Today, Florida-based rap artist PONTIAC released the music video for his most recent single “Tiger Bomb” out via LA-based indie label Point Records. I got the chance to speak with him about his origins, Tiger Bomb, his inspirations, and upcoming music. Read the full interview below!
As I delve into PONTIAC’s history as a musician, I have an incredible appreciation for it, as some aspects share similarities to my musical experiences growing up. PONTIAC tells me he originally sang in the choir of his Baptist church, and ultimately started his musical journey in middle school. Through our conversation, he brings up the movie Drumline and explains that while the movie was cheesy, it really inspired him to “get back into band”, and he joined a drumline in which he played 5th bass. As a percussionist (including throughout highschool), I asked him what drums he liked to play best, to which he told me snare–a good choice that’s hard to dislike in my opinion…We share a “band kid” moment. PONTIAC tells me he didn’t get into rapping and producing until his senior year of high school, in which he began collaborating with some of his producer friends.
After hearing his backstory, I was curious about the distinct and literal name: PONTIAC. I ask him if the name has any to relation the car, to which he replies “it’s kind of a long story”. PONTIAC elaborates how he was born in Michigan, where both of his parents drove Pontiacs. Growing up, he also really liked Jimi Hendrix, and one day began reading an autobiography from his local library. Through this autobiography, he found out that Jimi Hendrix’s dad drove a sky blue Pontiac and this really resonated, as both of his parents drove the same brand of car. And with this, he felt somewhat of a connection to Hendrix. I’m glad he explained the whole meaning to me, as it makes the background of his name extra unique. These kind of miniscule details always add character.
With Tiger Bomb, PONTIAC tells me that the song is “less focused on a linear meaning”, and more focused on feelings and emotions. Though, he asks me “Have you ever heard of Steven Universe…?” to which I answer “yes” almost immediately. I have fond memories of the show, as I followed it from the very start in 2013. His face lights up, and he explains that last year he and his little sister binged the cartoon, and hearing Rebecca Sugar’s (the creator of the show) music style was really inspiring. Specifically, the ending credit song for the series “Nothing Like You” really touched him, and through Tiger Bomb he was “looking for that feeling” he got while listening to the song. After binging the show last winter, PONTIAC tells me he had been skating home and “wishing he was Rebecca Sugar”, and wanted to “match that feeling”. With his music, he elaborates with hand motions that it is “[dipped] into a vat of Rebecca Sugar”. Hearing him talk, I can tell how much Rebecca Sugar’s music impacted him and listening Tiger Bomb, after the fact, these influences really shine through.
For the Tiger Bomb music video, PONTIAC kept the nature of it very DIY, focusing on whatever “popped in my head”, to his words. Throughout the video, you see him with an elaborate car decorated like an Arizona Iced Tea can, and he tells me that he was somewhat mesmerized by this car, as it was always parked outside his place. Eventually he left a note on the car asking if he could use it for a music video shoot, which he was successful. Watch the Tiger Bomb video below:
With other inspirations, PONTIAC is very inspired by the work of Gucci Mane, Young Thug and Travis Scott, but also has an intense appreciation for more experimental music and music that evokes a “punk feeling”, such as Suzie and the Banshees. After a moment, he forgets a key inspiration, and exclaims that “The Midwest Pen-Pals changed my life”, as well as the work of Jack Senff.
Closing, PONTIAC tells me that through his music he thinks to himself “How unpolished can I go while being respected?”. He wants to do what he can while “keeping it authentic and dirty”, and tells me “I like to do shit that looks cool”. After Tiger Bomb, his next single “STARCHIEF” is set to release this upcoming February, with an EP release coming out later in 2021 in partnership with Point Records. PONTIAC’s dedication to the experimental nature of DIY rap and punk music shines through in his work, and his enthusiasm towards keeping his craft authentic and dirty will surely lead to more great music. With this, I’m excited to see what the future holds for PONTIAC.
Written By: Alexa Terry