Interview: Far From Obsolete, Gold Panda.

With even monochrome pandas becoming extinct, gold shiny ones are fairly few and far between. Gold Panda, aka Derwin Panda ("for the moment"), caught in amongst an abyss of online adoration in place of bamboo shoots puts fingers to keyboard keys to discuss Japan, the feasibility of any form of commercially tangible release and vying for chart supremacy...

Dots: With the likes of yourself, Seams and Dam Mantle all bursting out of bedrooms and onto blogs, it must be quite a relief to dispel the myth that Calvin Harris and previously, Daniel Bedingfield were the proprietors of the sound-cultivated-at-home culture...

Gold Panda: I don't know about Seams or Dam Mantle but I'm not as talented as Bedingfield or Harris. They've both had a couple of number 1s, remember. Its pretty hard to make a number one pop smash hit as far as I'm concerned. However I don't think any of us are aiming for that... yet. I guess busting out of bedrooms and onto blogs can be done while still in your bedroom so its not so amazing.

Dashes: Although evidently not separated at birth in terms of your musical output, would you have predicted to find yourself in amongst a "scene" of sorts, given the somewhat unorthodox tinge your music often pertains to?

Gold Panda: You can't really guess at where the media or the public are going to place you. I think maybe you can control it to some extent. However I'm not really sure what 'scene' I am in. I heard genres such as 'post-dubstep' or 'glo-fi' thrown around. I think now, music is this kind of wonderful firework shooting off in all directions, the internet has really opened things up and I think stuff that maybe wouldn't have been popular 10 years ago is really getting the exposure it deserves now. The public are free to decide how they listen to and more importantly buy music and the major labels are shitting themselves.

Dots: Chopping up largely underground works by others, do you live in fear of eventually getting rumbled, and copyrights catching up with you?

Gold Panda: Not at all. I think maybe the sample in Quitter's Raga is a bit too obvious but I like how the track turned out. I'd be surprised if people spot the other stuff. With software and equipment available now you can change one sample so much no one will ever recognize it. In fact, you could sample the Beatles and no one would ever know unless you told them. I was in Japan last week and my mate made an entire track by farting once into his laptop mic. It was beautiful.

Dashes: Releasing material almost singularly through the medium of the world wide web in EP format, your chosen outlet serves as something of a stand against the controversies and vacuous chat that surrounds the imminent collapse of everything musical that torment almost every sphere of this warped industry we inhabit. Are we overvaluing a depreciating artistic expression or vice versa, ignoring a forever-evolving fertile field of self-projection?

Gold Panda: Yes.

Dots: How vital a learning curve did Japan provide for you, both musically and culturally? It's almost impossible to feel polite over there...

Gold Panda: And it is impossible to fit in. As a 'gaijin' or 'outsider' you'll never be truly accepted. I guess it was just a place to be alone and deal with loneliness. Tokyo is full of people but it is very easy to feel lonely there. It's a loneliness I can't explain. I feel it in London too, maybe it is cities, in the countryside I don't feel such loneliness, maybe a bit cut off from things and secluded but its not the solitude that you can feel in Tokyo or London. When I was in Japan I wanted to hear music without vocals that could soundtrack how I felt when I walked around in the rain looking up at tower blocks and the roofs of Japanese houses. I wanted to put that feeling in my work but sometimes it turns out quite happy. Also it confirmed that I am fairly good at Japanese.

Dashes: Obviously renowned for Beatles-esque obsession over in the East, how have their appreciative ears reacted to the likes of Quitters Raga and Mayuri?

Gold Panda: I'm not entirely sure. I mean the feedback I've had from people and the amount of press I have done for it has been pretty crazy but no one is really popular there any more, apart from Green Day.

Dots: Left-field artists seem to be striving incessantly for anonymity and a seclusion of identity. How deliberate has your distancing of individual from output been?

Gold Panda: I wouldn't say thats entirely true. I think Left-field artists or whatever don't feel the need to plaster pictures of themselves all over their work, like say, Ellie Goulding for example, where recognition of how she looks is part of the promo or whatever. I'm not having a jab at Ellie Goulding here, this is down to the label etc to sell a certain product or artist to a certain audience. I wouldn't say I'm striving for seclusion of identity or anonymity at all but I don't feel the need to take pictures of myself and plaster them all over a social networking site or have my face on the cover of my album. People know a bit about me and I do interviews and stuff so I'd say I'm quite open about things. Although I'm not really the kind of person who will say 'hey I made some amazing tunes and an amazing album come and check them out and leave comments blah blah', I am lucky enough to have people working with me who think my music is valuable enough to do that for me and I'm really grateful for that because it isn't something I could do alone and maybe no one would ever hear my music and I'd still be doing a shitty job.

Dashes: You're rather acclaimed for your remixes, the majority of which you're known to despise. From your wealthy perspective, what value do remixers and remixes alike hold in this day and age and do you find yourself ceaselessly striving for reinvention, breaking away from Hype Machine expectations?

Gold Panda: I don't despise them. It's just that the process of making tunes is the bit I enjoy the most and when I'm done I want to move on or start the next one. I don't want to keep making the same tunes so I try to approach it differently every time. Hopefully most people asking for a Gold Panda remix are expecting it to be Gold Panda sounding. But yeah, not reinvention but just to keep moving on and doing things a bit differently.

Dots: Finally, will you ever release a tangible LP, one that we can go and spend hard-earned dosh on in our local HMV?

Gold Panda: Well, I've put out a cd-r and three vinyls and also an exclusive album in Japan. Do you mean will I do something on a label that would be willing to press enough copies that HMV and Amazon etc will stock it? I guess so. I mean, I think there is too much emphasis on debut albums. I'm working on an album that has a certain sound and works on a certain theme and I don't feel the need to rush it out or for it to contain a bunch of singles. I just want it to be a complete body of work and release other EPs, singles, cd-rs etc around it. I want to have novels in addition to my short stories, if that makes sense.

Part of a minimal electro revolution alongside the likes of Seams, Dam Mantle and Minotaur Shock, Gold Panda's rather sublime You EP is floating about digitally as of now.