The Quietus - A new rock music and pop culture website

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


Manitoba – Start Breaking My Heart
Manitoba is Caribou before the change of name. I ended up meeting Dan [Snaith] on tour and he is just a really lovely guy. This album came out when UK garage was having its big moment and then Dan made this album that sounds like UK garage mixed with all your favourite sounds from Warp records. There are great synth sounds and wobbly noises and lots of clicks. It was all the best bits from electronic music that had never been combined before. I loved that he was using UK garage drumbeats with this kind of glitchy '90s sound and lovely melodic synth lines. It is such a nice album to listen to and is very rewarding.

It has a great cover too – it is a photo that includes a McDonald's 'Golden Arch', which I thought was cool. This album was definitely a big inspiration for what I wanted for Gold Panda. It enabled me to go and find more records to sample and to broaden the horizons of what I was doing with my samples. Start Breaking My Heart was an album that made me rethink my approach to making electronic music, in that it could be melodic and song-based. That album is structured around songs – in the sense that the tracks build up from nothing and go back to nothing.

I have tried to get away from my music being song-based, but it always comes back to that. I think I like songs as well and I end up coming out at the pop end of the electronic music spectrum. I used to be embarrassed about that but now I just indulge in it. This is what I make as Gold Panda and that is fine. On my new album, there are some semi-memorable bits that people might be able to whistle – and that's fine. You can get paranoid that doing music like that is not clever or serious, but it seems to be working out okay for me.