Photography courtesy of Vetman Design and Photography
Some artists silently rise to success in South Africa, but Jack Parow decided to smash into the limelight with his rough and abrasive brand of alternative Afrikaans rap music. We recently caught up with him at Rocking The Daisies and spoke about having to deal with being labelled as the Antichrist of Afrikaans music, the state of the South African music industry and the brilliance of Rocking The Daisies and music festivals.
So throughout your rap career you’ve been labelled as a bit of a devil child in the Afrikaans community. Would you say the recent publication of your memoir was an attempt to give your side to that story and sort of, to the way you’ve been labelled is almost the anti-Christ of the Afrikaans community?
That wasn’t my intention in writing it. It just happened without me realizing it because that is obviously what happens when you’re telling a story. It is still dirty as fuck and rough as fuck so if I was trying to make them like me more then I was not doing a very good job with it but it did help a lot, I think, just for people to know who I am and that I stand for something, I don’t just do this shit for fucking like no reason, like I do stand for Afrikaans and stand for alternative side of Afrikaans.
Actually on that note, what was your reaction to the way people used to widely criticise your music in that fashion?
I knew if everyone likes you then you’re doing something fucking wrong. Like I knew people weren’t going to like it, so my skin had to get hard quite quickly at the beginning. It does get to you when people talk but there are so many lovers that the haters kinda fucking fade away. I like it when people give me hate on my [Facebook] wall, because people will never give you hate in real life, they always fucking like social and shit, they won’t do it in front of your face and my fans are so fucking rough so it’s actually hilarious for me when people do give me hate and then my fans just fucking rip them apart, so it’s fun.
Have you started to find out if people started to calm down as your music has begun to mature and moved onto much more mature topics for the recent album?
Definitely, I think it’s also because society has become so desensitised. People are always shocked with something at the start but the longer it goes, the less of a shock it becomes. It can be seen in our murder rate and fucking theft and shit. People are always like – “so someone got murdered, well okay, well whatever”- like in another country if someone fucking gets murdered it’s like the biggest fucking thing, like here it’s every minute that someone gets fucking killed. It becomes a case of desensitising of oneself which is not always a good thing but it happens here.
So you’ve had a pretty successful year so far, with your latest album going double platinum and touring overseas, but do you ever expect to get to that point, starting out as a boytchie from Bellville?
No fuck, I mean I just made music for the fun of it, so to be able to to make music and just do it as a living, blows my mind, still to this day. I still can’t believe it.
You’re pretty tight with Fokofpolisiekar. I remember you went on stage with them for one of their recent shows at Assembly for the launch of Dag Dronk and performed alongside them. Have you ever considered doing a collaboration with the entire band rather than just with individual members?
We did one long ago, where me and Die Antwoord and them did a song called “ Doos Dronk”. That was kind of the whole band but the music never really lends itself completely to a fulllive band sound and I think that’s why it never really happened so far, and also because by the time I fucking came out, they were already stopped making music, so that’s the thing. My last single I just did with Rikky Rick, actually Johnny produced, so from that side of things, I still work closely with them and Johnny is the mind obviously behind the music so if you look it that way, I have actually been making music with them.
You’ve been in the music industry for quite some time now, what are your honest thoughts on the SA music scene as it stands today?
Well I think, honestly, I think it needs a bit of a kick in the arse again, I think someone needs to come out, that’s not just sounding like everyone else – someone who is pushing the boundaries who is trying to do something fucking new again, and that’s what Fokof did, when they came out, and hopefully I did it in my own way when I came out, it just needs a new revitalisation in that kind of sense of the word. I know we did it for Afrikaans in a way, but we did someone who does it overall, or just someone who just fucks with it and hopefully it will happen soon and we’ll see. People tend to do what is the easiest and that’s always a kak thing. I’m waiting for someone to fucking take the hard road and fuck shit up.
I think what might scare some bands, is actually the hate that Die Antwoord received when they tried to do something different.
Ja well fuck you can also say, like they might have gotten hate in South Africa but they fucking massive in the States and like Germany, countries like, and so fuck it, whichever way you go, if you do something proper, you’re going to get noticed and gonna have fun doing it, like I get a fuck load of hate but still fuck it, I get a fuck load of love as well, so…
The love definitely outweighs the hate
Ja no, fuck definitely
So the sole reason you are here today, and I have asked this question so fucking much today, we are here to celebrate 10 years of RTD, so what has been your favourite Daisies memory from the past 10 years?
Fuck, I must tell you, I think it was my first time playing RTD. It was my first time and I played the Main Stage, and that was just a mindfuck, I had never been here, I didn’t know what to expect, I didn’t know what it was, I’m from Cape Town but I mean I had no idea, I had never been to Daisies. To come here and the first time walk out on a big stage and see all these people fucking out to me, it was a mind fuck and I still have the photo and you couldn’t even see the end of the crowd -it was such a like humbling and crazy experience, so I think that was my most, my most memorable and also two years ago, I played at the Red Bull stage. It was so fucking windy that the crowd made a literal banana because the fucking wind was blowing the sound all around. It was the craziest thing to see, because I was on stage and the whole fucking crowd madethis massive banana – it was funny.
So, you mentioned that the first time you played Daisies you were on the Main Stage was a pretty big deal, what has Daisies done to uplift a lot of South African bands, giving them that chance as a start out band, like we’ve seen The Liminals. Two years ago nobody knew who they were and they played a pretty amazing set on Main Stage, what do you think will help Daisies to manage to uplift a lot of local bands like that?
It’s great man. If you feel that you believe in something and believe in a band or believe in a sound – it’s fucking good to give them a platform and it’s the best thing. It’s great because then a shit load of people get to see them. Oppikoppi gave me my first shot, basically my first show as Jack Parow, my whole entire fucking life was at Oppikoppi and they gave me that shot and if it wasn’t for them I think it would have taken me much longer to get to where I am today. So, fuck it is great. I’m so thankful to Oppikoppi and for Daisies for doing that for bands and for putting them out there, because at the end of the day that’s the coolest thing about music festivals: discovering new music and discovering crazy things. It’s fucking rad man, and I tour overseas a lot, I’m very thankful for that and then I walk around a lot and that’s the greatest thing about festivals is finding new fucking shit that you have never heard and like walking into a fucking tent and there is the craziest shit playing and you have the fucking weirdest shit and it just blows your mind and it’s fucking the best. Music can be such a strong thing…
Yes I agree so much, I love it for that reason. Thank you so much for your time.