Mention Gqom and we already know it’s about to get lit. Now, mix that with a sprinkle of Amapiano, Afro House, and Afro Tech then we know it’s about to get really messy… and we’re talking about the good musical kind here. It has been the case since DJ Lag introduced us to Gqom 2.0 with his lead single Lucifer last year, and now the album has finally landed. DJ Lag’s latest offering Meeting With The King simply has a taste of the perfect marriage between genres… especially the two massive South African genres Gqom and Amapiano. His technic in the merging of these two sounds on some of the tracks on the album can be seen as an act of Ubuntu using sound. It’s no secret that there’s been a “battle of genres” over the years that have led to statements like “Gqom is dead”. We hope South Africans put this tussle to rest and see this album as an act of harmony and embrace Gqom 2.0 the way we have.
DJ Lag has established himself as a world-class sonic innovator and taken one of the exciting electronic music movements of the 21st century from South Africa into the global spotlight. The movement that DJ Lag has pioneered is Gqom, a Zulu word meaning drum or hit and which DJ and Hyperdub Records label head Kode9 has described as “like being suspended over the gravitational field of a black hole, and lovin’ it”. Propelled by DJ Lag’s prodigious musical gifts, this defiantly geographically specific sound has also found a devoted – and fast-growing – international audience with DJ Mag anointing DJ Lag “the globe-conquering Gqom king” in a September 2021 deep dive cover story that traced what it’s like to originate a genre, tour the world, work with superstars, keep creating and stay connected to your roots.
We had a virtual chat with DJ Lag about his explosive new album Meeting With The King to find out more about how he put this album together, the genre experimentation, and info on the upcoming stadium experience he has planned for his hometown Clermont.
DJ Lag, it’s an absolute honor to have you bless our space and have you speak about your latest work. To not waste any more time, let’s get into it (as we cue Khavhude in the background and put our party bucket hats on 😎)…
Tell us more about your new album, when did you start working on it and what was your highlight in making the album? This could be from your ideas of studio sessions.
[DJ LAG]: With this album, I started off by creating a lot of beats. In the end, we had so many tracks that it was hard to select, over 100 tracks to be exact. The highlight was feeling so creative and being able to make so much music. Also to work in my new home studio. It was a very productive lockdown.
You mentioned that your album is a mashup of Gqom and Amapiano, explain that further.
[DJ LAG]: So, on some of the tracks you can hear that there’s a little bit of Amapiano, like, for example, on Khavude the beat is Gqom, but we added the log drum. This makes it a first in the genre. It is the first Gqom track that has this element. Keep Going Going is another example. At the beginning of the track, the beat moves slow – you will almost think it’s Amapiano, but no, then it changes again. It is not the whole album but rather an Amapiano flavor on some tracks.
What is the vision with Gqom 2.0. Can we expect more collaborations between you and more Amapiano artists?
[DJ LAG]: Yes, that’s the plan. I am working on something with Vigro Deep, Lady Du, and Moonchild Sanelly on more music and I am very excited about that.
What do you want people to take away from it?
[DJ LAG]: I want them to see my versatility musically and have them hear the different flavors of my music and its influences, but most importantly, I just want them to enjoy it, have fun, and dance to it.
Where can people find your album?
[DJ LAG]: My album is on all digital platforms. Go check it out and play it loud!
What more people can expect any upcoming performances?
[DJ LAG]: This year is going to be all about touring and taking the music to dancefloors across the world. I am doing some amazing shows that I am very excited about. So I will spend a lot of time in Europe, the UK, and the USA. On home ground, we are also doing our Something for Clermont Festival again for the first time this year!! We are taking it to a stadium and it will be massive!
If you haven’t already, make sure you give Meeting With The King an ear… and don’t forget to “play it loud” as the King of Gqom himself has requested! While you are on it, let us know your favorite track on the album!
Featured Image by Travys Owen