EXCLUSIVE: Watch Jack Parow’s new video here and read our intimate sit-down interview with him

2015-07-24 08:00


Cape Town - Known for his controversial (well, at least to some) Afrikaans rap songs, Jack Parow needs absolutely no introduction. He dropped his first EP in 2009 on a USB stick in the shape of an ice-cream-cone and made headlines with his contribution to the song Die Vraagstuk of Die Heuwels Fantasties in the same year.

Since then he has released 4 albums, more videos than we can count, a braai sauce, an online clothing shop, and a brand new single and video as we speak which you can watch right now!


Some loud building noises greet us as we are led into Jack Parow’s office slash home space in Tamboerskloof.

As Jack walks into the room and introduces himself as Zander (for those of you who don’t know, his real name is Zander Tyler), he jokingly makes heartfelt excuses for all the building vibes and explains how they readied the space just for us. How sweet!

And what a great space! Between Zander’s friendly banter, and me eyeing the old school arcade game in the one corner of the room and the comfortable couch against the opposite wall filled with awesome posters, I feel relaxed right off the bat as I start chatting to Zander.

"So, as a kid growing up did you ever imagine being where you are today?" I ask.

"Jis, obviously one never thinks that... I wanted to do totally different things. Obviously when I was young, firstly I wanted to be Superman," Zander laughs. "And then I wanted to be an architect for some reason, I don’t know why...I’ve always liked graphic design, and I can remember that graphic design wasn’t really a proper job yet at the time, it wasn’t something that you would really go and study yet."

"When did you realise that you wanted to be a rapper, was there a defining moment?" I ask.

"I never really thought that I wanted to be a rapper, I like writing more, so I wrote a lot when I was smaller and younger. Also, during that time it felt so difficult and far away to do something like that, as there wasn’t as much rap available yet and it felt like it was happening more in America than in SA," Zander explains. "So the main thing when I started writing was that it was only for fun, and I’m glad I started out that way, because it meant I was only writing for myself, and that’s how I developed my own style...It eventually just fell into my lap," says Zander.

"Until people actually started liking me, like properly, like even with the Vegas and Parow shows it wasn’t a job yet, it was only a hobby. Only when I did that song Vraagstuk with Die Heuwels it kind of caused a boost, and people started coming to me and loved the song and said it’s amazing and that I should release an album, and that’s when the shift kind of happened. Then I moved back to my mom’s house, I quit my job and decided that I’m going to try and make music now, and luckily it all worked out."


Zander is a massive gamer (he is even sponsored by PlayStation) and even though he also dreamed about becoming a game tester, he eventually ended up studying Multimedia. This, after doing numerous depressing day jobs and even getting fired from one after falling asleep from too many dagga muffins. In his biography, which is set to be released later this year, Zander also tells the story of how he got into college to study Multimedia: "The day I decided to go and study Multimedia, I found out I had to hand in a portfolio at the City Varsity the next day to be able to get into the college. I did art for a little while in school, but that’s it. So, my friend Hannes, who was third year at the tech, helped me out. I bought us a bottle of brandy and shit and we went to my house and then Hannes did my whole portfolio," Zander laughs. "I handed it in and got in, even though I had fokol experience, it was quite crazy! But at least I passed so it’s all okay."

"What is the most vivid memory from your childhood," I ask.

"If I had to think back, I think a lot about holidays, my parents were very hectic about like going places. So we went to like Calitzdorp spa, we went to Arniston, we went to Hermanus. It was always the most fun over Decembers, because my whole family would be there, my aunties, my uncles, my cousins and we would all be in one house and it would be just crazy! We would surf and that type of stuff, so it was always my favourite times, like that no worries times, and like to sell random shit to get money for booze for beach parties and stuff," Zander reminisces.

"So what do your parents think of what you do, are they supportive?"

"Yes, yes, yes, my dad unfortunately died before I became famous, he was obviously super supportive, and my mom is like my biggest fan!" says Zander. "She finds like stuff about me that I don’t even know where she gets it. If I do an interview she finds it, she is like better than those things you pay to track where you are being mentioned online."

"So she probably Googles you every day," I chip in.

"She actually doesn’t even know how to use Google, so I don’t know how the fuck she does it, she’s like a magician," laughs Zander.


Having played some of the biggest festivals in the world and all his favourites in South Africa, I have to ask: "Do you still get nervous before a show?"

"Not really, it’s more of a thing, let’s say I am doing a new show with new songs, then I get a bit nervous because I hope I remember everything and know everything and so on. So those are the only nerves I really get. Then I would also get nervous when I play at a place that I haven’t been to before, or to a crowd that’s kind of weird and you don’t know what to expect, like for example at a sit-down show," says Zander.

"So do you have any rituals before you go on stage?" I ask.

"No not really, all of us have this thing where we put all our hands on top of each others and go 'one, two, three poes!', but you probably can’t mention that in the article," Zander says laughingly. "I just try to not think about what’s going to happen, so I sit and play games and drink a few shots to get me in the vibe. I know a lot of people do weird shit like drink weird teas and do chants and weird shit like that, but we are just fokken like, we just go for it."

Having Zander to myself for this short time, I have to get serious. "People have boycotted you in the past due to the swearing in your songs. What is the worst thing that has happened or that someone has said to you?" I ask.

"Ai jissou man, I don’t even want to...it's actually horrible for me to even mention the things some people have said to me. I feel like it is like so horrible the things people have said, the supposed Christians out there. Like when Jenna got pregnant, people like said that we should abort the child, like because I shouldn’t bring a child into the world, and stuff like that, like horrible horrible horrible things that I don’t even want to tell people.

"But the everyday stuff is just that thing of people swearing at home, but if someone else does it is on stage then they freak out...And there will always be kak like, I mean I am very vocal about who I like and don’t like, and everyone will not always agree with me, I don’t blame them, I have my own views and they have theirs and I believe in different things than they do. So it will clash, but if everyone liked me then I did something wrong, like there should be fucking enemies. You know, haters gonna hate," says Zander.


"So, I mean, how you write and how you rap, is that how you speak normally or is it just how you express yourself creatively?" I ask.

"I mean, I think how you are chatting to me now, you can hear the way that I write is the same way that I speak. I also feel that I like hang with a lot of Afrikaans pop stars at festivals that we play together, and I am actually the most chilled of them all. Like where they sit and snort coke before they go on stage, I just sit very relaxed and play Clash of Clans, and then in the end I am the devil, but I am actually the most chilled of them all.

"If I was fucking sitting and spiking heroin all day I would have gone on stage and said that is what I do. I don’t feel like I have to create a misconception for people to like me. I just want to be myself so that I don’t have to be fake. I mean I know like fucking Afrikaans pop stars who smoke like secretly in the bathrooms, then they’re like fucking 35 years old, but they don’t want people to know they smoke, then I’m just like 'dude, your life is sad', like fuck. I mean I don’t even smoke anymore, I just drink, it’s all I have left."

As Zander goes on to tell me about how he has quit smoking for almost 2 years now, the fact that he wants to tour less for more money in 5 years time, and how he has lost 13kgs in the last two and a half months after he started doing boxing, I just think to myself: "Kudos, kudos to you Zander for just being who you are."

(Photos: Bronwyn McKay, Channel24)

Click here to get Jack's brand new tune on iTunes.

Read more on:    jack parow  |  local music  |  music

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