In this week’s Featured Artist Friday we take a look at Peoria EDM DJ Ethan Walenta. Walenta’s stage name when he performs is PVPABEAR (pronounced "Papa Bear") and is an artist I know from our days at Monmouth College.
Music has had a big impact on PVPABEAR ever since his childhood. His love of music began at a young age when his parents introduced him to classic rock and classic psychedelia artists such as Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, The Grateful Dead, and Santana.
“The first Electronic music I have memories of hearing is Moby,” said PVPABEAR. “I was always surrounded with various styles and genres of music. Which influenced me to join concert and marching band in school and learned to play three types of Saxophone Alto, Tenor, and Baritone up until I quit Junior year of high school to focus on sports. In high school and college, I really began to dive into bass music and electronic music. I was finding artists like The Widdler, Datsik, Ganja White Night, Doctor P, Flux Pavilion, Zeds dead and I just fell in love with this kind of music instantly.”
Upon discovering bass and electronic music, PVPABEAR began to produce his own music. After playing various parties at other colleges and fraternity house parties, he began to take a career as an EDM producer more seriously with each performance.
“When I got started I looked at it like this; I needed to know how to be a proper DJ and know how to work a room and a stage,” said PVPABEAR. “I really felt that I needed to be a real selector with tracks and be able to mix in a manner that I would actually be able to fill an entire hour or more, instead of trying to learn how to produce right off the bat and have no skills as at all. In my mind I could be a really good producer and make great tunes, but if I couldn't even mix songs together or get up on stage and fill an hour properly with quality tunes I wouldn't go anywhere. But simply put, what influences me is the music and artists that resonate with me.”
Due to the fact he only recently became an EDM DJ, PVPABEAR regularly studies other artists in order to find new styles and sounds for him to better his own music. In order to create music that exceeds even his own expectations, PVPABEAR believes it’s important to work with people who can give him honest, constructive criticism.
PVPABEAR will seek out advice from other Peoria producers who have more experience in order to produce even better music for fans of his music. His philosophy is to study and learn as much as possible from other people rather than to stray into the unknown by yourself.
“I can't describe how much easier it is to have a Jedi Master, if you will, to help you compared to if you're just starting out there,” said PVPABEAR. “They can help guide you in getting the idea from your mind out and into the program. Basically, I start with my drums so I can get a basic beat in my head onto the program and build off of that. Then it’s just all about layering other sounds and constantly tweaking, saving, and going back to edit later until the idea starts to take form that I like hearing.”
His next show is coming up tomorrow at the Rail II in Peoria with two of his inspirations, Bommer and Crowell, headlining the event with a b2b performance by EKiM and PVPABEAR as support. PVPABEAR will also be performing on November 24th on a set list that will include Allryze, 20Twenty, Perry, and EKiM.
His music is currently found on his Soundcloud profile, which can be accessed by following the embedded playlist at the top of the article. PVPABEAR is planning on releasing an E.P. in early 2018.
“This past year has been a big one for my partner Ekim and I,” said PVPABEAR. “We've been fortunate enough to host Shlump and Boogie T and we have big plans for 2018 as far as continuing to grow and improve with each show we throw.”
In addition to performing shows, PVPABEAR also teams up with EKiM, our featured artist from last week, to organize EDM shows.
The pair have helped to organize the “ThazDope Takeover” that will be taking place on December 8th at the Rail II as a pre party for the upcoming event, Savred Wellness. Performing artists for that event will be JuJu Beats, Moniker, and Psydell with support from KaBASS and Spinion. Sacred Wellness is an event that will be held February 8th, 2018 in Peoria Illinois.
“Goals that I have are of course to become successful enough with this to be able to provide myself a decent living and keep a roof over my head,” said PVPABEAR. “But deeper than that, I want to build a local scene around Peoria and Central Illinois and leave it in a far better shape than when I found it. I want other artists in the area to have an outlet to express themselves and a safe environment to have fun. We have so much untapped potential around here and it makes me sad to see people spending money driving hours and spending money on hotels to go see music they like when it could be practically happening in their backyard. There is absolutely no reason this scene can’t thrive in Peoria and that is exactly what I plan to make happen with some teamwork.”
Next week’s friday spotlight will be Chicago band OUTDrejas. OUTDrejas recently came into the studio to record three songs for our Whiskey Point Sessions video series, which will be coming out in two weeks. If you haven’t already, be sure to check out Whiskey Point Sessions with Brandon James over on our YouTube Channel and to follow our Facebook page and Instagram for more content.
PVPABEAR during his March performance with Shlump at Rail II in Peoria. photo taken by Anthony Matozzi.
PVPABEAR during his performance at Summer of 309. photo provided by Ethan Walenta.
PVPABEAR throwing down at the Rail II in March. photo taken by Polar Opposite Images.
PVPABEAR mixing his set at Summer of 309 this past summer. photo taken by Karl Walsh of "In The Side."
PVPABEAR makes a gesture during his performance at Summer of 309. photo taken by Karl Walsh of "In The Side."
PVPABEAR throwing down at during his set at Summer of 309. photo taken by Karl Walsh of "In The Side."
A recap video of PVPABEAR and Shlump's performance at Rail II in March.