New York based artist A K I R A (@MELLOWPANTHER) opened up about his influences and origins in this exclusive interview

Wtrflls: Thanks for taking the time to give us an interview, to start things off let people know who you are, where are you from and how did you get your start in music?

A K I R A: My name is A K I 🦇 A and I’m a producer, an artist. I came out as Mellow Panther (Panther being my real name) but soon after that the people started to call me Akira so I became that, I am Akira. I’m from Niagara Falls, New York. Right next to Canada, I can see it from my backyard. I was always into music. Always made beats and shit in my head but never knew what kind of genre it was because back then I didn’t know shit about music. Just harmonics. I was still (still practice today) taking martial arts, and just coming home, reading books, watching anime and some of the stuff on Toonami. I was very influenced by not only the anime but the music they would play in between shows and shit. Samurai Champloo came out in America and saved my life. Hearing the music is what pushed me. R. I. P. Nujabes

Wtrflls: That’s a hell of a backstory, can see a lot of the influences in your music. Would you say your style has evolved much since you started out or have you more or less been on the same wave from day one?

A K I R A: Na most deff on the same wave from day one just more evolved and evolving. Everything is more cinematic especially this next project…being influenced by nightmares,RPG boss fights and dungeons…

Wtrflls: Damn can’t wait to hear that, speaking of projects let’s talk about your latest release ‘armored core’, some real atmospheric dark sounds there, what was the inspiration behind the tape?

A K I R A: I was just thinking about killing demons or some shit to be real lol. Devil may cry shit … started playing a lot of Monster Hunter and I just started watching Naruto. I’m at the Great Ninja War so all that was inspiration too

wtrflls – I get that devil may cry vibe for real lol 🔥 other than video games and anime who or what would you say are your biggest inspirations in music?

A K I R A – The darkness. Not evil. Not trip 6s, I keep seeing signs so I just fall deeper into “it”. It’s always been in my name. So yea. The darkness. The unknown. My life is Devil May Cry

Wtrflls: Damn I like it 🖤 changing topics, do you feel like being from New York, particularly Niagara falls, has influenced you or affected your journey?

A K I R A – It’s my home you know? I got my friends n shit so yea I dig it here .. at times. But as for my influence on my craft or my journey I can’t say this place has. You have to leave to change some shit. Then come back…. I love the water…It’s the real village hidden in the mist

Wtrflls: I feel you, there’s a real peace in water.
Looking to the future is there anyone you aim to work with? Dream collabs down the line?

A K I R A: Idk.. No one really in mind…I don’t know really, you never know though.
… Akira Yamaoka

Wtrflls: That’s a collab I’d like to see, slap that on the next kojima game.
Following your next project do you have anything else in the pipeline?

A K I R A: A drum and bass project. More music, more darkness, more light, more A K I 🦇 A

Wtrflls: Sounds exciting, are you able to give more details on the d&b project or are you keeping it under wraps?

A K I R A: Think of a cinematic Neo Tokyo, think XGRA, Like that. Complete cyber death witch house. Really have you in year 2020 Dark cyberpunk

Wtrflls: Sounds intense I Fuck with it.
If you weren’t doing music right now what would do you think you’d be doing instead?

A K I R A: A race car driver. Or a jet pilot

Wtrflls: Hell yeah that’s a hell of a career path!
Going back a bit to your name, based on your influences is it safe to say that it was a reference to the anime?

A K I R A: Not just the anime. Just the entire vibe and theme around all this shit that I do. Personally,The movie it self links with me in other ways but me alone, I am Akira, name was given to me. Wasn’t really my choice

Wtrflls: It definitely fits your whole vibe, must have been fate. This question can be a tricky one, if you could only listen to one album for the rest of your life what would it be? No compilations or greatest hits

A K I R A: One album? It would be the Deftones, self titled album or Drowning Pool 1st album…. original signer…. R.I.P

Wtrflls: Solid choices dude R.I.P. Before we end the interview is there any final stuff you want to say? Plug some stuff or some words of wisdom?

A K I R A: Never give in. Question everything, your more powerful than you think you are.

Wtrflls: Inspirational as fuck dude, thanks again for a killer interview. We’ll be keeping an eye out for your next project 🦇🖤🖤

You can check out A K I R A on twitter @MELLOWPANTHER and listen to them here
An artist you should all keep an eye on