With the far-reaching impact of the Coronavirus across the music and events industry, Jack Parow shares how he’s adapting his routine to accommodate social distancing and staying home, his music journey, ‘10 years of Parow’, what fans can look forward to next, musical influences, his current playlist and even some braai tips.
You’re celebrating 10 years of Parow, how does it feel?
It’s crazy. When I started people always tuned me no one will ever listen to this sh*t, they thought I was losing my mind. Now it’s 10 years later and I work with the coolest people and brands (like PUMA), my albums went platinum, I have my own brandy, my own signature PUMA vellies and I can braai every day. I’m celebrating all of that – as best I can in the crazy times we living in.
PUMA South Africa has been with you since the beginning. What has the relationship meant for you?
PUMA are the f*kken coolest. This is my 10th year of being “famous” but PUMA was there before that, when I was rapping in another crew called Maxnormal.tv with my chommies Ninja and Yolandi. PUMA have always supported people who offer something totally different, and that is why after 13 years I have never even thought of working with any of their competitors. They were supporting art and music when none of their competitors were. PUMA has the best ambassadors and people are so brand loyal to them.
In your words: “BEF*KTE dinge is oppad!” Any hints at what’s next?
Nobody knows yet, so I’ll announce it here: the first run of PUMA x PAROW vellies sold out in 10 minutes so we are going to do another limited run, which I’m k*k amped for. I’m also working on new music. This virus has meant a lot of changes for a lot of people but we need to adapt. If all goes to plan I will come out of this lockdown f*kken guns blazing.
What has kept you busy since releasing your fifth studio album Afrika 4 Beginners in 2017?
Touring and making moelikheid. I have been lucky to tour all over the world and it keeps me pretty busy but now it’s time for the next album which I’m writing at the moment. I’m k*k excited. My brandy is doing amazingly and I want to thank everyone for the support. F*k, when I was growing up I would never have thought I would be making rap music, least of all have my own f*kken brandy. Mal!
Due to COVID-19 your shows have been cancelled. How else has it impacted you professionally?
Ja, f*k. It’s quite heavy being a musician at the moment, especially someone like me who tours so much and relies on that a lot. Also, my show is super high energy and rof so the live stream thing doesn’t really work for my vibe. Imagine me standing in my lounge on my own screaming DANS DANS DANS EK WIL F*KKEN F*KKEN DANS! I’m just using this time to try and be creative and check what comes out.
You have performed all over the world, including at your own Parow Fest in Europe – which are your favourites?
That’s a difficult one! I’ve played some crazy venues – from Gorky Park in Russia to Hollywood Boulevard and Hong Kong – but I’m probably a bit biased towards the Netherlands because I’ve been going there for almost 10 years and there are next level venues like Melkweg in Amsterdam. Parowfest at Tivoli Vredenburg in Utrecht has been sold out every time! Last year we even beat the record for the most beer sold at the venue in history which is bef*k because all the biggest bands in the world play there and I think being a South African, I f*kken deserve that accolade!
Your musical influences?
There are so many, and I also have such wide taste in music. I think that’s why my songs are all over the place – from Drum and Bass to Metal to Hip Hop to f*kn Boere musiek. My biggest influence would probably be Snoop Dogg. In 1994 when he dropped Doggystyle I was 11 and it blew my mind, and I literally only listened to rap music from that day on. I was so into rap and hip hop that I only heard Bob Dylan, who I’m now a massive fan of, for the first time when I was like 20. So ja, Snoop.
Your favourite collab?
I have worked with a few of my heroes like David Kramer, Koos Kombuis and Valiant Swart and they are next level. In South Africa we are so lucky to have a bunch of cool musicians, and everyone becomes like family which makes it so lekker to work together.
At the start of lockdown you did a mini collab with Francois van Coke, Arno Carstens, and several other local artists to convey a message to South Africa. How can we keep supporting one another during this time?
From a safety point of view, we all know what to do. Keep talking and keep reaching out to each other while apart. Luckily there are lekker apps like WhatsApp, Zoom and House Party that help keep us sane and connected to our chommies. We have Zoom braai’s and we play games on House Party and just do things that keeps you social without leaving home.
Advice to creatives at this time?
Create and release stuff – now is one of the best times EVER to put stuff out as everyone is locked to their screens and devices. Gooi and hope for the best, and at the end of the day no matter what happens, at least you are creating.
What words or message do you live by when faced with challenges?
We are all just f*kkin here in space and most things that happen to you, you have no f*kn control over. Take it on the chin if it’s k*k and enjoy it when it’s lekker because lingering on stuff and not letting go just makes it worse and lasts so much longer. Also, brandy and braaibroodjies make everything better.
Your favourite isolation meal?
Three words that best describe you?
Afrikaans, rapper, alcoholic…jokes…maybe.
Top on your playlist at the moment?
Cream Machine – Raak Taatie, Bliksemstraal – Maak Pype, Junior Byles – Beat Down Babylon, Niko10Long – Bedrock and Les Javan – Wingerd Se Griep.
Parow Brandy – on the rocks, with Coke or ‘Fency Pants’?
Depends on the time of day, always starts a bit more ‘fency pants’ and ends with ‘no pants’.
What do you love most about South Africans?
We laugh at ourselves and that’s what I love, other places can be so serious but here in cowboy country we know that having a good lag is just as important.
What inspires that unique Jack Parow style?
Brandewyn, braaivleis, caravan parks, beach town outfits over Christmas holidays, street races, exotic animal dealers, tannies in malls, ooms in bars, small town hotels and leopards.
In December you celebrated 10 years since Cooler As Ekke hit number 1, with the release of the limited edition PUMA x PAROW VELDSKOEN. Why?
Firstly, vellies are pretty much one of the symbols of South Africa – if there was a national shoe that would be it. Secondly, they last forever, which maybe is not the best idea from a business point of view, but I like quality, and those are as high quality as it gets. I have a pair of PUMA vellies that are 10 years old and still perfect, they actually just get more comfortable with time.
Apart from your vellies, what are your top 3 PUMA items in your wardrobe?
I actually have like 1000 items I f*kn love. The items I’ve had the longest and still wear till today are my black Miharayasuhiro Embroidered Bomber Jacket, PUMA XO Asphalt Kimono, my grey snakeskin CELL Endura’s and my Volvo Ocean Race storm-proof sailing overalls. I also have a pair of one of a kind PUMA Baskets, which were made for me to celebrate my 10 years.
TV programmes you’re loving right now?
At the moment Tiger King like everyone else but I recently binge-watched Brooklyn 99, The Office and Parks & Rec. Also The Defiant Ones is amazing.
Any content you would recommend to your fans?
I’m really into comics and graphic novels, and my favourite series for like the last 10 years and sadly it just came to an end, was The Walking Dead. It’s amazing and really different to the show. Black Hole is also lekker, and a k*k lekker podcast is my friend Simon’s called “Nervous Rex”. Ron Burgundy also has one that’s amazing called The Ron Burgundy Podcast.
Other than TV what else is keeping you busy during lockdown?
Braaing, gaming (just got the new Doom, Call of Duty and Rainbow Six), braaing, writing gevaarlike raps, braaing.