is easily a perfect start to the album – it draws you in with its flawless music and beat, it sets the proper tone and theme for the album, but if you like good rap done right, you appreciate hearing all the lyrics no matter what the pace of the music, and on this point alone this track does not deliver.

Following this with “Endgame”, we get almost the opposite effect where the lyrics (if listened to carefully) are what hold this song together. It bleeds well from the previous track but the music is repetitive and might be a deal-breaker for new listeners. To truly appreciate this track, you have to listen to the album a few times and bother to commit. This song is no #1 hit but it is one of the more lyrically versatile songs on the album and it demands a devoted listener instead of a quick glance.

The next two tracks simply offer us (as previously stated) the production and musical talent of this group. The music, the beats (mainly the beats) and the production are all top-notch. They each offer a unique sound, drawing you in with either some slight jazz or blues influences pointing to more of a West Coast (surprise, they’re from Vancouver) rap style, as well as a few modern influences. These are great tasters and they lead well into what, in my mind, is the hit – “Unstoppable”.

This is where we get a full meal in an album full of appetizers. Whereas the lyrics don’t come through in “Blood and Joy” and the music production is a little light in “Endgame”, this track offers the listener everything you expect this group to produce. This track brings back music similarities from the first part of the album, with a constant movement to the sound and an easy, driving chorus. This is one of those tracks that could easily be twenty minutes long and you’d still listen to the whole track…

But all things must come to an end and like any good album, this one ends well. “Real Men” brings us home with a flawless beat and fun vocals that make this probably the most mass marketable songs on the album (not the best though). If you want an easy listen that will please most audiences, this is the track. It offers a steady beat with constantly changing vocals, a great chorus, and a steady flow.

The key thing to take from this album is this is “Panther” and Dave P’s solo debut album; it’s meant to be a taster. This is them showing us what they can do and it is a great listen but – to new fans and old – you will be left wanting more.

There are great tracks, and great moments in tracks, in this album but this is no “full meal deal”. We get an idea of the sounds and talent this group has to offer but it may be an album or two until you get exactly what you’re looking for. Is Blood & Joy worth a listen? Without a doubt! Is this a group that’s going to produce the quality a listener of this album might hope they deliver? Only time will tell. - Vancouver Weekely

"Panther & The Supafly Interview"


"Panther & The Supafly"

If you’re a regular on the Vancouver live music circuit you may recognize a few faces in Panther & the Supafly, Panther (real name Josh Matumona) has been playing guitar locally for years, and the Supafly is built up of several talented musicians who have also been plying their trade all over town. A hard working group for sure, and it shows in this surprisingly solid, if sometimes lackluster, debut EP Nkazi.

Everything from the thumping bass and power chords of the opening song “Swaggapuff” to the ’70s funk influence of the Mary Jane love song “Chronicles” and the thoughtful “Diamond in the Africa Rough” are well crafted and show that they can run the gambit of genres without trouble. In fact, none of the songs really resemble each other, perhaps showing that Panther & the Supafly are going out of their way to keep from being pigeonholed into one genre or another. The group’s sound seems built around mashing together genres to create something that sets them apart, but in the process of showing off their range they fail to build any sort of consistent sound that would hold together a full album.
Nothing about Nkazi is groundbreaking, and the unfortunate part about having a rapper as the frontman is that the band can go under-appreciated on the recording. Still, the choice of live performers rather then endless sampling is novel at least, and is a good compliment to Panther’s creative and smart lyrics. The result is an EP that sets the stage for a lot of future success once they find their own groove. - Discorder


At Hip Hop Karaoke in Vancouver’s Chinatown, the room outside Fortune Sound Club is packed and the line outside is growing as Panther and the Supafly take the stage to play live instrumentals for 15 aspiring wanna-be rappers. Having reworked the beats in a number of practices, they flawlessly flow though nearly two decades of rap, ranging from mainstream top-40 to golden era classics. Despite being a hip hop night, the dominant view from hip hop heads is that the event lacks legitimacy in the rap scene. Really though this is nothing new, as being defined and designated in an unintended way by your peers and fans is a reality in any music scene. Thus, it really wasn’t really surprising to learn that the current chapter in the story of Panther and the Supafly has also found the young band in somewhat of a parallel situation in terms of their original music.

Panther and the Supafly is a five-person outfit from Vancouver, comprised of Josh ‘Panther’ Matumona (Vocals), Leon Feldman (Guitar), Duncan Truter (Drums), Nate Drobner (Bass/Keyboards) and Dave Pimental (Keyboards/Synths). All in their early twenties, they are classically trained, have played with one another in various iterations for nearly a decade and show immense depth in their influences and musicality. This depth is arguably their greatest strength and was strongly reflected in their first release together, NKAZI (Dec. 2011).

