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Baker's Dozen

Bear Necessities: Gold Panda's Favourite Albums
John Freeman , June 1st, 2016 08:29

Following the release of his third album, Good Luck And Do Your Best, Derwin talks to John Freeman about the 13 albums, from Michael Jackson to the Akira soundtrack, that helped shape his Gold Panda project

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Janet Jackson – Rhythm Nation 1814
I loved Michael Jackson, but being a straight, young male I couldn't 'fall in love' with him; luckily, there was Janet Jackson. Therefore, I could be 'in love' with Michael by being in love with Janet, which I know sounds weird.

I got into Janet Jackson via Rhythm Nation 1814. The main thing I loved was that Rhythm Nation 1814 had a whole 'children are going to rule the world' thing – almost like a manifesto. I found that really exciting as a young kid. The album also had a kind of kitchen sink production by [Jimmy] Jam and [Terry] Lewis and contained industrial-like sounds, which was actually really interesting and weird. I didn't know any music like that, having only listened to my dad's rock & roll records. Rhythm Nation 1814 was almost my first techno record.

There is one point where she sings, "Ain't no acid in this house", which I thought was cool – and the record contained chopped-up cartoon sounds and little skits. Much of the album sounds a bit of a mess, but it works. Before I heard Bad and Rhythm Nation 1814, I didn't understand the concept of an album being an entity and maybe that's where my love of albums has stemmed from. I was probably about ten years old when I got Rhythm Nation 1814.

I love albums and I don't have to be a particular fan of the artist. It's more about an album referencing a point in your life at that time. For me, it is almost [that] if I find a perfect album, I don't want to ruin it by knowing much about the artist or by exploring their other work; I have never been that interested in the artists. I am much more interested in the songs and an album as a whole.


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