Gold Panda on UK tour to promote Lucky Shiner
Essex producer follows the 'old-school hip hop rules'
He’s from London, but Essex was the making of Gold Panda. (His real name? ‘Just Derwin, if that’s all right.’) ‘I lived in Peckham until I was about 15, then my family moved to Chelmsford, where a cultural scene didn’t really exist,’ he says. ‘I found myself in this white, suburban, middle-class area where everyone listened to Blur and Cast, so I rebelled by getting into gangsta rap and Tupac. This was before I realised I couldn’t make hip hop because I wasn’t cool enough.’
But what he could do was sample, as he discovered using an old Atari ST his uncle lent him. Now his debut album, Lucky Shiner, has brought him attention in all the right places: when The List spoke to him he was in the midst of playing ‘every day for a week’ at the CMJ festival in New York, and was about to leave for a showcase set alongside Four Tet and Jon Hopkins.
‘How I make music now is the same as back then,’ he says, ‘but I just use shorter samples to make bigger tracks. For me, taking a ten second loop from a funk record doesn’t feel like I’ve achieved making my own piece of music, whereas taking individual sounds and putting them together is like making a proper composition. That follows on from growing up with hip hop, where all the beats come from other records anyway, and you can hear the vinyl crackle coming through. I try to sample things other people haven’t and I don’t download .wav files. That’s old-school hip hop rules – if you haven’t got the track yourself, what’s the point of doing it?’
King Tut’s, Glasgow, Tue 16 Nov