While the album was well received by fans and critics, attempts to define their sound instilled some frustration for Panther, as his emceeing efforts fell short of hammering the hip hop nail on the head. Listening to NKAZI is like genre roulette, jumping back and forth track to track without much direction or cohesion. Reviews of the album thus unsurprisingly equated the group’s sound all across the musical spectrum, ranging from punk and ska to funk and jazz, with the many shades of hip-hop and rap being drastically understated.

During a recording session at Vancouver’s infamous Mushroom Studios, Panther begrudgingly muses on the vast reactions to the initial release.

“People don’t take a lot of time to really think about what something sounds like, its what comes immediately,” he says. “They’ll hear a snippet of a song and say ‘that part kinda sounds like this, and therefore the song sounds like that’ and therefore that is one of our influences, which is not particularly true.”

“I like hip hop, I want to make hip hop, I want to play hip hop with a live band.” – Josh ‘Panther’ Matumona

However, with the varied interpretations being so widely echoed, there is definitely truth rooted in this mixed public sentiment.

The album was basically an amalgam of the respective band member’s past influences, patched together due to pressure to release a recording. The songs for NKAZI were recorded in four different studios with four different producers and were written largely during the early stages of the band’s nascence. Coupled with the band member’s drastically different musical backgrounds, the direction of the album was non-existent for the most part.

Prior to officially joining with the Supafly, Panther himself was playing guitar in an emotive hardcore band and admits, “The music I was making before this hip-hop was different,” describing his initial tracks as primitive, “bass, drums, guitar kind of music.” At the time, Panther wasn’t writing with a band in mind and was relatively confined to the language of the hardcore and rock music he knew when they started playing his songs. The transition to writing for the band was experimental at that point.

“I had an idea of what I wanted to sound like and the kind of music I wanted to make, I just wasn’t sure what that was really. I was just making sounds that I liked to hear, it wasn’t fleshed out at all.”

The fleshing out he needed came from his bandmates who were all sharing their respective skills and influences while practicing and recording these early tracks. The biggest evolution Panther cites was learning to produce beats, as he was dissatisfied with the archetypal hip hop format of verse / chorus / verse / chorus with prepackaged beats sold to the highest bidder. Learning production techniques predominantly from bandmates Drobner and Pimental opened the door for his writing and gave him a stronger outlet to convey his message.

“When you make beats and you’re an emcee and a singer, it’s a lot easier to flow on your own rhythms that you made and on the instruments that you chose, as opposed to someone who made the beat for you so you have to try and figure out the flow of it or what kind of personality it has,” he says.

After growing into his role as frontman for the band, Panther is much more confident in the direction he wants to take, which largely stems from the widely inconsistent interpretations of their first album. “I like hip hop, I want to make hip hop, I want to play hip hop with a live band,” Panther explains. “I want to make hip hop music with bridges.” But that may be a difficult epithet for him to attain as he believes “you can’t play hip hop anywhere with a live band without being labeled. People see us as more of an indie band because of our instruments.”

While not indignant about this perceived mislabeling, the sentiment is clearly weighing heavily on the group’s new direction.

“People can’t latch onto a cloud, you’ve gotta give them a metal bar to latch onto. And I find the level of focus you have in your music sets the bar for what you’re doing.”

Focus is definitely the dominant theme these days for the August 3rd release of Blood and Joy, as well as the band’s forthcoming 2013 EP.

At the group’s jam sessions and in the studio the focal point is finding a dialogue between the respective idioms of rock n roll versus the idioms of hip-hop. They are seeking to effectively modernize hip-hop by giving Panther’s raps a heavy synth-bath to create meaningful soundscapes beyond just beats and rhymes. Highlighting the new direction, he explains that “painting a landscape is the way we’re trying to work right now, as opposed to just building a song.”

Rapping over simple but effective chord progressions is Panther’s attempt to clear up all the categorical misnomers his music suffered in the Supafly’s early days. With acoustic motifs running throughout their new work and hard-hitting flows specifically curtailed to each song’s respective sound and message, they are hoping to bend and blend genres rather than flip back and forth between them. Whether this is effective at controlling how they are defined is yet to be seen, but the overarching point they are taking away is truly universal.

“No matter who you are, you’re always going to be compared to somebody else,” Panther says. “And you may not like that music, you may not respect it and you might not sound like it at all, but someone thinks you do, and that’s not up to you.”

Catch Panther and the Supafly at Venue Nightclub on July 12 and at Shambhala Music Festival (Salmo, BC) August 8-13. - Beatroute

"Panther & the Supafly go down a retro path in Nkazi"

A five-piece band led by Josh Matumona, Panther & the Supafly generated some buzz at last year’s LIVE at Squamish, their high-energy rock-meets-rap style tailor-made for aimless festival crowds. Matumona and his mates seem to have emerged from a time capsule marked “1993”, their sound borrowing heavily from the collected works of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, the Roots, and Sublime. That’s a winning formula for a live show, and with its polished seven-track EP, Nkazi, the local unit makes a convincing pitch to the kind of people who buy K’Naan records.

