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Emo Kid x Gqom Oh! – Gqomtera Ep

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Durban’s 23 year-old producer Emo Kid has announced he is to release eight-track debut EP, ‘Gqomtera’, through Gqom Oh! on September 22nd. Although titled ‘Gqomtera’, which Emo Kid explains is a slang term he and others use for the music, the record actually explores Sgubhu — another strain of South African dance music that shares many stylistic parallels with Gqom, though is always written with a 4×4 beat.

Like DJ Lag before him, an artist widely considered the king of Gqom, Emo Kid is also considered a pioneer in Durban; “Some people call me the Sgubhu king, but I’m just happy they’re enjoying my music”, he says. Based in Inanda, in the Etafuleni area township in Durban, Emo Kid’s house looks out over an area called Isandlwana — the spot where the Zulu army famously defeated the British Army in the Battle Of Isandlwana in 1879. It is from this backdrop that he has written the majority of his music over the last few years, including new record ‘Gqomtera’. He has also spent time producing for well-established South African artists like DJ Tira, a DJ who has been tipped to win an upcoming Red Bull Culture Clash in Durban.

At eight tracks long, ‘Gqomtera’ provides a comprehensive overview of the Sgubhu sound, with the aim of taking the listener on their own ‘Durban Journey’. “I wanted to show the uniqueness of my own style which I would describe as more musical”, Emo Kid explains, “you can feel the music when you listen but it still hits hard with that Gqom flavour.” That Gqom flavour, powered by hard, fast, uncompromising drums, provides a solid core from which everything else functions. Bright, shimmering trance synths feature on ‘Futuristic Gqom’, while on ‘Enkwarini’ — “another word for a party or fantastic get together” — vocalist Fawell skips over light, playful Sgubhu rhythms. There’s also space for harder, deeper cuts like ‘Ground Shaker’, cut with a twinkling melody line, the charging pace and power of ‘Insimbi Yase Dubane’ and the anthemic ‘Asbambeki’ featuring local crew TLC Fam, translating loosely to being unstoppable; “It means you can’t catch us basically”, Emo Kid says proudly, “On the dance floor, you can’t touch us, we’re on fire.” Capturing the raw, street sounds of his city, Emo Kid is the latest Durban artist to take the music global and with ‘Gqomtera’, put Sgubhu firmly on the map. Tracklist Asbambeki ft. WorstHood, Resto & Ayanda (TLC Fam) Futuristic Gqom Insimbi Yase Dubane (The Sound Of Durban) Rains Of Terror (Main Mix) Enkwarini ft. Fawell Ground Shaker Digital Response feat. Blaqchild Isukile ft. Mapopo