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Stream Emo Kid’s new EP

October 2017

The South African producer talks about his first solo record released by Gqom-Oh!

Emo Kid’s first solo EP Gqomtera takes its title from a slang term he and his friends use to refer to the style of music, though his productions are closer to the minimal four to the floor strain of gqom named sgubhu. His friends are also responsible for giving him the nickname Emo. “I just added the Kid because most of the time I'm the youngest person in the room,” he says.

Based in a suburb of the city of Durban, Emo Kid is well positioned to comment on the current South African club scene. “I have always produced the sgubhu style,” he continues via email, “before they even gave it the name sgubhu, because for me I always had a mission to merge the gqom sound with the styles that are already there, styles like afro-house. I always had an interest in making something unique but not distant from what the people are used to.

“There's a large number of clubs dedicated to sgubhu/gqom around Durban. The support is amazing and the people are really feeling the sound. It took some time for the whole country to catch on but it seems like everybody is into it now,” he declares.

“The surroundings inspire the sound a lot because when you listen carefully to the sgubhu/gqom sound, there's a vibe which you usually find in our cultural rituals,” he explains. “The songs we sing on those rituals usually require a big congo drum which is called iSgubhu in Zulu and we’ll then do a Zulu dance called Indlamu (Ukusina).”

What inspires Emo Kid to make a track? “Mostly what inspires me to write a track is being in a club where I can hear what the other guys, my fellow producers, have been cooking lately and I quickly get inspired by that,” he responds. “It could also just be me in my room having some quiet time and then feeling like creating something new for my friends to hear. Then they’ll tell me it's a banger and then I will put it out to the people!”

Gqomtera is released by Gqom Oh! on 27 October. It is reviewed in The Wire issue 405. Subscribers can access the full review via Exact Editions.

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