Matumona (aka Panther) is a likable frontman, a just-good-enough rapper and singer who’s nailed the wacky positivity that seems to be the reigning pop sentiment of the day. His backing players, meanwhile, dutifully hit all their marks, variously impersonating a rap-metal outfit (“Swaggapuff”), a ska-punk band (“Chronicles”), and an arena-rock troupe (“Nightmare”). Well-played, expertly recorded, Nkazi would surely have found a sizable audience 20 years ago. Will Matumona make a commercial splash today? You can decide for yourself tonight (February 2) when Panther & the Supafly play Fortune Sound Club. - The Georgia Straight


This wasn’t my first topless gay love tekno party in my life, but this was the first time I have seen the band Topless Gay Love Tekno Party (ha!). I was told to expect glitter and some great dance music all night. The warning was fair, but it still didn’t warn me for the madness that was about to take over at The Cobalt.

When I got inside The Cobalt the local band Panther was taking the stage. This four piece group blends funk, hip hop and rock into a great sound that they treat audiences to. Lead by their singer Josh, the group blasted out a high energy 35 minute set of mostly original material with a few crowd pleasing covers in the mix. During one of the musical stretches in a song the lead singer jumped off the side of the stage and then emerged with a guitar strapped on. He didn’t try to dazzle the crowd with a solo, he instead took on a rhythm guitarist role and filled in while the band’s guitarist played a solo. This young band showed me loads of potential. This was the first time Panther registered on my musical radar but I know they will be around again and I’ll be in the crowd.

After a few of the always delicious R&B Brewery brews they have on tap at The Cobalt it was time for Topless Gay Love Tekno Party. The band took the stage in spacemen suits and a liberal coating of glitter. I was warned about the glitter, but the warning of great music was proven true as well. Despite their spacey outfits, the group was very grounded on stage. They played a tight knit set that lasted on the verge of an hour.

Roughly 6 minutes into their set the glitter began to fly over the crowd. The band started covered in glitter, but by the end of the night the entire dance floor was covered in it. Dancers blew/tossed handfuls into the crowd while a man dressed in a Doctor’s lab coat shot a glitter gun over the crowd. There was so much glitter than I think I drank roughly a handful of it and as I write this review my keyboard is filling up with glitter. This stuff it like sand, you can’t get rid of it.

Without the glitter, crazy suits and dancers, Topless Gay Love Tekno Party is a great dance band. The Cobalt was packed all night and when Topless Gay Love Tekno Party were playing, the place was alive with energy. I’m a sucker for a band with two drummers, so I really had a great night seeing this band. And just like my past topless gay love tekno parties I left satisfied and covered in glitter. - Scene in the Dark


Nkazi - 2011
Blood & Joy - 2012



Led by the charismatic emcee/vocalist Panther and backed by a powerhouse collective of genre-bending musicians/producers known as The Supafly, Panther & The Supafly are a musical band of brothers who fuse together the sounds of Hip-Hop, Neo-Soul, Pop, Electronic, R&B, Rock and Jazz into a sound distinctly their own.

Panther & The Supafly have honed a live show that combines the energy of a full, live band experience with the entertainment of an iconic one man show. Taking elements from both electronic music and live instrumentation, Panther & The Supafy prides itself on being at the cutting edge of modern music.

Their debut EP, "Nkazi", a collection of demo recordings, was released in December of 2011.

In their hometown of Vancouver BC, Panther & The Supafly built their reputation gig by gig, and would go on to perform sold out shows at venues such as The Biltmore, Venue and Fortune Soundclub, building a solid following of excited music fans in the process. In the press, Panther & The Supafly were featured on the front cover of Beatroute magazine, were positively reviewed in The Georgia Straight and Discorder magazines, performed on Shaw TV's program Urban Rush, and were featured in many popular online music blogs, such as Winnie Cooper and Hip Hop Canada.

Panther’s debut solo album, "Blood & Joy", a fully electronic Hip Hop album that features beats by members of The Supafly and by Panther himself, was released in August of 2012.

With dozens of performances across Canada, ranging from the Shambhala Music Festival in BC, to Pop Montreal in Quebec, Panther & The Supafly have performed with such notable artists as Moka Only, Sweatshop Union, The Boom Booms, Ill Bill, Tha Alkaholiks, The Beatnuts, JD Era and ONYX.

Before being asked to open for legendary Hip-Hop crew ONYX for a cross Canada tour, Panther & The Supafly had already made the decision to move to Montreal. The tour, which began in Vancouver and ended in Montreal presented the perfect opportunity for the move, and along with all their gear, they packed up their belongings. Montreal is where Panther & The Supafly are currently based.

Panther & The Supafly are now in the mixing phase of their first, full-length studio album which was produced by Alex “Condor” Aligizakis and is due out early 2013.