Actress, singer and avid musician, Kestrin Pantera fits the Rockerista mash-up to a tee, bringing her creative force to music, style and technology. Usually we find artists vibrantly alive in one or two of these niches, but very few inspire in all three.
You may know her from the uber cool RVIP Lounge, a roaming karaoke bar on wheels. Yep, a tricked out RV known for rolling by it-events and drawing people out of lines and into song. Using the latest technology to build a solid community, the RVIP Lounge has grown to be an official event at major tech and digital conferences this year, including the TED Conference, Mindshare, and SXSW in Austin together with Wired, Foursquare, Silicon Valley VC's Andreesen Horowitz, and Get Satisfaction.
A cellist, percussionist and singer, Kestrin has collaborated with Beck, Weezer, Soko, and Adam Freeland just to name a few. She plays cello in the band his Orchestra, currently on hiatus after a recent tour. And most recently finished up a single with Professor Lacroix titled “Legends Gold” out this month on TBM Records. Beautiful, sexy, haunting Space Disco. (I'll treat ya to a listen at the end of her interview.)
Describing her style as "Jackie-O-on-mescaline", Kestrin is going through a mermaid period right now, incorporating long silky hair into as many looks as possible. She loves tulle and bright colors and works with fashion designer Giuliana Mayo of Junker Designs to create custom pieces. “We'll go buy a vintage prom dress, for example and she'll dye it psychedelic colors and sew feathers all over and bustle it. Dream come true.”
Where will we find the RVIP Lounge in upcoming months? Any major plans to schlep across country?
The original concept when we started in 2008 was that "everybody is a VIP on RVIP." We'd drive to events with long lines outside, steal all the cool people, and ride away into the sunset. Now people follow us on Twitter and literally chase us down in taxis. We built an interactive LED lighting grid on the exterior that is equal parts Disney Electrical Parade and KISS concert, which adds a hypnotic element to the experience. Our long-term goal is to transform public transportation: make it cool, keep drunk drivers off the road, and promote interactive self-expression with a fleet of RVIP vehicles. We call it "transportainment".
We're working to create a Brooklyn/NYC event and justify a cross-country schlep.
What era do you love most in terms of both fashion and music?
I'll make you guess. It involves theatrics, bold visuals, and storytelling with an attitude: Skinny David Bowie singing like an opera star, writhing in fashion, glitter, and bass. Freddie Mercury holding a scepter, strutting to electric synthy beats. Pretty little young Joni Mitchell singing like a bird and smiling like a cherub whilst reaming America a new asshole. Jesus Christ Superstar: life, death, rock… with great hair...
Which music artist or band has/had the best stage style in your opinion?
The White Stripes' legacy continually blows my mind. They took 3 simple colors and made them their own-- from causal jeans to mariachi chic, I think "black, red, and white" qualify as their actual property by now. Jack White's virtuoso songwriting and performance--he basically gets possessed by an angel-alien every time he steps on stage-- fuels their style and raw focused insanity. I deeply respect his work rejuvenating the careers of heroic female music icons; he is the "Quentin Tarantino" to Wanda Jackson and Loretta Lynn's "John Travolta".
What new technologies are helping you in producing, sharing, socializing your new music?
Facebook & Twitter-- obvs. The real winner for music posting/promotion is SoundCloud. For writing, I religiously use the voice memo app on my iphone (I sing and whistle into it in waiting rooms). Pro Tools is still the go-to for recording, Final Cut Pro for video editing.
We code a lot of our own projects on the RVIP Lounge. Our CTO, Scott Watson (also CTO of Disney Imagineering), uses GitHub to access open-source code that runs our exterior LED visual display. Pehr Hovey (Synn Labs/OK Go videos) and Dan Reetz (google him) help hack on the project. Scott coded an ipad app that lets passengers control the light patterns on the RV exterior, he also made an internal mobile network for selecting karaoke songs. It really helps to have a bunch of engineer geniuses on your kickball team.
Where do you draw your inspiration?
Others: A close group of friends-- basically a pod of LA-based artists constantly working on fantastic projects, brimming with love and laughter--keep me really inspired. We call ourselves "The Legends" and have parties where we all wear gold ensembles, creating a beautiful, performance art-y spectacle. They are the inspiration for my collaboration with Professor Lacroix on "Legend Gold," out this month on TBM records.
Solo: I read a lot. Right now I'm on a Kurtzweil kick, learning about life-extension, genetics, and nanotechnology. To counteract that science-iness, I watch back-to-back episodes of "Cheers" instead of listening to music at the computer. That show is genius.
Can we expect an RVIP app anytime soon?
Jonathan Grubb (RVIP co-founder, driver, top-notch international mobile app designer, and my own loving husband) designed an app that crowd-sources location-based data, enabling participants to vote on RVIP pick-up and drop-off locations. Any mobile software engineers want to help code it out? We pay in Tecate and fun. Call me!
Keep up with Kestrin at hello.kestrin.com or stop by her page on Facebook.
The single "Legend Gold" comes out this month on TBM Records. Take a listen!
Professor LaCroix - Legend Gold (featuring Kestrin) [Rodion Remix] by TBM Records
Gorgeous Photos Courtesy of Kestrin Pantera
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May 3, 2011
Tags: ★ Back to home
Hair extensions and my wedding ring.
I pretty much only listen to SoundCloud mixes by Professor Lacroix, all the time.
My favorite app is Mint(.com) and my favorite gizmo is TERRY, an electric magic carpet we built and bring to parties. On Terry, everything is "a whole new world."