Wrap Up And Watch Out: White Powder Gold
White Powder Gold are a new London-based duo who are about to take over the indie music world with their urban flavour. The TwentyOne Records-signed act have already been supported by the likes of BBC Radio 1, BBC 1Xtra and Record Of The Day, and are set for big things in coming months. The Wrap Up’s Joe Woolmer caught up with Jermaine Davis and Jamie Jordan to find out a bit more about their unique sound… ...
The Wrap Up: How did White Powder Gold come about?
White Powder Gold: We have been good friends for about ten years now. We met at London Music College, where we were both into music production. WPG was created about 18 months ago. I [Jermaine] had taken a couple of years out of the music industry, but teamed up with Jamie when he was starting to make beats. We began creating house music and as we went on, I started laying down some vocals and we got a really good reception from performing those tracks.
TWU: Your sound is now more reminiscent of a full live band. How did that happen?
White Powder Gold: In the beginning, we were performing to a backing CD and something just didn’t feel right. We wanted the audience to feel more involved in the shows, for it to be a more entertaining experience and we felt that adding the live element of guitar, bass and drums would achieve that. We drafted in some musicians and this has been our sound now for the past six months, people seem really into it. You’re seeing so many acts doing a similar thing, now you’re seeing Dizzee Rascal coming out with a backing band at Glastonbury and that’s what you’ve got to do to really capture an audience, especially with festivals being such a big part of the music scene these days.
TWU: Tell us how you came up with your band name. It sounds interesting...
White Powder Gold: Both Jamie and I are big into ancient history, astrology and stuff like that. White Powder Gold is a monatomic element; the powdered form of gold that the Ancient Egyptians used to eat for its healing properties. It was said to re-wire the brain and heighten your senses. We thought it was a pretty cool concept for a name and we want our music to do that, to be an intense sensory experience.
TWU: You describe your musical tastes as eclectic, so what influenced you growing up?
Jermaine: I’ve always been into R&B and hip-hop, as well as older stuff like Al Green and Earth, Wind & Fire. My dad’s taste influenced me a lot; I remember stealing his Naughty By Nature record and taking it upstairs to listen to. My Jamaican heritage meant I grew up hearing a lot of reggae, and rock music also played a big part in my childhood. My uncle passed away when I was 4 years old and left me his guitar.
Jamie: I grew up hearing a lot of punky, rock music through my mum. She was a singer in a band and was also the reason I ended up going to music college. I was into drum and bass and garage when I was younger, as well as listening to hip-hop artists like Mobb Deep. When I started rollerblading and hanging out in skate parks, the punk influence was there again and I got more into bands like the Sex Pistols, Pennywise and Rage Against The Machine. Then as I got older and started clubbing, house music became a big part of my life, so a bit of everything has influenced us both.
TWU: What about live influences? Who have you seen on stage that excited you?
White Powder Gold: Groove Armarda are a massive influence. I [Jermaine] saw them in Ibiza and they blew me away! Our evolution as a band has kind of mirrored theirs; they started in music production, moved onto DJing and eventually added the live band element. In Ibiza, they had trumpets and everything on stage, it was really impressive.
TWU: You’re currently doing a UK tour, so where has been the best place to play at so far?
White Powder Gold: Dublin Castle in Camden was really special for us, so many great live acts performed there and it was the home of Madness in the 80s, so we felt really privileged doing that. We also played a really small gig at the Cherry Jam in Royal Oak where Idris Elba was watching, and he came up to us after and said he really enjoyed the show. I [Jermaine] am a huge fan, so that was pretty sweet.
TWU: ‘Can’t Stop Me Now’ seems to be about standing up to authority. What are you trying to say with your lyrics?
White Powder Gold: With everything that’s going on this country at the minute; the student riots, unemployment, political corruption, we think it’s important for people to be more aware of what’s happening in the world. We don’t want to be preaching with our music, but it’s definitely important to have a message, to be saying something.
TWU: How did the remixes of ‘Can’t Stop Me Now’ come about?
White Powder Gold: We both love dubstep and see it as another influence on our music, so we wanted to express that through the remixes. We sent the track out to a few people and it was really important to us that we got someone who wanted to do it because they were really into the track and not for any other reason. We got positive responses from both Marco Del Horno and Lewi White and we’re very happy with having two very good and very different remixes.
TWU: The remixes add an electronic element to your sound. Can we expect more of that on your album?
White Powder Gold: Most definitely. We are a hybrid band and we like bringing in a lot of different aspects to our music. We have plans to bring in a scratching element into the band from a DJ who has been with us since the start of White Powder Gold. This has been an idea of ours for a while now, but we want to get it exactly right before bringing it in fully.
TWU: So when can we expect a full-length album?
White Powder Gold: Well, we’ve probably got enough material to do it now, but again, it’s about waiting for that right time. We’re evolving all the time as a band, so we want to be 100% sure about the 10-15 tracks we put down on a record. But hopefully we’ll have a full-length LP out next year.
White Powder Gold’s single, 'Can’t Stop Me Now', will be out in July. Until then, you can download the Marco Del Horno remix for free over on their Facebook page: H E R E
Stay up to date with White Powder Gold on Twitter – www.twitter.com/WhitePowderGold
Words: Joe Woolmer (@JoeW88)
Online editing: Joseph 'JP' Patterson (@Jpizzledizzle)