Behind every sublime, life-elevating night out; behind every soul-kissing party, is a DJ savvy and soulful enough to bring you the kind of euphoria that makes you smile years, decades after the event. In Singapore, and in the ever-growing niche that is new school hip-hop, PRAV is that DJ. .WAV(Y), the club night he co-founded, isn’t just a good time – it’s a site of spiritual submission to the voices and beats leading culture into its latest and boldest frontiers. Tastemaker and torch-bearer, PRAV weathered the COVID-19 storm and is poised to make a comeback where the bars and BPMs resound even more powerfully.
Getting lit just got a whole lot better.
How do you feel about the return of .WAV(Y)?
It’s been two-and-a-half years since we last did a show, so to say I’m excited would be an understatement! To be honest, it’s hard to put it into words; it’s a lot of emotion around finally being able to get back to doing what we truly love. It’s a blessing that we are able to kickstart .WAV(Y) again after the pandemic and we can’t wait for our upcoming shows and for everyone to experience it!
What was the toughest part about not being able to do your thing when the COVID-19 restrictions were still in place?
I think, the toughest part was coming to terms that we wouldn’t be able to do it for quite a while. We had to be mentally prepared to take a long hiatus. But I was certainly optimistic for better times ahead and knew that it was only a matter of time before we would be able to get back to it.
On the flip side, the downtime during COVID-19 inspired me to focus on other aspects such as music production, which has opened the doors for me to more opportunities, so I switched the mindset of looking at it from a negative perspective to how it has been a blessing for me in other areas as well.
What’s changed the most about Singapore’s hip-hop climate since the early days when you were starting out?
I would certainly say that the hip-hop community and following in Singapore has grown strongly since the early days when we were starting out. When we first started out in 2015, it was a climate where EDM was at the forefront of clubs and festivals so we tried our best to push the new school hip-hop sound as much as we could to break that mould because it was something that we felt strongly about and believed in.
It’s known that .WAV(Y) is the pioneering new-school hip-hop night in Singapore. What made you want to start a night based on that particular kind of music here?
It was pretty organic: I was right out of college and the homeboy XG and I just wanted to throw a party where we played music that we were digging at that point and have all our friends with the same interests as us to all vibe together. That was the core principal of us starting our first night and it was just us inviting our close friends. From there, it grew organically over the years into what it is today so we’re always thankful for the support of everyone coming through for our nights and growing with us since we started.
What would you say is the biggest difference between hip-hop’s new school and the one that came before?
As much it’s very different, it’s also very similar in a lot of ways. As much as the music has progressed into other sub-genres such as trap, drill and so forth, I believe the core essence of it has always been the same in that it brings everyone together from all walks of life and every corner of the globe. Hip-hop, be it new school or old school, has also always transcended and influenced other aspects such as fashion and culture as a whole, so it’s a testament to how impactful it’s been no matter which era of hip-hop we’re speaking of.
From your experience, how receptive has Singapore been to something as new and as boundary-pushing as .WAV(Y)? What can we do more of? How can we, as a society, do better?
I think our audience has been greatly receptive, over the years. Of course, it was very tough for us at the beginning to push something new, as there wasn’t a formula or base for us to take cues from and it took us a couple of years till we finally figured out what exactly worked and found a footing. That being said, we’re still constantly learning and growing as well, so we’re always only looking to improve and provide an elevated experience from the previous one.
You’ve turned .WAV(Y) from a club night into a full-on movement. What do you think sets your night apart from the others? What’s been the most instrumental force in your journey?
The support of the night is certainly instrumental. It wouldn’t be a movement if it wasn’t for the support of everyone who has attended our nights and has spread the word about it. Equally instrumental, is the team (Island Boys & .WAV(Y)) who’re my closest friends and who’re always pushing the envelope with the graphics, visuals and videos which are greatly instrumental to translating the experience of our shows online, where people could have a different insight of what the .WAV(Y) experience is like.
Let’s take it back to the beginning. What drew you to hip-hop?
Growing up in a household where my parents always played music, I was always intrigued by it. As I grew older, I just remembered being very drawn to hip-hop because of the motivational and aspirational lyrics of the songs I was listening to. That spirit resonated deeply with me. It just struck a chord with me and I started digging deeper and researching more about it – learning more about the culture and history that shaped the music.
What’s the most meaningful hip-hop lyric to you of all time – one that serves as your personal motto?
I would say a lot of hip-hop lyrics have been my personal mottos growing up, stuff that I’d always scribble in my notepad and read through when I needed some inspiration. But the two most significant ones to me when I was growing up would have to be, “Shoot for the stars, so if you fall, you land on a cloud.” It’s from Kanye West’s “Homecoming”. Another one is, “They say anything’s possible / You gotta dream like you never seen obstacles”, from J. Cole’s “The Autograph”.
How do you stay inspired and on the grind?
Being surrounded by friends and a team that is always inspired, full of ideas and constantly motivating and supporting each other, is certainly one of my key driving factors.
Also, on a personal front, it would have to be reading motivational/self-help books, going for runs or just vibing out to music, that constantly puts me in a place of focus and inspiration.
What’s next on your horizon?
I’m feeling recharged and inspired after a good summer getaway, so I’ve been channeling that energy into creating and planning for some exciting things ahead. I’m excited to share more on that soon!
Who’s the GOAT, and why?
It’s certainly debatable. But in my books, it would have to be Kanye West. I don’t agree with a lot of things that he says, but if we are solely focusing on artistry, he’s definitely the GOAT. He has constantly pushed the boundaries sonically, visually and with fashion since he started his career, and he’s still doing so and influencing the masses up till today.
This story first appeared in the September 2022 issue of Esquire Singapore.
Photographer: Eugene Lee
Creative Director & Producer: Vanessa Caitlin
Stylist: Gordon Ng
Grooming: Fiona Bennett
Associate Creative Producer: Hazirah Rahim
Creative Production assistant: David Bay
Pizza courtesy of Proper Slice BYGB.