Ricco Black says his band Pandora Black is influenced by Massive Attack, Berlin, and Depeche Mode. Indeed, you can hear it in the dark and moody debut album, Into the Shadows. But when the vocalist/guitarist tells New Times his biggest inspiration was the '80s rockabilly band the Stray Cats, that takes some explaining. "They were able to take 1950s sounds into the '80s. We want to take '80s sounds into the new millennium."
Pandora Black got its start in South Florida last year when Ricco Black was in the mood to experiment. He called keyboardist Ernie Noir and began writing electronic music. "Ernie said he knew a singer, Daiane Azura, who knew how to feed a crowd. She's very seductive and knows how to draw people in. She's not hard on the eyes either, which always helps a band." Black sent Azura the music, and she added the lyrics and melodies. With the addition of bassist Synnn Hexe, they set out to play as many shows as they could.
"When you're playing electronic music, things can go wrong onstage. I wanted to gig as much as possible so we could be ready for anything." Though their sound is dependent on gizmos, it has helped them land shows Black says live bands normally wouldn't get. "We segue way seamlessly with DJs because with our drums and loops, people can still dance. I have nothing against live drummers, but the way we do it, you're not at the mercy of the sound man."
One of their most interesting shows thus far was this past Halloween in New Orleans at Anne Rice's Vampire Lestat Coven Party. "They booked us as the headliner. It was held in a huge club where everyone was dressed in costume. We said, 'This is our crowd; we have to make it happen.'" One of the highlights was when the bandmates got to meet the gothic Interview With the Vampire author herself. "She was so nice, personable, and kind. She had a quiet disposition but was happy to listen and discuss everything."
The band makes sure to dress as though every concert is held on Halloween, most especially at its upcoming CD-release party at Churchill's January 7. "We're very visual and get over-the-top with our costumes. We feel if someone is paying money at the door, they should get their money's worth at the show."
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9 p.m. Saturday, January 7, at Churchill's Pub, 5501 NE Second Ave, Miami; churchillspub.com. 305-757-1807.