Podcast 660: Griffit VigoPodcast 660: Griffit Vigo

Griffit Vigo holds cult-like status in the darker pockets of Durban, South Africa. Around 2004, the young producer, real name Khulekani Griffith Radebe, began making his own music, and by 2010 he’d become the spearhead for a new wave of South African musicians making raw dancefloor rhythms unlike any of them had heard before. They called it gqom, an offshoot of house music, kwaito, and techno, and at its core lay ground-shaking bass and abrasive percussion.

“When I was in Durban the first time, I noticed that Griffit Vigo was a kind of legendary figure, and he’d been inspiring all the gqom Durban artists for a long time,” Nan Kolè, A&R at Gqom Oh!, recalls. “Nobody knew where he was but everybody was playing him and sometimes using his beats to make new songs.”

In time, gqom started to seep out of Africa, a transition accelerated by 2018’s “Ree’s Vibe,” Griffit Vigo’s most popular anthem. Wiggling its way the DJ bags of his peers, including DJ Lag, Rudeboyz, and Toddla T, Vigo’s work, and the gqom sound, went global, inspiring a new generation of electronic producers to unleash their bespoke interpretations.

But success brought dilution, and the gqom sound that Vigo birthed has been steadily eroded, replaced with various commercially driven and more melodic incarnations. In his fight to keep gqom culture alive, Vigo has unveiled his most recent album, I Am Gqom, on which he lays out a vision for the genre’s future, while nodding to its past.

His EDMjunkies podcast, which celebrates the album, delivers a similar message. It’s made of Griffit Vigo originals, many made through lockdown and still unreleased. At just over an hour in length, think of it as a little taste of gqom authenticity.

01. What have you been up to recently?

I’ve been doing music beats my whole life, so this pandemic has given me more time to be creative.

02. How has lockdown been in South Africa?

Lockdown has been so bad, especially for upcoming artists like myself. I’ve been working out what to do in order to eat and grow through the art of music, but God is always there.

03. Can you talk me through your route into electronic music. How did you get here?

My late grandfather taught me to have faith, and that gave me the patience to stay in music. It wasn’t about getting to the top but being throughout the universe. I started by listening to house music from legendary people such as Oskido, Ganyani, Gigs Superstar, DJ Fresh, Glenzito, and Dennis Ferrell, and this led me to discover other genres like tribal house. They called me “King Of Tribal” before gqom was recognized.

04. What’s the status of gqom over there right now?

It [the standard] is very low. As a producer it’s so important to keep it real and also to have your own signature through creativity.

05. What’s the secrets of gqom’s success in Europe?

In Europe there are many secrets of gqom success, and the first one is the sound: it it gives you that energy to move however you want. Also overseas they love it because it’s new and fresh.

06. Where and when did you record the mix?

I recorded this mix at my home studio in July 2020.

07. What equipment did you use?

I’ve been using a PC since I started this journey.

08. What can we expect?

The mix contains unreleased music to inspire the new generation of Gqom producers, and I also included some tracks from my forthcoming I Am Gqom project, giving the mix that gloomy gqom vibe.

09. You’ve included lots of your own productions. What’s the thinking there?

All I can say again is creativity, which is something important. I get inspired by things you wouldn’t even think of as human, like the noise of people talking around the town, taxis, markets, or even a word.

10. What’s next on your horizon?

It’s to be more heard throughout the world, and also to have faith and patience, which is important if you’re to achieve more than you’ve ever thought you would.

EDMjunkies has now joined Mixcloud Select, meaning that to hear the podcast offline you will need to subscribe to our Select channel, or subscribe to EDMjunkies+ to download the file. The move to Mixcloud Select will ensure that all the producers with music featured in our mixes get paid. You can read more about it here.

Full EDMjunkies+ Members can download the podcast here.

Tracklisting

01. Intro “Izibongo zengonyama uShaka Zulu” (Clan names/Intro)
02. DJEFF & Black Motion ft. Malehloka & Miss P “Don’t Let Me Go” (Kazukuta Records)
03. Griffit Vigo “Ithuluzi Lethu” (Unreleased)
04. Griffit Vigo “Adam’s” (Unreleased)
05. Griffit Vigo “I Am Gqom” (Gqom Oh!)
06. BlaQ Cat “Vuuduu Tribe” (Unreleased)
07. Griffit Vigo “Shanga Dedi” (Gqom Oh!)
08. Griffit Vigo “Gqom7/Inkinobho” (Unreleased)
09. Griffit Vigo “Bush Makhenikha” (Amajungle Originator Mix) (Griffit Vigo Records)
10. Griffit Vigo “Run” (Gqom Oh!)
11. Griffit Vigo “Superman” (Unreleased)
12. Griffit Vigo “Phola” (Unreleased)
13. Griffit Vigo “LEGION” (Unreleased)

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