REPRESENT698 | JACK PAROW | Q & A | Flat base decoded
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What do you love about the Represent698 campaign?

I like the vibe – I think the idea of seeing life through the eyes of someone else is pretty cool. I’m mos obviously, like, a massive PUMA fan and I love the R698 Trinomics. I’ve been with PUMA for very long and because I’m very active, but still need style on stage and stuff, I love that they’ve combined really cool prints and colours with a sports technology sole. That kind of combination is so rad.

For instance, I have a knee problem, so I wear a knee brace on stage and it’s so nice that the Trinomic technology in these sneakers help with that. Since I’ve been playing gigs with Trinomics on, I’ve had less knee problems. Before that jumping and landing was always so hard on my knees. Now with this, it’s changed it so much.

Some shock absorption is always a good thing…

Ja, Ja…

You mentioned you’ve been with PUMA for a very long time – How long have you had your relationship with the brand?

Geez… Like seven years I think… Seven or eight years, ja. I’ve been with them from the start of my career. They actually started sponsoring me before I was even famous or whatever. So, ja, I’ve been with them for very long and I really, really love them. Many others have tried to poach me, but I always tell them to stuff off. I’m very loyal and very heavy when it comes to loyalty, especially when it comes to brands that have supported me for so long.

In terms of brand association – What attracts you to teaming up with PUMA?

With the current state of the music industry in South Africa and the world it’s become so important to have brands that really believe in you and that can help you do cool shit. You might not be selling the same amount of albums you were before because piracy has kind of taken over – So, it’s really cool to have a brand like PUMA that believes in me and is always keen to do stuff with me and support me.

How do you Represent in your everyday life and what does it mean to you to actually Represent who you are?

I think I’m just myself. I think my character on stage is just a more embellished version of who I am. It’s important to be yourself and never try to change or pay too much attention to what people say. You’ve got to stay true to your own thoughts and beliefs.

When I started out, everyone said that I was crazy and that it would never work and that there was no chance. I just said, ‘%^&* it – I like it and if no one else likes it, then at least I like it’. I think that’s the important thing in everything you do. I obviously can attest to that in the musical sense, but like, if you’re selling out to make pop music it might work, but 95% of the time it doesn’t work.

I’d rather try and fail with something I believe in than try and fail with something that I don’t believe in. I don’t want to end up thinking stuff like, ‘&^*% maybe I should have just stuck to the way I thought I should have done it.’ I’m very heavy about that… Sticking to what I believe in, no matter what other people say. It’s an important thing in life.

The problem with adjusting who you are to fit a trend, is that trends always change…

…And you see that all the time: People that just try and jump up on trends the whole time. It’s such a faltering and iffy kind of way of looking at life. Trends are so iffy. The one day it’s here and the next it’s gone and if you’re jumping on that it will never be a long lasting thing.

That’s why people I love and admire are guys like David Kramer and Koos Kombuis. They’ve been making music forever and they’ve stuck to their guns. That’s why to this day, they can play shows and sell them out. They’ve stuck to their guns and stuck to their style – People sense and get attracted to that automatically. That’s what makes it so cool.

You worked with Paul Ward on the video for Never Gonna Grow Up and again for the Represent698 shoot – You must be digging his work.

Me and Paul? Ag, he’s just a bit irritating and he follows me everywhere the whole time. I was like, ‘$%^& let me just be nice to him, shame.’ Nah, me and Paul have done, like, three videos together already. He did P.A.R.T.Y. and a %$#* load of photos obviously… Press photos and show photos. He was in Holland with me for Stuck in Limbo and he was doing behind the scenes stuff on Never Gonna Grow Up. He’s my favourite photographer – I always go back to him. He’s got a good eye and he just captures things really nicely. Everything he does, even like quick things, quick cuts and quick edits, always ends up on point with my style. You need someone who captures and kind of fits with your style. Paul just captures who I am and I think that’s why I like working with him so much.

What does the rest of the year have in store for you?

I’m dropping a book now, like an autobiography – With all my lyrics and stories of the road and all that kind of stuff. I’m really excited about that. It’s with Penguin Books, which is really an honour. In South Africa they don’t really put a Penguin label on just about anything. To actually have that penguin on my book is, like, cool for me. I’m really stoked about that.

I’ll also do another single towards the end of the year. I’m kind of basing this year more on testing the waters with singles and stuff. As I said before, with album sales as they are it just doesn’t make monetary sense to drop a whole album at the moment. Ag, and then also some touring in the UK, Europe and locally.

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