Gold Panda surprise releases new album under new moniker.
Today Gold Panda has unveiled his new musical project DJ Jenifa as he surprise releases debut LP ‘Jag Trax’, which is out now as a free download via bandcamp & also available on all other streaming platforms. You can hear album standout track “Whyileft122” below here, as well as the full album via bandcamp.
Sitting in a cafe situated on the London-Essex border, Derwin Dicker AKA Gold Panda looks relaxed and happy as he muses over the origins of his new record ‘Jag Trax’, released under the moniker DJ Jenifa. Comprised of nine hip hop and house influenced cuts, the songs are largely based around single looped samples, kick drums and an MPC. The tracks initially came to be during the productive writing spell that also produced his third album ‘Good Luck And Do Your Best’.
“When I did the last record in 2015, I made a track for a laugh”, says Derwin, picking up the story. “I make lots of tracks just for me, I suppose. I made a track about Chelmsford, where I was living at the time. It was about going out there in a white shirt, blue jeans, brown shoes which is like a dress code you need to get into clubs ‘cos you can’t go in with a hoody. I say ‘clubs’ I mean like, an O’Neils or some kind of Wetherspoons-style nightspot which is open till 3am. Those kind of places that exist in suburbia.”
“So I made a tune called ‘Dresscode’. It appeared at the end of the ‘In My Car’ video [from ‘Good Luck And Do Your Best’] and then I realised I had loads of these tunes just lying around and put them together.”
The simplicity of the explanation matches the stripped-back nature of the songs and the compulsion to make them in the first place – a desire to hone in on the specific elements that made Derwin want to procure the samples and reshape them into something new. “It’s like ‘this is a good loop off a record, it sounds great with a kick drum underneath it, in the same way that an old 90s hip hop record is a sample and a beat and someone raps over it,” considers Derwin. “Although I don’t rap”, he adds quickly, “so my beat is house tempo with a hip hop kind of sample and then some drums. It’s heavily inspired by sampling culture.”
Title-wise, the record garnered its name from Derwin’s mode of transport at the time (also featured in the video for ‘In My Car’). “It’s called ‘Jag Trax’ because I bought an old 2003 S-Type Jaguar. It’s kind of like driving a luxury armchair. I bought it from my neighbour. I would make these tracks that I could just play loud in the Jag, like when I was driving to [producer] Luke Abbott’s studio to mix ‘Good Luck And Do Your Best’. They were songs that I could just bang out on the motorway and make the journey go quicker.”
“Unfortunately”, Derwin confides, “the CD player in the Jag wouldn’t play any of the CDs that I would burn… so I never actually heard those tunes in it.”
And for the name DJ Jenifa itself? “The name is from a De La Soul track from ‘3 Feet High and Rising’ called ‘Jenifa Taught Me (Derwin’s revenge)’. Plus I’ve always been into that album, That album is a sample heavy record, and this too is done in a hip hop spirit, I suppose.”
Derwin also name checks The Beatnuts, A Tribe Called Quest, Black Sheep, Busta Ryhmes and Naughty By Nature as both other big musical influences on him and also as a inspiration as to how he approached making the music that became ‘Jag Trax’: “The majority of what I listen to is from that era. That’s the music that got me into making music, it’s all the music I learned to make on the same equipment, which is why it’s special to me, house, jungle, that Amen Break…. trying to make it myself – I have lots of respect for it, because I know how hard it was.”
Coming from the same 2016 period that saw the third Gold Panda album ‘Good Luck And Do Your Best’ take shape, does Derwin look back and consider it a particularly fruitful period? “I think it always is, but I don’t realise until years later.”
“…plus now I have a car that can actually play the CD-Rs I burn.”