​Gold Panda Big On Japan

​Gold Panda Big On Japan
Photo by Laura Lewis
It started with a misspoken farewell from a Japanese taxi driver: "Good luck and do your best." Spoken to Gold Panda as he was exiting a cab in Hiroshima, it was an expression the UK producer couldn't shake off — and that he felt compelled to use as the basis for his latest album, Good Luck and Do Your Best.
"I just thought the phrase was nice and positive, and I guess a lot of electronic music recently has been concerned with end-times and very cold, kind of harsh or modern sounds," he says. "I thought it'd be good to do something positive, something motivational maybe."
Aside from being the birthplace of the album, Japan is also its muse. Gold Panda initially took a couple of trips there in 2014, with his photographer friend Laura Lewis, with no intentions beyond taking snapshots and doing field recordings. After the cab driver's phrase set off his creative spark, however, Gold Panda also sought to encapsulate his two visits within the album.
While an Eastern lustre isn't necessarily new for Gold Panda, this is the first time he's tried to capture a specific time in his life with music. The result is a deeply nostalgic record that almost serves as a hazy flashback to a journey that you've never been on. The sounds of a koto (a Japanese stringed instrument) on some of the tracks transport the listener right into a rainy Kyoto suburb, while the lazy plod of "Pink and Green" represent the strange hue that the country seems to exude at certain parts of the year.
This musical homage marks a long-term obsession for Gold Panda, who finds himself being drawn there again and again, "It's just my favourite place in the world. It's got this indescribable draw, or aura maybe, that's kind of inescapable, really."