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Meet Christian Benabe and Steven Quintanilla of PandaRama

Today we’d like to introduce you to Christian Benabe and Steven Quintanilla.

Christian and Steven, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Back in fall 2014 I was studying at MDC Homestead and was talking to a friend about how I would like to work with a vocalist to write songs with. So then Christian (Panda) overheard the conversation, walked up and said that he was a singer and had written some lyrics and was interested in working together. Afterwards we linked up, he showed me his lyrics and I made music to the them. We decided to play the songs live when we felt they were ready and after a positive reception we decided to form a full band.

After finding the bassist and drummer, we were complete. Since then we’ve played various open mic shows and festivals where promoters and other venue owners heard us and asked us to play for them. With our chemistry and unique personalities to fuel our stage presence, not to mention some great word of mouth, we’ve been able to make it to where we are today. – Steven

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Probably the hardest struggle we’ve had was finding a bassist. Since our original bassist, Ryan Clarkin, joined the Navy it’s been difficult to find a replacement and keep them in the band. For now, we’ve asked bassists from other bands (really great people) to help fill in when we play shows. – Panda

Another struggle for everyone has been balancing our time between school, work, and our families while still finding the time to practice, write new music, and record. – Steven

So, as you know, we’re impressed with PandaRama – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
We’re an alternative-indie rock band who just loves to write and create music that everyone can enjoy. Individually I’m one of the main songwriters and lead singer of the band and usually in charge of our social media and networking (I’m also the sass of the band/ the one EVERYONE knows, so there).

What I’m most proud of is that we actually released our first album. Although it only includes five songs, it felt like a major accomplishment for us especially since we produced it ourselves. I feel what sets us apart is that we have such great chemistry between us that it helps with our music and performances. Even though we have very different tastes in music, it just works for us. -Panda

I am the guitarist of the band and the other main songwriter of the band. I mostly focus on the instrumental parts, the rhythm, the chords, etc, while panda does most of the lyrics and vocal work but I on occasion also write the lyrics and the melody as well. What I’m most proud of is the fact that not only are our songs super catchy, but our performances kick ass. -Steven

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
I am definitely looking forward to releasing our acoustic EP as well recording for what may be our first full-length album. I take the role as producer for the band and with the acoustic EP, I took a bit more creative freedom and did a bit of experimenting since on the first EP I was more preoccupied with just getting the recordings to sound clean. I feel that I’ve grown more as a producer, so I’m excited to share our second EP soon and raise the bar when we record the full album. -Steven

I want to see how far we take things. I want us to experiment with different sounds and take our music on the road. I’d also like to collaborate with more local artists and bands. It’s always a great experience when you get to create and share something with other people who are also passionate about music. -Panda


  • You can download our EP on iTunes and Amazon for $4.99
  • We have T-shirts for $15 in both black and in white

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Brichell Villa, Tamica Jean-Charles, Cindy Baños, Blair C. Taylor

Getting in touch: VoyageMIA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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