Cultural Cocktail: From Estonia to Australia – €A$H and Promiseland

Profet’s Chief Ideologoue Filip Lindström mixes himself yet another potent Cultural Cocktail, made out of trippy Euro Trap and Australian, New York grown, industrial waste. What is the effect of these two components brought together?

Photo: Dmitri Gerasimov

Notorious horse loving Estonian professional rap superstar TOMM¥ €A$H has brought fame to glammy trash, cooling Dom Per in his toilet bowl and wearing shoes made out of bread. TOMM¥ (not to be mistaken for Johnny Cash’s brother with the same name) sure knows how to mock and romanticize luxury simultaneously, placing opulent items in the setting which he seems to wish himself away from. The general sense of extravagance and ridicule of everything indulgent makes TOMM¥’s every move addictive. Since I saw him perform in a tiny jazz club at a small-town show case festival in Sweden, TOMM¥ has been a style icon of mine. Maybe not the loafer shoes per se, rather the track suits and the plastic, metallic winter jackets. Can you imagine a skinny Estonian man in a puffy silver coat, with a thin moustache and a home-cut hairdo moving epileptically in front of crazed Swedish post-teens to alien rave beats? If you could, most other music would magically turn bleak in comparison.
        The hard-hitting project Promiseland, led by Australian singer and occasional stage acrobat Johann Rashid, does not sound bleak in comparison to TOMM¥ €A$H’s ludicrous trip trap. In fact, the promising landing of Johann’s smasher »Take Down The House« a few weeks ago has made the track a worthy component in this Cultural Cocktail. Signed to Julian Casablancas’ Cult Records, Johann has recently toured far outside of his current home town New York, and apparently maxed out his already energized live show. I have not yet seen this destructive spectacle in person (although I wish to do so as soon as possible) but video footage of Promiseland performances shows Johann climbing anything in his near vicinity and screaming his lungs out. He smashes his gloved fists against the hands raised in prayer tattooed on his chest, letting us understand his nickname The Future Prince of Anarchy, given to him by Casablancas himself. »Take Down The House« is extraordinary in its recorded form, and seems to be unbelievably good sung live by Johann hanging upside down from a balcony above the crowd. Think of Pearl Jam’s »Even Flow«-video, only that it’s not Eddie Vedder crowd jumping during the prime of grunge, it’s a shrieking tattooed Australian doing it to the beat of an entire industrial factory. Times are changing, but the kids still enjoy watching charismatic people climbing onto and jumping off of things in concert venues.

Promiseland. Photo: Cult Records

Three years ago, the song »Recall« was released, performed by Johann in its music video in a more subtle way than is seen in the recent live clips of »Take Down The House«. Then known as Promise Land instead of Promiseland, the singer seems unfinished to me when I look at the video and think of him now. »Recall« is a good song, but there is something missing that makes its mark in »Take Down The House«. Promise Land had to become Promiseland for it all to fall into place.
        I first heard of Johann and Promiseland when I interviewed his friend, the great Lord Fascinator, in »Loud Fascination for Lord Fascinator, part II« for Profet. The Lord told me that he had assisted Johann in some way, and I didn’t think more about it until »Take Down The House« magically passed my way and hit me harder than Johann’s fist hits his chest when he howls the song’s chorus line.
        So, what might be the mixer in this Cultural Cocktail consisting a Euro Trap professional rap superstar from Estonia and an Australian New York resident blessed by The Strokes’ front man? For one, Johann once appeared on a TV show (featuring Lord Fascinator) while feeling sick from a chicken quesadilla and TOMM¥ €A$H once posed dressed as a burrito – that’s one obvious connection right there. Other than both performers being familiar with Mexican food, their latest tracks both include screaming vocals over extreme beats. €A$H’s »Rawr« features him partly rapping, partly shouting the almost inaudible lyrics in what is a new creative step for the Estonian innovator. This vocal technique used for this kind of music could be compared to unbearable screamo bands using growl in rock music, with the only difference being that €A$H and Promiseland aren’t at all awful. They are a intoxicating Cultural Cocktail that makes everything else pointless and uninteresting.

7 November 2017