The hallmark of Ralf’s sound is his love for jazzy harmonies coupled with wicked, typical underground beats. But the distinctive groove isn’t the only reason for Ralf’s success – his soulful sensibility shines through in all he does and helps him creating an irresistible groove every time he works in studio or the turntables. Perfectly positioned in one of the worlds most enthusiastic and inspiring music capitals, he makes music from the soul and circulates it far and wide to the various destinations which he continues to play in. Due to his successful, wide-ranging and revered work, there is no denying that Ralf GUM has established in the top-league of the most prolific dj/producers in the global House Music scene. (Quoted from his biography)
Join us as we explore the life of one of the Musical Legend who has a role and hand in shaping and positioning South African Music scene that has become a high rate of Export of music to Countries of different continents.
📰 Please give us your background?
🎧 I was born in Würzburg, Germany and grew up in a small village close by. I'd call my childhood a pretty normal German middle class one. I was outdoors a lot, playing soccer or tennis. I finished high school and thereafter studied civil engineering and business. I only came in contact with nightlife at a time when some of my slightly older friends got cars and we were able to drive to the next bigger towns. In 2012 I relocated with my wife to South Africa, where we feel at home.
📰 You and house music, when and how did it come for you to be a DJ? At what age did you start to be a DJ ?
🎧 Even my family does not have a musical background I was torn towards electronic music in my teens. I started using all my money to collect records and got my first turntables and mixer at the age of 16 to start bedroom DJ-ing. When I visited New York at the age of 18 I was finally fully hooked on House Music, while I used to collect pretty much all electronic genres and Hip Hop prior. My first official DJ gig was in 1990 at the age of 19 and my first record release in 1993.
📰 When/what was your big break as a dj or one of those big achievement that helped you to be where you are today as a dj ?
🎧 I don't think it was one big achievement that helped me to have an immediate break thru, but rather my consistent quality work which helped building my reputation.
📰 Who was that dj/musician you were looking up too as you were growing up and why were you looking up too him/her?
🎧 There were many groups and persons who influenced me due to their specific qualities. Musically the groove of the Masters At Work records, the coolness of Saint Germain's releases, the deepness of Larry Heard and so forth. And of course as artists from other genres, helped me find and shape my own sound.
📰 Please tell us what kind of house music you do? Why you chose that kind of house/genre? And looking back at where you are from and where you are, how you think your music has changed/grown/developed?
🎧 If you want to box the music, it would be called Soulful House, however I always strive to push the envelope and bring something fresh to the genre. The sound chose me and not the other way around. What I love about producing House Music is the possibility to incorporate many influences from Jazz to Soul to Afro Beat To Funk. I always kept loyal to the music and with time my skills grew to be able to deliver better productions, however the basic approach of what I want to achieve with them always stayed the same.
📰 Something a lot of people don’t know is that you are currently based in South Africa, please tell us what prompted that move? And also looking at where you been , how is the music seen different in the world compared to South African house music?
🎧 As mentioned above I relocated to South Africa in 2012, after I have been invited to tour the country as a DJ the years before regularly. At some point it simply felt like leaving home, when boarding the flight back to Germany. It was mainly this feeling which prompted the decision to relocate plus the great weather, friendly people and vibrant House Music scene of the motherland.
📰 We also aware that you used to come to Mahikeng, looking at the Legends of House by Husky Records, Redox etc, from your view how have the Mahikeng people receive your sets and what good memories you have by the time you visited Mahikeng?
🎧 Mafikeng has been a regular on my calendar since 2009 and I have too many great memories to single one out. The town definitely has some passionate House Music lovers and it is always a pleasure to play for them.
📰 Looking at Business, please give us an Idea of what other businesses you do and also tell us about GOGO Music? What you do at GOGO music and if do you have artist you manage or signed under GOGO music? What was the main idea behind you starting GOGO music? And why the name “GOGO”?
🎧 My work is 3 fold. There's the DJ-ing part, the music production and my label GOGO Music. GOGO Music is a record label that serves as platform for record releases of other artists and myself. I felt the need to start an own label as I was missing efforts to develop artist by labels. As well I wanted to present my vision of House Music in a consistant way. Since I founded GOGO Music in 2001, there have been many well known artists like Black Coffee, Bucie, but as well many new own discoveries like Raw Artistic Soul, MAQman releasing on the label. In 2017 we dropped Mafikeng born DJ & producer Sir LSG's first long-player Moving Cirlces, after I've been working with him since many years already. And the name GOGO Music just sounded memorable to me at the time I chose it.
📰 From your view, from all this time you been in South Africa, do you think much is done to develop DJ’s in the townships ? And if not, how do see such development can being achieved ?
🎧 There are various initiatives to develop talent in townships, like the Southern African Music Conference by DJ U, however most of them happen in the big cities and of course there never can be enough of them. In general education is key to development. Personally I try to help as much as I can and we have a music industry workshop coming up in Soweto in November again. However I want to mention that “DJ-ing” on it's own is a tough career choice which I would not necessarily suggest to young people on its own. To sustain in the industry, DJ-ing nowadays has to be combined with another occupation like music production or a career in media, to create additional regular income and as well build the necessary reputation to get booking-requests.
📰 If given a chance to motivate upcoming individuals who want to be like you or surpass the stage you are at, what will be your message of motivation?
🎧 Be you! The world does not need a copy of a successful artist and it is impossible to surpass the original if you don't come with own originality. Next to talent, patience and passion are the 2 key attributes you will need to make it...
📰 Lastly what can the public expect from you, toward end of this year and 2019?
🎧 My 4th album will be out in the early month of 2019. This year I will release 2 more singles taken from it. Both are featuring local artist. Stay tuned for some surprises.
Artist Facebook-site: facebook.com/Ralf.GUM.GOGO
Artist Twitter: www.twitter.com/RalfGUM
Label Facebook-site: www.facebook.com/GOGO.Music.Label
Label Twitter: www.twitter.com/GOGO_Music_1