BUSAN, South Korea – London bred Musician, Gold Panda, has created a sound of his own through a melding and weaving of magical samples and knocking beats. Developing a feeling of nostalgia and wonder with his music, Gold Panda or Derwin Panda, as he is known in civilian life, is an anti-authoritarian, sonic wanderer, whose lo-fi sensibilities and unorthodox approach to sampling and creating sounds, have unexpectedly brought him wild approval from tastemakers across the board, getting critical praise from the likes of Pitchfork, NME and Drowned in Sound, and also receiving The Gaurdian First Album Award for his dreamy, serotonin inducing Lucky Shiner (previous winners include indie darlings The XX).
Starting with music as just a hobby he picked up his first samplers when he was just 15, and used them to create P-Diddy style hip hop beats. Throughout his teens he kept exploring the realm of sampling, putting together short soundtracks to homemade videos done by himself and his friends.
In an interview with CreateDigitalMusic.com, he spoke of his musical beginnings.
“I had always been making music. Before that, I was like — I’m not very good, and it’s just a hobby. And after that, it was like, well, maybe it’s something I could do. And I just gave up trying to get jobs. I said,’ okay, jobs don’t make me very happy. I’ll just live with my parents for a while, make a bunch of tunes and see what happens.’”
Panda says he is influenced very little by popular music – he admits to hardly clubbing or going to live shows. An interesting fact considering his ethereal cacophony of dizzying sounds has people around the world desperate to see his live shows. Gold Panda has played shows everywhere from Sao Paulo to Tokyo –where he lived for a year after completing a degree in Japanese Studies from London School of African and Oriental Studies.
His music has a heavy, intoxicating asian influence, but not in the typical way – don’t expect to hear any familiar K-pop hooks – Panda says he’s quite visual when making music – drawing heavily on Japanese topography- he was intrigued by the way Japanese architecture could be so repetitive, thousands of similar buildings and then all of a sudden something extraordinary and unusual – he tries to mimic this with his music – looping bursting samples and then suddenly adding a droplet of something out of the ordinary, a sound you may only catch after a few listens, and then have to rewind to hear again. Indeed Gold Panda’s musical mission seems to be sonic reimagining – using a sampler as his weapon of choice he attempts to evoke various abstract emotions such as wistful nostalgia, the heady excitement of traveling somewhere exotic, and the pensive fatigue of emotional mishaps.
His 2009 standout track, Quitters Raga, beloved of blogs across the interwebs is a classic example, the song winds a hypnotic sample of an obscure Indian raga-type around dreamy synths and clapping drums to create a golden, hazy track that seems to ensconce the listener in a fuzzy euphoria.
Its these ‘mechanical yet intensely human beats’ that characterize Gold Panda’s debut album, Lucky Shiner, which finds itself somewhere between glitched out electro pop and hip hop. Panda claims he likes the idea of “glitchy stuff, of things going wrong”, and uses this technique to express the themes of the album, which he says are about family, friends and relationships – the things most important to him. Lucky Shiner starts with the breakthrough track ‘You’ which splices the words “you” and “me” into an infectiously dance-y, careening symphony; and then morphs into an exquisite journey across the spectrum of human emotions, presented through a lens of sublime electronic sounds.
On stage Gold Panda takes the same unorthodox attitude as he does when making his music. He actually prefers not to use a laptop when he can, so he doesn’t get bored, as he says: “ I want more stuff to do. I think having gear where your not looking at a screen, you start to get in to the tracks a bit more.”
Tickets for the Gold Panda show at Fabric in Kyungsung are 15000 won advance and 20000 won at the door. You can get more info about the show on the Haps event page here. Also on the night's bill will be Lhasa's Eric Anderson and Better Magic Music Company.
You can check out Gold Panda’s MySpace Music Page here.