I feel like this little story from the musician Gold Panda says a lot, about a lot of things:
There are two tracks [on my new album]. One’s called “Before We Talked” and one’s called “After We Talked.” They’re about a friend. They’re all made with this really bad Yamaha electric organ that I got from eBay for like a pound. There’s loads of these ones. They’re all ex-church organs, school organs. And no one wants them any more, so they stick them on eBay. And then no one can pick them up, because they’re too big. So unless you’ve got a van, no one wants them. I won it for a pound, and then I got a mate to go and pick it up with me.
It’s this old wooden thing with pedals. It looks amazing, but it’s actually pretty rubbish. I like rubbish stuff.
My friend who was making music at the time, and the guy who had the van, he passed away.
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. It worked out good. And those tracks were just made with that one organ. And all the kind of glitchy sounds — it’s filled with dust, and it makes these crackly sounds when you turn it on or change the settings. So I just turned those up really loud to make the percussion sounds. Everything.
It’s from a long interview over at Peter Kirn’s Create Digital Music. Which is, by the way—I don’t know if Peter would describe himself as a journalist—but it’s an absolutely canonical example of somebody carving out a beat and owning it. It’s not really my world, but I always find Peter’s blog such a joy to read because he has such easy command of his scene, and he presents it so unpretentiously. The same goes for his other site, Create Digital Motion, which you really ought to be reading if you’re interested in the coolest thing in the world right now.