During his regular visits to the Benelux countries, he made friends with like-minded artists from the Netherlands and Belgium which resulted in From Parow with Love, his latest EP releasing tomorrow. Collaborators on the album include De Kraaien, SKIP&DIE, De Likt, Ertebrekers and Freshlyground. Parow is no stranger to collaborative efforts and his discography reads with a who’s who of South African musicians.
Ricky Rick, Die Antwoord, Francois van Coke and Valiant Swart are just some of the acts he has partnered with over the years, but From Parow with Love is stirring the pot – because now he’s presenting a whole album fused with different languages and sounds. “The main difference (between From Parow with Love and other collaborations) is the musicians from Benelux,” Parrow says.
“Its obviously also brand new material and that makes it fresh. I really wanted to work with these bands and it was an easy decision to produce the EP and showcase these bands in our country – because I feel they need to be heard here,” he says. Something that is pivotal to the album’s success will be how it presents Parow as a familiar sound, merged with artists mostly unheard of in South Africa.
“We were all 100 percent involved in each song. It’s important, because otherwise you lose each other. “The main thing is to find a middle ground and merge the sounds. I feel each song managed that, and I’m really proud of this album. It’s on another level,” Parow says.
“Ertebrekers are crazy Belgians and their sound is more band-orientated but fresh and lekker. De Likt is crazy and it comes through automatically. The sound is hard and crazy,” he says. His latest EP has an important function musically, because it’s introducing new acts to South Africa, something that seldom happens in the mainstream. But don’t expect a European album.
Freshlyground also recorded a song that is featured on From Parow with Love. “I am South African and proud of it, so it doesn’t matter who I work with. I always add a South African flavour, because it’s in my blood. I can’t record without it.” But is there a possibility of any of the bands featured on From Parow with Love joining Parow for a South African tour?
“I hope so. It would be really cool. I’ll have to plant that seed.” Back on home soil, Parow has been able to successfully transcend into the digital market. From Twitter to Instagram he continues to build loyal fans, which also helps with digital sales.
“I’m glad everyone is starting to realise that you also get music on the World Wide Web and it’s not only for cat videos and porn.” Parow holds the record for the Afrikaans musician with the most views on YouTube. His first release, Cooler as Ekke, passed the 3-million views mark last year, and his YouTube channel is an explosion of music videos.
This strong digital footprint also connects him with his fans – something he always appreciates. “I always hang out with my fans, because my fans are my chommies. They make decisions with me. They got me where I am and they will always be involved in the direction I move,” Parow says. Fans won’t be disappointed in 2016. “I’m amped for 2016. There’s three European tours and I’m starting to work on my next full-length album.”