I felt quite honoured to have been given the chance to kick it in the dressing room of the humble Boston Music Rooms in Camden on Friday evening and converse with half of the rap metal supergroup Powerflo – the equally iconic Sen Dog (Cypress Hill) and Billy Graziadei of (Biohazard) about the group, the music and their future plans before their turbulent and momentous set! *read our review of the gig here!*
How did the ‘Get Up Stand Up’ cover come about – what made you want to cover it?
Billy: Why not? It’s a great song and growing up, from my perspective it’s like you like metal and hardcore, that’s all you like – it can be kinda closed minded you know. Bob Marley had a great message with the song – there’s a lot of reasons really but for me it was a cool thing to be able to bring such a great and powerful message into the heavy metal world – into our world, especially with how the message suits the aesthetic and sound of metal music. We did a little twist on it too; kinda like Powerflo’d it up and in doing so have given that song a new lease of life in our sphere of music, making it more accessible for a whole bunch of new fans!
*listen to the high-octane cover here*
Was it as fun for you guys to make the music as it sounds to listen to?
Sen Dog: The first album was a lotta fun because I challenged myself you know to write at a level higher and the guys totally wrote me some really really good stuff to do my thing over and for that reason it was a lot of fun. I felt great when I was writing and felt good about what we were doing and just couldn’t wait to get with the guys and show ‘em what I had come up with, y’know what I mean – it was revitalising and also very different than previous stuff!
What is one thing that you hope that people will take from listening to your music?
Billy: Hopefully they’ll get fucked up, they’ll get laid, they’ll definitely bang their head – we’re more like an ACDC or Van Halen than a Rage Against The Machine type; with rock’n’roll its all a good time, there are some great messages sent out and some great lyrics but its not like we’re not out to change the world as much (as a band like RATM) as just give people an outlet to fuckin’ bang their head and have a good time, to shake your ass!
Sen Dog: The lyrics that I wrote on this album are for the everyday person; I’m not laying in a fuckin’ mansion or kind of ‘out of touch’ – it’s for me and you and for everybody man – I tried to make the lyrics as relatable for people as I could.
That’s one thing I definitely took from listening to it, you know is that I could throw it on with my friends or with my Dad for example and they would each respectively get what you’re putting across and relate to it
Sen Dog: Awesome thank you!
How would you guys describe your sound in one sentence?
Sen Dog: In one sentence, I could just describe our sound as rap, metal, punk, and thrash!
Billy: Or, you could call it ‘migraine blues’! (laughs)
Sen Dog: (laughs) Yeah ’cause it kicks you in the head!
Billy: Go with the metal punk thing, that was better haha – ‘migraine blues’ is kinda corny (laughs)
How different do you find it performing as Powerflo compared to your respective previous groups?
Sen Dog: It’s better (laughs) – we make more money, this is what we make tonight *gestures to £15 cash in his hand that tour manager Steffen handed each member a few minutes prior*
Billy: It’s like when I go home, I love my wife to death right, and I’m gonna take her out somewhere nice. How much I miss her is determined by how many stars the restaurant has that I take her to (laughs) – I’m making a joke. But when I first dated her I could have taken her to Flatbush Avenue and had a slice of pizza at the parlour I grew up on for $1.50 and it would have meant just as much as taking her to a fuckin’ Minnesota’s Bar. So, we’re this working class band and we’re okay playing tight, little smaller rooms, you know we barely ran through a soundcheck tonight. We’re really into hanging out and walking around town – these guys were out last night until like 4:30 in the morning – the thing is, the other bands are great we love it and this doesn’t take anything away from that: Sen’s got a new record coming out, I’ve got a solo record coming out, but with Powerflo it’s just fun to be with y’know, it’s like we’re working class dudes who just like hanging out together and making music. Like with the wife anecdote, it’s just as fun playing these smaller shows and having this new energy as much as it is playing with our other bands to huge crowds!
Sen Dog: For me, I get to show more of my real personality according to what I listen to and y’know, how I think and performing with this band is – I just feel more natural and have a bit of a freer reign. It’s a very different dynamic and energy than what I have with Cypress Hill is, exactly as how Billy has just explained.
Following the ‘Bring That Shit Back’ EP released earlier in the year, what future plans do you have for Powerflo?
Sen Dog: Do some more recording you know, work on the second album. We have other projects that are gonna come out that will take time from Powerflo, but the plan is to continue recording and come up with another album which we already have a couple of songs for already!
Billy: Lemme ask you a question; all the interviews that we’ve been doing over here, they always talk about the EP but no-ones asked us about the record – is the record out here? (laughs)
Oh yeah it is out yeah I’ve heard it a lot it’s just because it’s the most recent release –
Billy: Its the newest thing yeah, Noise Cartel pitched that shit to ya cause they were hired for this record not the first record (laughs)!
Where did the name Powerflo originate from? I kinda hear that when you hear the music so interpreted it that way but I don’t know, was it as simple as that for you guys?
Sen Dog: No, ‘powerflow’ is a style of rap – the style of rap you do on heavy metal music. It was a word that Roy Lozano kept using as we were recording and it just kinda stuck. A couple of times I didn’t know where to actually come in at and he would say “this is where I want you to ‘powerflow’, right here”. So he said the word, then I caught on that he said it it like four or five times and was like hmm yeah y’know; it describes the band I think perfectly and it describes the style of music that we do. Ice-T also does a ‘powerflow’ for Body Count!
Would you consider adding any other musicians to the fold and expanding upon the dynamic?
Sen Dog: No. Not in the immediate future – I like the way we are y’know, its a rock’n’roll, heavy metal hardcore band and I wouldn’t change things at this point. I don’t think we need to really; we got dynamic musicians in this line-up and are pretty happy with things.
Final question; is there a favourite song you have to perform live?
Sen Dog: For me it’s ‘The Grind’ For now anyway – it used to be ‘My M.O.’ (laughs) and before that it was ‘Resistance’ but right now, ‘The Grind’ y’know, real bumpy lil fuckin’ thing right there y’know!
Billy: Yeah I vote ‘The Grind’ too; that’s a cool one to do – it’s a dynamically different song than the other songs on the record, and we made a video for that too which is pretty fucking badass – you can go to our instagram, there’s a link to it.
Watch their video for ‘The Grind’ below and check out the groups instagram page here.
Powerflo’s self titled album from 2017 and their ‘Bring That Shit Back’ EP from earlier this year are out now via New Damage Records. Thanks to The Noise Cartel for the opportunity, Sen and Billy for being absolute gents and the guys for the photos!