“We thought there was something we could do there that didn’t really exist anymore,” he explains, “not necessarily for news and information – because there’s better websites for that – but as an entertainment channel, and somewhere to learn about new music, and laugh at stupid, poorly done videos.”
He’s just being coy: although you might not get the depth of invasive research on socio-political stories that your grand, high-brow sites offer, Poncho serves up pop culture, film and music news, and original ideas all with a truly unique delivery. The site is deliberately eclectic: an animation series (Shoot the Wombat), a weekly celebrity gossip bit (Trash Slags), a ridiculous cooking show (Jimmy’s Diner), the very acclaimed live music show ABABCD and plenty of other tidbits are all threaded together with the spirited humour of Poncho’s three founders: Hamilton, Nick Clarke and Dan Watt (who departed Poncho after the original series’ third season).
Poncho was born a few years ago but didn’t spawn into the affair it is today until the last several months. “Me, Nick and Dan used to sit down every Wednesday and go ‘Alright, what are we doing for the next episode?’” Hamilton says. “We’ve changed so much but back then we’d just brainstorm. We sort of try and have a formula now: movie reviews, stuff on new music releases, other shit like Pharell’s hat.” Speaking of ridiculous headpieces, the man with the horse head who presents Jimmy’s Diner is Hamilton himself. “Almost everyone that doesn’t have a face is me, all the puppets and stuff,” he laughs.
The person you’ll see most of is Nick, who presents discussions, interviews and hosts ABABCD with a very dry wit. It’s often pretty out there, shameless humour-wise. “Nick’s really talented at that,” Hamilton says warmly. “He’s actually an excellent journalist, but not everyone gets to experience that because he’ll be playing a character or something. There were a few times when we walked away from an interview and thought ‘Oh my God, that band thinks you’re the biggest wanker of all time.’ I don’t know how Nick does what he does – we film every day, even if it’s just news pieces, and to do things in one take and not be too fussed about his appearance… to be able to do that I think requires a special gene or something.”
The music side of things has always been the spine of the boys’ endeavours. “Supporting small bands is not a smart decision from a commercial point of view,” Hamilton laughs, “but that’s the essence of who we are, that’s what we wanted to do and that’s who we want to be involved with. I think we’ve always tried to make that a part of what we did.”
And that essence, of the all-embracing nature of art and creative aesthetic, is what drives Poncho at heart. “We think that music media, and anything related to that demographic, should be as visceral and artistic as the music itself,” Hamilton explains. “Why should it all be straight down the line, when you’re talking about bands and artists who are going in all different directions? [Poncho] is a reflection of that.”
BY ZOË RADAS