There’s a moment on Kanye West’s “Ghost Town” where the listener is furnished with pure transcendence. It’s beyond-uplifting – a high from elevation so sublime, it’s both earthy and otherworldly. Hip-hop runs the world now and in this much-buzzing red dot, that lightning-in-a-bottle energy manifests in .Wav(y). Its beating heart is new school hip-hop – and new is its fundamental essence. Its tight inner circle – co-founders DJs PRAV and DeeJay XG, MC Joshy and the creative team of Izzraimy, Izzadely and Imran – have amassed a heart-on-sleeve following that marches completely in step to the freshest transmissions emanating from hip-hop and shows up for its cause with the monumentality of a legion. Below, PRAV shares some highlights of the brand’s journey.
Take us through the beginnings of .Wav(y).
Garuda and I live a couple of blocks away from each other. We also knew each other from Facebook. When we eventually met, we discussed the lack of nights for new school hip-hop in Singapore. Most of the nights here are dedicated to a timeframe that ends just at the tip of the early 2000s. So we decided to start a new platform that gave the kids a chance to dress how they like and listen to the music they like.
How do you feel about the brand’s growth three years on?
Of course, we’re happy. But we’re never satisfied. After every .Wav(y) night, I get up in the morning and ask myself how we can improve. Getting feedback and taking constructive considerations into account from people have also been a huge part of the process.
“We don’t actively set out to be different from other nights. It’s more that our look and feel provides an experience. There’s a level of immersiveness here that’s really special.”
What would you say has been your biggest struggle with .Wav(y) since its inception? Tapping into the demographic of younger hip-hop fans. They’re all at home listening to the stuff they like on Spotify. How do we get them to leave the house and come for our nights? How do we turn them into a captive audience? So far, we’ve been managing this issue by word of mouth. Once a small group likes what it sees, it’ll bring more people over. Putting out more content on social media has also helped. Shouts out Canvas for being the perfect spot. It’s a flexible space and the team is great to work with.
.Wav(y) is the only non-rock show here where people crowd-surf on the regular.
Yes! That makes us so happy. Besides our crowd being wild, it shows that the Singaporean audience is on par with the American audience in terms of its understanding of the music. At a recent night, somebody made a hole in the wall! If you go to a Travis Scott show, for example, that’s how it is. They jump off from balconies and crowd-surf. But we’re careful to not let it get too out of control either. We want our nights to be a safe space. We’re also hoping to bring more girls into the fold.
Has making the nights female-friendly been a challenge?
To a certain extent, yes. Our crowd is male-dominated and we’ve been experimenting with ways to find the right balance. Of course, with more girls, more guys will come. But our main priority is everyone having a good time. Lately, we’ve had more girls come through. That shows that we’re succeeding in that respect.
It seems that ‘hype’ and ‘hypebeast’ have come to acquire a negative meaning in culture. How do you feel abut such critique?
I’m glad you asked! The more I observe, the more I realise that people don’t know what the term [hypebeast] means. What makes you a hypebeast? People are so quick to say that someone who has clothes from a certain brand is a hypebeast. But that’s not right. We embrace it in a positive way. It shows that people are down with the community. Dressing how you want is a form of self-expression and we don’t ever want to stifle that.
Let’s talk about the music. What are your favourite songs to play?
“Plain Jane” by A$AP Ferg, for sure. That’s become the .Wav(y) anthem. This one time, I played the song and my console died. But the crowd thought I muted it and rapped it the whole way through! Another song would be Travis Scott’s “Goosebumps”. The third one is “Fake Love” by Drake, just because I can relate to it. Which song request are you the most annoyed at? I don’t know why, but there’ll also be a drunk group of girls that will ask for “Despacito”. Apart from that, the people know what they’re in for. We don’t actively set out to be different from other nights. It’s more that our look and feel provides an experience. We always have indoor and outdoor setups, for example. There’s a level of immersiveness here that’s really special.
How do you see the brand growing?
We don’t ever want to put ourselves in a box. I’m open to anything that allows us to expand. There are lots of thing I want to do down the road: Music, multimedia content and even a festival.
Lastly, as one of the leaders of a youth-driven movement with a committed audience, what wisdom can you share with kids out there wanting to start their own scenes?
Go with your gut feeling and act on your ideas. It’s that simple. Put it out in the universe and most importantly, GRIND!