I first came across Hypermedium at this year’s FASMA Festival. Occupying a basement venue under the notorious s.i.x dogs, I wasn’t quite sure of what to expect as the label were only a couple of releases deep at the time. I’m not sure I left any better informed about the imprint’s focus however, as they hosted everything from the ragged half-step of Xyn Cabal to EVOL’s untameable square-wave symphonies.
Their latest release defies expectations in equal measure, written by South African gqom outfit Audioboyz. The group is comprised of DJ Motion, DJ Fatonic, Percy and Njeh, who have been pushing the burgeoning South African house genre since around 2012. Entitled ‘The Rise Of Gqom’, their record for Hypermedium is a stunning example of gqom’s ability to captivate dancefloors; tripped-out kicks, toms and beaters building to insurmountable pressure across four languid percussive jams.
With the release out on September 8, we invited the outfit to contribute to our ‘That Time When’ series, discussing five of their most memorable gqom parties.
Leons Marikana Lounge is a place located in a township called Inanda, Newtown A. This place has a tremendous vibe and the people are full of energy and warmth. The first time we went there was in 2014. At that time gqom wasn’t as huge as it is now but people in Durban and the surrounding areas really loved it. We came up with a different kind of gqom and people took no time to accept us and our unique style. On the day of the event it was so full that they had to close the gates!
Our set was at 1.00am and waiting at the VIP we couldn’t wait for our set to come and make all those people dance. When we got on the decks, the dance floor was on fire and every single person at the venue was dancing. Thirty minutes into the set people were shouting our name “AudioBoyz” with a certain groovy style. We were supposed to play for an hour but we ended up playing for two because people wouldn’t let us end. It was a great township experience and we wouldn’t trade it for anything.
The Biggest House Party was organised by a friend of ours who wanted to host one of the biggest house parties in Durban as the name states. Durban was buzzing with regards to this event because it had a mix of different artists, DJs and genres. It attracted a lot of people and tickets were sold out in two weeks. The venue had to be changed to a bigger space and more tickets were made available. We knew the party was going to be a blast because of the amount of people who bought tickets.
Our set was at midnight and we were playing after a well known hip-hop artist. We were happy about that because we knew that we were going to get a great response from the crowd since they would have been jamming to hip-hop for hours and would be longing for something different. The sound quality was great and we set the dance floor on fire with our gqom sounds; people really enjoyed our set and as a result we got two more gigs on the day.
Vacca Matta is a club/lounge located in Morningside, Durban on the famous Florida Road, where you find only the best clubs in town. Vacca Mata is in a perfect location that brings new experience to music lovers from all walks of life. Playing there made us realise that all people enjoy gqom music, from Indians to whites and Africans.
This place showed us that through music we can get together and have a good time. We played our gqom songs and the club ‘got lit’; the noises of excitement and happiness were alive. The people shouting “iAudio Leli” which basically means ‘this is Audioboyz’. We were supposed to play for an hour but ended up playing for an hour and a half. It was one of the most memorable and unforgettable nights and we will hold that in our hearts forever.
Spank Music Lounge was a club that was located in the CBD in Durban and it was known as the only big club in Durban that would exclusively play gqom. The club would illegally let underage kids into the club and would get so full on Saturdays that it could take you ages just to get to the toilet or the door. It would be full from 3pm until 4am of the following day. We played there several times alongside other gqom artists from Durban. We knew that every Saturday we were going to be there. We made new songs every week just so we could play them at Spank for the masses.
At that time gqom was not even recognised as a genre. People outside of Durban complained about it being to loud but they danced to it when they were in clubs. It was so confusing because on social networks gqom was criticised but everyone danced to it at Spank and in other clubs. This club gave us the most memories as emerging gqom artists, as it was the only club where the genre was fully accepted. We had the greatest fun there; the music was great, the energy was unbelievable and the food was something to die for. The owner of the club made sure you had the best of everything when you were there and that’s how he kept people coming back for more.
The Waiting Room is a club located in Cape Town’s Long Street and everyone in South Africa knows that Long Street is always a blast. We had meetings with Red Bull and the guy who was hosting the event at The Waiting Room called us two weeks before the event. He told us that he heard that we were coming to Cape Town and asked us if we could play at his event, so we told him we would really like to play there. He came to our meetings and interviews at Red Bull studios before the event; we had long chats regarding music and what to expect at The Waiting Room.
On the day of the event we were excited to play, but when we got there we were worried because 90% of the people were white and we thought that they might not enjoy gqom. They made noises of appreciation before we even started playing and that boosted our confidence. We played the closing set and the dance floor was on fire, we couldn’t believe it! That’s when we realised that music is a universal language that everyone can understand and relate to. They were dancing to every single song shouting “woh woh woh wozzzzzzaaa!!!”, which basically means ‘we want more’. This was by far the most unforgettable night and we can’t wait to go play there again.