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Big Lovin' Panda's Anthony Ferrara

By Monk Turner
Published: Tuesday, July 28, 2009, at 10:53AM
Anthony Ferrara Monk Turner [Flickr]

Downtown is increasingly becoming a breeding ground for a new creative class of folks who aren't into the elitism that plagues much of the L.A. music scene.

One of those residents is Anthony Ferrara, who plays guitar in the funk rock group Big Lovin' Panda. He also organizes multimedia events with Insemillation that have included recreations of Where the Wild Things Are and most recently a rock opera based on Nintendo games.

I was pretty sure living in downtown played a big part in his creative process. After this interview, I knew I had indeed guessed right.

MONK TURNER: How long have you been in Downtown L.A.?

ANTHONY FERRARA: I moved to downtown a little under two years ago. I was working for the City of L.A. at the time and I really wanted to be closer to work. It worked out great. I ended up moving about five blocks away from work. Rode my bike to work every day. I would even ride home for lunch to cook myself a proper meal and take a little nap. It's great. You know, it's the whole idea of having a live/work/play space.

MT: What made you choose a loft?

AF: I already lived in a really nice open space in Hollywood. I really wanted to keep that up having a big communal space. You can meet other people that way, it is a more relaxed environment, things are more open. Our loft here has been great. We have about 2,000 square feet. We change the furniture and the layout of the place all the time. I couldn't imagine being in a place with fixed walls anymore.

MT: Does anyone ever give you a hard time about playing music here?

AF: Making music is not a problem. I have a small five-watt amp which is not bad for practice. But as far as playing live goes, we've successfully pulled of one or two shows here. Sometimes it does get too loud and we do get shut down. I pissed off my drummer once or twice when he had all his gear set up and we got shut down five minutes before we were supposed to play.

MT: Drummers are kind of a strange breed..

AF: They're hard to please. [laughter]

MT: Does Big Lovin' Panda play in downtown often?

AF: Whenever we can. Downtown is really different from the rest of LA. The venue owners here have a lot more freedom to book who they want. It's not like a pay for play or anywhere else where they are competing with other nightlife and they have huge rents to deal with. They book the bands they want. That gives great advantages to the music scene here. It is much more of a two way, symbiotic thing with the audience and with the venues.

MT: Do you find downtown to be a creative environment?

AF: Oh yeah. I can walk to about four or five music venues. A lot of them have no cover, especially on the week nights. You get a really great talent pool. I'm finding these pockets of music that have always been here. There is an older jazz scene and older musicians who will be the house band at 7 Grand. There is a funk collective in Little Tokyo. There is all sorts of electronic music and warehouse parties with their own circuit of music that is all within striking distance. Even in this building there are three recording studios. There are a wealth of musicians at your fingertips. It is just a matter of saying hello to the person at the next table in a cafe or talking to someone in an elevator and you are going to meet someone who is interesting and can give you a new perspective on what you're doing. It's great.


If you see Anthony in a cafe or elevator, do say hello. Or even better, get out and see Big Lovin' Panda perform sometime. Check their myspace page for shows and updates at http://www.myspace.com/biglovinpanda

If you live downtown or perform here regularly, we want to interview you! Also welcome are producers, songwriters, booking agents, etc. Contact Monk Turner at monk@blogdowntown.com.

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Music Profiles

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