Bagheera (who are now known as Wrestlers as of August 2014) are an electronic duo hailing from Houston, TX. Consisting of Aidan Kennedy and David Elkin, the two producers blend genres seamlessly such as disco, R&B and House. Their live performances are energetic and soulful, bringing to mind an American version of Disclosure. Bagheera has a consistent sound while shuffling through a multitude of musical styles. After placing a top spot in a Red Bull Threestyle competition, they’ve garnered a ton of buzz and are now popping up on the festival circuit everywhere this year, from Hangout Festival in Alabama to Houston’s Free Press Summer Fest. As Red Bull Sound Select artists, Bagheera played the ‘Four Days In Austin’ showcase last week for South By South West. On the bill for that night in particular, was Twin Shadow, Jagwar Ma, and Shy Girls. Three hours prior to doors opening, a thick line had already snaked around the Belmont and down the block. I sat down with both Aidan and David to talk about this year’s South By, being Sound Select artists, and their love of the Jungle Book.
CYM: What year of South By is this for you guys as Bagheera, and how is it so far?
Aidan: This would be our second SXSW playing as Bagheera, but fourth in total individually.
David: We’ve seen a couple shows, like we checked out Soul Clap over at Kingdom, and that was a lot of fun. There’s been some of our favorite DJs playing a ton of sets all week.
CYM: Any shows you’re excited for coming up?
David: Future Classic show on Saturday over at the Madison is gonna be pretty awesome. Lots of our favorite acts are on it.
CYM: Bagheera is the name of the panther from Jungle Book, right? It’s what initially attracted me to you guys.
Aidan: [laughs] Jungle Book is my childhood.
David: It was always the movie I’d watch as a kid. It came up one day and we just instantly stuck with it.
Aidan: [still laughing] We actually named our first EP ‘100% Panther’.
CYM: How did you guys become Red Bull Sound Select artists?
Aidan: I participated in a DJ contest that Red Bull puts on called Redbull ThreeStyle, where they have five DJs playing against each other, and you have fifteen minutes to play your set. I ended up placing 2nd. I started talking to the Red Bull people, letting them know that deejaying was more of a secondary thing for me, and that what I mainly did was make my own music. So we developed a relationship from there, and have been building since.
CYM: What kind of set did you play at the Threestyle competition?
Aidan: I wanted to play a little bit of everything, so I played some Madonna but then went into 2LiveCrew to Whitney Houston, just covering all bases pretty much. I matched up ‘Say My Name’ with ‘Harlem Shake’, which was really hot at the time. It was fun.
CYM: How did the two of you begin working together? Did you share similar tastes in music and decide to team up based on that?
Aidan: David & I went to high school together, and I think we were just showing each other our favorite bands. We were both getting into electronic music at the time as well so it really just clicked. We’ve been playing music together for about five years now.
CYM: How would you classify your sound?
Aidan: It’s kind of like a mix of disco, 80s, but also R&B, and House.
CYM: Which is awesome, because you can play to a ton of different crowds.
Aidan: Yeah exactly! Whatever will get them on their feet. Everyone likes to dance.
CYM: Are you guys familiar with the festival circuit?
Aidan: We’ve actually never toured, as hard as that is to believe. But definitely will be soon. We’re hitting a lot of festivals this Spring.
David: Snowball, Counterpoint, Hangout Festival, Free Press Summer Fest in Houston… and a couple others we’re not allowed to say yet.
CYM: Awesome! So this is your first year really making it into the festival circuit. Would you say that’s because of connections you’ve made through Red Bull?
Aidan: Oh definitely. They’ve allowed us to progress a lot, and have put us in some really fantastic scenarios. If there was one thing to say about Red Bull its that they do such a great job. It’d be super easy for them to go after the big names, but they’re looking for real art that deserves to be heard. It’s great.