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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


De La Soul – 3 Feet High And Rising
My friend and I used to listen to this album all the time. There is a song on the album called 'De La Orgee', which is all of them having sex for about a minute and we always used to skip that track in case our parents were listening.

3 Feet High And Rising was the point at which I began to become interested in how records were made. That album, along with a lot of jungle and drum & bass, was using samples. I became fascinated by how other people's records could find their way onto new records. Back then, I was really into messing around on an Acorn Electron and a Commodore 64, listening to pirate radio and dubbing my own tapes, and 3 Feet High And Rising seemed to reflect everything I was doing. My friends and me would act out our own little scenes and record our own voice skit things. So, that album felt perfect, because it seemed to be them just mucking around and having a laugh. It was really inspiring. We would just quote stuff off the album to each other all the time. We would pour over the inner sleeve – I remember the cartoons. It was cool.

3 Feet High And Rising had great songs – 'The Magic Number', 'Buddy', 'Me Myself And I' to name but three – and there is a great track called 'Ghetto Thang', for which I don't think I listened properly to the lyrics at the time, but as I got older I began to appreciate more and more. This album made me realise that poems and raps could be great music – you don't have to sing. Plus, there is a track on it called 'Jenifa Taught Me (Derwin's Revenge)' and I thought it was incredible to have my name on an album – even if they dissed me by saying I was a virgin.

Their approach to sampling, with Prince Paul, by trying to layer up as many records as they could to create a tune, makes it a genius album. Unfortunately, I don't think they cleared many of the samples, so that's why it is always missing from Spotify. That album got me into hip-hop, got me into sampling and got me into stealing other people's music to make my own.