Journey to New York: DJ Lag, who hails from Durban, says recording bests for Beyoncé was ‘surreal’. Picture: Courtesy Mixmag
Tright here is a lot energy in boldly following your dream, particularly when your environment are designed to thwart you.
“I knew that music was my ticket to go see the world and be nice,” says Lwazi Asanda Gwala, affectionately often called DJ Lag.
He has launched a brand new single titled Bulldozer the place he options Novelist, an MC and producer hailing from Lewisham, South London. Novelist has produced for the likes of ASAP Rocky, Skepta, and Dean Blunt.
The title of the music is apt because the gqom beats by DJ Lag, coupled with Novelist’s high-speed lyrical circulation, create a robust sound.
Born in Clermont, a township in Durban, DJ Lag instructed the Mail & Guardian about his journey to changing into one of many pioneers of gqom, a style of dance music
developed in Durban within the early 2000s.
“My mom supported me till the music began affecting my grades and, like every dad or mum, she took my laptop computer, forcing me to deal with college however, as a result of I’m cussed — or passionate, slightly — I’d go to my buddy’s home and report music from their laptop computer.”
DJ Lag began producing music in 2008 and received into gqom in 2012.
The nice and cozy reception his songs received in Durban made him proud however, greater than something, it was validation that he was precisely the place he wanted to be.
“I’d go to city and listen to my music on each taxi. I simply couldn’t imagine it,” he says.
You probably have been to Durban, you know the way critical taxi drivers are about becoming correct sound of their automobiles. In a means, they’re a part of selling gqom, as a result of as soon as that beat drops, you need it to land on sound methods that may deal with it.
Two years after he entered the gqom scene, a London report label reached out to DJ Lag on Fb, providing to launch his music. Additionally they wished him to play in London, which didn’t come about as he was nonetheless at school.
When you may have been recording and producing music for some time, there might be instances whenever you don’t really feel artistic. On days like that, DJ Lag says he attracts inspiration from musicians comparable to Msawawa and DJ Tira.
“It isn’t a matter of me listening to their songs and making one thing related, no, I simply take heed to them to allow them to get me out of a sure thoughts body so I can get right into a thoughts body of making.”
Gqom is a subculture of kwaito, which makes it becoming DJ Lag’s inspiration comes from the duo, whose music is laced with kwaito sounds.
DJ Lag is large on remembering the place he comes from and uplifting his group. After touring the world, he comes house to host an annual occasion referred to as One thing for Clermont not less than twice a 12 months.
He additionally hosts workshops to show and empower younger folks in his group who’ve an curiosity in music or the enterprise of music.
“These are issues I’d have favored once I was an upcoming artist, and I do have a option to go sit at tables with nice folks and by no means look again however I can’t as a result of I believe younger folks in my neighbourhood deserve a platform to be empowered to be nice as properly,” he says.
The king of gqom produced a music referred to as My Energy in Beyoncé’s Black Is King visible album that grew to become an anthem for one unapologetically proudly owning their energy. The music options South Africa’s personal Busiswa and Moonchild Sanelly, who’re additionally contributors to gqom music.
“I used to be out with my associates when my cellphone went off with messages and movies of Beyoncé taking part in my music Journey to New York. I didn’t assume a lot of it. It was once I received a name the following day from Beyoncé’s group telling me that Beyoncé is engaged on an album and so they want beats …”
DJ Lag drove to Joburg, the place he met the group, performed them a couple of beats and the remaining is historical past.
“I couldn’t imagine it was occurring. I simply bear in mind being on the Grammys and rubbing shoulders with folks I grew up watching on TV. It was a surreal expertise. I actually felt like a celebrity, ” he says.
DJ Lag says he hopes his life can encourage younger folks from townships throughout South Africa to solid off their shackles, and most significantly, to do issues that make them joyful.
“I discovered what made me joyful and passionately pushed myself in direction of it, regardless of [my circumstances]. By no means in 1,000,000 years did I believe I’d make songs with the likes of Beyoncé however right here I’m, forging historical past for individuals who will come after me.”
DJ Lag’s Alpha Zulu World Tour sequence runs till September.