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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


Various – Reggae Hits Volume 12
I had just moved out of London at this point of my life and I had bought myself some decks, as I was getting into hip-hop and vinyl. I think that was a direct result of leaving London. I went to live in Essex, where everyone was listening to Britpop, which was just beginning to happen at that point. This period was about me rebelling and trying to get as far away as possible from what everyone else liked.

I got this album from a friend, who used to live next door. He was from a Jamaican family and his grandmother was a real stereotypical matriarch. She would hit you with her slipper as you were going up the stairs. She was fantastic. My friend used to play old reggae samplers. I don't know how many volumes there are now, but this was the one that stuck with me, because it included 'Murder She Wrote' [by Chaka Demus & Pliers] and 'Maddy Maddy Cry' [by Papa San]. 'Maddy Maddy Cry' has the guy singing and crying at the same time. He is singing about his wife, who has left him. I remember telling my dad and his brother about the song and they wouldn't believe that it existed, as the idea sounded so mental. When I played it to them, they rolled around in laughter – but it is a great song.

I also love 'Coca Cola Shape' [by Simpleton], which is about the singer thinking that a woman's body is similar to the shape of a Coke bottle. There is one lyric which goes, "And dem a fling big stone and buss off man face" which is not relevant to the song, but is a good line. I liked that mix of things being a bit silly, like with 3 Feet High And Rising. I liked the idea that music could be both funny and good; it didn't have to take itself too seriously. I think reggae has that. It is a very serious genre, but it is allowed to laugh at itself.

I started sampling some of the tracks on this album to make jungle. I think I got this album in about 1994 and realised that by stealing sections to make new songs was the way things worked. There are loads of these compilations and they are really good, but this one is my favourite. Still, to this day, if I have my records with me and I have had a few glasses of wine I will stick on 'Coca Cola Shape', 'Murder She Wrote' or 'Arms House' [by Capleton]. Each song has its own distinctive vocal. Now I cannot tell the difference between any singers. They all sound the same. I am old now, I have realised.