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Giving gqom a proper platform

Independent Online (IOL) logo Independent Online (IOL) 2018-04-16 Buhle Mbonambi

a man wearing glasses and smiling at the camera: DJ Sox © Provided by Independent Media DJ Sox The rise of gqom music has seen the need for a music conference dedicated to the genre. I spoke to DJ Sox, the organiser, about the conference, the genre and the longevity of gqom in the industry. 

Gqom is the latest music genre to leave the shores of South Africa and take the world by storm.

We have seen artists like DJ Lag, Distruction Boyz, Rude Boyz, Bhizer, Babes Wodumo, and DJ Nkoh, shake-up the music scene with the genre.

The influence of gqom is so evident in music these days, that even hip-hop and dancehall artists have embraced it.

Nigerian artists like Pantoranking have found it hard to ignore the genre and have since released gqom inspired songs.

Europe and the US can’t get enough of it and is so popular, that Wololo by Babes Wodumo and Gobisiqolo by Bhizer, were featured in key scenes in Black Panther.

But even with the success and popularity of the genre, there is still a need to create platforms for gqom musicians, who are mostly 'bedroom producers', to be given the necessary information, to not only protect their music but also ensure their contribution to the genre, benefits them.

Speakers at the Gqom Music Conference include Durban’s Finest (DJ Sox and DJ Tira); Rude Boys, Distruction Boyz and DJ Lag and producers and label owners Oskido and Zakes Bantwini, alongside the major music labels.

a man wearing glasses and looking at the camera: © African Technology and Media Holdings (Pty) Ltd

What brought on the need for a Gqom music conference?

My journey as DJ Sox has made me look back and I realised, if I had been exposed to information, good coaching and professional advice from experts, I would have done some of the things better or differently.

Hence, the need for the Gqom music conference came into my thoughts.

Just to mentor young, up and coming stars.

With the industry now more receptive to the genre, has it become important to arm the creators of the sound with the information necessary to protect their intellectual property?

Yes, this conference is about sharing information around, music rights, production and more.

That’s why we have invited the likes of SAMRO, SAMPRA, Kumisa, Sony and Universal Music, Boston College, COPA, Damelin, CIPC, MICT CETA to share information with the attendees.

How have you structured the conference so that it attracts the gqom creators to attend?

The structure of the conference is structured with most of gqom music giants as speakers, advisers and motivators.

Since our target market is gqom musicians, producers, vocalists, etc, we saw a need to bring relevant and well-known artists, who have walked the path before the genre came to the levels where it is now.

Why is it important for those interested in the gqom genre to attend the conference?

Knowledge has always been known as a source of power, the people attending the conference, won’t be the same when they walk out.

They will be exposed to so many experiences shared, e.g., the use of social media, and digital music distribution, they will get to touch and feel new equipment, they will interact with industry greats that teach music, a chance to network and be exposed to other business opportunities within the music industry.

Do you think the industry jumping onto gqom the way it has done, will make the genre have longevity or will it become another music trend?

The genre will last, it’s actually a culture, a Durban culture that we started years ago.

The same was asked for Durban Kwaito 12 years ago, and it still exists today.

So, gqom is here to stay.

Durban is once again leading in a music genre. What is it about artists from Durban that they are able to find something new to give the industry?

KZN and Durban are full of talent and new innovations in music.

The artists are able to create music that is easy to collaborate with other African languages, to make it sound even more beautiful, which extends the market.

Durban musicians never rest, they seek perfection and entertainment every day.

The Gqom Music Conference will be taking place at the Moses Mabhida Stadium's Mixed Zone on Wednesday and Thursday.

Entrance is free. 

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