Gqom is an entirely new concept to me and one that is really starting to tickle my fancy – in a very good way. It’s almost like an infatuation with a new love interest. Intense and totally addictive!
According to its young history, it’s a genre that mostly emerged in Durban – with some of the biggest Gqom artist’s right now, Distruction Boyz, being from Durban too.
For those who don’t know what it is, let me give you an idea..
Gqom is like making the perfect blend of a smoothie mixture. In your blender, you basically throw in some: ‘House Music’, a bit of Kwaito, add ‘i-Sghubhu’, throw in a little ‘Tribal House’ and then just a tiny bit of “That Thing” – which is not something that you can explain, but rather feel. And in my humblest opinion, Aux Womdantso is that perfect smoothie mixture.
Aux is one of those people whose reputation precedes them, in a gigantic way! I knew about him way before I even met him. From almost all the event posters you see around the Mother city, including some of the biggest like Rocking The Daisey’s and basically all over social media. And it wasn’t until I heard him play for the first time that I realised what a powerhouse this man truly was!
Just another kid from eKasi
Born and raised in one of Cape Town’s most dangerous locations, Nyanga East. Aux Womdantso, real name Thulani Sam, grew up like any other kid eKasi – simple and happy. Irrespective of the environment and constraints which most kids eKasi are confined to.
He has four sisters and was raised by his mother, two aunts and grandad. Unfortunately, he lost his mom earlier this year, which is probably one of the hardest things any person can go through. But he is keeping strong.
Growing up, no-one could’ve predicted that he would grow to become one of the most popular and sort after Dj’s in the Western Cape. He merely wanted to play soccer and get a job like every other person, but the universe had other plans for him.
From Thulani to Aux
Aux has always loved music from a very young age. But he only started playing in 2007 – after he and a friend were kicked out of a choir because of their inability to sing.
After their minor defeat, Aux pitched the idea of DJ’ing to his friend, which they both liked – seeing that it was more realistic and attainable to them. They started performing every month and saved all the money they made to buy equipment and as they say, the rest is history.
It’s only in recent years that he started getting real recognition for what he has been doing for almost a decade! According to a member of his crew, the reason why Aux has managed to garner such success in his career is due to consistency and the fact that he is authentically a ‘Gqom’ DJ and doesn’t compromise with any other genre.
This consistency they speak of has gained him several fans and supporters that always come in numbers to watch his electrifying performances.
2017 saw him release 7 mixes in a space of only six months, with an average of 10 000 downloads on most of his releases! Volume 6 was probably his biggest release to date – with a massive 15 000 downloads in the first few days of its release. He has managed to TAP Into a loyal fanbase of avid supporters who have developed a taste for the sequence of his mixes and it’s only getting better.
Shona Phantsi Maw’thanda
Shona phantsi maw’thanda is a collaboration between Aux and Eastern Cape-based deejay, DJ Laz. The single has been officially released on iTunes and it’s available for purchase.
I was lucky enough to be present when the music video was shot in a primary school in Nyanga East. Being an actress myself, there’s no better feeling than being on set! But what people don’t realise is the amount of time it can take to shoot just one scene in a production. But with Mpedulo Mabindisa, another great talent coming from the Mother City – who directed and shot the video – Aux was in good hands.
Another thing that I absolutely loved were the dancers! Led by the iconic dancer and choreographer Stoan “Move” Galela. They showed flames and something I haven’t experienced since I moved from Joburg to Cape Town – REAL dance! “ooMajaivane”, as we would call them. The video is out on YouTube and it exceeded my expectations on another level! You can watch it from the YouTube link below.
Next on the agenda
Aux has been in the game for a decade! He started off by playing ‘Deep House’ and ‘Kwaito’, till he found his niche in the new genre – ‘Gqom’.
He has definitely earned a ‘Don’ status in the club scene and moving forward into 2018, he plans on venturing into production and getting into the back-end of things.
Aux has had quite a number of career defining moments this year and being selected as the best ‘Gqom’ DJ in Cape Town, to perform alongside heavyweights like Youngsta at the ‘Boiler Room x Ballantines – True Music Africa’ event, is probably his most prestigious moment to date.
He is currently on tour with two of the best rappers in Cape Town, Sibah Anne and Amilca Mezarati, on the Red Bull Corner to Corner Tour. Other than that, you can catch him as the resident DJ at GQ Lounge in Gugulethu.
Aux views himself as a people’s person and believes that one of the things that people find attractive about him, more than his music, is his down-to-earth personality – which I completely agree with! In an industry that is filled with ego’s, he is extremely laid back and exudes a confident, but humble aura.
What I like most about his sets is that he doesn’t just play music but he gives electrifying performances that people can’t help but be drawn to. He doesn’t play, he performs. Like a true artist that he is – when he plays, you can clearly see the passion reflecting through his face. He is on his element and you can’t help but feel that there’s nothing else he would rather be doing at that very moment. It is such a pleasure to watch.
Aux is affectionately known as a person who doesn’t talk much and the only language he knows best, is spoken through the buttons of his set. And from what I’ve seen, Thulani is a talented young man with uBuntu. And as a person with uBuntu – ungumtu wabantu and abantu bayam’thanda uAux Womdantso ke qha! This basically translates to ‘Aux has humanity and he is a people’s person. And people love him for that’.
2017 has proved to be his best year to date. And with the loss of a parent, probably the most challenging too. But he has managed to keep his cool and focus on his music and he seems to have managed to triumphantly look past his obstacles and I respect him so much for that. With Gqom music doing the most right now, Aux is sure as hell a force to be reckoned with! Watch the ‘Shona phantsi maw’thanda’ music video below.
Many thanks to Thulani for taking the time to make this feature possible.
A special thanks to Oluthando Keteyi for the edits and ezinye ‘iiZinja ze game’, iSkeem Semicimbi for the awesome images.