Thursday, August 22

Student band Pangolin wants to rock UCLA party scene

Student rock group Pangolin has appeared at multiple apartment gatherings and campus events. The band most recently performed at Kerckhoff Grand Salon.

Student rock group Pangolin has appeared at multiple apartment gatherings and campus events. The band most recently performed at Kerckhoff Grand Salon. Courtesy of Blake Tamaki

Student rock bands at UCLA are few and far between, and it isn’t very often that you hear about a campus party featuring live music. But members of one of UCLA’s active student bands ““ Pangolin ““ are working to change that. With their funk rock sound, Pangolin is bringing a new variety of live entertainment to UCLA students.

Since Pangolin’s inception in 2009, friends and fans have been turning out in good numbers for the band’s appearances on campus and at apartment gatherings. While many students may be satisfied with the hip-hop and electro beats that are ever-present at campus parties, Alex Greve, a fourth-year applied math student and Pangolin bassist, is one student who said he wishes things were a little different.

“We started (Pangolin) because there weren’t any bands,” Greve said. “I know of a few people in bands, but they only come together for Spring Sing.”

Pangolin formed last summer when Greve met third-year anthropology student and current Pangolin drummer, Kevin Farzad, in a jazz combo ethnomusicology class. The combo class was open to students of all majors, and it allowed the two musicians to develop a creative relationship that would last long after the class ended.

“We got to play music every week, and we just kept playing over the summer,” Greve said.

By the end of the summer, Pangolin came together as a band.

Although Greve and Farzad said they classify Pangolin as a rock group, it is easy to recognize influences of both jazz and funk in the band’s music.

According to Greve, Pangolin sounds like a mix of circus rock and funk. Greve said he is personally influenced by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Sly and the Family Stone and Parliament Funkadelic.

Pangolin’s unique and entertaining sound has already led to several great party experiences. Farzad said he really enjoys playing for friends ““ especially when they start to let loose because of the music.

“There are few things more fun than playing at a party while your friends tribally dance,” Farzad said.

In addition to playing at parties, the band has also played shows on campus. Their most recent appearance was on April 26 at the Kerckhoff Grand Salon in promotion of the Fair Trade Coffee campaign.

Lizzy Grandsaert, a third-year art student, offered up her positive opinion of the band that night.

“I’ve seen them three times,” Grandsaert said. “They’re really energetic.”

But Pangolin doesn’t get by on energy alone; talent and teamwork also factor into the band’s musical endeavors. Each member has written songs, and each member plays multiple instruments. In this sense, Pangolin embodies the spirit of the collective.

“Every couple of months, we find the time to get together for a week or so, spending every waking hour jamming, recording and hanging out,” Farzad said. “This summer, we’re all moving in together to really pursue this project.”

Greve said that being in a band has allowed him to learn the real meaning of team effort. As an aspiring music producer, Greve said he strives to be as helpful as possible in the production department for the band.

“(Production) is my main thing,” Greve said. “I try to produce some of our recordings, but that’s been more of a collective effort.”

In the competitive academic environment at UCLA, it is easy to place one’s individual goals and desires above those of others. But for the songwriting environment with Pangolin, Greve said, you have to think about the entire group and not just yourself.

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