SOTA FESTIVAL: WAM interviews POW! NEGRO
With multiple WAMAwards under their belt, six-piece band POW! Negro merge jazz elements in their fusion hip hop with an aggressive vocal style that falls somewhere between Zac de la Rocha and Mos Def. Fresh off the back of a huge first year selling out headline shows across WA, winning the esteemed Big Splash 2016 and supporting acts such as Blackalicious, Remi, Koi Child and Sampa the Great among others, Pow! Negro have firmly established themselves as one of Australia’s most promising up and coming acts with their dynamic live show.
Ahead of playing the FREE SOTA Festival this coming Monday 5 June – WA’s biggest celebration of WA music held at Elizabeth Quay as part of the WA Day Festival long weekend (times below) – WAM interviewed POW! Negro, about their WAMAwards success, must-see SOTA acts, an upcoming EP and more…
You picked up multiple WAMAwards pretty early in your career – how has this helped further your career?
The WAM wins helped reinforce that people actually like what were doing and pay a bit of attention to it. We all felt a little more legitimate as a band after those awards.
And your The Big Splash win (which is now sadly on hiatus)?
The money always helps with progressing the band but it was really eye opening to see that people actually kinda get down to what we’re doing.
There’s a real almost frenetic energy that flows through the band live on stage. How do you translate this to the recorded material, or are you trying to achieve something different between the two?
We’re trying to work that out at the moment! It’s definitely going to be different to the live show but hopefully still retains the great parts of it. It’s definitely not just a recording of us live in a room.
Your must see act for SOTA this year?
Ziggy is really dope. He’s delivering a really important message and does it in a groovy way. Plus he just has bars. It’s a pretty killer lineup though so we’re keen to check everyone out.
With so many great acts coming out of WA, do you think there is ‘something in the water’ that just breeds awesome?
I think there’s a whole heap of opportunities for emerging acts to gain exposure throughout WA. We’re really great at mining out the gold. It’s a pretty small scene but everyone looks after each other.
How do you think living in WA has affected your music?
I think the isolation of WA helps. People don’t seem to care a whole lot about what other people are doing and just do their own thing. That being said Tame Impala has had a pretty huge influence on the scene, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. They definitely influence us.
Do you know WAM has a time machine? What advice would you give to your younger self as you were starting out in music?
Definitely practice more. If I knew I was going to be playing SOTA I definitely would have tried my hardest to be a child prodigy.
In WA, your fave…
WA acts that have influenced you? Tame Impala, Pond, Koi Child, Kashi Koi. They’re all ridiculous musicians and have their own style going on.
Music venue: Mojos. No room is more fun to play in WA than a sold out Mojos.
Record store: Opshops (because they’re cheap) Junction in Freo always has some second hand jazz which is primo for sampling.
Gig you ever attended in WA: Tame Impala – Belvoir. Beautiful venue, best band to come out of Australia.
Best spot for a quiet beverage: The National in Freo between 5 and 6 (it’s cheap).
Something you get homesick for when tour: Our home studio/record player for sampling.
Something that’s closed or gone that you miss: X-Wrays.
Breakfast cure spot: IGA, pick yourself up some nice fruit, maybe ingredients for some sandwiches, always a mocha.
What’s that mysterious flying object? Aliens have come to visit… What is the first thing you take them to in Perth? IGA, pick up some mochas (because they’re delicious) then probably show them around Freo because it’s beautiful and then probably get them to vaporise all the roads and use them as leverage against the government to build a world class public transport system.
What’s happening for you in the near future?
Getting an EP out, hopefully tour and write some new tunez. Apparently escorting aliens around Perth as well.
SOTA Festival is proudly presented as part of the 2017 WA Day Festival, and co-presented by WAM. The sixth annual SOTA showcase will be held at Elizabeth Quay Monday 5 June, as part of the WA Day long weekend festivities with both under 18 and licensed areas. Best of all, it’s free!