Premiere: Listen to POW! Negro's new single, Money For Portraits, ahead of tomorrow's launch
Plus we have a chat with the whole group on how they met and the story behind the track.
Interview by Jackson Lavell-Lee. Header image by Matsu Photography.
POW! Negro are a neo-psychedelic hip hop group from Fremantle with influences ranging from BadBadNotGood to Rage Against The Machine. Their energetic live shows have created a loyal following, eagerly anticipating a debut EP after their Big Splash win last year, and a crazy show at the Rosemount Hotel New Year’s Eve. We had the privilege to get them all in one room for an interview before a sell-out show anticipating their new single Money For Portraits, which was produced by David Kennedy (A Tribe Called Quest), and we're very excited to premiere for you today.
Take a listen and check the interview below, and head HERE to nab one of the last remaining tickets to their Fremantle Arts Centre show tomorrow night, supported by Ziggy and Henry Kissinger. They'll also be appearing at Fairbridge Festival, In The Pines and GTM Bunbury in the next few weeks.
What was the creative process behind this new track Money For Portraits?
The song's chorus and bass instrumentation was written by our drummer Rhys a year before the band formed. We fleshed it out around the idea that our profession is to sell portraits of ourselves and the world around us. The song is written from the point of view as POW! Negro as a character trying to maintain originality from trends and being tempted by money.
What happens to POW! Negro the character then?
Ultimately, he gets taken under by pressure and resurfaces completely taken over by all the things he fought so hard to avoid. We recorded everything ourselves in a small studio we built in a granny flat. Lachie (guitarist) did the majority of the mixing before we sent it off to A Tribe Called Quest’s We Got It From Here… Thank You 4 Your Service master David Kennedy, who worked some magic.
Rad! The single artwork is cool, who did that?
Nelson painted the single artwork aiming at visually representing the song's concept to ignore what people were telling us what to do when we had achieved some notoriety.
You spoke about the love between you fellas - do you feel like there is any creative differences when making music or is it harmonious?
The goal is for everyone to have their own songs on the future EP. We all make beats privately on our computer so when we feel like we have something that would suit the group we come together and have a discussion on what would be cool and then that person kind of takes control of that track. There’s not too much contention.
Nelson, as the lead singer or MC you have been likened to Zac de la Rocha, where do you get your lyrical inspiration from?
Shouts to Zac Del la Rocha haha! I guess I get that for the energy I exert on stage but I get my inspiration from Anderson .Paak, Tyler The Creator, Earl Sweatshirt, Kendrick Lamar, Doom, Flying Lotus, Tame Impala, King Krule and Thundercat.
POW! Negro supporting Jordan Rakei recently, by Aaron Webber.
During your live performances, you guys create such a cool atmosphere that’s multi-genre influenced from jazz to heavy metal, the breakdowns are captivating to witness, do you write for your live performances or more for recordings?
Mostly we write for our performances, our next step is transferring that energy from our lives shows into our recorded work. We’re always jamming and everyone in the band has great improvisational skills so that’s where we’re progressing from jamming out therapeutically to recording. If we keep on jamming no doubt sooner or later, we will find gold.
So, you guys all seem like pretty different eclectic dudes, how did you all meet?
Some of us knew each other way back in high school and then Nelson got a hip hop gig at Mojos for Hustle, Hustle which is meant to be just a MC and DJ set up but Rhys (guitar and saxophone) said, “fuck that, let’s make a band”, and got a couple of us together. We made some music and created a set in two weeks, and POW! Negro was formed.
Toby (guitar and drums) you’re from down south, a little country town called Kattaning. How did you meet the rest of the guys?
At a party man. I met these guys and the next day was showing them some stuff and we began jamming. Yeah there’s only 400 people in the town I’m from and I was the only one who would play instruments so it was so good to meet like-minded people.
Nelson, you have a background in acting and theatre, how does that help with your performance and writing music?
I think the best rap is story-telling rap and I try to tell stories with my rhyming... A lot of rappers just say their stories having created these characters but I believe more of a theatrical performance is the next step to that.
Follow POW! Negro: FACEBOOK