Gqom or ‘Igqom’ – the minimal, no-nonsense offshoot of South African House – has been gaining significant international momentum in recent times. Originating in the townships of the coastal city of Durban, it’s assembled by local teenage artists with a staunch DIY approach and shared via South African file sharing site Kasimp3 and Whatsapp. The word ‘Gqom’ is said to come from the sound you get when you drop a rock on floor tiling, which is fitting considering how unrelenting the drum elements can be.
A leading figure of the movement is 21 year old Lwazi Asanda Gwala, better known as DJ Lag. Whilst his self-titled debut EP came out last year via London Imprint Goon Club Allstars, he’s been making music from a young age, teaching himself how to make beats via Fruityloops after suffering an ankle injury that ended his football aspirations.
His sound, both fierce and uncompromising, holds a punishing energy built for the dance, with the sparse drum workouts and rattling low-end drones of tracks like ‘Ice Drop‘ and ‘Umilio’.
Currently spreading the sound across the globe on his European tour, Lag’s next stop is No Bounds Festival at Sheffield’s Hope Works, where he shares a stage with a selection of fellow experimentalists like Ikonika and Oris Jay.
Grabbing him for a quick pit stop, we asked the Gqom King to share with us a selection of tracks that he’s constantly bumping, check below.
1. Malumkoolkat – Mapakisha
This song has a beat that one can simply dance to, and it’s a great sing along song.
2. Migos – Get Right Witcha
A track that is super catchy and hype. I often play this track while getting ready for the day.
3. Rudeboys – Mitsubishi
One of the first tracks that made me fall in love with the sound of Gqom.
4. Fat Joe ft French Montana – All The Way Up
It’s a motivation song for to reach for more in life.
5. Desiigner – Panda
It’s one of those songs that everybody loves and dances to – no one can stand still during this one.
6. Dj Bongz and Sobz – Ofana Nawe
For me this song was Dj Bongz’ come back to the music industry and it worked really well because he even created a dance (Gwaragwara), which people always do.
7. Distruction Boyz – Uzophuza Amanzi
Huge club song!
8. DJ Lag – Khonkolo (Okzharp Remix)
Was really impressed with what Okzharp did with this track.
9. DJ Lag – Ice Drop
My first ever song to make it internationally and for me it’s a moment that I will never forget.
10. Nasty C – Bam Bam
Simply love the beat of this song.
DJ Lag plays No Bounds Festival at Hope Works on October 13. More info and tickets available here.