SUPEREGO—Rhys, Lachy, Nelson, Toby, and Kaprou—has a chameleon sound. The Fremantle five-piece met through high school, mutual friends, and post gig jam sessions. The band originally formed in 2015 as POW!Negro, focusing on a sonic-blend of hip-hop, jazz, and electronic music. In June last year, POW!Negro dissolved. A month later, they reemerged as SUPEREGO.
‘Burn’, the first single under their new moniker signalled a shift in the band. It was a darker listen, reminiscent of Slowthai’s ‘Doorman’. Today, they release ‘Caller ID’, their second single as SUPEREGO, with red-washed, gritty visuals.
We caught up with the band over email to chat about their alter egos, studio dynamics, and finally settling into the right sound.
Hello! First things first, you’re based in WA—a hot minute away from us in Melbourne. What’s the best part about the Fremantle music scene?
It’s tiny and incestuous. Everyone knows each other and works with each other—maybe that’s just music scenes though. To be honest most of us don’t go out that much, but Nelly definitely gets amongst it. It’s a really open, supportive, and friendly scene.
Your new single is ‘Caller ID’—who is the last person each of you called?
Toby called Centrelink, Rhys called Nelson, Lachy called voicemail, and Nelson called Rhys.
The video for ‘Caller ID’ is wild but it looked like a bunch of fun to make! What’s your favourite part about making a video?
The whole process is pretty exciting to be honest. We shot the videos for both this and ‘Burn’ on our own so the planning was intense. Throwing random-ass ideas around and trying to figure out how to actually shoot a scene or idea is fun, but the shooting can be really enjoyable as well. We had to shoot a party scene in this video and that just ended up [being] a hang [out] with heaps of our favourite people so that was great.
There’s five of you in the group—what’s the studio dynamic like? What’s the best part about playing together?
To be honest, everyone just does their own stuff in the studio. We all make beats which is something we just learnt on our own. We’ve got two studios set up in our house so [we] can always hear what each of us are making. If someone hears an idea in their head maybe they poke their head in and mention it.
I think we all just respect each other and our individual ideas and opinions. I think that sort of underlying respect is necessary to have any sort of critical conversation about the music. Everyone’s attached to their ideas, but they aren’t always right for the song. Especially when making things live we need to be able to openly talk about how we’re going to craft a song.
If each of you had an alter ego, who or what would it be?
If we weren’t SUPEREGO we’d be THE BEEFY BOIZ. THE BEEFY BOIZ are:
Buddah Buddah King (Rhys), Butthole Brown (Kaprou), Algariddms (Nelson), Big Brisket (Lachy), and Beef Tea (Toby).
You recently collaborated with Imbi The Girl on their latest single ‘i used to’. How did you all meet? How did you find the process of working with another artist?
Nelly and Rhys met them at Big Pineapple Festival in Sunshine Coast and just got lost talking about Erykah Badu and weed. They were over for Listen Out and came to ours the day after. It was a pretty beautiful and wholesome experience. Imbi boosted us up a lot about the beat and we encouraged them to explore vocally on the track.
Toby had been sitting on that beat for a while and was just looking for the right person to jump on it. Imbi is a machine. They wrote all those lyrics in probably 20 minutes, I think that went a long way to building momentum in the studio. Momentum is pretty key in the studio we’ve found—especially when working with other artists.
I blocked out a good portion of last weekend to listen to Tyler the Creator’s IGOR. What was the last album each of you listened to all the way through?
For Rhys it’s IGOR, for Lachy it’s Hiding Places by Billy Woods. Steve Lacy’s latest album for Toby, Kuzich’s Fruit Soup for Nelson. Kaprou has been smashing the new Flying Lotus album. Definitely worth checking all of them out.
It’s been a steady stream of singles since your 2017 EP Jasmine & Licorice. So, is there a longer body of work on the horizon?
We’ve been trying to settle into a recording set-up that we’re comfortable with, hence all the singles. I think we’ve found that. We’ve got a larger body of music coming out a little later this year that ‘Burn’ and ‘Caller ID’ are from which we’re really excited for. It’s sonically pretty different from Jasmine & Licorice. It’s got a few cool features, Lachy raps a lot more and Toby sings on this tune.