- Words Jordyn Halpern
- Photography Paul Scala
Music’s best kept secret is ready to unleash his powers. World, meet Poté, your latest sonic obsession.
Poté: the enigmatic music master creating an ever-changing world of his own. For the whimsical artist, disrupting the norm is second nature; his fresh take on rhythm is precisely the missing puzzle piece music has been searching for. Uniquely managing to find the perfect balance between emotive, provocative lyrics and experimenting with new sounds, Poté has positioned himself as a true icon-to-be.
Ushering in an age of shameless freedom, Poté’s listeners are a group of free thinkers and adventure seekers with a common goal: discovering good music. Gone are the days of formulaic pop structures rising the charts time after time, Poté is single-handedly proving being different is a great thing, and it starts with believing in yourself. In fact, that’s his age-old question behind the genius of his tracks. In his words finds himself asking, “Do you believe yourself when you hear it back?”
Rest assured, we believe in you, Poté. And while it’s his clear passion for production that makes his music so irresistible, it’s only a fraction of the love embedded in every beat. He’s quick to celebrate his Caribbean upbringing and seamlessly weaves its cultural influences throughout each song. With his heart laid out from first lyric to final chorus, it’s frankly no wonder he’s garnering a (well-deserved) cult following.
Put simply, his tunes are otherworldly–literally. Listening to a Poté track is practically an alien experience; he breathes new life into music as we know it by removing the idea of any expectations and offers us something completely all his own. He’s the refreshing, fiery drink we could all use at the end of the day.
Much of your music is driven by influences you’ve found through your heritage. What does that mean for you as an ever-evolving artist?
My heritage and knowledge of self is the solid ground I stand on to be able to tell my truth and my stories, without that I’d be lost. It’s one thing I’m forever grateful to my father for, making me question and go in search of my musical heritage because it made me find myself outside of music too and there’s so much more to discover.
Comparing your new music to your first EP ‘Voyeurism’, how has your sound grown? Moreover, how have you grown as a musician?
‘Voyeurism’ was me trying to find my tribe, my sound and somewhere to really fit in. Branko (head of the Enchufada label) really gave me the space and confidence to explore rhythms and grooves which still is a big part of my writing now. From there I was then able to grow other aspects of who I am with vocals and experimenting more with melodies, themes and the use of space.
On writing music, you mentioned how “working with other people, and people who actually write songs and not just producers – really shaped [your] ear for melodies and writing”. With what you’ve learned, what’s the secret behind creating the next lyrical masterpiece?
Honesty. Emotional honesty I think is one of the key things when it comes to lyrics, choose your words correctly and sing them exactly how you feel and your truth will come across. Regardless of whether you’re maybe ignorant in what you’re saying, the question I always ask myself is “Do you believe yourself when you hear it back?
After seeing impressive traction with “Spiral, My Love,” you leaped full throttle into club-oriented music. What draws you to that genre in particular?
It’s like my backbone, I came from club music so it’ll forever have my heart. I love making it and DJing it, there’s a big sense of release there, different from what I find in songwriting/singing.
Are there any particular DJs, EDM artists, or “clubmasters” that influence you? Past or present, of course.
I’m going through an obsession with Underground Resistance and the energy that stuff carries, it’s really unparalleled. I love the fact that so much of it has this insane groove, but can also be abrasive and in some parts beautiful and euphoric. You’re taught all these different types of music are supposed to be in their own box with different crowds when all of it can fit in together so well, it keeps me optimistic that maybe one day the club world won’t be so separated.
You’re based in Paris which you described as having “shaken your reality up.” How has it impacted your artistry? Do you think you’ll ever head to a new city to “shake things up” again?
Paris has given me a lot of confidence in myself, being able to move somewhere and find a good team to be around me has made my music less hidden and anxious like my first album was. I’d definitely love to head to more places around the world for short stints and just take in life but definitely not long-term stays, I feel like the older I get the more I’d be in search of more stability… I know, I know *yawn*.
Fresh of the tails of your “Rose” and “Rose II” Eps of 2020, you’ve just released your new album ‘A Tenuous Tale of Her’. As a musical risk-taker, What’s the most surprising element of the new project listeners may not have expected?
The emotional honesty of the project; it genuinely surprised me listening back to the album how open I am about a lot of things in my life both lyrically and musically. It’s definitely a bold project but somehow makes sense at the same time.
You wrote ‘A Tenuous Tale of Her’ with a theatrical play in mind. Any chance we’ll get to see some sort of visual bring that to life? Be it through music videos, live performances, shorts, etc.?
I really want to produce a short film and play around the album, this idea has forever been whirling around but without the budget sadly. All in the right time I suppose, I’m just throwing it out there into the universe for now!
You dropped “Young Lies ft. Damon Albarn” as the lead single from the project. What made that track so special? Why share it first?
I was a bit scared people wouldn’t get it, to be honest, the rest of the team clearly had a lot more confidence than I did and I was gladly proven wrong. It’s always scary taking a new step, this one being into the world of songwriting and me as a vocalist, singing alongside Damon. So it was a very special moment for that as well as the fond memories surrounding the years around that team.
If someone is to listen to ‘A Tenuous Tale of Her’ for the first time, where do you picture the ideal listening experience? At a party? Driving down the highway with the speakers blasting? Maybe even during a meditation?
“Listen to the album somewhere dimly lit with the speakers blazing; enter the versicolor universe!”
Catch Pote’s album launch performance at The Jazz Cafe in London on Thursday 14th October. Tickets are available here.