Jack Parow album still, by photographer Sacha Waldman
He gained global notoriety through YouTube, he travels the country and the world as Jack Parow and now he's been nominated in six categories for the 2011 MK Awards, including Best International Breakthrough Act.When I heard the news about his nominations I decided that the time had arrived for us to hook up with him to find out more about him. The result: a schizophrenic rap to both Jack and Zander Tyler a.k.a. Jack's alter-ego/the real him/the dude behind da vest:
Jack Parow in the vid. for Dans Dans Dans.
Zander Tyler at the Waterfront, in Cape Town.
Tashi (10am): Are you having a rough time being up so early in the morning? Aren't zef musos supposed to sleep until noon at least?
Jack/Zander: I was out 'til like 03h00 but then I woke up at like 08h00 so I'm fuckin' ... it's kak. I'm trying to get past it though.
Tashi: Who are we talking to right now? ... Jack or Zander? ...
Jack/Zander: Well, we're pretty much the same kind of person. Almost.
Tashi: Do you get confused about who you are?
Jack/Zander: Ja, I'm really confused.
Tashi: Do you really live in Parow?
Zander: Nah, I used to but I actually live in Cape Town now.
Tashi: In the CBD?
Tashi: Why did you move?
Zander: Um, ag, it's just like - there's so much shit going down in Cape Town the whole time, it's a mission like driving through from there all the time. I kind of had to move out of my mom's house at some stage.
Tashi: How old are you?
Tashi: Ha, fair enough. Before you left Parow, had you always lived there?
Zander: Nah, I was born in Bellville, then I lived in Durbanville - my mom still lives in Durbanville.
Tashi: How has Parow inspired your creation of Jack?
Zander: Well, it's just like ... growing up, obviously everything you do is inspired by how you grow up so ja, it definitely inspired me a lot - a lot of my lyrcis and who I am.
Tashi: What else inspired Jack?
Zander: I get inspired by everything I do basically - by parties, by hanging out with friends, people I meet, the places I go, ja.
Tashi: What was the first moment that you became him?
Zander: I think I've always been him - he just didn't have a name. Then I gave him a name a few years ago.
Tashi: Did you perform as yourself before?
Zander: I had some other names, like you go through names, like I was in different rap crews and then I was drunk one night. I was watching Pirates of the Caribbean and I was like: "Fuck Jack Sparrow of Pirates of the Caribbean, I'm Jack Parow: Pirate of the Caravan Park. And that became my name."
Tashi: How do you come up with your blerrie gevaarlike (bladdy dangerous) lyrics?
Zander: I just like get inspired by shit that happens to me, the mood I'm in. Sometimes I'll write a song in one go, sometimes I'll write a verse, then another verse on another day.
I usually finish a whole verse at a time, then I'll take a break and think of the next verse, then I'll write the chorus and stuff like that. Or sometimes I'll just write - like Cooler As Ekke I wrote in a straight one go so it depends on how I feel in the moment.
If it flows it flows, if it doesn't I leave it and rather come back to it.
Tashi: When you're and about - not at music concerts but generally going about, who are you?
Zander: I'm still Jack Parow. I'm drunk most of the time, partying.
Tashi: Your collaborations with Die Antwoord ... would you say you could define them as zef collaborations?
Zander: Ja, I don't really like the word zef that much but you could probably.
Tashi: Why not?
Zander: I just don't like like fucking hip words. I don't dig hip phrases - I don't call myself zef. If people call me that it's fine but I don't punt it on myself.
Tashi: How would you describe yourself?
Zander: I'm a romantic Afrikaans rap superstar.
Tashi: I've been thinking, what is zef? What does it actually mean?
Zander: It's like "common", it's just like another word for common.
Tashi: How did your collaborations with Die Antwoord happen? Have you always been frenemies?
Zander: Ja, we've been friends for a long time. I rapped with them in their previous group MaxNormal.tv, I did some Afrikaans stuff on that and then when Die Antwoord came out I did some tracks with them so we've always been friends.
Tashi: How did you meet?
Zander: Ag, we just met over the internet, like long ago already. Ninja heard some of my tracks on the net and contacted me and stuff like that.
Tashi: This impact that you've had online ... why do you think the concept of zef has become so popular internationally? Why are millions of people watching your videos?
Zander: I just think it's something new and different. People are looking for something new and different - we were just at the right place at the right time.
Tashi: Do you know what country you're most popular in?
Zander: Obviously South Africa but I'm doing really well in Belgium and Holland and in the States as well, actually all over. It's really going great. I've toured Belgium and Holland three times now and all the shows sound out and my video for Cooler As Ekke is number three on MTV there and it's on the hot list at Studio Brussels. I think they kind of understand the songs, the languages are close to Afrikaans coming from Dutch.
Tashi: Jack's nomination in the catgeory Best International Breakthrough Act - do you think Die Antwoord is his biggest competition?
The full list of nominees:
Prime Circle for Breathing
Locnville for There
Die Antwoord for Enter the Ninja
Jack Parow for Cooler as Ekke
The Parlotones for Life's Design
Zander: Ja I think so, like probably, I don't know. I've got a bunch of awards, I don't really care who wins, hopefully I win one. I've got like six nominations so hopefuly I'll win one at least.
Tashi: What can you tell us about Jack that no-one else knows?
Zander: Nothing. Everybody knows everything about me. I put everything in my music so I don't really have any secrets.
Tashi: Does he bath? And wash his vest??
Zander: Yes, more shower. Shower more often.
Tashi: Will you always be him or should we expect someone else to arrive on the scene in the future?
Zander: No, I like him. Jack Parow is the right name for him.
Jack at Disneyworld, in Florida.
Tashi: Some questions for Jack ... what's your success rate when it comes to meisies?(girls)
Jack: Fucking good.
Tashi: Ha, really? Since you've been successsful have you found that girls throw themselves at you?
Jack: Well, girls have always thrown themselves at me so it hasn't changed. It's stayed the same.
Tashi: Are Corne and Twakkie your role models?
Jack: Ha, no. But I love them though.
Tashi: Which musician will you never listen too? Ever?
Jack: Nicholis Louw. I just don't like him.
Tashi: Who's your favourite musician of all-time?
Jack: At the moment - it changes all the time - I've been going through quite an angry stage so I've been listening to Rage Against The Machine again.
Tashi: I love them so much.
Jack: Ja, they're rad.
Tashi: If you don't win the Best Video Category, who do you think will?
The full list of nominees:
Crash Car Burn for Under a Falling Sky
Die Antwoord for Enter the Ninja
Jack Parow feat Francois van Coke for Dans Dans Dans
Mr. X feat Die Heuwels Fantasties for Hyg Duiwel
The Parlotones for Stars Fall Down
Zebra & Giraffe for The inside
Jack: I think either Die Antwoord or Mr X.
Tashi: What can you tell us about Zander that no-one else knows?
Jack: Zander eats a lot of smoked vienna worsies. I eat them all the time.