Following 2013’s studio album ‘Half of Where You Live’, London based electronic producer Gold Panda took off on his travels across Japan, soaking up the country’s people, culture and inspirations. Heavily rooted in the experience, the producer presents his most ambitious and confident record to date with ‘Good Luck and Do Your Best’.
“This is a happier and summery pop record - more motivational and positive”, he says. ‘Good Luck and Do Your Best’ arrives at the appropriate time; just as we embrace greener fields and sunny beaches, the record moves Gold Panda from darker and sharper sounds to more warmth and melody-driven influences. “As much as I want to make a dark techno record, you just make what you make,” the producer explains. “I was embarrassed about making happy, melody-driven music at the poppier end of electronic music, but that’s what I ended up making - I can guide it, but it’s always going to sound like me.”
Since 2013, things have been relatively quiet from the producer; almost as discreet as his real name, which to this day remains unknown. ‘Good Luck and Do Your Best’ is heavily inspired by his roaming in Japan, which took place two year’s ago. According to the producer, it’s been a constant hub for studying and discovering new ideas. “I studied Japanese Language at University, so it’s a constant source of creativity and a place that inspires me.”
“The aim was more like capturing an atmosphere, rather than specific sounds; trying to find beauty in very normal suburban life."
Teaming up with photographer Laura Lewis, the pair captured both audio and field recordings from the country’s surroundings. From Japan’s seasonal colours and buildings to its people, the new album retains both the integrity and culture of Japan. The video for single ‘Pink & Green’ is a prime example of imagery and sound bonding together - the calm and expansive sounds immersed in the authentic live footage taken by Lewis as they document their trip across Japan.
“After the first of our two trips I got some of Laura’s work printed and pinned it in my studio,” says Gold Panda. “The aim was more like capturing an atmosphere, rather than specific sounds; trying to find beauty in very normal suburban life.
“For me, with photography, it’s the subject matter that you like, and Laura captured that in a way that I really related to, he explains. “Laura is able to capture normal things in a very beautiful way, and that can’t just be luck as she did it over and over again across nearly a thousand photos. I think it’s to do with colour, angle and perspective. It’s inspired me to start taking photos as well.”
“I would really like to travel round the UK and know a bit more about what my country is like."
Despite the jet-setting nature of the music, ‘Good Luck and Do Your Best’ still retains Gold Panda’s home-grown genre tastes, particularly his interest in 90s hip hop which rings throughout standout track ‘In My Car’. Citing The Beatnuts, KMD and De La Soul as influences, “it was what I listened to most in my youth,” he explains.
What really impresses the most is Gold Panda’s ability to bring otherworldly experiences into the comfort of his natural setting - his home in Chelmsford, Essex. This is assisted by the talents of Norfolk producer Luke Abbott, who worked previously with Output Recordings before the label’s closure. Listening through the album, you get a sense of the pair’s experimental and lucid stylings during the recording process – allowing the album to reinforce the elements captured abroad to produce music that transcends the heavy and darker sounds of his previous work.
Having produced ‘Good Luck and Do Your Best’ at his Chelmsford home, the London-based artist looks forward to working on his next album across the UK. “I would really like to travel round the UK and know a bit more about what my country is like,” he says. “I reckon there’s an album in there. The UK is beautiful and I’m going to make time to explore it.”
Gold Panda’s new album ‘Good Luck and Do Your Best’ is out now via City Slang.