Pogo – The Delightful Deity of Short And Sweet Samples
For some artists it can be hard to find a crowd who want to listen, with the rabbit hole of sub-genres and niche music scenes out there the more obscure you are the smaller your fanbase typically, this however does not apply to Pogo. Though his specific style of sampling to create not just backing tracks; but new songs entirely is far from regular his choice of source material gives him huge appeal. Whether you like TV shows, Disney movies or simply uplifting dance music there is seemingly something for everyone in the tracks of his many albums.
Known in real life as Nick Bertke, Pogo was born in South Africa but now resides in Australia. Growing up it’s clear that he lived as many children of the late ‘80s and early ‘90s did, glued to a TV screen, with his creative musicianship giving him a unique outlet for this adoration. As a video simply called Alice hit YouTube back in 2007, millions eventually tuned in to see clips from Alice In Wonderland rearranged into a fun and jolly music video, this was the beginning of Pogo and the first of many videos for his Youtube channel. Since then Bertke has used his skills to turn quick phrases and well-loved lines from any source into an addictive danceable number.
With several albums under his belt, many show his growing ability to hone in on what is now his signature style and cleverly using increasingly beloved materials in his audio sandbox. In 2014 he sampled Harry Potter and his friends in the dreamy Hermione Mix, turning spells, character names and perfectly pronounced sentences into a stream of lyrics accompanied by a bouncing bass line and a soft drum beat. His following Album Kindred Shadow had a surprisingly darker theme throughout, well dark for Pogo anyway. Some tracks although equally delightful had a more melancholy tone such as ‘No Worries’ and ‘Where Is Ethan’. Yet his ability to find content in the corners of Pop culture continued as he took lines from almost forgotten Playstation rhythm game Parappa The Rapper. In the same year he engineered the dangerously addictive song ‘Nicey Nicey’ which bursts with samples from the British TV show The Mighty Boosh, further showing that his own tastes in both the popular and the more obscure go on to influence his sound.
More recently he has torn audio from the Rallies of Donald Trump and turned them into positive songs, turned the incomprehensible sounds of the Muppets’ Swedish Chef into music, found a way to make Star Trek more accessible to audiences and used the widely popular Netflix show Stranger Things in his aural chop shop. It seems that nothing is unusable and equally nothing is sacred for Pogo as he puts his hands to anything that makes noise, using his uncanny ability to transform even the most benign words into something delightful. Although sampling is usually something associated with hip hop, and even in those circles is frowned upon by some, Pogo is on an unstoppable mission to change our minds about ownership, recycling and just how fun dance can be – one hypnotic song at a time.