“I Draw A Lot of Inspiration from 70s and 80s Funk” – Powloh on the Songs That Inspired His ‘Cold Summer Paradise’ EP

Powloh | Credit: Meaghan Payne

Powloh released his latest EP, Cold Summer Paradise, on Friday, 18th August. The six-song collection features the singles ‘Paris Green’, ‘Coupla Miles High’ and ‘In Our Own Time’, which build on the Melbourne/Naarm artist’s affection for French touch and disco funk.

Powloh’s pool of influences spans artists as varied as Daft Punk, Steve Monite, White Town and Fleetwood Mac, as well as Kaytranada, Jamiroquai and CHIC. Here, he pays tribute to six songs that inspired him during the creation of Cold Summer Paradise.

Powloh: Cold Summer Paradise

Daft Punk – ‘Get Lucky’ / CHIC – ‘Good Times’

Powloh: The rhythm guitar played by Nile Rodgers on both these records inspired a few of the tracks on my EP, like ‘Paris Green’, ‘In Our Own Time’ and ‘Hex On My Head’. Nile Rodgers is one of my biggest inspirations when it comes to funk guitar. I studied how he got that beautiful clean tone, from mic’d amp setups to plugging the jack straight into the DI. I even studied how his guitar was set up.

The main thing I learnt is that the sound comes from the way he plays and moves his hands more than anything else. I ultimately opted to take my own path and do things differently, but studying Nile Rodgers gave me a starting point for discovering myself as a guitarist.

Fleetwood Mac – ‘Dreams’

Powloh: The main inspiration that this song gave to my EP is the drums. They’re up front, punchy, warm and hypnotic. I programmed the drums for my EP and was often aiming for them to sound in the middle of digital and human.

When Fleetwood Mac were making ‘Dreams’, they had Mick Fleetwood record as close to perfect as he could and then spliced the best section of the tape and looped it. It’s almost as if they were trying to get a programmed drum sound through the tightness of the groove and repetition.

After studying that record, I paid close attention to the hi-hat articulations when programming drums for my EP to help bring that human feel.

White Town – ‘Your Woman’

Powloh: When I was a kid, I remember liking this song and I read somewhere that White Town, aka Jyoti Prakash Mishra, made the song in the spare room at his house. That was the first time I’d ever heard that DIY was a thing, and upon reflection, that really planted a seed for me. I moved house during the making of Cold Summer Paradise, and while I was setting up my home studio, I reconnected with that song again.

I really love the vocal effect and how his delivery sounds as though he’s having a conversation, like he’s almost talking to you on the phone. Singing isn’t something that I was ever naturally good at and Jyoti’s approach inspired me as it felt like an extension of how I imagine he speaks.

Steve Monite – ‘Only You’

Powloh: The groove and bass line on this track pull me in every time I hear it. The song was released in 1984 and only found commercial success 30 years later. The use of drum machines, Moog synths and space-like sounds on an electronic disco track released in Nigeria when Afrobeat and highlife were most popular leads me to believe this song was so far ahead of its time.

Cannons – ‘Bad Dream’

Powloh: Whenever I listen to songs by Cannons, I get the sense of some overlapping influences. I draw a lot of inspiration from 70s and 80s funk, disco, new wave and synth pop, and while making my EP, I found myself turning to Cannons to hear a modern take on those sounds.

‘Bad Dream’ is a great example of so many things happening at once and working together for a beautiful result. From the glistening guitar tones to the dreamy synths and ethereal vocals, it captures and evokes so much emotion. Its nostalgic tone and weaving melodies draw attention to the different elements throughout, and the song evolves in such a nice and subtle way.

Powloh’s Cold Summer Paradise is out now – find it here

Further Reading

Harvest Rock 2023 Lineup: Jamiroquai, Nile Rodgers & Chic, Beck + More

Daft Punk Release ‘Random Access Memories’ Outtake ‘Infinity Repeating’ w/ Julian Casablancas

Cannons Announce 2023 Australian Headline Shows

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