Straight Outta Joburg

Two of South Africa’s deep house players have got together to start a new label, specialising in the music that their country has so lovingly adopted as its own – Deep House. We spoke to Jullian Gomes and Kid Fonque about the launch of Stay True Sounds and the unique experience that is the SA house scene.

It still comes as a surprise to some non-South Africans just how popular Deep House is in SA. You hear it everywhere, in the barbers, the malls, in cabs, it’s as ubiquitous as pop music is in the US or Europe. So it’s perhaps less surprising that SA is producing some of the world’s finest deep house at the moment. Right at the centre of the South African house scene is Jullian Gomes and Kid Fonque. Gomes (Defected, Soul Heaven etc.) is perhaps best known for his stellar 2014 full-length album collaboration with Atjazz ‘The Gift The Curse’, a release which is still picking up plenty of DJ support. DJ and Producer Kid Fonque is a familiar face on the SA scene as label manager of Africa’s seminal dance label Soul Candi Records.

The pair are now working on promoting their brand new label Stay True Sounds and their first release (out now exclusive to Traxsource) is Bruce Loko’s stunning After Dark EP: 3 tracks of sublime, emotive deepness that we’re sure are going to be filling dance floors worldwide for the next few months. The STS team and Bruce met by chance but “…straight away we knew the music he was doing was streets ahead.” As soon as they got the chance, they signed up a handful of Bruce’s tracks for release over the next few months. In fact, Bruce wasn’t the only artist on their hit list and STS’s release schedule is looking very healthy indeed – Kid Fonque:

“Our next release is from me with remixes from Ta-Ice and Daev Martian, then we have a single from Sio Black Widow and a 6 track EP from a mastermind producer Daev Martian, and we still have lots of other bits including the loooooong awaited solo album from Jullian and my collaboration album with D-Malice.”

The label plan to put out the deep house that the pair love, but also to widen the scope a little too. “I worked as label manager at Soul Candi for many years and worked with a lot of artists I loved but was restricted with the genre. I love house music but want to be able to represent more than just one format. Jullian and I had been flirting with the idea for ages and finally everything came together and we decided to open shop and put out music that we love and you might not expect to come out of South Africa.”

And what about the South African scene? To house-heads in America or Europe, it sounds like some kind of House music heaven where you can hear quality underground music on daytime radio and in cafes and bars – is it really like that?

Jullian: “So true. House Music is basically like pop music in SA. It’s been really well received by South Africans and has done so for a long time. We started importing House Music from the US & Europe in the early 80’s and slowly throughout time we have taken it upon ourselves to start making our own sound and creating a healthy scene.” SA’s scene is definitely healthy if it’s producing beguiling house productions like the After Dark EP. And the reason for this health? Jullian puts it very simply: “The one thing that makes South Africa unique is the way we dance and the way people react to the music. We love music.”

Whatever it is, it’s clearly working. The Afterdark EP by Bruce Loko, on Stay True Sounds is out now Exclusively at Traxsource.